Speech by Dr Amy Khor, Senior Minister of State, Ministry of Health And Ministry of Manpower, at “A Walk In The Park” at Gardens by the Bay, 8 November 2014

Dr John Keung, CEO, Building and Construction Authority

Mr Sim Gim Guan, CEO, National Council of Social Service

Ms Peggy Chong, Deputy CEO, Gardens by the Bay

Distinguished guests

Ladies & gentlemen


(A)         
Introduction

1.          A very good morning. Thank you for joining us this morning for ‘A Walk in the Park’ organised by the Building and Construction Authority (BCA), National Council of Social Service (NCSS) and Gardens by the Bay.

2.          ‘A Walk in the Park’ is part of the BCA’s inaugural Singapore Universal Design Week (SUDW) 2014, which aims to create greater awareness among building owners, developers and designers to provide innovative and user-friendly designs. I am heartened to see more than 300 participants at this Walk today.

3.          This walk showcases our efforts in making Singapore a Nation for All Ages, with a built environment that is safe and accessible for all. Accessibility is increasingly relevant to us as we expect the number of people with mobility difficulties to increase over the years, with one in five residents expected to be above the age of 65 years old by 2030.

4.          To prepare Singapore for an ageing population, the Government is embarking on an Action Plan for Successful Ageing, to look into ways to help Singaporeans age happily, confidently and healthily. An important area under the Action Plan looks at how we can shape an age-friendly living environment, so that Singaporeans can move around safely and continue to lead active and independent lives even in their silver years.

(B)                   Universal Design

5.        On this note, I am happy to share that the BCA has been working towards a built environment that is accessible and friendly to all since 2006. One of the ways to achieve this is through Universal Design or UD, where buildings and spaces are designed so that they can be used by the widest range of people possible, including seniors and people with disabilities.

6.          Our journey towards Universal Design requires the collaboration of all sectors of our community. It is through meaningful interaction with different users and developing empathy towards their needs, that we can develop innovative and practical design solutions. 

7.          To encourage more developers and building owners to apply UD and introduce user-friendly features in their buildings, BCA has introduced the BCA Universal Design Mark (or UD Mark) to recognise progressive developers, architects and building managers who put their users’ needs first. The UD Mark also raises public awareness towards user-friendly buildings and developments.

8.          This year, Gardens by the Bay has received the highest accolade of the UD Mark “Platinum” award. True to their vision of making Gardens by the Bay a “People’s Garden”, the project team has made the Gardens accessible and friendly to all age groups and people with different abilities. This morning, we will experience UD features around us as we walk, and see how they make a big difference for people with mobility difficulties, such as the elderly and the visually impaired.

(C)                   Conclusion

9.          On this note, I would like to call on our industry professionals to make designing for all people an integral part of your developments. I also hope that you will make full use of today’s activities to interact and understand the diversity of users’ needs.

10.          Lastly, I encourage all of you to give the BCA your continued support as they drive the move towards Universal Design.

11.         I wish everyone an enjoyable and meaningful Walk.  Thank you.

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