May 2005 Archives

There are subleties to being a safe traveler. Where I live, for example, wearing the wrong colors in certain neighborhoods can get you shot, so they say.

So, do officials in Jabalpur have the reverse problem -- drive-bys taking out disabled homies who aren't wearing their blue jackets?

I've heard of the Fashion Police but this...?

Environmentally Sustainable Design

AIBD Resolutions on Environmentally Sustainable Design
and Universal Design in Housing

The American Institute of Building Design (AIBD) board of
directors endorsed two resolutions supporting Universal
Design and Sustainable Design at their annual convention in July, 2004.

Dave Reynolds of Inclusion Daily Express writes, "Cambodian Vets Build Self-Sufficient Community."

Chicago

Travel can be exciting, renewing, inspiring or any number of other positive things. But some days it is enough just to appreciate right where you are and and let your spirit be moved.

Thanks to Constantine Zografopoulos for photos of this morning's sunrise on Lake Michigan and the Chicago skyline.

Spring sunrise on Lake Michigan

The 15th Anniversary of Americans with Disabilities Act will be July 26, 2005. One of the best-known pieces of US legislation, in my experience, anywhere I go in the world, below are some facts about the people it protects.

In June 2004 an informative piece of research was published by Khor Hung Teik in the Journal of the Socio Economic & Environmental Research Institute iin Panang. Malaysia. Fortunately for all of us, the volume exists in .pdf format online and can be downloaded at. It is well worth studying both for its content and methodology. More regions should undertake such work. See especially the section starting at the top of page six, Are We Ready for Elderly Tourists?:

Economic Briefing to the Penang State Government
http://www.seri.com.my/EconBrief/EconBrief2004-06.PDF

Inclusive Travel -- Brazil

With clever wordplay between "Disabled" ("Deficiente") and "Efficient" ("Eficiente"), one robust Brazilian non-profit seems poised to make a big contribution to national efforts to build industry capacity for travel that is suitable for senior and disabled tourists.

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Cidadão Eficiente in São Paulo integrates tourism into its already considerable work for social inclusion. with apologies to those who don't read Portuguese (yet), I recommend the column by Julie Nakayama Hasushi "Julie Cristal," Viagems Pelo Mundo as a place to start at http://www.cidadaoeficiente.org.br/

The Disability Intergroup will host a discussion on setting a research agenda. The site is the European Parliament, Strasbourg on Wednesday 8 June 2005.

The conference, Envisioning Universal Design: Creating an Inclusive Society held October 2-3, 2003 produced a document that still has value today. While it only mentions Inclusive Tourism in passing, the central discussion on Universal Design is applicable throughout. Especially in light of the upcoming Australian consultation on developing a research agenda for barrier free tourism, this report still has relevance.

Envisioning Universal Design: Creating an Inclusive Society
http://www.nea.gov/resources/Accessibility/ud/issues_b.html

The German Study, The Economic Impulses of Accessible Tourism for All provides both content and a methological template for those Rolling Rains Report readers who are preparing national policy on Inclusive Tourism and Inclusive Destination Development.

Destination: Korea

A report on progress for people with disability in Korea.

From the article:


Go anywhere in the world and see if you can find a nation with a more dynamic activist movement. Korea has gained the greatest momentum for change in the rights of the disabled right now," said Shin Yong-ho, director of the Research Institute of the Differently Abled Persons Rights in Korea. Civil activists fighting for the rights of the disabled are themselves disabled, making them more passionate about the urgency of the issue at hand. The formation of a coalition of 68 organizations, the Joint Association Struggling for the Human Rights of the Disabled, and government efforts to meet their demands have created an opportunity to address the injustice and discrimination that affect the disabled.

