The goal is to be ready in time for Expo 2020…

More than 1,000 buildings across Dubai are scheduled to receive a retrofit over the next three years in order to make them more accessible for citizens and residents with disabilities.

These include older schools, hospitals and hotels, as well as mosques and many popular tourist destinations across 10 key sectors, noted a report in The National.

Developers looking to break ground on new buildings have also been told that they won’t receive permits unless conditions are met to provide full access to those with physical and mental disabilities.

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A spokesperson from the General Secretariat of the Executive Council of Dubai told the newspaper that while setting criteria for new buildings is now mandatory, going back and changing existing structures is decidedly more difficult.

There are plans to make over 100km of the city more disabled-friendly in time for Expo 2020, when an estimated 25 million people are set to visit Dubai over a six month period.

A team from the Executive Council has conducted an audit to determine which buildings fall under the retrofitting mandate, and identified what work is required to get them up to code.

Now in the execution period of the policy, Mr Al Shafei said that even if they achieve between 80 and 90 per cent of their goal by 2020, the changes will be a marked improved on the lives of people with disabilities.

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