March 2005 Archives

I encourage all Rolling Rains Report readers who use wheelchairs or scooters to participate in Andrea Nuernberger's Travel Behavior Survey.

I did. It didn't take long and I left with the satisfaction of knowing that I contributed to the development of this field.

Try it. You'll like it!

The following article on the Inclusive Home Design Act (HR 2353) introduced by Representative Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.) comes by way of the Justice for All Bulletin of the American Association of People with Disabilities. This approach, also known as Visitability, is a key element in inclusive destination development. Contact information follows the piece.

Update: Laurent, South Dakota

Here are two further resources on Laurent, South Dakota - A Town for Signers following the recent charette there. The town plan is now posted online:

Brazil is emerging as a leader on Universal Design, Travel & Disability, Sustainable Travel, and Disability Rights.

Roteiros do Brasil, the national plan for regionalization of tourism, was previously noted in the Rolling Rains report. The Roteiros main page currently includes a link to the work of Brasil's SENAC on disability (in Portuguese.)

Oi Brasil, parabems!

Below is a list of recent Rolling Rains articles exploring Universal Design, Inclusive Destination Development, Disability, and Travel.

More below:

Taiwan has done it!

APTL banner.gif

Congratulations to Eden Social Welfare Foundation in Taipei for organizing the first international conference devoted entirely to inclusive travel.

Yes, technically there have been several national conferences that have had regional or international participation. The European Union took an early lead with Tourism for All and still maintains a sophisticated intellectual infrastructure for promoting inclusive travel - allowing specialized programs such as I mentioned yesterday.

But the 2005 International Accessible Tourism Conference in Taipei, Taiwan on 5-8 May is international by design. In fact, it marks the launch of a pan-Asian association for the development of inclusive tourism practice.

Inclusive Destination Development seems to be the newest "Spring perenninal" sprouting up on the conference circuit around the world. Germany and Taiwan are blooming!

Australia addressed travel & disability with NICAN in Perth, September 2004 (for those of you who are geographically challenged, September is Spring Downunder). Brazil hosted one national and one international conference on the topic November 2004 in Canela and December 2004 in Rio de Janeiro.

The following is an announcemet from Peter Neumann on the European "Culture for All" Conference to be held May 12- 13, 2005 in Berlin. Tomorrow's post will detail Taiwan's May 5-8, 2005 International Accessible Tourism Conference.

Occassionally, someone is able to take the everyday and perceive it in an entirely new way. That is, some say, the essence of genius.

An example of such transformational thinking is the work of Coco Raynes (No relation, although we joke that we're "cousins."`) Raynes' work rendering French and Colombian museums accessible to those who are blind or visually impaired is a significant contribution to inclusive destination development for the cultural traveler. Read about her work in Architectural Digest at:

Seattle is a great destination! (Full disclosure: I grew up there.)

Those who promote inclusive destination development look for allies and compatible models. The Great Places movement emerging from the work of the Project for Public Spaces holds promise.

Although Universal Design did not seem to be addressed at the at the recent Great Places meeting in Seattle, the overall philosophy allows for it:

There seemed a similar consensus that this is a non-ideological (or "post-ideological") movement that has genuine potential for common cause with groups all over the political spectrum. The foundation of Placemaking is the principle that the people living, working and hanging out in a certain place are the people who know that place best and should be centrally involved in making decisions about its future. This message appeals to both conservative ideals of decentralized government and progressive values of community empowerment. Though the current constituency of the movement is mostly left-leaning--and it may alienate some fervent pro-market conservatives--there is every reason to believe it will attract social conservatives and people in the middle of the political road.

This article on the proposed town of Laurent, South Dakota comes via the GEOGABLE listserve of the Disability and Geography International Network (DAGIN). Contact information follows the New York Times article:

Jamaica is a very popular destination for travelers from the US. Sandals Resorts has a well-experienced, service-oriented staff that has earned a high reputation among people with disabilities.

Yet, Jamaica mars its appeal and literally drives customers away as long as it retains an outmoded quarantine of all dogs -- including essential service animals.

