Edinburgh's choice - improve or exclude

As our city streets become more crowded and businesses increasingly compete to attract the attention of the passer-by, our footpaths are increasingly becoming an obstacle course to be negotiated. As temporary signage and outdoor seating encroach more and more into pedestrian thoroughfares we are excluding more and more of the very people that businesses are trying to attract. 

The Scottish city of Edinburgh has taken the leap and is working with business owners and disability advocates to ensure it's city streets are kept clear of clutter and open an accessible to everyone.

The city council's transport and environment committee have unanimously agreed to a city-wide ban on street clutter as an "equalities issue".

In an article by the BBC, equalities champion, Derek Howie, spoke about his experience with his guide dog.

"We are facing a situation where the streets are immensely crowded. We have to be inclusive. It's not a city just for the fit and able, it's a city for everyone.

"If we don't improve the situation, we will be excluding people from the city centre."

An Accessibility law here in New Zealand could provide national standards for public access, ensuring that we don't exclude people with disabilities, injuries, and parents with pushchairs from our city centres. Such a move is not only the right thing to do, it is also good for business as our city centres become a more open and inclusive place for shopping, dining, and recreating. 

You can read the full story about Edinburgh's law change on the BBC website here.

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