Economic Incentives of a Non-handicapping Built Environment: A Case Study of Tourism Sites in Stockholm

Yahya Muhammed Bah


More than 10% of the world population comprises persons with disabilities as a result of mental, physical or sensory impairment. Nevertheless, they are legally entitled to the same rights and obligations as all other human beings. However, too often their lives are handicapped by physical and social barriers that hamper their active and full participation. Because of this, thousands of them in all parts of the globe often face a life that is segregated and debased.

The ultimate responsibilities of remedying the conditions that led to their impairment and dealing with the consequences of disabilities rest with the national governments. In spite of this, it doesn’t deprive individuals of contributing their quota to national development. In a bid to look at disabilities and related matters from the social perspective – the traditional approach - the study was undertaken to examine the economic benefits of making the built environment accessible to persons with disabilities by focusing on the tourist industry. It concentrated on sites within Stockholm and its environs.

For many years policies and advocacy strategies were based on different social models however, since duty bearers including the governments have always been lamenting on the cost of inclusive society, I feel it is critical that this area is research to validate the fears. Therefore, it is  anticipated that the findings will serve as a source of information for policy makers, academics, researchers, non-governmental organizations, the business community,  and other institutions interested in the pursue of equal rights and equal opportunities for persons with disabilities. The major tasks of the study were to:

  1. Examine how the business community views persons with disabilities,
  2. Investigate awareness among decision-makers of the market potential of persons with disabilities,
  3. Examine the strategies of integrating them into the overall market mix and why,
  4. Identify some profit indicators and constraints posing as major hindrances.

The major findings are:

There is a high level of awareness of the potential market of persons with disabilities and those who have decided to seize the opportunities are reaping the financial rewards as manifested by an increase in accessible rooms, a high-rate occupancy and the reasonable impact the accessible rooms have on the overall occupancy rate. The major constraints are lack of experts and awareness.

Keywords: persons with disabilities non-handicapping, built environment, accessibility, disability, universal design, and conventional design.

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ISSN (Paper) 2312-5187   ISSN (Online) 2312-5179

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