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  • Seoul Integrates Universal Design into Public Restrooms

  • Press Releases SMG 372
    • Seoul completed applying universal design in public restrooms in three community service centers
    • Practical installations such as diaper changing stations and picture instructions for foreigners are installed in both men’s and women’s toilets as well as multi-purpose bathrooms
    • To instill universal design into the construction and improvement process of public restrooms, the SMG decided to publish and distribute related Guidelines

    SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA, July 14, 2021 – Public restrooms in the capital will“wear” universal design for seniors, people with reduced mobility, parents accompanying young children, and foreigners to use the facilities safe and easy.
    The Seoul Metropolitan Government (SMG) and Seoul Universal Design Center have finished renovating old public toilets in three community service centers.

    They attached large picture signs of woman and man at the entrance so that people with low vision and foreigners can easily find the restrooms. The doors of the toilets are changed into automatic ones for the convenience of users with babies and young children. Also, a “foot switch” that opens the door without contact relieves citizens’ concerns about COVID-19 infection. Baby seats and diaper changing stations, which were hard to find in men’s facilities, are installed in bathrooms for men.

    Not only that. The seats and stations for babies are now easily found in every kind of restrooms—men, women, and multi-purpose—regardless of sex. Thanks to this design, anyone accompanying young children can avoid inconvenience.
    In public toilets where foreign residents often visit, picture instructions help their understanding.

    Those who don’t know how to read Korean can get help by looking at the pictures. Overall, the SMG conducted the renovation considering citizens’ needs. For instance, the city added more facilities for babies in the toilets where many parents visit with their young kids.

    Apart from this, the city government introduced full-height toilet partitions to prevent spycam crimes. Furthermore, in multi-purpose bathrooms, emergency bells allow users to call for help in urgent situations.

    The SMG and the Center also devised <Universal Design Guidelines for Welfare Facilities (Public Toilet)> based on the recent renovation plans. They uploaded the Guidelines on the website of the Center (www.sudc.or.kr) to let people refer to them when installing or repairing public toilets.

    The Guidelines have principles and a road map of universal design, key examples, checklists, etc., including safety screens to block illegal spycams in public restrooms.

    This project is the first universal design project for welfare facilities, which the SMG has newly introduced with the Center. This year, the city government aims to expand welfare facilities for babies and their parents, such as lactation rooms. Seoul is planning to create facilities for childcare in universal design by the end of this year.

    “By integrating the universal design into public places that citizens use in their day-to-day lives, we will create a more convenient and safe environment for everyone,” mentioned Lee Hye-Young, Director of Design Policy Division.

    SeoulIntegrates Universal Design into Public Restrooms
    Public Restrooms Public Restrooms Public Restrooms
    Large picture signs of woman and man so that people with low vision and foreigners can easily find the restrooms Baby seats and diaper changing stations are installed in bathrooms for men. A “foot switch” that opens the door without contact relieves citizens’ concerns about COVID-19 infection.