Victor Pineda is an urbanist and innovation specialist. But above all, he is an inclusion activist and expert: he leads the work of World Enabled, a non-profit organization which conducts research to inspire political action towards the full inclusion of persons with disabilities. To him, cities are still leaving people with disabilities out. And this is not just when it comes to infrastructure, but also to economic opportunities, participation or institutional representation. As he makes clear, «inclusion it’s not just looking at ramps, but looking about the broad spectrum of human conditions».
Digital innovation is one of the areas which reflect this deficit. According to a research conducted by Victor Pineda’s organization, the University of California at Berkeley and Microsoft, 96% of ongoing digital development projects worldwide do not even mention people with disabilities. At the same time, they found that only 18% of smart city experts can identify one city that is using an accessibility standard. “Everything that comes out of a city is shaped by society’s beliefs”, Pineda claims. And adds: “So, if cities are systems that continue to leave people out, we have to reshape these systems”.
However, we have the solutions and knowledge to move forward towards an effectively inclusive future, according to Victor Pineda. Moreover, momentum is building. The Sustainable Development Goals, the New Urban Agenda and the UN Convention of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities are for him a “unique opportunity to make a substantial impact in this global transformation”, he concludes. So let’s take the right path.