Over the past few years, researchers, designers and policymakers have made tremendous efforts to move towards a barrier-free society for all by enhancing the accessibility of public space. Barrier-free legislation and design guidelines for built environments have been developed in many cities. However, compared with design for individuals with mobility impairments, design for visually impaired persons (VIPs) is seldom discussed, especially with regards to open and green spaces. Based on a comparative study of Hong Kong and Beijing, this study finds that the implementation and management of public design and policy must work together to ensure effective universal design principles for open spaces. This study discusses how design can be improved to meet the needs of VIPs. Finally, the study provides some directions for researchers, planners and policymakers seeking to enhance the contribution of built environments to healthy living.