rise’s work on Universal Design ￼
rise’s work on Universal Design
We often say that we are inclusive of all communities, or that we are restructuring society to be understanding and empathic of all, especially the marginalized. But to which extent? The lack of inclusivity in urban planning does not only separate us by weaknesses and strengths, but it deprives us of some of the joys of the environment like urban spaces, access to green spaces and even essential services like public transport.
It is pivotal for professionals in the built environment to prioritize the promotion and protection of the rights of people with disabilities particularly in urban design. With the hope that a potential exists for the improvement of buildings and thus facility access for people with disabilities in Lesotho, rise embarked on a project that would shed light on the existing issue of “lack of inclusivity in the urban design of Lesotho”. According to a study by the Lesotho National Federation of Organizations of the Disabled (LNFOD), people with disabilities are constantly faced with the challenge of not having equal access to facilities like banks and hotels and to services like public transportation as the built environment does not cater for wheelchair access and other limited mobility needs.
The aims of this project were to facilitate an interface which promotes that everyone gains equal access to services and facilities; to educate the general community on the need for inclusivity in urban design; to increase awareness within the built environment sector on the need for inclusivity in design and construction and to engage policy makers in the discussion on inclusivity in the urban planning of Lesotho. Empathy is key here, the feeling of belonging rather than feeling excluded. Inclusivity of design is achievable. The goal of inclusive design is to offer the same access for all users, whether with special needs, disabilities or neither of these.
……Empathy is key here
What rise has achieved on universal design so far…
A panel discussion with policy makers
Made possible by the British High Commission
rise hosted a photo exhibit and panel discussion on inclusive design where policy makers engaged in a discussion around the need for reforms on Building Codes for inclusive design in both private and public sectors. A voting poll was set up for the general public to vote on the matters that mean the most to them regarding the infrastructure and accessibility of Maseru city.
Key stakeholders working in the built environment made pledges on how they are going to commit to improving the existing situation of lack of inclusivity in the urban planning of Lesotho. WATCH VIDEO OF PANEL DISCUSSION
After the panel discussion rise hosted a webinar on Inclusive design in Lesotho and internationally where professionals engaged, educated and spoke on the need for universal design globally and locally.
Radio shows to create awareness on the need for universal design
rise hosted 4 radio shows in partnership with SkyAlpha, aimed at increasing awareness of the need for inclusivity in the urban planning of Lesotho.
An inclusive building for people living with disabilities
Through in loco – rise built an all inclusive design building for the Lesotho National Federation of Organizations of the Disabled, allowing them to finally employ people with physical disabilities.
A panel discussion with key stakeholders for action planning
Universal Design for Maseru City Roundtable was hosted on March 2nd 2022 by the Ministry of Local Government and Chieftainship, facilitated by rise and funded by the British High Commission in Lesotho with a focal thematic area around Universal Design including :
1. Regulatory & Legislative Building Codes for Inclusive Design
2. Design & Planning Practices
3. Action planning and Next Steps needed
Our work on Universal Design does not end here, watch out for more on our social media platforms, engage with us on this topic and lend your hand wherever you can because if you want to go fast you go alone. But if you want to go far you go together. Let’s go together!