February 2005 Archives

US Supreme Court & Cruise Ship

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Douglas Spector's case against Norwegian Cruise Lines will be argued in court today. National Public Radio had an informative background piece on the case this morning.

Read up at "Wheel Me On."

Travel to Clint Eastwood's Resort?

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Tonight a very controversial film won at the Academy Awards. The fact that the vast majority of those watching the event had no clue about the depth of the controversy is not surprising to those with disabilities.

The WTO Conference on Built Environments for Sustainable Tourism (BEST) was successfully held in Muscat, Sultanate of Oman, (6-8 February 2005), upon a kind invitation of the Government of this burgeoning Sultanate that recently joined the World Tourism Organization. Distinguished speakers from all over the world, including senior government officials, tourism professionals, urban planners, architects and managers of cultural sites, presented interesting examples of re-development of ancient buildings for tourism purposes, design of new tourism facilities and other tourism projects contributing to sustainable development.

Indian Country Inclusion

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I still recall the shock I felt on my first visit to a Las Vegas mega-casino along the Strip. "Wow," I thought, there are more people in wheelchairs here than in any hospital I've ever been to!"

Today we visited the Pala nation to study the ambitious long-distance wireless network they have created connecting 18 tribes. We also visited the economic mainspring of the region -- the casino.

San Diego

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Flying "the Luv Airllines" -- Southwest -- on flight # 2407 to San Diego was easier than most boarding procedures. It was the service & attention to detail, not any secial technical fixes, that made it so smooth.

However, I think it didn't seem so straightforward to my seatmate and ZFellow Theresa Gonzales, Director of One Economy - San Jose. This is the first time we've traveled together. She had never encountered all the negotiating, educating, and boundary-setting that is necessary to board afely and assure that equipment is not lost or damaged. Once we got settled in our seats she asked, "Don't you ever stop working?" Unfortunately, the answer was, "No." With a disability you are always teaching a class about yourself -- or risking being treated as luggage; "the wheelchair."

To San Diego for Business Travel

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Sixteen of us, the Zero Divide Fellows ("ZFellows") of the Community Technology Foundation of California converge on San Diego tomorrow morning for training. I am a longtime fan of the work of Access San Diego.

Guess I will use their accessibility guide and follow my own advice from the upcoming Suite 101.com article "Accidental Tourism: Life Beyond Business Travel" on combining business & leasure travel.

Adaptive Environments is opening the Institute For Human-Centered Design @ Adaptive Environments in Boston.

From the press release:

Google Alerts II: "Universal Design"

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One way to eliminate any doubts that Universal Design is becoming mainstream is to set up daily Google Alerts.

A Google Alert is a robot that uses Google technology to spider through the internet collecting information that y ou specifcy. The post on February 2, Using Google Alerts, explained how to set one up.

Here are some recent finds - notice how they cluster around construction of single family dwellings, remodelling, aging-in-place, etc. Watch for them to start showing up in articles on hotels, motels, and resorts.

Pro-Poor Tourism

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Sustainability, development, and universal design emerged as topics for study and action in the context of the Designing for the 21st Century III conference in Rio last December. How is the knowledge produced by Pro-Poor Tourism to be integrated into that discussion?

Japanese Universal Design Exhibit

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Japanese Design Today is being held at Sungkok Art Museum in Seoul. South Korea. As the recent Universal Design conference in Hamamatsu, Japan demonstrated, Japan has taken an active interest in good design

Humorous Roadside Art

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For a whimsical tour through a not-yet-inclusive world see this slide show with ten disability road signs from The Way Ahead art exhibition by Caroline Cardus. It is currently touring through the United Kingdom.

Let's see it replicated in a few other places.

Bo Beolens @ The Disabled Birders Association

Inclusive adventure travel opportunities are expanding in various directions. Pioneers like Dada Moreira of Aventura Especial in Brazil feature rock climbing, whitewater rafting, and various adrenaline-enhanced experiences. Menwhile, Bo Beolens has quietly been opening the outdoors for a more sedentary crowd "birdwatchers" or preferably, "birders". Here he speaks about his experience to Travel & Disability Editor, Scott Rains:

Tourismus für Alle

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In Perth at the NICAN Conference the presenters repeatedly pointed out the purchasing power of the disability market niche.

The following story highlights the growing awareness of this fact. Here Kerin Hope explores it in the context of the last Paralympics.

Travel Planning Tips @ Suite 101.com

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There is a new article in the Travel & Disability section at Suite 101.com about travel planning --- Tips for the Season in Between.

Note, the link may not work unless you have previously subscribed at Suite101.

Design Competition: Access to Fun

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Do you want a design challenge that's fun too?

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Join in the competition to design of a water ride (e.g. log flume) transfer device for persons with disabilities and submit it to the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions by March 15, 2005.

For details see: http://www.iaapa.org/accessfun/

If you wish to review and comment on proposals to the Air Carriers Act, which has a profound affect on air transport accessibility, keep in mind that the comment period closes on March 4, 2005.

