February 2004 Archives

Weekend Summary

Reflection on the week's Rolling Rains Report posts is a ritual I look forward to. This past week these items appeared in Rolling Rains Review. The most fun I had was speaking to Tourism Board rpresentatives from around the world at the Bay Area Travel Show:

  • The National Organization on Disability

  • The Bay Area Travel Show

  • Trans-Generational Housing

  • Cruise Line Access

  • Airline Seat Comfort

  • Designing Public Space

  • St. Christopher – Patron of Travelers

  • I had every intention of writing a weekly reflection. That is, until I heard Joseph Shapiro's story on Ginny Thornburgh at National Organization on Disability. For a thoughtful and moving story that illustrates many of the values explored here I encourage you to read -- or listen to -- Joseph's moving piece Making Churches Accessible: Activist Asks Houses of Worship to Open Their Doors

    Today I attended the Bay Area Travel Show with one goal in mind – to learn from professionals in the tourism and hospitality industry.

    I was especially interested to interview those working to promote or develop specific destinations. I posed questions such as:

  • “What would make inclusive travel economically sustainable in your region?

  • Why does it make economic sense for you to serve travelers with disabilities and seniors?

  • What, in your experience, are the best business augments, or the best business models, for accommodating this market segment?”
  • The answers were instructive.

    Trans-Generational Construction: USA

    Senior Housing E-Review, published by the National Center for Senior Housing Research, is a valuable source of information on the real-world application of universal design. Here is a group that is cutting-edge with regard to educating on the disablement that accomopanies ageing and profiling practical solutions.

    Here is one example from the current issue that illustrates their grasp of the market:

    Cruise Lines - A Success Story

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    I always enjoy the opportunity to study with Roxanne Aagaard, Regional Trainer for the industry group Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA). Tonight was no exception as Northen California travel professionals met for Cruise Counsellor Certification.

    The cruise industry is a brilliant example of one component of the travel industry making a commitment to inclusive travel -- and making it sustainable by making it profitable! They have proven the business case implied in Open Door's market study and Harry Wolfe's studies of the ageing of traveling Boomers.

    CLIA, in their professional education program, would do well to develop a curriculum that thoroughly prepares travel agents to market to and then meet the needs of disabled and senior clients. I'd be pleased to help develop the curriculum.

    Tired of Uncomfortable Airline Seats?

    So are the rest of us!

    For insider's tips on airline seating try these Web sites:

    What is a Public Space?

    Find out at Project for Public Spaces.

    Today they have published a review of their past year of remarkable work in the Making Places Newsletter. Join the debate over design and increase inclusivity!


    The Stuff of Legend and Universal Design

    Wonderful legends abound on Christendom's Patron of Travelers -- St. Christopher. What interests me is not so much his history but his widespread appeal.

    According to the story, Christopher was a man who helped travelers cross a river. The story continues that at one point he carried Christ himself, appearing as a young boy, and was transformed by the experience.

    Stripped of pious detail, this is a story that illustrates the new paradigm definition of disability succinctly -- and long before its modern formulation.


    Ideas fly through this narrow strip of Blogspace like quarks in a linear accelerator. Come the weekend, I usually realize that they have about the same half-life as their real-life analogs.

    Now, someone with a more scientific bent would examine these ideas as data. They would look for patterns. Then they would form a theory. They would test it.

    Not me.

    I’m an educator and a writer; a part-time theologian. And it seems that I alternate between one identity or the other. Most weeks I plan classes and events. I place items in order for action. I deal in lists. If an idea is good, it shows up on next week’s Action List.

    This week offered a particularly rich feast for intellectual action. Today gratitude -- for another week received and well-lived -- calls for a simpler act. Remembrance:

  • John Emerson distinguished between barrier-free design, universal design and assistive technology.

  • Anne Galloway captured some essential differences between communities and networks.

  • Alberto Vasquez-Figeroa provided food for reflection on sustainable tourism.

  • Abe Hopper imported an exciting new piece of assistive technology in the USA.

  • Sarah Conner provided her own moving obituary.

  • Marcus Ormerod facilitated the design of things that make us want to life to the fullest.

  • The “other” WTO explained its role in the global order.

  • Barcelona rose to the top of the “Hot Destination of the Week List” with the announcement of a conference on sustainable tourism.
  • Phil Cousineau’s presentation from last week set the stage for more thinking on religiously-motivated travel.
  • Next week’s Action List?

  • A theological reflection. (In narrative format!)
  • Anne Galloway @ "purse lip square jaw"

    Anne Galloway at her site purse lip square jaw describes herself as a "PhD candidate, technology researcher, ethnographer & designer, raised in the tropics, current inhabitant of Ottawa in the Land of Ice & Snow..." She also articulates something that I realize has been an impetus toward the creation of this web site.


    Excellent Essay on Universal Design

    At Social Design Notes by John Emerson there is a particularly coherent summary and clarification of the concepts clustered around universal design. Rather than comment on his August 19, 2003 post entitled What is Universal Design?i> I encourage you to read it at his site.

    El artículo está en ingles pues el dice que se habla español.

    Sustainable Tourism - Notes from a Novel

    The last time I was in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, I found myself with some time on my hands.

    Wandering through one of the mega-bookstores in the mall I noticed a novel nestled somewhere in the middle of a shelf: "Taureg" by Alberto Vasquez-Figeroa. Unfamiliar with the author (although he's written 40 books!), or the title, I gave it a quick look and passed it by.

    A few minutes later my friend Rosângela came up from another end of the store and asked, "Have you ever heard of the book Tuareg? I'm looking for it." I think her estimation of my skills as a knowledge worker rose a few percentage points as I took her straight to it.

    The book is a jewel!