Jamaica's Ten Year Master Plan for Sustainable Tourism Development (2001 - 2010) is a hopeful sign. With the links made clear between Universal Design and sustainable development through work done by the World Bank, Sustainable Design, MIUSA and the Latin American Strategy Session on Universal Design, one would hope to see the innititiative strongly promoting a more disabled friendly travel experience -- especially as da Boomers get oldah, mon!

About a year ago safety of people with disabilities in public places captured a good deal of attention in the US. At the same time there have been ongoing efforts to harmonize international and US building codes. A court case in Maryland addressed both issues stating that I-codes and ADA are compatible.

NY Times on Cruise Ships & ADA

Let's cut right to the end of Linda Greenhouse's Does the Disability Act Stop at the Shoreline?:

Norwegian pointed out in its brief that it was acting "in
response to competitive market dynamics in effect
throughout the cruise industry." In other words, what the
law itself might or might not accomplish, capitalism
already has.

Oh yes, wouldn't life be so much simpler if there were an Invisible Hand moving all things economic effortlessly toward justice? A world where carrots made sticks obsolete?

The new ships they tout as solutions do not incorporate Universal Design or Visitability. The vessels may be improvements, I have not inspected them yet, but they do not represeant a radical break with the discriminatory anthropology that undergirds the sailor's culture and definitions of seaworthiness in the shipbuilding industry.

Read tomorrow's NYT story here:

Compared to Canada...

Canada is home to some important inclusive travel initiatives like Kéroul and Inclusive Cities Canada. In this article, "Planning is key when travelling with health problems and disabilities," two Canadian travelers weigh in with some real-world travel advice.

Thank you to Darren Hillock at 2Hill Media and Getting Around: a blog for locating this article.

Universal Design takes a whole person/whole environment approach to design. The thrust is toward inclusion, and away from possible stigmatization, by designing places, processes, and products for the widest range of possible users.

However, sometimes the best solution involves Assistive Technology -- a more customised design solution that is uniquely suited to an individual and their functional abilities. Both Universal Design and Asssistive Technology work together to produce a more inclusive world.

And one program at Temple University is doing that on a global scale. As Mobility International USA (MIUSA) demonstrates worldwide, study abroad by students with disabilities is a powerful force for good in the world.

Today, at, you will find the article, "Accidental Tourism: Life Beyond Business Travel."

Who says you can't mix business and pleasure?

2005 EU Law Affects Airports

While traveling in Europe next week I will be looking for the results of EU progress safeguarding the rights of travelers with disabilities. Has it been graciously received or has it spurrred the promised backlash?

See: "Airlines wary over disability law"

Single Planet Blog

I confess that I do not get over to Single Planet as often as the site merits. However, with an invitation to speak in Taiwan pending and after conversing with several Chinese tour operators this weekend at the Bay Area Travel Show I found today's post insightful.

I have not yet traveled to China but service would not appear to be one of their high points.

Let us hope there is a revolution of their service culture before the Paralympics.



Accesible Buenos Aires

The architects at Accesible Buenos Aires works to make that city a destination of choice for travelers with disabilities.

Several Spanish keywords are defined in this post at Cultura Del

  • Accesibilidad

  • Discapacidad

  • Diseño Universal

  • Diseño Para Todos
  • Hotel Book

    Pegasus has announced plans to build a new consumer website focusing on
    independent hotels. It will be called Hotel Book and will compete with
    major hotel chains websites. Hotel websites presently have 80% of the US
    Internet market. This web site will give independent hotels a chance to
    market to the consumer directly.

    Yes, but will Hotel Book turn the page and cover the essentials needed by travelers with disabilities or will a visit to the web site bring a stifled yawn and a "Been there. Done that." click through?

    A useable hotel site needs:

  • Category distinctions that are meaningful to people with disabilities.

  • Levels of detail, such as measurements and actual floorplans, that allow for informed consumer choice.

