The First Lady of Ukraine took part in a dialogue with architectural students and representatives of the professional community, dedicated to a comfortable and barrier-free future of Ukrainian cities.
It is reported Office of the Presidentreports Ukrinform.
The dialogue took place in an online and offline format with the participation of the Deputy Prime Minister for the Reconstruction of Ukraine – the Minister of Community Development, Territories and Infrastructure Oleksandr Kubrakov, representatives of professional and expert circles, architectural bureaus, heads of regional military administrations.
As noted, the Barrier-free Solutions Album is a practical guide that recommends and demonstrates with examples how the urban environment can be friendly to different users. The developers of the Album – the team of the urban bureau Big City Lab – involved experts in the fields of urban planning, construction, human diversity and other areas related to the creation of public space.
“Imagine a person in a wheelchair who lives on the top floor of an ordinary five-story building. An air alarm sounds. In a few minutes, the first explosion is heard. Do you think this person can get to shelter quickly? Less mobile population groups now risk their lives more than others. Because even the path to salvation is dangerous for them. This war showed us how barrier-free is not a formality. This is a matter of survival,” Zelenska said.
The President’s wife recalled that the first section of the Album (about accessible porches and yards) was presented at the end of 2021, and after the beginning of the full-scale invasion of the Russian Federation, it was adapted to wartime conditions. Three new sections of the manual, devoted to street infrastructure, public space, public buildings and structures, also take into account new realities.
For example, they talk about what to pay attention to when designing storage facilities and which needs of vulnerable groups should be taken into account, which types of glass are safer than others and how to plan the entrance to the temporary hospital building. There are also recommendations for pedestrian-safe arrangement of roadblocks and anti-tank hedgehogs, light masking of streets, installation of emergency aid ceilings with defibrillators. It emphasizes the importance of sensory relief rooms for those with increased sensitivity to light and sound, accessible showers and sheltered eating areas.
“It depends on the architects and builders what the space will be around our people – those with prostheses or in wheelchairs, those with visual impairments or mental impairments, around the elderly, mothers with children, around all of us, because in reality nobody obstacles are needed. The war created so many of them. Principles barrier-free should appear in educational programs of universities. And not only profile ones. Because all of us, regardless of our profession, should see behind all our affairs first of all people and how we can make their lives easier,” said Zelenska.
For his part, Oleksandr Kubrakov emphasized: “The problem of accessibility of urban infrastructure for groups with limited mobility is a systemic problem of Ukraine, to overcome which we are working in three key directions. This is the development of barrier-free rules and standards, strengthening control and responsibility for their compliance, improving the awareness of responsible persons with barrier-free principles. I thank First Lady Olena Zelenska for her leadership in this process, which allows us to constantly move forward the issue of creating a barrier-free space despite the war.”
“In this terrible war, we are fighting precisely for people, for their dignified life. Therefore, barrier-freeness is human-centeredness, safety, life itself,” the first lady added.
All sections of the Barrier-free Solutions Album are available for download at link.
As noted, the Barrier-free Solutions Album was created within the initiative of First Lady Olena Zelenska “Without Barriers”. The project was implemented by the public organization “Bezbarnierst” together with the Ministry of Community and Territorial Development of Ukraine within the framework of the “Integrated Development of Cities in Ukraine II” project, which is implemented by the German government company Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH with funding from the governments of Germany and Switzerland. The developer of the Album of barrier-free solutions is the Big City Lab urban bureau.