    Inclusive Design List

    Marcus Ormerod has launched a discussion list on the process and application of Inclusive (Universal) Design

    The Vexel Quovis Has Landed!

    I just received a call from Abe Hopper of Vexel North America. The �Vexel Quovis� is the wheelchair-friendly car that I reviewed in Decmber (All I Want for Christmas is a Vexel Quovis )

    It looks like I won't get my hands on one quite yet - California emissions testing and all - but I wanted to let you know so that you might be able to sneak a peek now that there are some in the US.

    A Life Well-Lived

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    A woman, less well-known outside her immediate community than she should have been, Sara Zimmerman Conner has set aside her earthly work. Among many accomplishments she leaves behind the living legacy which is the non-profit affordable housing developer Eden Housing, Inc. where she was a member of the Board of Directors and well-loved by staff.

    Her self-authored obituary follows:

    The "other" WTO, standing for the World Tourism Organization, describes itself this way:

    The World Tourism Organization (WTO-OMT) advocates progressive liberalization of tourism, with a focus on sustainability and on the special needs of developing states.

    WTO-OMT enjoys observer status in the World Trade Organization on issues regarding trade in tourism services, in particularly in connection with the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS).

    It offers this answer to the question in the title:

    Forum Barcelona 2004: Sustainable Tourism

    The Instituto de Turismo Responsable is hosting a conference on Sustainable Tourism, "Turismo, Diversidad Cultural y Desarrollo Sostenible" in the context of Barcelona's Forum Barcelona 2004.

    The Institute has recently become recognized by the UN's World Tourism Organization. I do not see Universal Design as a conference topic -- yet.

    Below is a document presenting the goals of the event:

    Theologies of the Body and of Place

    If religious symbol & ritual embody underlying values, and ritual involves the body, that is a place to tease out a spirituality's anthropology and theology of body. Similarly regarding place and sacrality.

    Pilgrimage brings all these aspects to bear in one liturgical motion.

    Taking it a step further, would it not be instructive to study the practice of those who merchandise religious travel -- services for missionaries, for Hajj pilgrims, for Kumbh Mela, etc. -- for cultural expressions of religious values?

    The Six Knows of Preparing to Travel

    This article, The Six Knows of Preparing to Travel, is the first in a series at Suite 101. It was picked up by e-bility.com, an Australian site on travel and disability, where it was awarded as article of the month for January 2004.

    Huston Smith & Phil Cousineau on

    Hospitality is a Benedictine Charism

    Writing on the travel, hospitality and Universal Design is not a far reach for someone familiar with the Benedictine monastic wisdom tradition. Monasticism revolves around such universals as a sense of place, embodiment, the proper place of work, community, transformation and, of course, hospitality.

    Call for Proposals is Closing

    The Adaptive Environments Call for Proposals is scheduled to close soon

    Their conference, Designing for the 21st Century III seems an ideal setting to engage the travel and hospitality industry in a dialogue around Universal Design and the burgeoning worldwide market of travelers with disabilities.

    This conference is set for December 8-12, 2004 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

    Here are some interesting statistics:

    Jani Nayar, Director of the Society for Accessible Travel and Hospitality (SATH) is a tireless advocate and effective educator on travel & disability.

    A Dharma Note

    Does the dharma gem, "Participate with joy in the suffering of the world," offer a touchstone for theological reflection on the "New Paradigm" of disability with its dual emphasis - "function" and "participation?" Utne Reader offers a teaser reflection on the phrase from an eco-spirituality perspective but with no reference to disability.

    Any reference to "suffering," in the context of disability, reflexively invokes arguments against the "medical model" and stifles dialogue on the topic. To pursue this reflection productively, the term "suffering" must be informed by the defintion of "dukkha" or borrow from concepts such as the Pauline understanding of "participatory suffering."
    This excerpt from the Center for Accessible Society overview article on disability definitions illustrates the critique of the medical model:

    Tourism & Ethics

    The World Trade Organization developed an Code of Ethics in 2001. The following is an exceprt from the WTO site:

    JamaLee Bennet @ ASCOTWORLD

    JamaLee Bennet of ASCOTWORLD shares a favorite quote, "Adversity doesn't build character ... it reveals it!" ASCOTWORLD is a support group and social club for amputees, other disabled, and their admirers.

    Where in the world?

    Here's an amusing tool: the map generator at World66. Create an account with a database of all the places you have lived or visited. The result will be something like this:

    create your own visited country map

    A Trail of Tears Downunder

    Travel at this site almost always refers to business or leisure travel. Many of the posts deal with the business of travel itself-- and arguments for enlarging its vision to encompass persons of various ages and capacities.

    But for many, travel operates within an entirely different economy -- geographic dislocation, forced migration, wars & skirmishes.

    Hajj Disaster Kills 244

    e-TurboNews reports on a Hajj disaster. The author provides interesting details on the rites and logistics of this pilgrimage I, as a non-Moslem, will never be able to experience.

    Call a Cab

    What can you expect to encounter if you travel in a wheelchair and you want to use a taxi?

    Jorge Gobbi @ Blog de Viajes

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    Jorge Gobi, of Argentina, provides thought leadership and conversation aggregation at his multi-lingual site Blog de Viajes. It is a worthwhile, regular read.

    New Disability & Travel Column

    Candy Harrington, editor of Emerging Horizons, has been selected to write the new column on travel and disability for Go World Travel Magazine. Her first article takes a look at the Orgeon oast.

    Favorite New Slogan

    Bike-On.com, retailers of handcycles, now sells wheelchairs through their division Roll With It.biz

    Their slogan?

    Candy Harrington @ Emerging Horizons

    Candy's book, Barrier Free Travel, and her magazine, Emerging Horizons, are excellent resources.