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An Australian National Best Practice Conference will be held in Armidale, NSW to celebrate Challenge Armidale’s 50th Anniversary. The Call for Papers is open until June 30, 2005

Challenge Armidale was founded in 1955 by a small group of concerned parents and community members who wanted services for children with a disability. The organization was one of the first to move towards community integrated housing following the introduction of the Commonwealth Disability Services Act, 1987. The organization hosted the National Forum of Ageing and Disability at the University of New England in 1994, setting the agenda for further work in this area. Challenge Armidale is currently working towards transitioning sheltered employment to a totally inclusive employment model.

From:

Architect Uhlir on a roll: Paralyzed vets honor barrier-free design of Millennium fountain

Hal Dardick, Chicago Tribune
Published May 22, 2005


DOWNTOWN -- At the Crown Fountain in Millennium Park, where there are no raised edges or deep water, people in wheelchairs can roll right into the reflecting pool and frolic at will.

For that touch and others that combine design with full access to all, the Paralyzed Veterans of America gave architect Ed Uhlir, the park's design director, the 2005 Barrier-Free America Award.

For the complete story:
http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/chicago/chi-0505220259may22,1,4687484.story?coll=chi-newslocalchicago-hed&ctrack=1&cset=true

The following appeared in the China Post on May 4, 2005.

For most of my 50 years I have been able to look out my window and watch the sun bring a close to the day and the start of a new day in Asia. It is with this same serene hopefulness that I approach the 2005 International Accessible Tourism Conference that will be held from May 5-8 in Taipei. On the horizon is something new. From this conference a new organization will arise, the Asia Pacific Accessible Tourism League (APATL).

DubaiLand: But will it be UD?

The United Arab Emirates has a good word-of-mouth reputatiion as a barrier-free destination. With "Dubailand" on the books we will see whether or not investers in Dubailand have a systemic commitment to inclusion for people with disabilities.

Romania

My college Portuguse professor, James Algeo, spoke Romanian. It always intrigued me that a Romance language like Romanian lived so close to my Slavic-tongued ancestors.

Never having visited this land of Gothic myth, I turned to the Internet to find information on accessibility. Some interesting inititaives turned up - like SportRio and the "Towns or All" project (below) but detailed information for travelers is hard to find.

This just in from inclusive tourism researcher, speaker, and author, Bruce Cameron. Bruce is consulting with the Australian government on accessible tourism following the broad acceptance of his book, Easy Access Australia.
The event announcement follows.

transed2007 Logo

The first official announcement of the 2007 TRANSED Conference was just released for those who wish to make a presentation. TRANSED deals with essential inclusive tourism transportation issues at an international conference held every three years.

As I travel the world, most people with disabilities lament unanimously about the lack of enforcement of basic civil rights laws for people with disabilities -- where they even exist. So it is like finding a haven of sanity to have an entire continent committing itself to Inclusive Destination Development.

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Australia exerts strong leadership in the world for its policies on barreir-free tourism. What is particularly noteworthy is the public, transparent manner in which it develops and disseminates that policy.

Here is an example from Queensland.
Destination Development at Tourism Queensland

The following press release indictates that the resource for travel and hospitality professionals, Hotelexecutive.com, has upgraded its site. When I clicked the URL they provided it went nowhere. Here's hoping you have better luck!

The International Institute for Peace through Tourism (IIPT) traditionally includes Inclusive Travel as one of its areas of interest. This year's conference continues the dialogue. One Earth One Family: Travel and Tourism – Serving a Higher Purpose is the theme of the 3rd Global Summit on Peace through Tourism being held at the award winning Royal Cliff Beach Resort, Pattaya, Thailand, October 2-5, 2005.

India's UPA Government completes one year on May 21, 2005. The section of their celebratory press release below reports on services to people with disabilities -- including implementation of Universal Design and Inclusive Travel experiences.

The Logo of Disabled Peoples International


Disabled People International has announced its International Conference on Accessible for Nairobi, Kenya -September 28 - 30, 2005

The Kenya Disabled Development Society will host an International Conference on Accessible Tourism, which will be held in Nairobi, Kenya on September 28 - 30, 2005. All interested parties from other parts of the world are invited to attend.

