Disability blind

Kompas – December 18, 2019

Sign above door reads Public Health Office, document in tree reads Law Number 8/2016

Although Indonesia ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in 2011 and in 2016 passed Law Number 8/2016 which acknowledges the rights of people with disabilities, disabled people continue to be discriminated against in the job market and few public facilities accommodate the needs of disabled people.

While some sidewalks in Indonesia feature tactile paving strips designed to guide blind pedestrians, it is clear that some urban designers remain painfully oblivious about their actual function.

In January last year a photograph taken by a Facebook user and reposted by the Pedestrian Coalition – a pedestrian rights advocacy group – showed a sidewalk in the East Java city of Mojokerto featuring tactile paving blocks meant to safely guide the blind leading directly to a giant opening over a sewage canal.

Urban planners clearly failed learn from the embarrassing Mojokerto debacle with another Facebook user several months later posting a photograph of tactile paving blocks leading directly into a tree. Although the exact location of the photo is unclear, similar design flaws were also reported in Trenggalek Regency, East Java, and in Cirebon, West Java.

Following widespread criticism and ridicule on social media, a photograph posted later showed that local officials had at least taken the initiative cut to down the offending tree.