In this issue of my writing, where I write about aspects of Bodrum each time, this time I would like to touch on the accessible beach implementation called Ozgur Beach (Free Beach in English) that has been carried out in Bitez. Though it has been applied for three years, I am sure this model implementation requires it to be voiced more. Every project in which human needs are taken into focus is by preserving the natural environment will further increase the value of Bodrum.

Different needs arise in the urban structure besides the growing population every day. Our ability to move in the shadow of crowded life sometimes speeds up and sometimes slows down. While more public transport meets the need for transportation, traffic becomes a disadvantage of this need. New roads, housing builds and environmental regulation are all natural consequences of urbanisation. However when both sub-structures and upper structures are being made, the regulations that disabled people require/need who are a part of our society, to be able to have the possibility of physical movements should not be ignored. You know that now, urban projects with their models of disabled accessibility are increased. European cities have very good examples in these applications. Turkey is not yet at the desired point in the disabled accessible urban planning. At pedestrian bridges and shopping centres, elevators are in place so that disabled people, seniors or pregnant women can use are primarily are used by others, who are too lazy to walk through up the stairs; therefore, from time to time, we happen to see queues of disabled people waiting for use of the elevators, as shown on social media.

In many places of the world, human needs are in the focus of urban planning. Human beings are a social entity and the transportation right a person has plays a very important role to socialise. Today, in many places in the world, disabled people are confined to live between four walls at home because of the inadequate transportation facilities and the thousands of obstacles on the streets.

These applications should not be just for street arrangements. A town should implement all kinds of arrangements in order to remove obstacles in all public spaces. Bodrum’s example of an accessible beach shows itself with the “Accessible Beach” implementation which is a small thing for us but a great thing for a person who spends most of his time at home because of his/her disability. The application is very positive and it is a successful project that we want to spread all over Bodrum. The Accessible Beach, which is the first one and is applied in Bitez, is a place where disabled people who live in Bodrum or come to Bodrum for holiday, are able to benefit from the sea. The land belongs to the municipality and it has a beach and café allocated for use by the Bodrum Health Foundation. The foundation story is based on the centennial anniversary project of the 2015 JCI Junior Chamber International Bodrum. The Ozgur Beach is the first disabled accessible beach example in the Mugla region. The name is as good as the progeny's purpose as it means “free”. This practice has already become widespread in the coastal regions of Mugla. The Municipality of Bodrum has given all the necessary support for the project. At the Ozgur Beach, which has been providing cafe and beach services for disabled people since 2015, Bodrum Health Foundation organises summer activities. We at Cekiste Magazine have attended this event. Individuals with disabilities from all ages are having dinner together with their families, dancing, having fun and swimming in the sea as they please. Bodrum Health Foundation organises this event several times during the season. Besides, disabled people and their families are taken from their homes with free shuttle buses provided by the foundation to and from the beach. Thanks to this activity, those who gain physical activity have the opportunity to get together to socialise and enjoy the sea. Essential security is provided at the beach. There are private deck chairs enabling disabled people to reach the sea, a wooden walking trail leading to the sea and handrails allowing them to hold while going to swim. The lifeguard team of the municipality is responsible for the security of the beach from 9 am to 6 pm. The employees and management of the Bodrum Health Foundation also spend time with disabled people and their families at the beach throughout the event. Disabled people enjoy a beautiful day and the sea. As well as those people, their families are also happy and content.

Another example, which is made in Bodrum, has been the swimming track at the Kumbahce beach for sight disability people. The special swimming track for the visually impaired designed by Dr. Bedriye Gurkan, who also has sight disability, consists of embossed yellow strips. Wooden walking tracks allow visually impaired individuals to reach the sea without someone’s aid. The swimming-track has a 25 metre area consisting of two parts. These types of applications provide equality and opportunity for every individual, no matter what kind of disability they have, befit Bodrum.

We wish for a world in which public open space regulations are free from obstacles, and which every individual can participate in social life by finding the opportunity to move in urban life no matter what kind of disability they may have and that Bodrum be known for more disabled accessible projects…