Simon Prideaux requests the assistance of Rolling Rains Report readers. Note that, while his study is on accessiblity in EU member states, his interest extends to the impact beyond those states.

In other words, if you have a physical or visual disability and have ever traveled to Europe -- or NOT traveled to Europe because you heard it was inaccessible -- you are the just the person Leeds University wants to hear from.

Carpe Diem! This may be your only chance to impact EU policy on disability simply by being a (non)tourist.

Here at the Centre for Disability Studies in Leeds, we are conducting
EU research on access to the built environment. In particular, the report
aims to provide an understanding of the legislative and structural
manifestations of discrimination and disability in the context of the
built environment within specific member states of the EU and beyond.
For the purposes of this report, the focus of the study is concerned
only with issues relating to physical or visual impairment or a
combination of the two.

Through comparisons of the policy implementations and recommendations
of the United Kingdom, Ireland, Sweden, Italy and France with those from
Malta, one of the new member states, and the non-member countries of
Australia and United States, it is intended that the report will
provide the platform upon which an agenda of good practice can be formulated
and initiated. In this respect, a primary objective is to define the
parameters of what each country is doing in terms of making buildings
more accessible for disabled people and what is deemed to be
'reasonable' in terms of adjustments that are required to be made to
make this so. Finally we are investigating what enforcement procedures
(if any) have been set in place by the Member States concerned.

If you have any useful contacts or information on the subject please
contact Simon Prideaux at S.J.Prideaux@leeds.ac.uk or telephone
0113-3434423.

A key outcome of the 2005 International Conference on Accessible Tourism was the creation of the Working Group on Inclusive Destination Development (WG - IDD). The puropose of the group is to implement the Taipei Plan of Action for Accessible Tourism in the tsunami-affected region.

You may contact Dr. Scott Rains (srains@oco.net) if you wish to contribute to this work. Below is a letter of introduction from our lead contact in Indonesia:


I have been working since early February with UN-Habitat to coordinate the delivery of housing and infrastructure grants and technical assistance to the communities affected by the disaster in Aceh. This program is a part of a larger UNDP's Emergency Response and Transitional Recovery Programme. In addition to that, I am also assisting the central government in the preparation of housing and settlement guidelines that can be used by all agencies involved in the provision of shelter in the earthquake and tsunami-affected areas of Aceh and Northern Sumatra. It is with this additional assignment that my input might reach larger audiences, i.e.other donors and NGOs working in those provinces.


Scott is right: to be able to manage this huge assignment and put the interest of less-able people high in the agenda I certainly need a network I can rely on for technical assistance.


At this stage what I need most is information on best practices from all over the world on universal design for housing, community infrastructure, and micro-spatial planning; and examples of campaign materials that can be used at various levels of audiences, from laymen to policy makers.

Dr. Erwin Fahmi

Bunun_Boys.jpg


As my hosts in Taipei continuosly rhapsodized about the singing and dancing abilities of the island's aboriginal Bunun people I had this growing discomfort. Had I stumbled into an Asian ante-bellum South? Was I going to find little plaster jockey analogues standing outside people's driveways? Cigar shops with wooden Indians?

Then I heard a confident, vocally disciplined 12 year old girl hold her audience in two languages at the Taitung Prehistory Museum. Later, a festival of circle dances culminated in the eight-part harmony of a Bunun ritual. I knew why the fame of these people was celebrated not only across Taiwan but around the world.

Back in Northern California

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Back home again, the team at Shared Adventures in Santa Cruz, California continues to amaze me. You can find more photos for their first annual Day in the Sky with Challenge Air at: http://www.dayinthesky.org/photogallery/

The Taipei Plan of Action for Accessible Tourism has just been released.

Consider entering your best Universal Design ideas in the Korber Foundation USable grant competition The theme "Transitions in Life" is broad enough to accommodate many of the remarkable projects and ideas you have shared with me.

