Enjoying the outdoors is as important to the elderly and people living with a disability as it is to everyone else in society.
Be it aged care, special needs schools, retirement villages or parts and reserves; outdoor furniture like seats, table settings and pathways needs to be accessible to all abilities.
In the recent past, a lot of councils and architects have been taking care in terms of making outdoor setting more accessible to people with all abilities, however, there are certain things that are still overlooked or forgotten.
Here are a few key things to keep in mind, while creating and designing for access and mobility in any urban environment for everyone to enjoy:
The first thing to look at is that all pathways in or out of a park, car park or an urban precinct. There should be clear and spacious paths for easy accessibility for wheelchairs, prams, trolleys or crutches. Getting in and out of any urban setting is the first and the last experience any disabled person has and looking after that entry and exit point is key.
Recognising the fact that there will be some wheelchair-bound members of the community who will be visiting the urban space with friends, relatives or carers, the designers must look at and insist on wheelchair complaint outdoor urban furniture. Whether it’s the height of the table or a seat or the inclusion of the wheelchair in the environment, the furniture ordered should be mindful. All the furniture should also be end-capped for safety of children or special needs people.
A key aspect of making an urban outdoor space easily accessible is keeping the right spacing in various areas of the space. The barbeque are for example, should have enough space for a wheelchair that is spaced not too close to the barbeque grill itself. The benches or seats in the park must not only have easy accessibility for a wheelchair or pram but enough space to accommodate them.
Every urban setting – a park, a reserve or a precinct must have a public amenities building with a toilet that is disability friendly. A toilet structure to be made more accessible should have the essential floorspace for carers and wheelchair or pram, access to hoist and automated adult change table to assist care for people living with a severe disability. It should also have a toilet pan and cistern with back rest and grab rails and secure automatic door to make it easily accessible.
Most parks or reserves have a playground for children and having accessibility here is as important as any other area. The playground equipment should be safe and easy to use with all abilities children and adults. The playground area must also have easy accessibility for any wheelchair bound members and space to accommodate them.
We, at Terrain Group, recognise the importance of open spaces being accessible by people of all abilities and our range of products have been specially designed for people who cannot easily use traditional seats, tables and toilets to ensure that any public space will be an inviting and accessible place for every individual.
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