28 Apr Barrier Free Seoul!
Barrier Free Seoul!
On April 6th, the city of Seoul held an event to raise awareness on the challenges faced by the physically disabled and elderly when taking the subway and also to launch reform measures to improve the city’s accessibility. The objective of the event was to help make Seoul a more convenient place to travel for tourists with physical challenges and to push for a wider application of universal design principles (products and environments designed with the convenience of the user in mind) within the metropolitan area.
The Seoul Design Foundation and Muui (a content creating cooperative association for the disabled) were the joint hosts of the event. The CEO of the Seoul Design Foundation, Lee Keun, Seoul Metropolitan Council member, Woo Chang-yoon, Secretary-General Ahn Jun-ho of Seoul’s Tourism and Sports Policy Division, and President of the Seoul Tourism Organization, Kim Byung-tae all traveled from Gimpo International Airport to the Dongdaemun Design Plaza on the subway while utilizing wheelchairs to attend the event.
By experiencing firsthand from the perspective of wheelchair users, the visually impaired, and the elderly, it was hoped that the leaders of Seoul’s tourism, city planning, and design division would be able to see firsthand the practical and effective improvements that could be made to the city’s subway transportation facilities. After participating in the event, Secretary-General Ahn Jun-ho commented on his experience saying, “I feel that there is a need to improve the subway transfer conditions and directional signs, which I previously thought were fine.”
Prior to the event, the Seoul Design Foundation and Muui signed an agreement on March 17th to engage in universal design research for the physically disabled and elderly and to work towards the improvement of public transportation design.
Additionally, approximately 40 citizen volunteers are currently taking 10 of Seoul’s subways via wheelchair for a month to help provide insight in the production of an upcoming subway transfer map for the disabled.
President Kim Byung-tae of the Seoul Tourism Organization vowed to continue building on these efforts saying, “STO will work with Seoul to make the city a barrier-free city that can be enjoyed by physically challenged visitors to Seoul.”