This viewpoint discusses the role of inclusive and accessible public spaces in enabling enjoyment of human rights by persons with psychosocial disabilities. It acknowledges that in accessing public spaces, accessibility requirements for people with psychosocial disabilities often go unnoticed and are rarely taken into account while those of persons with more visible disabilities are often considered.
ThevViewpoint bases its propositions on the lived experiences of the author, and uses this foundation to discuss critical issues on how persons with psychosocial disabilities access (or do not) public spaces. Issues addressed include stigma, violence and human rights abuses as they face persons with psychosocial disabilities in public spaces; reflections on urban designs and whether this is done with the broader perspective of supporting inclusion of all persons with disabilities; accessibility as a key concept running throughout the paper; as well as the views on participation of persons with disabilities and industry in making public spaces accessible and inclusive of marginalized populations. A key theme that is also considered is how important attitude changes are necessary in ensuring persons with disabilities are accessing public spaces, and also thoughts around the roles of patience, kindness and empathy.
The propositions in the Viewpoint are based on human rights and development frameworks including the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities; The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development; the New Urban Agenda (2016), as well as the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction (2016).
Finally, the viewpoint offers proposals on the way forward; proposing for example that governments at all levels, in particular local and regional governments, together with organisations of persons with disabilities must build the staff capacity of infrastructure service providers and urban practitioners in understanding the different accessibility requirements for all types of impairments when reflecting on inclusive urban designs.
Read the full article in accessible html-format here.