The second edition of the Inclusive Design Guidelines (IDG)—a set of parameters that assist designers in ensuring their work is fully usable by any and all—has been announced by New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio.
The Office for People with Disabilities published the first edition seven years ago. This latest version will expand on the minimum requirements laid out in the 2010 edition, which consolidated design guidelines from around the world. The publication has also been distributed across the globe, allowing New York to be seen as a city striving to make itself accessible to all. That said, as many of those with disabilities will tell you, the city still has a long way to go, especially with regards to its transportation services. According to the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA), fewer than 20 percent of subway stations are accessible to all. Change is coming, albeit slowly. A 1979 lawsuit means that by 2020, 100 stations must include elevators. That still only means that less than a quarter will be wheelchair accessible.
The problem persists above ground, too. In 2014, a report by the Center for Independence of the Disabled found that 806 curb cuts of 1,066 sites surveyed south of 14th Street in Manhattan were inaccessible. Crumbling concrete, potholes, barriers, and damaged slopes (or no slopes) were the main issues. If you find somewhere that has inadequate disabled access, you can file a complaint by calling 311. (Note: Buildings built before 1987 are exempt). More information on that can be found here.
However, the new IDG will continue to foster multisensory environments that, according to the Mayor’s office, will “accommodate a wide range of individuals with physical and cognitive abilities of all ages.”
De Blasio’s announcement comes in the month marking the 27th anniversary of the Americans with Disability Act (ADA), the first legislation passed in the U.S. that sought to provide rights to those with physical and cognitive disabilities.
“New York City is a place of inclusion where every single person who resides here should be able to navigate daily life without accessibility being a concern,” said Mayor de Blasio in a press release. “We are excited to launch this 2nd edition of inclusive design guidelines as a tool to help make our city even more welcoming, convenient, and enjoyable for ALL New Yorkers.”
Meanwhile, Victor Calise, commissioner of the Office of People with Disabilities, added: “The IDG is proving to be an important tool for designers to create welcoming, Comfortable and usable environments…. Locally, the IDG is helping to make New York City the most accessible city in the world.”
The IDG Second Edition can be found here.