barriers to mobility

Barriers to mobility and integration ai??i?? one city, three perspectives

YO! Mag

Magazine of the European Youth Forum, a platform of European youth organisations. Follow us for insights into the lives of young Europeans


 

free viagara. Barriers to mobility and integration ai??i?? one city, three perspectives

Words by Nozizwe Dube/ nozizwe.bel@gmail.com

Mobility is vital on many levels and means different things to different people. The ability to move easily matters for students moving from one country to another, but also on a local and everyday level for people moving around their city. YO!Mag correspondet Nozizwe Dube takes a look at the issue from three different perpectives.

Limits to mobility mean limits of integration. Many young people, unfortunately, are still struggling to find access to mobility that suits their needs and budget. This barrier on its own, is one that can determine the lives of young people. Opportunities can be missed due to lack of means to mobility, leading to backlogs in other areas such as participation in cultural activities. Over the last few years, barriers to mobility and integration are mostly linked to the technological boost that is being witnessed in developed countries.

In one of the student cities of Belgium, Leuven, there is a very diverse community. Among the citizens of Leuven themselves, there are the students who come from all over Belgium to study in this city. One also finds, inevitably, many immigrants in such a diverse community. Each group encounters different challenges and barriers to mobility and integration.

On moving to Belgium, most immigrants are faced with the question of which language they want to learn so as to integrate. Since Leuven is in Flanders, they choose Flemish. For young people between 12 and 18 years old, there is the option of going to a language school incorporated with lessons of all subjects (Onthaalklas voor Anderstalige Nieuwkomers). Several of these youngsters need to partake in extra-curricular activities if they intend to learn a new language swiftly. But barriers such as high transport costs to attend extra-curricular activities such as sport and music clubs limit the possibilities to integration.

Another barrier to mobility and integration is technology. In the world we live in today, everything is computerised. The internet is the ultimate place to search for any information that anyone requires. Amongst young people, IT know-how does not form a major obstacle. The big problem worth mentioning is again, that the less privileged have a significant disadvantage as they may not always be able to keep up with the pace of competitors who have access to the newest technologies.

Mobility is also a very physical concept: getting about your city. Unfortunately, many people that use a wheelchair in Leuven still come across hindrances when moving about the city. Some shops only have stairs at their entrance, and no adapted slope for wheelchair users to use. When it comes to other public buildings such as museums and theatres, there isnai??i??t usually a problem with finding a suitable entrance. It is an aspect that most people do not think of, until they are confronted with the situation very directly. But it lies in these small technical difficulties that most people in wheelchairs cannot always get around the city and participate in the activities they want to do. There is an initiative, however, that is aimed to helping the wheelchair users of Leuven. An app, www.onwheelsapp.com collects all the information on the wheelchair friendly places in Leuven, making it easier for the wheelchair users to get around the city.

Mobility ai??i?? on different levels ai??i?? is not easy, even in a city that is used to a diverse population and to welcoming incomers. There are clearly several barriers that hinder mobility and integration. Often they are not so easily recognised, but that does not make them less important.

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YO! Mag

Magazine of the European Youth Forum, a platform of European youth organisations. Follow us for insights into the lives of young Europeans

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