Innovative Policy 2018 on Accessibility

Towards a universally designed city of Oslo in 2025

Oslo Kommune (the administrative authority of Oslo, Norway) has developed a comprehensive plan for Universal Design (UD) covering transportation, communication, construction, public property, outdoor areas, and information and communication technology (ICT), with the goal that all municipal agencies and companies will implement UD requirements in their areas of responsibilities by 2025. The strategy requires all new government-operated buildings, parks, public spaces, and transport systems to have Universal Design implemented from a project’s inception and for this to be included in the overall building costs. In 2017 the majority of government buildings were already fully accessible.

About the policy at a glance
Laws and regulations involved:Common Principles of Universal Design 2014
Responsible Body:City of Oslo – Department for Health and Social Affairs
Country
of Implementation
Norway

FACTS & FIGURES

  • Information appears on the city of Oslo website in easy language and audio format.
  • The plan calls for all municipal agencies and companies to implement Universal Design requirements within their municipal responsibilities by the end of 2025.

PROBLEMS TARGETED

Persons with disabilities often have less access to public services, information, and ICT than their non-disabled peers, which puts them at a disadvantage when trying to use government websites, travel on public transport, and access public buildings.

SOLUTION, INNOVATION, AND IMPACT

In 2009 the city of Oslo adopted a comprehensive plan for Universal Design, which in 2014 became the “Common Principles of Universal Design.” The plan covers all transportation, communication, construction, public property, outdoor areas, and ICT that fall within the remit of the city authority.
The main goal of the plan is for all municipal agencies and companies to implement Universal Design (UD) requirements within their municipal responsibilities by the end of 2025, and for accessible ICT to be implemented by 2021. Each agency is developing its own action plan and measurable objectives, which need to be documented in their annual reports to the City Council. The municipal agencies cooperate with one another, for example, through a network of employees who exchange experience and knowledge and run courses and seminars to share good practice. An important prerequisite of the plan is the involvement of civil society, NGOs, persons with disabilities, the municipal councils on disability as well as the central council for seniors.

A playground with accessibility features.Oslo has already implemented numerous UD measures, including information provided on the city’s website both in audio format and in easy language. Most of the government-operated buildings have now been made accessible, parks and beaches have been universally designed, and the subway and bus systems have been updated. The city also boasts a new accessible viewpoint among the treetops called Stovner Tower – a 260-meter ramp footpath featuring Braille instructions and a tactile map, designed by Link Arkitekt.
Oslo has also been a member of the WHO’s age-friendly cities network since 2014 which aims for cities and communities to meet the challenges of an ageing population and urbanization by making environments more accessible and inclusive.

OUTLOOK, TRANSFERABILITY AND FUNDING

The plan continues to be rolled-out as the city aims for the 2025 implementation deadline.
A playground with accessibility features.Other cities can benefit from the plan, which is available on the WHO website as an example of an “age-friendly city.” City authorities can download the plan, which provides specific objectives (such as “Taxi stands and access to all station platforms will be universally designed”) across eight topics, including ICT, Building and Property, and Transport and Communication.
For all new projects the cost of Universal Design is factored into the overall building costs. However, for some smaller accessibility upgrade projects, some of the teams or departments have successfully applied for grant funding from external organizations. The City Council allocates approximately $1.85 million each year to the “Handicap Project” – an initiative to coordinate renovation and city accessibility projects.

FACTSHEET

Download factsheet as accessible pdf
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VIDEO

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