Turkey’s Changemakers: They Hit the Streets for an Accessible City


A television show in Turkey devoted a recent episode to the issue of accessibility on a citywide scale. “Turkey’s Changemakers” focused on an organization known as “Open Istanbul!” and how they are making efforts to eliminate barriers throughout Turkey’s capital city.

Open Istanbul! is an expedition group that takes volunteers on tours around Istanbul while identifying, through first hand encounters, any element that may present a barrier for persons with disabilities. It provides the volunteers, as well as the viewers, with a visual understanding of the importance of Universal Design.

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Universal Design (UD) is an approach to design that increases the potential for developing a better quality of life for a wide range of individuals. It is a design process that enables and empowers a diverse population by improving human performance, health and wellness, and social participation (Steinfeld and Maisel, 2012). It creates products, systems, and environments to be as usable as possible by as many people as possible regardless of age, ability or situation.