ISSUES2021 No.3
Editor’s Note: If urban mobility is regarded as a humanistic expression of urban transportation, which is at the same time an important index representing the modernization level of cities, it should undoubtedly concern the disabled as part of vulnerable groups of the society. After Niels Bank-Mikkelsen championed the normalization principle in 1959, advocating for people with intellectual disabilities that their daily lives and routines should be made to resemble those of the nondisabled to the greatest extent possible by teaching self-help skills and providing a variety of supportive services, the normalization theory was promoted by Bengt Nirje and Wolf Wolfensberger in Europe and North America respectively in the 1960s and has finally become institutionalized in succession in a number of countries all over the world since the 1970s. It gives people with disabilities the possibility of enjoying the patterns and the conditions of normal life as the nondisabled, which, in the aspect of physical environment, is mainly ensured by barrier-free environment design and construction according to certain standards. In China, the construction of barrier-free environment for the disabled began in the mid-1980s after the issuance of the trial standards of barrier-free environment design. It became institutionalized in 2012, following the issuance of the Regulations on the Construction of Barrier-free Environment and the revision of the Codes for Design on Accessibility of Urban Roads and Buildings, and was included in the national strategy of transportation development in 2019. China’s practice in the past decades has proven that the barrier-free environment construction, as an approach to improving the urban mobility of the disabled in line with the normalization principle, is not only a technical issue about physical environment, but also a social issue about humanistic care. Apart from strong policy and technology supports, the success of barrier-free environment construction and the effectiveness of barrier-free environment operation rely on the broad consensus on the humanistic care to the disabled in the society, the effective enforcement of planning coordination and design guidance, and the multi-layered governance including the volunteer engagement of the public.

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