AWARDS & PHOTO EXHIBITION
YOUniversal Design Photo Contest ' 23
WINNER: FIRST PRIZE: RUPEES 8000/-
A poignant photograph captures a wheelchair user struggling to ascend a flight of stairs leading to a skywalk which helps people in crossing busy roads. The powerful image not only symbolizes the uphill battle individuals with mobility impairments face daily but also serves as a stark reminder of the pressing need for change.
WINNER SPECIAL MENTION: Rupees 5000/-
Location- In front of The ark, NIBM, Pune
Photograph depicts a challenging urban scenario, illustrating a footpath situated on the right side of the image. The footpath, typically designed to offer safe and accessible passage for pedestrians, presents several obstacles that make navigation particularly difficult for disabled individuals. At the forefront of this issue are a series of bollards placed haphazardly along the footpath, and a perplexing arrangement of tactile tiles that further complicates the path's usability.
The bollards, originally intended for various purposes such as traffic control or aesthetic enhancement, create significant barriers for people with disabilities, especially those using mobility aids like wheelchairs or walkers. Their erratic placement disrupts the smooth flow of the footpath, forcing individuals to constantly change direction or manoeuvre around them. This inconsistency can lead to frustration and potential accidents for disabled pedestrians trying to navigate through the area.
Adding to the complexity is the confusing layout of tactile tiles on the footpath. Tactile tiles are textured paving surfaces designed to assist visually impaired individuals by providing tactile cues that indicate the path's direction and potential hazards. However, in this particular image, these tiles seem to be laid without a clear and logical pattern. This inconsistency can confuse individuals who rely on tactile feedback to guide their movements, making it challenging for them to maintain a steady and safe path.
In essence, this photograph highlights the urgent need for improved urban planning and infrastructure development with a focus on accessibility. To ensure that public spaces are truly inclusive, it's essential to consider the needs of disabled individuals when designing footpaths and installing elements like bollards and tactile tiles. By prioritizing clear and thoughtful design, cities can create environments that are welcoming and safe for everyone, regardless of their physical abilities, ultimately fostering a more inclusive and equitable society.
WINNER SPECIAL MENTION: Rupees 5000/-
Do We Prioritize Convenience Over Accessibility?
COMMENTS FROM THE JUDGES
Ar. Abhishek Ray and Nilesh Singit have been part of the EKansh Trust family from the very beginning, when they collaborated with Anita Iyer Narayan in giving shape to her idea for the first contest in India by EKansh Trust in Barrier Free Architectural Design in 2009. We thank them for their inputs.
Ar. Abhishek Ray is architect passionate about design with an eye for detail, he brings his own perspective to the table for each of our contests. Here's what he has to say:
The context of my selection is rooted in the idea of accessibility as a codal requirement. We have come a long way from empathy being the start point of action. While empathy is one of the ways of initiating action as practitioners, we need to enforce accessibility as a mandatory code in our designs for new India. This codal requirement should pervade every envelope of building design and habitability of spaces. This enforcement is, in many ways, a method to normalise the inclusion of people with special needs and disbailties in our environment. Signs, tactile pathways, and ramps are tools to include people with disabilties in everyday life. The more we include them, the more we know them as equal citizenry in our country. Their rights to live in equity will then be beyond the definition of inclusion.
Rtn Nilesh Singit is a tireless advocate and activist for accessibility and rights of PwD in India. He brings an insider's perspective to the issues faced by PwD, and here's what he has to say about the winning entries.
Prajwal Gowda: “Photograph captures a wheelchair user struggling to ascend a flight of stairs leading to a skywalk which helps people in crossing busy roads.” This is the sad story of every city town in India. This photo could be anywhere in India.
Komal Karale: An example of aesthics taking precedence. No one bothers if what looks good is even remotely useable. Everytime a cavalcade of dignitary both Indian or foreign pass through a part of the town/city beauty is amped up, cleaned up. Accessible? Who cares, as long as it looks great.
Thanusha Reddy: Traversing the roads for the disabled is dangerous. Thanusha gives a detailed account showing that accessibility lies in detail, any minor discrepancy can affect a Person with a Disability. Also shows how paths are dug up in the name of repairs.
Anita Iyer Narayan is the Founder & Managing Trustee of EKansh Trust and an experienced Access Auditor pushing for inclusion for well over 15 years - personally and via her NGO. This contest is one of her many efforts via her NGO. Here's her message:
I take the liberty of a rather long message in the perpetual hope of sensitizing youngsters who will inherit and shape the future.
As an Access Auditor who has conceptualized and floated this contest, what affects me most is that while wheelchairs and ramps justifiably seem to be the main focus of design when we mention accessibility for People with Disabilities, the gradient, material used and location are often not taken into consideration. There are 21 disabilities recognized by the Government of India. Many aspects related to these disabilities impact the way built spaces are experienced. There is a LOT MORE to accessibility than ramps. I had mentioned this in the poster too.
Professionals in this field must see themselves as extremely important stakeholders in the entire story of building design and understand how they work impacts different people, their quality of life and livelihoods.
I request professors of built space design to please update themselves on the current trends in Universal Design, and ensure that their students too incorporate these in their work. Accessibility is not a rocket science once empathy is achieved. For this, it is necessary to observe and interact with Persons with Disabilities on a regular basis, and take their inputs into consideration. People with Disabilities also come from varying socio economic strata, cultures, etc. and sometimes, with specific needs. It is good to have a curious mind in order to provide practical solutions.
There were many good entries that didn't make it to the shortlist. We will share them on our SM pages with due credit when we get the opportunity. All in all, I am happy with the entries but can detect in many cases a distinct disinterest in the subject, as if it is not as important as aesthetics or sustainability. We must remember that more than 15% of our population has one disability or the other. And senior citizens are a big part of our society now. Universal design ensures that most people are comfortable with what is designed and constructed.
I believe that YOU can make a difference - and I want you to believe and know that, too. I hope you will continue on this journey to a more equitable and inclusive India. Thank you for your interest.
"Exclusive is passé, Inclusive will always be in vogue" - Anita Iyer Narayan
Ar. Chetan Sodaye is a brilliant young Urban Designer and has been an avid observer of our work for over a decade. We roped him in to select the best entries to shortlist for this contest.
Maryam and Evanthika from NASA have been most helpful in ensuring that we reached students from across the country. Our Architecture Professor friends in various colleges too have encouraged their students to take part.
We are grateful to each person who has taken the time and effort to ensure that this contest is a resounding success.
THANK YOU! SINCERELY!
... Anita Iyer Narayan, for EKansh Trust.
The joy of playing is a universal human experience, and it's equally important for disabled individuals to have access to play and recreation. Here, we explore the significance of play for people with disabilities and how it can be facilitated to enhance their quality of life.
Location: Old busstand, dharapuram road, Tirupur
...Sai Sanjana T
...Jade L Vaz
Location:-Anand Mahal road,Surat,Gujarat