Accessibility to premises

The emergence of spatial accessibility as a heated global issue highlights a series of serious problems facing diverse social groups (individuals with reduced/ restricted mobility). The visually impaired, the physically handicapped, the elderly, children, pregnant women, people with reduced spatial perception, and even those who carry toddlers in strollers fall within the category of people with reduced mobility. It is therefore clear that a large proportion of the population falls within this category. To facilitate this population, specific planning and guidance, as well as special directional/ mobility aids must be made available which will contribute significantly to overcoming associated problems.

What is at stake today is the design of a Europe that meets the needs of each citizen - a Europe where lack of access or even difficulty in access is the exception rather than the rule. In modern societies, complete social inclusion has not been reached unless an unhindered movement for educational purposes is guaranteed. Mobility within structured university premises should not be seen merely as a convenience but as a fundamental right. However, as we know and it has been shown by various surveys and studies, people with disabilities and people with reduced mobility in general face significant problems in accessing the University built environment. Students and members of the university community facing visual impairments (blind and people with low vision), mobility disabilities, as well as other groups of people with reduced mobility (such as visitors) often lack access to University services and functions. The problem becomes even more severe when the movement takes place in new or complex environments. In addition to the risk of injuries due to the various obstacles that often interfere with the course of movement, access to specific locations is particularly problematic, especially when referring to a surrounding area with high frequency if functional points. All the above hinder the access to University services and the equal participation of these people in University activities.

Provision for access to premises varies greatly from country to country. In Greece there are many problems regarding this issue, as only in 2000 were the necessary modification of the General Building Code made pursuant to Law 2831/ '00, (Government Gazette 140 / A '/' 00) and in 2001 the regulatory decisions enacting articles 18 and 28 of the above law were issued (Ministerial Decree no. 52487/ '01 “Specific arrangements for servicing disabled people in existing buildings”, and Ministerial Decree οικ.52488/’01     "Special arrangements for the disabled in public areas of pedestrian settlements”) Both decisions are included in Government Gazette 18/B’/'02.

In order to overcome accessibility problems, design specifications must first be adhered to,  accessibility aids must be made available, specific to the needs of each group. Regarding the specifications, there is both the relevant legislation (Government Gazette V. 2, no.18.15 / 01/2002), as well as Design Guidelines ("Designing for everyone”- Ministry for the Environment, Physical Planning and Public Works, Research Office for People with Disabilities).With regard to aids, they should be manufactured according to high standards and provided to users in a form that suits their individual needs.

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