At the occasion of the 10th session of the World Urban Forum in Abu Dhabi (2020), the World Blind Union (WBU) and City Space Architecture committed to develop and publish a special issue of The Journal of Public Space with a specific focus on universally accessible public spaces. This voluntary commitment was included in the Forum’s outcome declaration, the Abu Dhabi Declared Actions (2021), intended to support accelerating the implementation of the New Urban Agenda (NUA) and urban dimension of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) during the Decade of Action. In particular this Special Issue is contributing to Goal 17 - Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development, and its outcomes are focusing on Goal 11 - Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable.
Today, more than half of the world’s population live in cities, 15 per cent of them being persons with disabilities. By 2050, 70 per cent of the world’s population will live in urban communities including over two billion persons with disabilities and older persons requiring inclusive and accessible infrastructure and services to live independently and participate on an equal basis in all aspects of society. Local and regional governments, and other key urban stakeholders, face immense pressure to adapt strategies, policies, and urban planning and design practices to fully respond to the rights and needs of all persons with disabilities and intersecting social groups.
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