Sydney—take a bow! The Valuable 500 has just voted our city the 9th most accessible in the world for people with disabilities. Valuable 500 is an association formed at the World Economic Forum (WEF), Davos in 2019 to which 500 of the world’s most influential CEOs belong and whose objective is to unlock the potential of people with disabilities and advance inclusion.
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), 16% of the world’s population (1.3 billion people) experience significant disability. In Australia, the figure is slightly higher at 18% (4.4 million people). Making our cities accessible inevitably improves the quality of life as well as the physical and emotional well-being of persons with disabilities.
“A community is not ‘smart ‘ if it is not inclusive and accessible.” [Forbes, Feb. 25, 2022]
Respondents to the survey rated the accessibility of each city according to transport links, the proximity of accommodation to cultural attractions, shops and restaurants, and the availability of information relating to accessibility. Based on the Valuable 500 voting, the top ten most accessible cities are Amsterdam, Las Vegas, New York, Orlando, Paris, Shanghai, London, Singapore, Sydney, and Tokyo.
Julie Jones, administrator of “The Accessible Sydney” explores the city with her wheelchair-using son and praises it for access to the Opera House, Sydney harbour bridge, public transport and many kilometres of level access paths, to name a few.
Inclusion of all locations in our cities must surely reflect our willingness to be inclusive in other walks of life. So this ranking must be warmly welcomed.