July 2005 Archives


This spring the first OSSATE International OSSATE "Workshop on Accessible
was held in London. The second workshop is to be held in Athens, Greece on Thursday, September 8th and Friday, September 9th, 2005.

Taken together with the work of the group of Rolling Rains Report readers pursuing iconography for information and wayfinding and the UDid work of the IDEA Center at SUNY-Buffalo, it appears that serious progress is underway to create appropriate responses to the need for travel information.

The preliminary schedule is available at:


Last November I was privileged to participate in the early stages of this project to develop an Eco-Resort on St John in the US Virgin Islands. Below is further information on progress at Estate Concordia.

Concordia New Accessible Eco-tent photo Multi, Design for People, LLC 2005

While the Rolling Rains Report uses the term "Inclusive Tourism" there is also a tradition of refering to the field as "Tourism for All". "Analysis of the needs in the field of Tourism for All" ("Formazione turistica per un’utenza ampliata") is a document prepared this year by the European Union using the latter terminology. This link will take you to the 96 pages of appendices reporting on focus groups with youth and with tour operators. For an ambitious project moving this agenda forward see Eu.For.Me.net:

logo of euforme


Universal Design Identity Project Logo

The Center for Inclusive Design and Environmental Access (IDEA Center) at SUNY - Buffalo is moving forward an important element of Inclusive Destination Development with a grant from National Endowment for the Arts (NEA).

I am increasingly perplexed, while negotiating inaccessible public spaces plastered with wheelchair icons, what purpose they serve when the door they are on has no automatic opener or the aisles and fitting rooms inside are too narrow for a wheelchair." ApparentlyBeth Tauke, UB associate professor of architecture, and Alex Bitterman, assistant professor at the Rochester Institute of Technology have been wondering the same thing.

Have you ever wondered what the wheelchair symbol that you see on parking spaces and public bathroom doors actually means?", is a question behind their research into disability access iconography..

An identity program usually consists of a logo and accompanying typeface, a slogan, soundmark or jingle, and rules for the use of those elements," says Tauke. "Creating a nontraditional identity program that can be used by everyone, regardless of culture, language, and physical, cognitive and perceptual ability, however, is quite a challenge." She points out that a hearing-impaired person often cannot hear a jingle, for instance, and a visually impaired person cannot see a logo.

Happy Birthday ADA by Justin Dart

Yesterday was the anniversary of the ADA. Below I have reprinted a message from deceased disability activist Justin Dart that was written for the tenth anniversary of the ADA in 2000.

"A Sustained Travel Industry Response to the Asian Tsunami" is the topic of the Wednesday, October 5, 2005 Plenary Session of the Third Global Summit on Peace through Tourism. The session "Making Tourism Accessible to All" will follow the plenary.

global summit logo

The UN-sponsored, World Bank-facilitated conference on Universal Design in Rio de Janeiro in November 2004 established that the principles of Universal Design constitute a framework for sustainable, inclusive development.

The Rolling Rains post from February 13, 2005 "The Dialogue on Sustainable Inclusive Development" offers some starting points for presenters preparing for the Third Global Summit on Peace through Tourism.

For those wishing more in-depth information, we have formed the Working Group on Inclusive Destination Development (WG - IDD) to bring Universal Design resources to those in the field who are rebuilding the tsunami-stricken region.

An Accessible Tourism Television Show

People With disabilities Broadcasting Corporation Logo.jpg

Today, on the anniversary of the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). People With disabilities Broadcast Network (PWdBC) made its formal launch. For thep ast several months I have been in communication with PWdBC founder, Howard Renensland about the channel. Planned programs range from a news show - drawing on the skills and experience of Inclusion Daily Express' Dave Reynolds - sitcoms, a fitness and a cooking show. The possibility that has caught my imagination is a travel show that takes a front-and-center look at inclusive travel options.

See the PWdBC web site at: http://pwdbc.org/
Follow the PWdBC blog at: http://pwdbc.blogspot.com/

For Rent sign and apartment interior

The built environment teaches.

Design decisions reflect values - more to the point, valuations of human beings. What is learned by those who own or are responsible for managing structures that discriminate by design, rather than apply Universal Design, has been meticulously documented in the study, Discrimination Against Persons With Disabilities: Barriers at Every Step.:

I arrived at the property at 11:15.

I was looking for the 701 buzzer to ring as I had been instructed in my appointment call. A woman who I assume I spoke to yesterday to make an appointment opened the doorway halfway. She asked me if I was the one who had an appointment. I told her yes. She very abruptly stated, "No wheelchairs here. You can't come in!" I attempted to ask if there was another entrance that I could use to enter the building. She muttered "you should have said something on the phone." She asked twice, "Can you walk?" I told her no. She repeated, "No wheelchairs here, no way!" She said, "Apartment's too small." I looked at her dumbfounded and replied, "OK!"

Later that day, the nondisabled tester visited the same property. She was buzzed into the lobby of the building, which had an elevator, shown three available apartments and provided information about rents, security deposits, and fees.

