Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Xiamen sidewalks

In Xiamen, most sidewalks are tiled. I am not sure if it is the case in other Chinese cities, but it is definitely very common here. And some of the tiles (like the yellow ones on the photo) are actually soft, like made of rubber. I always wondered why. So yesterday night, as we were walking home with our Chinese friend Wayne (after some beers to celebrate Saint-Patrick's day with some expats, at a bar owned by a guy from Sweden who was apologizing for not having enough Irish songs... Imagine that!)... so as I was saying, yesterday night as we were walking home, I took the opportunity to ask our friend. "Why the soft tiles?" "It's for the blind people, so they can follow the path... and you see, they have stripes and then the last one before the street or when they have to turn have dots rather than stripes, so blind people know when to stop. They can feel the shapes with their feet... You don't have those in the US?" "Nope" I answered, and he added, concerned: "So how do blind people find their way around?" "Humm, unfortunately, they have to manage without this great help!" I said... Well, this time, China impressed me!


Ariana said...

I am just as amazed at this VERY sensible method of making life so much more accessible for the blind! What a basic, and sensible method!

唐哲 - Tang Zhe said...


I noticed that in other Chinese cities too. Not only in Beijing and Shanghai but also smaller cities. That seems to be very common in China, but during my times in China I have never met a blind using it ;-)


Christine said...

Hello Tom,
I agree. Unfortunately, I have not seen one blind person using them either... Still a great idea. And yes, our Chinese friend confirmed as well they are very common, not only in Xiamen but in Beijing, Shanghai and other cities like Shenzhen. If you search the web, you actually come across a few websites of manufacturers of these titles. They call them "blind tiles".