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Chennai’s inclusive park for children with disabilities

On December 17th, 2018 the city of Chennai opened it’s the first inclusive and disabled-friendly park. The Infinity Park in Santhome, is a sensory park that caters to all children. Making this India’s eighth inclusive park.

The park has three zones designed for different age groups. One zone is for children zero to eight years, another is for children above eight years of age and the other is for adults. The park includes swings, a merry-go-round, a herb garden, a basketball court, a sand bank, braille signboards and of course toilets all of which are wheelchair friendly.

The project has been three years in the making and is a result of the partnership between the Disability Rights Alliance, the NGO Kilikili, and CityWorks an architectural firm. The funds were provided by the Greater Chennai Corporation and Chennai Smart City Limited.

Kavita Krishnamoorthy the founder of Kilikili explained: “We were able to design various elements from scratch for the park to make it inclusive. Existing parks have many constraints, mainly free space. Then there is a challenge to create friendly equipment that can be used by all children. Hopefully, this park can serve as a model for other parks which can embrace at least some of these elements in their design.”

From top left: Park equipmet for children with ADHD, Singing stone, stepping stones with different material and infinity walkway.

Continuing she added: “Ideally, every park should have features that are usable by all children and are accessible by wheelchair. This space was created as there are very few such spaces in the city, with the existing parks being unsuitable for children with special needs.”

Raj Cherubal, CEO of Chennai Smart City Limited said: “As far as the Smart City Mission is concerned, this aligns with the goal of improving access. Chennai is one of the cities with a comprehensive NMT policy and other elements that support greater access for all. Wherever possible, we would like to provide access to everyone. The park is a pilot to test these new ideas and if successful, it can be replicated across the city at various other parks.”

Author: Julia Zvobgo

Julia Zvobgo is a Cultural Anthropologist and the Community Manager of Child in the City.

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