  • Information that is readily accessible in various formats
  • For a video clip disability immersion experience -- with roles reversed -- see the "Accessibility for All" PSR at:

    Visitability Makes Continued Progress

    Eleanor Smith of Concrete Change has added a link to a new resource for promoting Visitability. It is the article Visitability: The Way Of The Future In Home Building by Roger C Claar and James S Boan. The two men are the mayor and the attorney of Bollingbrook, Illinos respectively.

    As Visitability and home modifications involving Universal Design continue to define the new American home, so too will it come to shape the new American standard of resort and vacation lodging comfort.

    Inclusive Tourism in Shanghai? reports on the recent Wheelchair Experience and Accessibility Facility Survey in an article entitled, Seeing the World from One Meter High

    I received the following request for assistance.

    The urgency of the appeal has special meaning to me as I have just completed two interviews with the founder of Outta Sight Travel, Jackie Hull. The second article deals specifically with travel and guide dogs.

    Here is another example illustrating, as in the Spector vs NCL case, the need for internationalization of human rights practice, its harmonization between regions, and Universal Design thinking in design and management.

    Paul Longmore Honored

    As a tribute to a man who, while briefly passing through my professional life nearly two decades ago, shaped it through his scholarship and example and has always been available for consultation and support.

    Congratulations, Paul! The American Association of People with Disablities made the right choice selecting your for the Paul Betts Award.

    Will Ireland be Accessible?

    Ireland has done much recently to enhance the tourist experience. Yet trends are toward rising overhead for the industry and shorter stays for tourists. There is a danger that short-term cost cutting could result in long-term undesireable results.

    So it is encouraging to read that Tourism Minister John O’Donoghue considers it a priority for Irish hotels to develop a classification scheme. Will Ireland step into the leadership position and implement a world-class system that serves disabled travelers?

  • Category distinctions that are meaningful to people with disabilities.

  • Levels of detail, such as measurements and actual floorplans, that allow for informed consumer choice.

  • Information that is readily accessible in various formats
  • In short, will Ireland adopt the worldwide trend toward Universal Design, Visitability, and Guestability?

    Disability & Freedom of Movement

    Disability and the Freedom of Movement is a training guide and helpful bibliography for the touirism industry. You will find the report at:

    Manifest Accessibility is an editorial on the current US Supreme Court case, Spector et. al vs. Norwegian Cruise Line Ltd. posted today at Suite

    Universal Design in India

    The Financial Times interviews several leaders in India who deserve greater worlwide attention for their innovation and vision. See:

    Design for the disabled: Small changes can make a difference

    El sitio de Viajar sin Barreras

    Inclusive Design in the UK

    Here are links to two articles at The Design Council in the UK on Inclusive Design:

    Raising the Standard

    About: Inclusive Design
    by Roger Coleman

    Steve Jacobs at the IDEAL Group is studying "unexpected users" who benefit from Universal Design. Part of the ongoing worldwide effort to quantify the impact of Universal Design, this project can be glimpsed at:

    Update: NCL Accessibility

    The legal battle makes the news:

    Inclusive Tourism Study of the EU

    Received today:

    The European Commission is going to publish a study titled "Improving information on accessible tourism for disabled people" In English, French, German, Italian and Spanish.

    The Commission is looking for appropriate agencies to receive the study (worldwide).


    Dr. Rüdiger Leidner
    European Commission
    Bureau SC 27 2/03
    B-1049 Brussels
    Phone: +32 2 29-62504
    Fax: +32 2 2956969

    Or e-mail:

    Scott Rains
    srains [AT] oco [DOT] net

    The University of Michigan Press is about to release a new book of essays on Foucault and disability.

    It is available at

    Following their two conferences on Development & Disability, the World Bank continues to exert leadership on the topic.

    This month's World Bank Briefing Note continues the dialogue as well as collating important documents that have shaped the project. The Briefing Note can be valuable reading as a resource in maturing the discussion on the relationship between sustainable development and universal design, and reflecting on the significance of tourism.

    From the introduction: