Exeter, Devon UK • Feb 21, 2024 • VOL XII

Exeter, Devon UK • [date-today] • VOL XII
Home Comment International Columnist: It’s not the Uni’s fault that we have hills!

International Columnist: It’s not the Uni’s fault that we have hills!

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I remembered the first time I arrived at Exeter by bus, I was so excited that I decided to walk to the university instead of calling a taxi. I also remember dragging my luggage from the bus station to the city centre before finally finding my way out of the city buzz into a peaceful hilly road with a pavement on one side and a beautiful distant view of Exeter’s hill on the other side. Since then, that hill has become my favourite landscape in Exeter. It is the first thing I noticed about Exeter.

Indeed, the university can do nothing about the hill and the steep slopes around the campus.

It is a shame though that the majority of the hills in Exeter are practically inaccessible. There are no pathways catered to people who just want to enjoy a Sunday morning walk. Until we see further development around the hills, the hills are basically there for nothing but a pleasant thing to feast our eyes on. However fret not! For students in Exeter, if you fancy a walk on hilly road with a proper pathway, The University of Exeter is no doubt the right place for you to do it! Simply because The University of Exeter is already the hill itself!

https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Gloucester_Road,_Exeter,_from_Redhills_-_geograph.org.uk_-_1740089.jpg

https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Gloucester_Road,_Exeter,_from_Redhills_-_geograph.org.uk_-_1740089.jg

With natural sloping and hilly roads formed around the university campus, it has always been an experiential journey for people who walk around the campus. This may be seen as a positive experience for Exeter students who just occasionally walk to the university campus or who live nearby to the university. However, when the natural slope on the pathway gets too steep or if the students live a bit far from the university campus, this could be seen as a tedious task instead. This is demonstrated in how many students are actually willing to pay for just one or two stops of the bus to get to Exeter campuses. Additionally, this steep slope also poses some serious challenges to people with physical disability. There is a certain standard to be considered when it comes to creating a safe slope for wheelchair users. From what I observed during my 15-minute walk to the school, some of the slopes of the hills were not compliant with this requirement. This walk was also interrupted by several occasional staircases which mean that it is not easy for all people to make it to the university smoothly.

this steep slope also poses some serious challenges to people with physical disability

Nevertheless, the university’s effort in the design of standard ramp and slopes to access building like Amory Building or Xfi Building is highly commendable. Another interesting standard access ramp is also found outside the Forum with staircase seating to complement the ramp. Moreover, Exeter University also provides elevators in almost every building which generally makes it very convenient for everyone to access different levels inside the building.

Indeed, the university can do nothing about the hill and the steep slopes around the campus. But at least, university has mitigated this issue with a better design and user consideration of the university building by making sure people of all levels of physical ability can access the building from the outside and also move easily within the building.

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