Internationally, various elements within the realm of equality and inclusion such as gender, race and religion have been the center of heated debate. While these issues also still require close attention, it is striking that the theme of inclusion of people with disabilities seems to enjoy a position that is lower on the international agenda. This article advocates for rights of people with disabilities by addressing the theme of accessibility of the public space. The article critically assesses the accessibility of the Dutch Metropole area, and underscores the obstacles and opportunities for people with disabilities to participle in the public space in an equal manner. It dissects a case study called Samen op Pad (On the Road Together), an initiative that deploys geographic information systems to enhance the independent navigation of people with disabilities through the urban public space. The article evaluates the lack of accessibility in the current design of the urban space and calls for a localized approach for inclusive governance and service delivery for people with disabilities. Additionally, it explores the added value of the case study of integral and interdisciplinary cooperation across local government entities, GIS specialists, and people with lived experience to improve accessibility of the urban area through smart use of data. Lastly, the article calls for international knowledge exchange to increase awareness to join forces to normalize a public space that is user friendly and accessible to all.
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Samen op Pad (2021) Plan van aanpak ‘Samen op pad’ 2021-2024 [online]. Available at: https://www.samenoppad.info/pages/documenten (Accessed: 6 January 2022).
Ministry of Public Health, Wellbeing, and Sports (2021), Eindrapportage 2021 Onbeperkt meedoen! [online], Available at: https://www.rijksoverheid.nl/ministeries/ministerie-van-volksgezondheid-welzijn-en-sport/documenten/kamerstukken/2021/11/19/kamerbrief-over-eindrapportage-onbeperkt-meedoen-2018-2021 (Accessed: 13 January 2022).
VNG (2021) Data voor een inclusievere samenleving [online]. Available at: https://vng.nl/praktijkvoorbeelden/data-voor-een-inclusievere-samenleving (Accessed: 9 January 2022).
The World Bank (2008) Design for All: Implications for Bank Operations. Available at: http://siteresources.worldbank.org/DISABILITY/Resources/Universal_Design.pdf (Accessed: 26 May 2022).