On December 3rd, the International Day of People with Disabilities, several mapping events have been taking place in three pilot cities of the ‘MyAccessible.EU‘ project: Vienna, London and Heidelberg.
A group of 15 participants gathered in Vienna at a local community center. A mixed group of people from the neighborhood, wanting to „explore their area through different eyes“, students from the University of Vienna, a wheelchair user and colleagues from the Center for Social Innovation. After a short introduction about the event and how to use the Wheelmap App, a wheelchair user discussed important aspects regarding accessibility of stores and pointed towards the often encountered reality of ‘the devil is in the detail’: the entrance of a restaurant is wheelchair accessible but the doors are swinging doors, or there is a small step to the bathroom.
Afterwards the participants were divided into 3 groups consisting of 3 – 5 people. Each group got a little task (á la ‘Take a photo of the group with an Italian Menue) and each group member had a different role: *researching wheelchair users / *eager mappers/ *creative photographers
Additionally the opportunity to borrow wheelchairs to make personal experiences when for instance navigating to a bank in a wheelchair was well received by participants. Participants who borrowed a wheelchair gave very positive feedback and afterwards reflected upon their acquired experiences and learnings throughout the mapping action.
Some of which included:
…. experiences of being pushed by another person // new perspective when looking at the other side of the street and parked cars block the view // details of accessibility e.g. narrowness at ATMs in a bank ….
Each mapping group also got a printed paper in case the technology fails and people who are not technically inclined or who want to note down thoughts or comments they wouldn’t necessarily enter into the Wheelmap.
Each group braved the cold and rainy weather and toured the area for about 1.5 hours and gathered again for some hot tea and a final feedback round and discussions. All in all a successful mapping action with more mapping events to come in the upcoming year!
(author: Susu Dobner)
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