Disabled need a say in urban planning, say NGOs - RTHK
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Disabled need a say in urban planning, say NGOs

2016-10-04 HKT 13:07
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  • Speakers at the Walk21 Hong Kong Conference say the city's overall 'walkability' is compromised because the needs of disabled people are largely ignored. Photo: RTHK
    Speakers at the Walk21 Hong Kong Conference say the city's overall 'walkability' is compromised because the needs of disabled people are largely ignored. Photo: RTHK
Richard Pyne reports
Local NGOs have called on the government to involve children and people with disabilities in the urban planning process. They told the Walk21 Hong Kong Conference that pavements and walkways aren't designed with them in mind – harming the overall walkability of the city.

Chong Chan-yau, president of the Hong Kong Blind Union, says the city's transportation system and links weren't designed for everyone.

He believes blind people can cope in Hong Kong, but doesn't believe that should be the height of our ambitions.

"We have all the technology to make signals available for blind people in shopping centres - which shop is where, exit, escalators and so on - and on the road," he said. "But the system is not there, and there is no plan to build it."

Lawyer Gillis Heller walks with the aid of crutches, and says the city is very walkable for fit people. "But for people who are on crutches... there is a lot of challenges," he said.

He cited the problem of slippery floors in wet and humid weather, steps without handrails, very little public seating and a lack of protection from the rain.

Chine Chan from Save the Children says narrow and crowded pavements are another problem that also affects young children. She said children are dependent on parents to see where they are going, and are also exposed to hot exhaust fumes from nearby buses.

The speakers said all stakeholders should be consulted in the urban planning process, because this will benefit everyone. The Walk21 Conference runs until Friday.