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Building a legacy of inclusion

Building a legacy of inclusion

Maha El Akoum, Mark Dyer

By 2050, it is projected that 68 percent of the global population will be living in urban cities, making urbanization one of the defining global trends of the century. Of the 6.25 billion people living in cities, nearly one billion will be people with a disability. Therefore, it is crucial that govern- ments plan for, design, and build the infrastructures, public spaces and services that facilitate and enable equal access and participation of all members of society without exception. The available evidence tells us that we have a long way to go. As things currently stand, the 15 percent of the global population who currently live with a disability and reside in urban cities generally report experi- encing lack of accessibility in built environments – such as housing, roads, public buildings and spaces – as well as information and communications technologies. These barriers affect access to education and employment and contribute to the marginalization and stigmatization faced by this community. In turn, this can negatively affect the health and wellbeing of this community.

Executive Summary

About 15 percent of the world’s population currently live with a disability, however, most continue to experience a lack of accessibility in built environments and public spaces.1 This lack of accessibility to physical infrastructure, information and communication, as well as a lack of access to basic services, contributes enormously to the marginalization faced by people living with disabilities. This marginalization, and the social isolation that follows, has the potential to lead to cognitive degeneration as well as other mental health concerns.

To enable people with disabilities to live independently, and ensure that they fully participate in all aspects of life, cities should be designed and redesigned to become more inclusive and accessible. To achieve this goal, the disabled community must have the opportunity to actively participate throughout all stages of the urban design and planning process.

The FIFA World Cup that will be hosted in Qatar in 2022 is considered to be the beginning of a new era of inclusion in Qatar. After pledging to deliver the most accessible World Cup to date, the Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy has been working closely with organizations representing people living with disabilities to ensure that the stadiums and the entire experience, inside and outside the stadium, are fully accessible to all. This includes designing and planning for accessible hotels, transportation, tourist attractions and more.

Building on the experience of the World Cup, we propose a set of policy recommendations to continue the momentum after the event, to ensure that accessibility remains a national priority and that relevant Qatar 2030 vision targets are met. The recommendations will also be relevant to policymakers planning accessible cities worldwide, particularly those looking to build on the momentum created by hosting sports mega events.