SPD’s Views On Whether Wider Corridors Make Sense For Private Projects | SPD - Singapore

SPD’s Views On Whether Wider Corridors Make Sense For Private Projects

28/03/2014

Photo of one of SPD corridor

We responded to the article ‘Do wider corridors make sense for private projects?’ (The Straits Times, 22 March) with the following letter from our Executive Director which was published in The Straits Times’ Forum Online on 27 March.
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Amid the debate over whether it makes sense for private condominiums to have wider corridors ("Do wider corridors make sense for private projects?"; last Saturday) comes a silver lining - we are seeing more being done to steer Singapore towards inclusion and being a nation that is one for all.

With the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities coming into effect last August, the move to increase the minimum width of residential corridors in new projects, from 1.2m to 1.5m, is timely.

People with mobility impairments, particularly those relying on wheelchairs, need the built environment to be accessible so that they can feel confident about moving around independently. This will allow them to integrate into the community and participate fully in all aspects of life.

As early as 2007, the UN had published a design manual for a barrier-free environment which recommended that the unobstructed width of a public corridor be not less than 1.5m. Such space is needed to allow wheelchair users to make a full turn along the corridor.

As we see more persons with mobility impairments, including the elderly, adapting to motorised wheelchairs that are bigger than the manual ones, it makes sense to have wider corridors.

Universal designs or simply designing products and the built environment to be usable by everyone, including the elderly, people with strollers, children and pregnant women, and not only persons with disabilities and temporary disabilities, will remove physical barriers and help create a more inclusive environment for all.

Consideration for the built environment that conforms to the needs of all users can help save costs and inconvenience to the public.

Many resources have gone into correcting the built environment and making it livable for all - for example, the lift upgrading programme to provide lift landings on every floor in every HDB block, and the tactile guidance system at all train stations.

With the hindsight of such an experience, we cannot agree more that the new design provision is necessary to cater to the needs of an ageing population, so that we can age-in-place gracefully. What seems to be a cost-saving measure today may turn out to cost more in the long run.