Presentation on theme: "Accessibility at World Heritage Sites an inclusive approach Abha Negi Director, Svayam www.svayam.com."— Presentation transcript:
Accessibility at World Heritage Sites an inclusive approach Abha Negi Director, Svayam www.svayam.com
Heritage and Human Diversity A rich heritage and diverse cultural milieu of India is a unique combination that few have been able to resist through the centuries. India has 29 world heritage site, valued for their impeccable exquisiteness, diversity & historical significance. Millions of people visit them every year and a few millions are but many others feel left out due to inherent physical barriers such as staircases, cobbled pathways, multiple levels, slopes etc. The problem is not how to wipe out the differences but how to unite with the differences intact. – Rabindranath Tagore
Demand for access Elderly and persons with disabilities have the wherewithal and time to enjoy leisure. People with reduced mobility have a right to, and do want to enjoy travel leisure experiences. Barriers in access dissuades elderly and persons with disabilities from visiting or enjoying a heritage site.
Demographics Today almost 1 in 10 people in the world are over 60 years old. By 2050 the figure will be higher than 1 in 5, increasing from 673 million in 2005 to 2 billion.
Tourism Statistics - Growing Demand Domestic and foreign tourists arrival increased to 13.8% and 8.9% respectively during 2010-11. (Indian Tourism Statistics 2011,GoI) Ministry of Tourism targets inflow of foreign tourists from 3 million to 25 million in next 10 years. India ranks 9 th in terms of international tourist arrivals. As per an Australian research agency, 88% of people with disability take a holiday each year with 11 % of total tourism expenditure.
Increase in Foreign Tourists Arrivals Domestic tourists drive market
Barriers to access at Heritage Sites Barriers in built environment discourage persons with disabilities & elderly from visiting and enjoying a heritage site. Barriers are diverse in nature, the most familiar being physical constraints such as steps, uneven surfaces, steep slopes, narrow pathways, inadequate signage etc. It is critical to identify the barriers to ensure heritage sites are accessible to all.
Elderly facing difficulties in negotiating steps
Inaccessible ticket counter due to stepped entry Level differences in international circulation
Inaccessible drinking water facility Lack of alternative modes of access make heritage sites difficult to reach
Sunk in toilets without any ramp entry Uneven walking surface restricts smooth mobility
Bridging the Divide at Heritage Sites Challenges: Heritage monuments are crucial national assets, tangible links to our past and are often vulnerable. The challenge lies in making them accessible in such a fashion that sustains their significance, and where appropriate enhances their value. The potential benefits of improving access need to be balanced with maintaining the essence and aesthetics of the heritage site.
Qutub Minar and Ajanta & Ellora Caves are among several World Heritage Sites that Svayam and Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) have made accessible to all including the elderly and the disabled.
Case Study I – Qutub Minar, New Delhi Issues identified at Qutub Minar Due to lack of insight into the diverse needs and technical know-how of interventions like ramps, signage and accessible public conveniences, the Qutub Minar complex was not well-equipped to receive visitors with reduced mobility.
Pre- Audit Scenario at Qutub Minar The concrete ramp at the entrance was steep. The temporary ramp at the iron pillar was unstable, without handrails and had a very steep gradient. The floor surface of the ramps was slippery.
Pre- Audit Scenario at Qutub Minar The connecting pathway of loose gravel made it difficult to walk let alone maneuver the wheelchair.
Post Execution of the Audit Report Ramp at the entrance of Qutub Minar
Access at Qutub Minar Ramp at Iltutmish tomb Ramp to the Iron Pillar
Tactile pathway to assist people with vision impairments
Accessible parking for persons with disabilities
Impact of Access Improvements at Qutub Minar Recent reports suggest that after the Qutub Minar was made accessible, footfall of visitors has increased substantially. For the year 2009, the revenue earned through ticket sales at the Qutub Minar stood at Rs 10.41 crore, much higher than that collected for the Red Fort (Rs 5.5 crore) and Humayuns Tomb (Rs 4.8 crore). Source: Mail Today
Case Study II – Ajanta & Ellora Caves, Aurangabad The caves of Ajanta and Ellora have been declared as World Heritage Sites by UNESCO and unleash an artistic legacy that will continue to inspire and enrich the lives of generations to come. To ensure that persons with disabilities and elderly are able to enjoy and appreciate these ancient caves, Svayam joined hands with the ASI and has conducted an access audit of these caves.
Issues identified at Ajanta & Ellora Caves Being spread over large areas in hilly terrain it is difficult to incorporate accessibility features at all the caves. Effort has been made in providing a balance so that every visitor is able to enjoy the site. Also, being a World Heritage Site conservational aspects too add to the challenge.
Access Audit in progress at Ajanta Caves Accessing the public conveniences for making them accessible Accessing the approach way towards the caves
Ramp addressing the first level difference at Taj
Red Fort after Svayams interventions Access to Deewan-e-aam Access to Hamam
Making the Connection Every act of imagination is the discovery of likenesses between two things which were thought unlike. Jacob Bronowski Illustration by Hannah Van de Water
Potential benefits of having accessible infrastructure at heritage sites Enhanced visitors experience and satisfaction Increase in footfall and likelihood of repeat visits Provides equality of recreation opportunities Mainstreaming of marginalized groups/ Social inclusion Compliance with the international standards and UNESCO norms for WHS
Rationale: an inclusive approach An inclusive approach recognizes everyone as a potential visitor and encompasses an environment which is used by everyone regardless of age, disability, gender or background. Improving access is one of the keys to a wider understanding, valuing and caring of heritage sites. Although improvements are needed in a number of other areas, interventions will need to be prioritized if the agenda for achieving inclusion of persons with disabilities and elderly is to be realized.
Conclusion – the way forward Incorporating accessibility at heritage sites allows disabled and non- disabled visitors to enjoy the experience together. There is a need to raise the profile of accessibility thereby making heritage sites reachable to the disabled and elderly to ensure they do not feel isolated from the mainstream. Challenge lies in appreciating these varied and conflicting interests and yet find the most appropriate solutions to provide access. Fulfillment of this commitment, therefore, requires inclusive and affirmative policies, sensitive infrastructure planning based on universal design standards and effective implementation & enforcement.
An accessible environment is an essential requirement for around 10%, a need for 30- 40%,comfortable for all, and problematic for no one. Thank You!!