Accessible Beach in Luquillo, Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico is making real the dream of a young Puerto Rican woman, Rosimar Hernández. Rosimar's dream to see accessible beach access became a reality thanks to the work of the Governor of Pueto Rico and a special interagency committee created to make this unique resource serving residents and tourists alike.


Take the MIT Weblog Survey

"They don't build 'em like they used to."

"And thankfully so," writes Christiana Nelson in the Coloradan:

Homes have changed because home-building practices have changed. These days, buyers are driving a move to encourage builders to construct housing that's more energy efficient, environmentally friendly and adapts with them as they age and change.

"There's a trend to make homes more accessible from the get-go," said Steve Spanjer, president of Spanjer Homes. "You never know what could happen in life. It is easy to do from the get-go, and it can make someone's life better in the future."

As the July 26 anniversary of the ADA approaches various encouraging news items are being circulated.

Here is one from Business Week counseling Universal Design as the standard when remodeling your home in an article titles, "Remodeling for the Future."

Here is an announcement on a collaboration between Easter Seals and Century 21 regarding Universal Design for homes.

There are Architectural Access Scholarships available from Evan Terry Associates, P.C.

And here is an account of the lack of affordable well-design housing a Cape Cod http://rismedia.com/index.php/article/articleview/11013/1/1/

GimpyGirl @ Blogger.com

Recently I had the privilege of meeting the author of a travel blog with some wheelchair-eye-views of the tourist experience in China, Wendy Bell, "Wyndee," publishes the GimpyGirl blog and loves to travel.

International Accessibility Standards for Persons with Disabilities is the title of a presentation to be given by Betty Dion, Chair of the International Commission on Technology and Accessibility for Rehabilitation International. Betty is the author of Best Practices in Universal Design: A Comparative Study. Her presentation will be in Washington, DC Wednesday July 27, 2005 in World Bank Building "G."

Affordable housing in the US has not been not known for innovation in Universal Design. That has just changed.

For the past several years I have been tracking the progress of University Neighborhood Apartments in Berkeley, California. This Saturday, July 23, they will celebrate their grand opening.

Builders, policy makers, architects, and city planners know that barrier-free construction is "readily achievable" -- the trigger phrase for the Americans with Disabilities Act. University Neighborhood Apartments is just the first in a wave of new, barrier-free affordable housing being discussed in alifornia and beyond.

What: National Center for Accessible Transportation exhibit at da Vinci Days
When: Today and Sunday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Where: Wireless Village, OSU Lower Campus
Go for a spin: Visitors can propel themselves in manual wheelchairs through an obstacle course, or wheel crash dummy "Ted" across various surfaces and slopes

St John US Virgin Islands

If you are going to vacation in a warm climate why not stay somewhere close to nature? If you use a wheelchair, there were few opportunities -- until now.

Accessible eco-tent construction at Estate Concordia photo copyright photos to Multi, Design for People, LLC 2005

St John in the US Virgin Islands wants to be a destination of choice for people with disabilities.

Multi: Design for People is helping them reach that goal with a series of meticulously planned projects. The Estate Concordia project opens new horizons for the practice of Inclusive Destination Development worldwide. Multi, Design For People, LLC and the island of St. John invites you to a special inside look at the future of sustainable, inclusive vacation hospitality.

As Universal Design philosophy, including such approaches as Visitibality, meet up with proper enforcement of the US Fair Housing Act and the well-know propensity of the Baby Boomer generation not to suffer fools gladly, the pressure on those who discriminate in private housing and public lodging will mount and result in more decisions such as the following in Nevada.

The alternative to legal action is for developers to take a clear look at market demands and the potential for profit and realize that incorporating Universal Design is in their business interest - quite aside from legal mandates - before their competitors steal their market share by doing so first:

WASHINGTON, D.C. - The Justice Department today announced a settlement agreement with three firms in Reno, Nevada, resolving a lawsuit that alleged disability related housing discrimination. The suit is the Department's first enforcement action in Reno concerning the accessibility requirements of the federal Fair Housing Act.

"Cutting corners in the construction of new housing does not pay," said
Bradley J. Schlozman, Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Civil
Rights Division. "The design and construction requirements of the Fair
Housing Act are clear and readily achievable in new construction. The
Justice Department will continue to hold accountable those who have a
legal obligation to provide accessible housing

Inclusive Tourism in California took a major step forward on July 12,2005 with the resolution of a class-action two lawsuits over discriminatory access to California state parks.

California, with 270 state parks -- the largest number of any sate in the US -- will enhance its tourism potential for slow walkers and others with mobility impairments through this agreeement. The settlement, which will be implemented over 11 years, is not limited to those with ambulatory disabilities but takes a fully inclusive approach. The full story can be obtained through Diablity Rights Advocates of Oakland, CA who woin the settlement:


The Trace Center has published a collection of quality articles on Universal Design under the general heading, "General Concepts, Universal Design Principles and Guidelines" at http://trace.wisc.edu/world/gen_ud.html

Eleanor Smith, founder of Concrete Change, reports on the shortcomings of the New Urbanism movement in this article at Ragged Edge magazine:


"Morabeza" is the word in Cabo Verde that most closely matches the Hawai'ian spirit of "Aloha" -- laid back, genuine welcome and hospitality.

