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2015-01-16
Accessible Recreation Sites Facilitate Joyful Tour, The Interior Ministry awards Friendly Buildings

Accessible Recreation Sites Facilitate Joyful Tour, The Interior Ministry awards Friendly BuildingsTo encourage more accessible environment and to facilitate the physically challenged people, the Interior Ministry (MOI) gave the 2014 friendly building awards on Dec. 19. The Interior Minister Chen Wei-zen awarded 149 qualified buildings and facilities, including Gukeng Service Area, Dongshan Service Area, Taijiang National Park, and Jhihben National Forest Recreation Area. The details of these awarded sites can be accessed through Friendly Building mobile app.

More and more emphasis were given to recreation generally, said Chen Wei-zen, adding that Taiwan began approaching an aged society also had to take into consideration the benefits of the elderly and the physically challenged. MOI's Architecture and Building Research Institute conducted the rating of friendly buildings in 2010, and 626 sites and facilities have been singled out since then. The institute also set up an app that provides map, street view and route planning services, along with the details, interior view and Facebook share function of the friendly building. By the end of Nov. 2014, the app was rated 5 stars at Apple Store and 4.8 stars at Google Play. In this manner, the institute hopes to induce more participation from the private sector to facilitate accessible environment.

According to the 2014 Oct. survey, 2.78 million Taiwanese, or 11.9% of the total population is age 65 or older. At the end of the second quarter of 2014, the number of physically and mentally challenged people is 1.13 million, equal to 4.8% of the total population. Taiwan is forecast to become an aged society by 2018. As the increase of the elderly and the physically and mentally challenged, the need for safe, convenient, and friendly building is more stronger than ever. As a result, the rating this year expanded to areas such as transportation and recreation. Gukeng Service Area, Dongshan Service Area, Taijiang National Park, and Jhihben National Forest Recreation Area are therefore chosen, and those provide accessible guide map, multimedia tour and priority service are specially recommended.

Gukeng Service Area is one of the specially recommended. Its recreational site and restaurant leave good impression on KO KUN-NAN, one of the reviewer. The restaurant not only provides accessible environment, also reserves the view to the nature scences. To materialize the idea of "love, accessible", the windows and balconies were remodeled to accessible entrances, while a priority elevator was also set up to facilitate the traffic to the outdoor platform on the second floor.

The awarding event, hosted by Huang Shin-yi, was joined by several physically challenged artists. Known as the first wheelchair guide, Huang Shin-yi said that after the idea of friendly building spread out, the physically challenged persons could more easily tour around restaurant, art center, hospital, and recreational sites. Huang also thanked the efforts of the MOI and shared other companions' similar experiences.

According to the Ministry of the Interior, the awarded Friendly Building will be listed on http://friendlybuild.abri.gov.tw/index.php, while the hyperlinks of social welfare groups will also be provided at the website.


 
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