A low vision mother with her toddler attempt to cross a busy road with no zebra crossing to access a park.

Social Equity Is No Trip To The Park

Social equity is more than a theory. Exclusion comes in many forms: an interactive shopping centre map, a multi service lift access point, a self service appointment check-in desk. What do they all have in common you ask?

Well, apart from usually being flat and indistinguishable touch screen devices of course, most of the time they do not have a text to speech provision built in, let alone activated for people who are blind or have low vision to utilise. Therefore, they decrease our sense of social equity just a little more with each encounter.

However, it isn’t just the prevalence of technology as a wayfinding tool that invalidates my very presence in society as I attempt to navigate the built environment. In this case, it is the lack of a simple zebra crossing at a very busy intersection on the way to our local park. A park that has recently been upgraded, complete with full fencing, well thought out skill building equipment, wide footpaths, and a top of the range accessible toilet installed.

Sounds perfect, right? But no amount of braille signage plastered in said fancy new computerised amenities is going to help me if I cannot safely cross the road to use them with my toddler in hand.

Social equity is much more than what takes place inside a park boundary. It is more than the location, the landscaping, and the equipment therein. Social equity is more than theoretical access to the built environment. It is not only considering what people can do within an immediate space, but how that space relates to its surroundings and the wider context.

I believe if we are to build a more connected society, then we need to build a more connected environment.

Posted in Wayfinding Is The New Lost and tagged .