Sydney to create inclusive, welcoming spaces

A new policy from the City of Sydney will help create more inclusive streets and open spaces for communities.

The draft inclusive and accessible public domain policy is part of the City’s ongoing commitment to promote inclusion and accessibility across its public spaces as outlined in A City for All: Inclusion (Disability) Action Plan 2017–2021.

The policy guides the design and maintenance of public infrastructure and spaces including footpaths, street furniture, parks, playgrounds and sports fields.

Specific guidance is included for kerb ramps, accessible public toilets, picnic settings and playgrounds in public parks.

It also includes guidelines for community gardens, footpath gardens and activities such as markets, to ensure these are inclusive and accessible for all people who want to be involved.

Sydney Lord Mayor, Clover Moore, said it is vital that open spaces, parks, footpaths and community facilities can be used by everyone, regardless of their ability.

“Creating a welcoming, inclusive city for everyone is one of our top priorities. I hope that this policy will further reduce the physical and social barriers for people living with disability to enjoy our city.

“We’re designing a tailored program of engagement to make sure we hear from people living with disability, the wider community and business about our draft policy,” the Lord Mayor said.

The policy is based on Australian accessibility standards and best practice approaches. It aims for a consistent approach while allowing some flexibility for design and environmental factors.

It was developed in collaboration with the City’s Inclusion (Disability) Advisory Panel. The panel reflects the diversity of the disability sector, with panel members selected for their expertise in areas including urban planning, arts, transport and housing.

Chair of the City’s Inclusion (Disability) Advisory Panel, Mark Tonga, said, “This policy creates opportunities for everybody in the community to improve their lives by exploring the city and discovering its hidden treasures.”

“I’m pleased the City of Sydney has the vision to lead the way on this, as better access to the city will help not just people in wheelchairs but the elderly, people pushing prams and people with temporary disabilities.”

The City has a longstanding commitment to creating an inclusive city for people with disabilities. Recent improvements to the accessibility of public spaces include the introduction of tactile and braille street signs across the local area.

The draft policy and guidelines incorporates significant advances in universal design approaches and changes to standards for public spaces and infrastructure since 2004.

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