Published on Sustainable Cities

What cities can learn from New York City on disability inclusion

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How do we build inclusive cities for all? 

This is a question that cities around the world are trying to answer, as the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development advances disability-inclusive development – and makes a strong case for more sector-specific programming that is inclusive of persons with disabilities and leaves no one behind.

[Read: World Bank Group Commitments on Disability-Inclusive Development ]

New York City is leading by example to ensure that the voices of persons with disabilities are represented.  According to NYC Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities, in the “Big Apple,” 79% of persons with disabilities are not part of the labor force, in comparison to 4.1% of people without disabilities; and 34% of persons with disabilities live at or below the poverty level. 

To improve disability inclusion, New York City Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities is working hard to encounter attitudinal and environmental barriers that hinder effective participation of persons with disabilities in society.

How? Through Accessible NYC – a thorough plan that aims to improve the quality of life for New Yorkers with disabilities in the areas of transportation, housing, health, education, access to the city, financial empowerment, and employment.

For the past two years, the Accessible NYC annual report has highlighted the lives of approximately one million New Yorkers with disabilities to break through the barriers, the stigma, and the exclusion of this community – reinforcing its commitment of making New York City the most accessible city in the world. Watch the video to learn more.

[Download report: Disability inclusion and accountability framework ]

As the world urbanizes rapidly, cities need to be designed in a way that facilitates access for persons with disabilities to buildings and services, and increases their opportunities for economic participation and activity.

What is your city doing to be more inclusive? 

Alejandra Gutierrez contributed to this video blog. 


Victor Calise

Commissioner, Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities

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