Elder friendly parks soon in Thiruvananthapuram

Corp's proposal debated as exclusive shelters could make them isolated.

Thiruvananthapuram: The Thiruvananthapuram corporation is planning to build 20 senior citizen-friendly parks with shelter and toilet facilities for the elderly. Town planning committee chairperson R. Satheeshkumar told this newspaper that Rs 7 lakh will be spent on each park. However, experts who have been working to build accessible and elderly-friendly cities, do not think that a shelter exclusively for the elderly is the most important design feature. “An important concern is how would they travel to these parks. Old people don’t gather at Gandhi Park anymore. Some visit museum and Kanakakkunnu because of car parking spaces,” says B.R.B. Puthran, founder, Alive Foundation.

An exclusive shelter might isolate the old people more, says C. Ganga Dileep, founder, Recycle Bin. “People come to parks to be out in the open. Even if the shelter is open on all sides, it is not sure how useful a roof is, as parks have trees. Rather, spaces which are easily accessible for people with disabilities should be created,” she says. There is a concept called universal design which incorporates the needs of all kinds of people, including children, elderly, women, transgender and those with disabilities, according to architect Soumini Raja.

“Geriatric-friendly designs will ensure that there is least hindrance to their movements. Avoiding sharp edges and curbs are recommended. Ramps can be blended into stairs by reducing the height of the steps,” she says. The design does have ramps, according to corporation officials. They are now preparing a list of the parks which have space for the shelter.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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