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Urban Planning News

  • Seoul Applies Universal Design to Public Restrooms

  • Urban Planning News SMG 7776

    The Seoul Metropolitan Government (SMG) will apply universal design to public restrooms in Seoul to ensure the safe and convenient use of facilities by all citizens, including the elderly, persons with disability, parents accompanying infants and children, and tourists.

    The SMG and the Seoul Universal Design Center selected three community service centers—Guro 2-dong, Sinjeong 3-dong, and Mangwon 2-dong—and completed remodeling of dilapidated public restrooms.

    At the entrances are large pictograms indicating men’s, women’s, and multipurpose restrooms that help visually impaired individuals and non-Korean speakers easily find the restrooms. The existing restroom doors were replaced with automatic doors to conveniently assist users who are carrying goods or accompanying children. The foot switch, which opens restroom doors with the press of a button with the foot, was installed in consideration of COVID-19 infections and hygienic concerns. Chairs for children and diaper changing stations were installed in men’s restrooms along with warmers installed under the diaper changing stations to keep infants warm.

    Facility improvements were made in consideration of each location’s special characteristics. Illustrated signs were installed at the Guro 2-dong Community Service Center, which is frequented by non-Korean speaking foreigners, and convenience facilities for infants and children were improved at the Sinjeong 3-dong Community Service Center where many users accompany children.

    In addition, fully enclosed restroom stalls were installed to prevent crimes, such as illegal filming. Emergency bells were installed on lower walls and by diaper changing stations at multipurpose restrooms for users to request help in case of emergencies, such as falling and collapsing.

    Seoul Applies Universal Design to Public Restrooms
    Before After
    Improved signs Non-accessible toilet (before) 1 Accessible toilet (after) 1
    – Improvement of accessibility and flow for easy use
    – Installation of easy signs for the elderly, visually impaired individuals, and non-Korean speakers
    Improved safety and convenience facilities Non-accessible toilet (before) 2 Accessible toilet (after) 2
    Non-accessible toilet (before) 3 Accessible toilet (after) 3
    – Installation of handles, emergency bells, and chairs for children for safe use
    – Use of contrasting colors for easy distinguishment from other facilities
    Improved doors Non-accessible toilet (before) 4 Accessible toilet (after) 4
    – Installation of automatic doors for convenient use by users
    – Addition of foot button that automatically opens doors in consideration of users’ hygiene (Guro 2-dong Community Service Center)
    Installation of diaper changing stations with warmers Before After
    – Installation of diaper changing stations for convenience of users accompanying infants
    – Installation of diaper changing stations with warmers for infants’ emotional stability (Sinjeong 3-dong Community Service Center)