In the document, Carta do Rio/La Declaración de Rio de Janero, we argue for universal design as a component of sustainable inclusive development and lay out a call-to-action. Other resources in this dialogue are available as well:

In 1975 I co-founded, with Jack Martin, the first Disabled Students Association at the University of Washington in Seattle. During that pre-ADA period the disability rights movement successfully lobbied the governors of each of the 50 states, and eventually the president of the United States to establish high profile Conferences on Disability. At the same time Seattle Metro Transit took the early US lead on accessible public transit and I oversaw a major retrofit of UW facitilies. We were all indebted to the support and strategic thinking that came to us from the Civil Rights Movement.

Fast forward to 2005 and I am proud to announce another notable UW accomplishment.

Through the persistence of the UW Disability Studies Department's Dennis Lang, and the support of many others:

The University of Washington's new Disability Studies Minor has been approved and will be effective Spring Quarter 2005. The Disability Studies minor will be administrated by the Law, Societies, and Justice Program (LSJ), Department of Political Science, College of Arts and Sciences. Web Site for the minor: http://depts.washington.edu/disstud .

Pending the release of an official English translation, and at the request of numerous readers of The Rolling Rains Report, I offer an unofficial translation of the document on Susutainable Inclusive Development known as "Carta do Rio/ La Declaracion de Rio de Janero"

A recent study by Trendwatching.com confirms customers' desire to experience "home" in their hotel rooms. As they conclude, "Whether it be as large as a massive design overhaul or as simple as a switch to recognizable and trusted cleaning products, one thing is clear: hotels are doing everything they can to make guests feel more at home while they are away."

And, as universal design becomes the standard in home design, it will become what travelers demand of hotels.

For the full article see, Hotels Becoming an Enhanced 'Home Away From Home"- Guests Looking for Hotel Stays to Top Appointments from Home

Richard Olsen, PhD, is an environmental psychologist at the New Jersey Institute of Technology and author of A House for All Children. His new study recommends sixteen simple, low-cost ways to apply universal design principles at home.

A Bridge to Nowhere in Wales

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Campaigners Finally Get Wheelchair Access -- At Both Ends Of Footbridge

By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
February 4, 2005

CWM, WALES-- "Unbelievable!"

"Scandalous!"

"Ridiculous!"

"Pointless!"

Those are just a few of the words disability rights advocates and local residents have used to describe a new bridge designed to link one side of the village of Cwm to the other.

Sail Away into the Sunset

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Here's a bit of tongue-in-cheek retirement planning advice from the "Silver Tsunami" generation. It is circulating on the Internet without attribution.

There will be no nursing home in my future.........

When I get old and feeble, I am going to get on a Princess
Cruise Ship. The average cost for a nursing home is $200
per day. I have checked on reservations at Princess and
I can get a long term discount and senior discount price
of $135 per day. That leaves $65 a day for:

Your Level Best: Pub-Rolling in the UK

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The February 2005 issue of the Global Access Disabled Travel Network E-Zine popped into my mailbox as I sat writing an article for the 2005 Summit of the Spinal Cord Injury Association. I had just finished a paragaph lamenting the lack of sites that evaluate restaurant access similar to Wired on Wheels.

As if on queue, editor Marti Gacioch included an article by Mary Dixon about her site Your Level Best. It is good to see the crossover of Eleanor Smith's Concrete Change standards for visitability being applied to places of business - another indication the Universal Design won't long be confined to the home construction industry but pass over to the commercial sector at an increasing rate.

The Chilean National Tourism Service (SERNATUR) has produced a resource for their tourism industry and municipal leadership on creating inclusive travel options. According to the Director of SERNATUR, Oscar Santelices, the work is designed to facilitate the development in Chile of tourism accessible to all.

The book, Manual de Turismo Accesible para Personas con Movilidad Reducida y Discapacitados, is directed toward those responsible for implementing inclusive travel and not individual travelers themselves.

Microtel Inns & Suites conducted a survey of those attending the World Congress & Expo on Disabilities. The results, announced in, 'Survey of Travelers with Disabilities'

The 5th Global Travel & Tourism Summit

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The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) will hold the 5th Global Travel & Tourism Summit in New Delhi from April 8-10, 2005.

The format will be interactive discussions and key-note presentations including government, industry and media representatives from around the world. The event's focus -- on the need for the Travel & Tourism sector to realize its full potential for social and economic good -- promises to make it a potential gathering point for those who subscribe to the ideals of sustainable inclusive development presented in the Rio Declaration.

Using Google Alerts

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Google has a tool that is helpful for keeping up on developments in Universal Design -- Google Alerts.

Here's how to set them up for yourself:

The JetBlue Blues

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Airline Tries To Duck Wheelchair Rule
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
January 28, 2005

FOREST HILLS, FLORIDA--Advocates with the Paralyzed Veterans of America are challenging an airline's attempt to avoid setting aside space for wheelchairs as required by federal law, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel reported Thursday.