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Forum to encourage access

12 December 2005

Forum to encourage access

A new forum to discuss disability issues in the Auckland region will focus on good urban design and the importance of creating a 100 per cent accessible city.

Auckland City and its Disability Issues Advisory Group (DIAG) are hosting the inaugural Auckland Regional Disability forum for around 100 urban designers.

Auckland City's disability adviser, Minnie Baragwanath, hopes planners and designers from the region's seven councils will take away some valuable tips.

"Most people are functionally disabled at some time in their lives, whether it's through age, injury or illness, or because they're pushing a pram or carrying a child. The fact that so many people may encounter difficulties in moving around the city means that easy access to buildings, parks and transport is crucial.

"We're hoping this forum will underline how important it is for urban designers to consider accessibility at the beginning of the design process. They should get some great ideas on what they can do to ensure the city is safe and easy to get around."

To coincide with the forum, Auckland City has produced a new document for developers and designers outlining what they should consider to ensure new buildings and open spaces are accessible for all people.

Ms Baragwanath hopes designers will see the benefits of using the Universal Design - Designing Accessible Built Environments guide in their everyday work.

"It's not necessarily more expensive to create an accessible environment. It can have financial benefits, such as making developments more marketable and pleasant for everyone," Ms Baragwanath says.

Presenters from various councils, along with independent consultants, will speak at the forum. They will discuss the design and accessibility of buildings, streets, transport and open spaces.

The forum takes place at the Western Springs Garden Hall, between 9.45am and 2pm on Tuesday 13 December.

ENDS

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