Moving Forward Together Towards Inclusive and Accessible Cities For All

Asia-Pacific, DIAUD Network, News, August 7 2017

On July 26th, the DIAUD network held the second of a series of virtual meetings intended to bring together diverse partners for the advancement of the inclusive cities in the implementation of the New Urban Agenda. The biweekly meetings were organized with a focus on preparing for the ninth meeting of the 9th World Urban Forum in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Amongst the attendees – who included prominent figures in areas like technical accessibility and the Special Olympics – were two guest speakers: James Thurston, the Vice-President of the Global Strategy and Development at G3ICT, as well as Dr. Peter Blanck, the chairman of the Burton Blatt Institute and the GUDC Board of Directors.

James Thurston, Vice President, Global Strategy and DevelopmentMr. Thurston opened the meeting with a discussion of the Smart Cities for All Initiative, which was initiated by himself and Dr. Victor Pineda, a founder of the DIAUD network. Smart Cities for All was organized to tie together efforts to create smart, digitally inclusive cities with the movement to make cities more accessible for PWD and aging persons. So far, it has deployed four tools towards this goal, including a model policy and database of solutions, and has also collected telling statistics on the status of inclusivity of Smart Cities for PwD globally.

Dr. Blanck followed by covering the efforts of the GUDC in creating universally designed spaces, and the Burton Blatt Institute’s efforts to generate evidence-based solutions to address accessibility issues.

One of the key ongoing endeavors of the Institute is to publish case studies in the costs and benefits of Universal Design.

Because DIAUD is a broad network of stakeholders in the disability community, its membership overlaps with other key organizations whose scope was delineated during the meeting. The Global Assembly of Partners (GAP) is a formal structure that organizes major participating groups and stakeholders participating in Habitat 3, and its 16th member is the Persons with Disabilities Partnership Group (PwD-PCG). This task force handles everything relating to the modernization of the disability community in context of the New Urban Agenda. All members of the DIAUD network are considered to be members of the PwD-PCG.

The DIAUD network is jointly coordinated by the Institute on Disability and Public Policy (IDPP) at American University, Washington D.C., World Enabled, and the Global Alliance on Technologies and Environments (GAATES). The accessible virtual meetings are hosted by IDPP, as part of its Disability Inclusive Development (DID Collaboratory), and are open to the public. The next DIAUD meeting will take place on Wednesday, August 9th at 9:00 am EDT. To receive updates from the network, you may join the DIAUD mailing list, go to


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