Access Audit on Universal Design: The Case of Kota Kinabalu Water Front

By Asiah Abdul Rahim and Fadzidah Abdullah.

Published by The Social Sciences Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Most developed countries have enforced the use of “Universal Design” in any physical development of their cities, for the purpose of eliminating discrimination among the society members towards the unfortunate handicapped persons. Nevertheless, in many developing countries, the awareness and inclusion of Universal Design is still in its initial stage. Cities’ authorities have not fully enforced the requirement of providing access to people with disability in their built environment; neither in public nor private spaces. The Department of Standard Malaysia (SIRIM) had initiated the publication of Malaysian Standards as guidelines for designers; architects, city planners, landscape architects, interior designers, and others who are involved in the construction of physical development with Universal Design. The Ministry also commissioned researchers to do access audit on various public spaces in several cities, to examine whether or not the cities’ public spaces are built in compliance of the Universal Design or not. This research describes the procedures, process and findings of the access audit done in the city of Kota Kinabalu. Simulation of the access audit utilised five (5) people, each with different type of disability such as: fully impaired vision, partially impaired vision, hearing impaired, wheel-chair bound, and a crutch user. With guidance from the researchers, the disabled respondents simulated their movements at the water front area of the city stretching about one (1) kilometre in length and 200 metres wide. The access audit done in Kota Kinabalu concluded that the water front area was designed without consideration of Universal Design, and renovation of the built environment is urgently needed to comply with the Malaysian standard requirements.

Keywords: Access Audit, Universal Design, Inclusive Design, Barrier-free Environment, Accessibilities, People with Disabilities

International Journal of Interdisciplinary Social Sciences, Volume 4, Issue 4, pp.49-58. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.236MB).

Dr. Asiah Abdul Rahim

Lecturer, Department of Architecture,, Kulliyyah of Architecture and Environmental Design, International Islamic University Malaysia (IIUM), Kuala Lumpur, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Obtained her diploma in Architecture from University Technology Malaysia in 1980, Bachelor of Architecture from Deakin University and Ph.D in Architecture in Oxford Brookes University, U.K in 1994. Was the first Deputy Dean (Academic Affairs) of the Department of Architecture in International Islamic University Malaysia and currently is the principal of Dasar Architect. A council member of the Malaysian Institute of Architects (PAM) members for ten years, and chaired for 6 Malaysian Standards – 2 for code of practice for the disabled and the other four for the public toilets. Has written a number of books related to children, ageing groups, and accessibility for the disabled. Received the best researcher award at the university level and Kulliyyah level in 2003 and 2006, and was followed by an award at the national level for her design work of the Institute Social Malaysia under the category of accessible public building for the disabled persons 2005 by Ministry of Women and Human Development, Malaysia in February 2006. Represented Malaysia for United Nation in Bangkok for the Non handicapping Environment for the Disabled, doing research work on related topics and trained by Asia Pacific Disabled Centre (APCD) based in Bangkok, Thailand in 2003 and 2004.

Dr. Fadzidah Abdullah

Assistant Professor, Department of Architecture, Kulliyah of Architecture and Environmental Design, International Islamic University Malaysia (IIUM), Gombak, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Dr. Fadzidah Abdullah is an Assistant Professor in Kulliyyah of Architecture and Environmental Design, International Islamic University Malaysia (IIUM). She has been working in academic field for almost 11 years. Beside being a lecturer, she had served as the Head of Architecture Department, Academic Advisor, Accreditation Coordinator, and Research Committee Member. Dr. Fadzidah Abdullah has vast experience in construction industry as well, she worked in Public Work Department of Malaysia prior to joining IIUM. She has research on various aspects of architecture; mainly on architectural education, universal design, and heritage buildings. She loves natural environment and concerns on the issues of sustainability. Her academic qualification includes: Ph.D in Architectural Education, University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, UK. MSc in Computer Aided Environmental Design (CAED), University of Sheffield, UK. Bachelor of Architecture, Texas Tech University, USA.

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