Designing Happiness, a programme of “Kaunas – European Capital of Culture 2022”, introduces culture accessibility guide Kaunas visiems (Kaunas for All). It is the first publication of this kind dedicated to cultural organisations, object managers and event organisers that aim to make cultural objects and events more accessible to all groups of society, especially for people with special needs.
“Accessibility is a situation, when each person can use the infrastructure, services or equipment and engage in various activities independently, safely and conveniently.
Let’s imagine that Kaunas and Kaunas District are open, comfortable and friendly for everyone. That everyone can do here whatever they like and what makes them happy. Kaunas visiems is an in-depth approach to the need for the accessibility of culture, definitions of the most important concepts, tips and useful links to make the events and objects of attraction in Kaunas or the district accessible to younger and older people, healthy and the disabled, city residents and those who have arrived here,” – says curator of Designing Happiness and one of  the authors of the publication, Dr. Jūratė Tutlytė.
Today we communicate with each other in signs and symbols, we need information fast, it must be clear and easy to notice. Especially if it is needed by those who do not have much time, health or opportunities to explore their surroundings. Therefore, as an initiative of Kaunas 2022, Critical design agency, has introduced some enhancement to this guide by creating a universal marking system for Kaunas and other Lithuanian cities that provides information about accessibility of buildings, events, cultural and tourism objects for people with disabilities and / or other special needs.
“Marking characteristics of an object is important in two stages: when planning the trip and during the visit to the object.
When planning the journey, people with various needs look for information whether they will be able to visit that object in general and if they do, what to expect when they arrive. During the second stage, they look for help how to navigate in the space, so the signs serve as directions,” says Jonas Liugaila, strategist of Critical design agency and design facilitator.
Also, when developing the signs, the height in which they should be hung was also arranged in order to make them well visible or readable for those who stand, sit in the wheelchair, for the blind and visually impaired.
The sign system developed is coherent, universal and easily adapted and used. It is based on the principles of universal design. It features around 40 the most recent international signs indicating accessibility and limitations of cultural and tourism objects.
Uniform and unified in style, this marking system will be open to the society, it will be possible to use it in accordance with terms and conditions arranged in advance.