01-Chapter1.pdf - Universal Accessibility Best Practices and Guidelines Architectural Services Department Preface Research Report on\"Universal

01-Chapter1.pdf - Universal Accessibility Best Practices...

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Best Practices and Guidelines Accessibility Universal Architectural Services Department
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Preface Research Report on "Universal Accessibility: Best Practices and Guidelines” Hong Kong similar to many other Countries is becoming an aging society. The proportion of our elderly is increasing rapidly. It is estimated that the elderly population in Hong Kong will increase to 21.5% of the total population by 2026. Since the 1970’s, the Hong Kong Government has developed services for the elderly; and in 1994 adopted the "Aging in Place" policy regarding elderly services. The concept of "Aging in Place" entails that the built environment provides a variety of choices in living arrangements, as well as be adaptable to the changing needs and health circumstance of residents without requiring drastic environmental changes. This concept can be further elaborated to encourage the elderly and people with disabilities to independently enjoy their living environment, instead of being restricted by potential physical barriers. It is understood that confining a person only in indoor activities is not a healthy habit, especially to people with disabilities and the elderly. One of the major aims of a Barrier-free and Accessible environment is to facilitate and promote a healthy life style for all. The Concept of "Universal Design", "Inclusion by Design" and "Design-for-All" is to be the essence. Universal Accessibility is not a trend, but an enduring design approach which assumes that the range of human ability is ordinary, not special. It is all about integrating the continuum of the micro-and macro-perspectives of the surrounding world. It embodies universality by incorporating accessible facilities as well as accessible building features and equipment which, to the greatest extent possible, designs that can be used by everyone, regardless of age and physical abilities. The approach to Universal Accessibility recognizes that accessible systems, reliable information sources, and enabling environments can maximize choice and enhance the ability of a wider range of the population including the elderly and people with disabilities to live Independently, Proactively and hence Enjoyably. The Architectural Services Department is to be highly commended for taking such initiative to research and publish this Report on "Universal Accessibility: Best Practices and Guidelines" , possibly the first of its kind in Hong Kong. The design considerations and best practice standards will provide most useful and cutting edge guidelines for professionals and architectural practitioners in their pursuit of a socially responsive building design. A barrier-free, accessible and user-friendly environment is the ideal to reach in any community.
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