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Persons with Psychosocial Disabilities in Public Spaces: Welcomed or Shunned?

Abstract

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.

 

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Published:
Pages:259 to 268
Section: Viewpoint
How to Cite
Ombati, E. (2022) “Persons with Psychosocial Disabilities in Public Spaces: Welcomed or Shunned?”, The Journal of Public Space, 7(2), pp. 259-268. doi: https://doi.org/10.32891/jps.v7i2.1605.

Author Biography

Users and Survivors of Psychiatry Kenya
Kenya Kenya

Elizabeth N. Ombati is a disability rights advocate with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Social Communication. She is a member of Users and Survivors of Psychiatry in Kenya, an organization that works to promote and advocate for the rights of persons with psychosocial disabilities. As a self-advocate, she has been passionate in advocating for an inclusive society where all persons with disabilities enjoy all their human rights. Her motivation for the work she does in disability activism is her lived experience, as one with a psychosocial disability. She is a believer that there can be nothing about persons with disabilities without them: they have to drive the advocacy for the society that they want, one that is more accommodating, and less exclusionary. She continues to use media platforms to create awareness on the need for inclusion for all persons with disabilities in her society, including those with psychosocial disabilities.

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