For more information:
http://www.stiftung.koerber.de/wettbewerbe/usable/english/participation/index.html

Many people use GPS systems for navigation. As they have improved GPS systems have become increasingly beneficial to those who are blind but indoor navigation is difficult when satelite signals are blocked.

Researchers at Stanford University have come up with a promising new carrier for GPS signals -- TV signals.

The next logical step seems to me to be integrating RF band in a handheld that reads RFiD chips thus creating a navigation device for those with visual impairments that works indoors and outdoors and can identify specific objects (via RFid chips).

Rebuilding Post-Tsunami Tourism

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For several weeks before the Accessible Tourism Conference people sent in responses to the questions discussed in the Breakout sessions. Many are posted as comments at the suite 101 article, the First International Conference on Accessible Tourism - Taipei, Taiwan

At the conference itself, these two photos were part of the presentation on the rebuilding of Indonesia's Aceh Province given by Maulani A Rotinsulu and Erwin Fahmi of the Indonesian Disabled Peoples’ Association.

Aceh_Powerbarge-on_Road.jpg

The following may also be found on the blog, "Disability in the Brazilian Context" which is an excellent live commentary and audit on the inclusive destination situation in Salvador da Bahia, Brazil.

Author Jared Goyette is in Brazil as an exchange student and provides researchers and advocates outside the country with observation and analysis that is then utilized in various parts of the world. Here he places the economic argument for Inclusive Destinatioin Development in the contxt of the global aging of the Boomer generation from developed nations wishing to spend their tourism cash in places like Brazil's very popular Salvador da Bahia.

Falou, Jared!

Opening Keynote Presentation

Below is the text of my opening keynote presentation at the 2005 International Conference on Accessible Tourism in Taipei, Taiwan.

Celebrity Wheeler in Taiwan

Time magazine did a cover story in April, 2003 on "Asian Heroes." Wu Shu-chen was featured as First Lady in Taiwan. Her own disability has meant visibility for people with disabilities:

http://www.time.com/time/asia/2003/heroes/wu_shuchen.html

Here is a bit about her husband Chen Shui-bian:
http://www.answers.com/topic/chen-shui-bian

Quietly, "A town comfortable to live in is a town comfortable to travel in" has been the ideology leavening a new phase of Inclusive Destination Development.

During the Accessible Tourism Conference, Ms. Etsuko Ueno will deliver a report by Mr. Makoto Yamamoto on the town of Takayama City, Japan. (It has the geographic footprint of Tokyo and the charm of a village - what is the right word for it?).

By this point, before most lecture trips, I am well settled on what I will say and begining to anticipate the relaxation phase that comes after delivering the presentation. Perhaps because I will do both an opening and a closing bit or perhaps because I am anticipating the launch of an Asian Pacific network on inclusive travel, I am still quite involved in the research phase.

Reviewing the history of the "Inclusive Development" component of "Inclusive Destination Development," I came across a document from Antigua and Barbuda written in 2001. It is instructive to review the care with which this "White Paper on Disability for Antigua and Barbuda" lays out a national agenda.

As I fly from San Francisco to Taiwan for the first international conference on Accessible Tourism I am very pleased with the timing of the staff at Audacity Magazine. I will work Rosemary Musachio's article into our discussion sessions as we launch the Asia Pacific Accesible Travel League:

Airline Accessibility Keeps Us Grounded
http://www.audacitymagazine.com/audacity.php?op=article&y=&v=&i=25&a=310

Several historical documents prepared the way for the upcoming 2005 International Conference on Accesssible Tourism and the launch of the asia Pacific Tourism League. Below are a few.

There has been a flurry of trans-oceanic digital communication at the Rolling Rains Report in preparation for the launch of the Asia Pacific Accessible Travel League. "Inclusive Tourism: Some Definitions" is one result. It was published today at Suite 101.com:

http://www.suite101.com/article.cfm/18423/114773