The Origin of the word “Arayasatapat” (Friendly Design for All)
By Krisana Lalai , President of Friendly Design for All Foundation (May 9, 2018)
The word “Arayasatapat” (Friendly Design for All) is created by a group of wheelchair-users, some of whom use it because of their age and physical conditions. Our visit to Tokyo—the capital city of Japan at the end of 2005-allowed us to feel and see the design of buildings, facilities, transportation systems of this developed country.
All places and services are totally accessible for all people regardless of their ages and health conditions. The elderly, patients, people with disabilities, toddlers, and tourists with big luggage can access the facilities and services conveniently, safely, and fairly without any difficulty.
Every place in Tokyo is fully facilitated and accessible for the elderly, people with disabilities, patients, wheelchair users, and families with young children.
The friendly facilities in Tokyo which impressed us are, for example, ramps which are well-designed, smooth, no holes or grooves; pathway which connects everywhere; drain covers which are designed neatly and it is very safe; restrooms for all users, including people in wheelchairs, the elderly, people with disabilities; clear signs everywhere.
accessible transportation system
After visited friendly design facilities in Tokyo, it made us realize the importance of the way developed county design their hometown. This is the origin of the word ‘Arayasatapat’ in Thai, which literary means civilized architecture, or Friendly Design / Universal Design in English.
After that, once we see a location with a ramp, a wheelchair-parking, an accessible restroom, or facilities for the elderly, people with disabilities, wheelchair users; we call them ‘A Friendly Design place.’
It reminds us that the environment,in fact, is what disables us. Friendly Design make us know that “there is no disabled person; but only disabled design and environment.”
To solve the problem of disability effectively and sustainably, we must, therefore, focus on fixing the inaccessible environment and the unfriendly design.