Today’s Inspirational Wednesday offers something different. We want to present to you a brilliant idea that developed out of the need for more inclusiveness in everyday life. In small coastal town of Izola, in Slovenia, they thought of something truly wonderful to make the access to beach more inclusive. They designed a beach for blind and visually impaired people, enabling them to have a good access to the sea. Check out the video of the beach here.
In 2016, at the beginning of the Blind Week, which is celebrated on the first week of June, the Umbrella organization of Associations of the Blind and Visually Impaired in Slovenia highlighted one of the most important areas for a more independent life and work of the blind and visually impaired – accessibility to the environment and its processes. On this occasion, a renovated beach and swimming pool with seawater were opened, designed specifically with blind and visually impaired in mind. The renovated beach is adapted to the blind and partially sighted and is equipped with a floor tactile guidance system that marks the most important routes.
For the blind and visually impaired, inclusion in society begins with accessibility, and if it is not there, it also ends. Therefore, all processes in society should be implemented or planned with accessibility in mind, as this is the only way to ensure integral and unhindered integration into society for people with visual impairments.
In order for the space to be accessible to the blind and partially sighted, it is most important that there are no obstacles on the footpaths, such as dustbins, notice boards, flower beds, bicycle racks and the like. If these obstacles are removed, movement is much easier for people with visual impairments, emphasized landscape architect Andreja Albreht.
An additional measure to improve orientation and accessibility is pressure structures called floor tactile markings. With their distinct tactile and visual contrast, these help the blind and partially sighted in orientation on surfaces that are very demanding in terms of orientation, such as large uniformly paved surfaces, road crossings or bus stops. It consists of relief floor markings, which in key places where orientation is difficult for the blind and visually impaired, complement the elements of the existing arrangement that are useful for orientation.
The beach for blind and visually impaired is for sure an example of a good practice of inclusiveness.