Barriers

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February 20, 2017 by Liat

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A project by – Mona Al Asaad,  Savvas Louka, Martina Spinelli

To really try to understand why the urban space is still hostile we went around in wheelchair around the center of Milan.

“I can go through or is too tight?”

“oh, is too high I can’t do it alone”

“why all this people are staring at me”

These were the kind of question we were asking ourself all the time, when we went around town in wheelchair. Milan is not as accessible as we thought, to go around in wheelchair there are still a lot of obstacles that should be improved,for example pedestrian path are really narrow,cars park on them so there is no space. The worst event has been when we figure out that to get on the bridge that has been built no long ago you have to call someone that will unlock the elevator, that make us feel like people on wheelchair have to plan to go around so they won’t have to wait for someone, while we just go out.

After this observations we started brainstorm how what we experience could have been translated in something phisical, where people can share the same feelings.

The message final message that we choose is the physical barrier,that we rapresented with the «work in progress» tape is a subtle symbol of the ARCHITECTURAL and MENTAL barrier that wheelchair users encounter in the city and in their life.

We built a simulation in our campus, and ask people to go through the path. People were comunicating and helping each other out to overcome obstacles, and despite the majority enjoyed themselves  doing it.

The findings were that to get to the end it took a lot of concentration and effort.  The part that was missing was hoe transmit the actual message of the path visitors just did.

To solve the fact that for a lot of people the concept wasn’t clear, at the end of the exhibit there is going to be a dark and small corridor that takes the visitors to a room where they will get to the revelation that the path they have been thru had a  subtle message. In the room there are going to be screens that will show videos of wheelchair users in daily life moments. The purpose is to create an investiment to change the mentality and to make concrete projects to overcome barriers.

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