Technical aids and accessibility problems

Presentation of a project emphasising assistive devices and legislation to create a barrier-free environment for people with disabilities and elderly people. Internet publication URL:

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Report of the CIB Expert Seminar on Building Non-Handicapping Environments, Budapest 1991

Technical aids and accessibility problems

Felix M. Uritsky, Club "Contacts", Moscow, Russia


Seminar Contents 

Technical aids facilitating access of disabled and elderly people in public, industrial, medical, and cultural buildings, houses and transport, must be viewed as an integral part of the architectural environment. The project suggested implicates the creation of a barrier-free environment so that disabled persons can move freely from one door to another by introducing into the environment technical facilities, including: sloping and vertical lifting machines; automatic doors of different design, and stationary and sideboard lifts for transport. The project is divided into three parts:

  • In part one we suggest the inclusion of accessible elevators and automatic doors to be designed in buildings and houses most often visited by disabled people. Also, special lifting devices for transport should be installed.
  • The second part implies legislative initiatives geared to change the Building Regulations and Norms. Standards must be introduced into these regulations which state that every house must be outfitted with technical facilities to improve their accessibility for disabled and elderly people.
  • The third part is the production of small mechanization devices designed to create accessibility within houses and apartments (studies, kitchens, toilets, garages, etc.). Facilities of individual design must be put into production as well for them to be included in rural homes considering the individual design of every rural house.

The order of presentation of these three parts does not suggest any order of priority; each part is equal to the other. They can be carried out in a parallel or overlapping manner. When grouping the practical steps into three parts we bore in mind the public awareness and the necessity to change the attitude of public and official institutions towards the problems of disabled people.

The present project must be carried out alongside with other projects of built-in environment reconstruction and construction of new generation buildings and houses. But there are some elements included into the project which we must start carrying out without any delay trying to adjust to the existing infrastructure since the situation with accessibility of the architectural environment for disabled persons is desperate. Disabled people cannot wait any longer.

We experts understand that we must work in close cooperation with organizations of disabled people and individuals to improve the situation and hasten progress. We should take their experience as a guide since there is no better expert in disability problems than a disabled person him/herself. 

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