Let's devise a human urban retail business together! The principle: equal opportunities
Over 30% of the population in Brussels is considered as being mobility impaired. This includes old people, people with temporarily impaired mobility (pregnant women, people carrying shopping or luggage), and people with a temporary or permanent disability. In short, anything which, at some point in life, might reduce an individual's mobility.
With this definition in place, the concept of equal opportunities really makes sense. The acceptance of a 'social disability model', that posits that the core of the problem is not the disability itself but the public space, becomes reality for every individual.
Moving towards universality of the region
The UN defines universal design as 'the design of products, environments, programmes and services to be usable by all people, to the greatest extent possible, without the need for adaptation or specialised design. Universal design shall not exclude assistive devices for particular groups of persons with disabilities where this is needed. '
Could the retail outlet, then, become a universally designed product?
Yes. Regulatory standards on accessibility and technological progress that mean that retail spaces can be digitised are heading in this direction.
The retail outlet, first and foremost, a sensitive space
The notion of customer experience, the spearhead of current marketing strategies, invites customers to enjoy a sensory, emotive or even sentimental visit to the retail outlet.
Since customers with impaired mobility represent a not insignificant proportion of users of the city and of the retail districts, it is now a question of identifying and understanding precisely their needs, their usage and their priorities. Retailing, providing an opportunity for meeting, sharing and discussion since time immemorial, is now becoming, beyond its functional aspect, a place that is experienced and perceived, a symbolic place.
How, then, can you ensure that everyone is able to access shops?
By considering each shop, a retail space, as a sensitive place.
Public authorities, retailers... Take a stand and adopt a '100% accessible shops' strategy
- We advocate a sensitive, people-friendly approach
- We understand the needs and expectations of consumers with impaired mobility
- We model accessibility solutions and make them available to all retailers
- We work with retailers to achieve universal access in their selling space
- We draw up indicators of success that incorporate mobility issues for every project
- We work to distribute a constructive, virtuous message