Dave Player has a hunch that morabeza and inclusive tourism make an attracive combination -- together with the beaches, trekking, and social life of Cabo Verde -- because, as Lonely Planet says,

The islands of the Cape Verde archipelago are windy, hilly and dry - almost lunar - and beyond that they're fairly sleepy. But there's beauty in them thar parched hills. And some of the islands are actually lush. There's good diving and hiking, lively nightlife and plenty of quiet corners to hide away in. Islanders mix up African, Portuguese, Mediterranean and Latin influences and come out with a flavour that's distinctly 'Cabo.' Package tourism has gained a foothold, but Cape Verde is still independent and unspoiled.

Dave pecializes in accessible tourism & real estate in Portugal and is in conversation with partners in the former Portguese colony of Cabo Verde about inclusive destination development projects there.

Bangladesh Protibandhi Kallyan Somity (BPKS) in collaboration with the Institute of Architects Bangladesh (IAB) organized a National Seminar on 'Universal Design Development Considering Disability' on June 02, 2005 at Dhaka Sheraton Hotel in Dhaka.

The aim of the seminar was to sensitize architects, designers, planners, engineers and others on the the adoption accessible design in infrastructure development and the adaptation in the existing infrastructure, by forming a committee of the representatives from all concerned departments to make enforcement effective.

Good information design about transport is essential for those who need to travel. Good information design about place is essential for thse who find themselves in new surroundings. Good information design is an item that travelers with disabilities repeatedly cite as essential to their ability to enjoy tourism.

Responding to the need, UNESCO is sponsoring an international three-day symposium 'Vision Plus 11: Needs, Trends and Themes for Information Design. Developing Information Design Subject Areas' in Vienna, Austria.




The Pfahl Executive Education & Conference Center on the Ohio State University Campus, Columbus Ohio will be the site for 2006 Multiple Perspectives on Access, Inclusion and Disability Conference on April 17 and 18, 2006. Below is the Call for Papers.

Andrea Boudeguer of Proyecto Accesible, Chile spoke on the topic "Sociedad civil y accesibilidad al espacio físico" (Civil Socitety and Accessibility to Phystical Space) theat the Universidad Diego Portales seminar, "Accesibilidad al espacio físco: Un derecho de las personas con discapacidad". Andrea, as mentioned previously at the Rolling Rains Report, was responsbible for the book, Manual de Turismo Accesible para Personas con Movilidad Reducida y Discapacitados, which is a resource directed toward those responsible for implementing inclusive travel.

With a nod to those who will be chuckling over the oxymoron, "affordable housing in California", here is a link providing further information on Berkeley's University Neighborhood Apartments:

Universal Homes See No Boundaries

The article, "Accessible Cruises, Fair Housing, and the Americans With Disabilities Act", was published in the "Travel & Disability" section of Suite101.com

See it at:


Acabo de recibir notica de un nuevo recurso sobre el Urguai -- y la Argentina -- de Marcelo de Arrechea, Director, Turismo Accesible en Argentina:


A new rsource on inclusive tourism in Agentina. Check it out! Or write: info@decthird.com

Uruguai, Donde Estas?

uruguay flag

Quisiera conocer al Uruguai. Un colega, padre Jesuita, me cuenta de la gente cariñosa y de la beleza de la natureza. Me dicen que mi antepasado, el escritor Martin Kukucin (Matej Bencur) de la Eslovaquia, lo conocio en su viaje para Punta Arenas, Chile.

Puede ser que el Uruguai es un paraiso para usario de silla de ruedos; un destino celestial para los de capacidades restringidos.

O pude ser que no.

Quien sabe? No se encuentra casi nada en el Internet de turismo acessible, diseño universal, o turismo para todos en Urugai. Porque?

Accessible Travel in Germany

Thinking of exploring Germany? The German government has a small portal on barrier free travel:


Guia Logo.gif

Choose from Spanish, German, French, Italian, or English versions as you use the Portal Internacional de Turismo Accesible / International Portal of Accessible Tourism at:


Universal Design Identity Program

Rolling Rains readers - especially the "Iconographers Study Group" - ought to consider taking part in the Universal Design Identity Program at: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s.asp?u=77543840862.

The Universal Design Identity program (UDid for short) is a research project that is being conducted by Alex Bitterman and Beth Tauke at the Center for Inclusive Design at the University at Buffalo.

As you may know, universal design is sometimes called "design for all," or "inclusive design." In this survey, we will use "universal design" to refer to "design for all" or "inclusive design."

The goal of this project is to develop an identity program that consists of a logo, a color palete, tactile elements, and a sound mark for universal design. The identity program will be used to identify universally designed places, products, and systems.

The final identity program (logo, color palate, tactile elements, and sound mark) will clearly identify places, products or systems that can be accessed and used by EVERYONE, regardless of physical, psychological, or cultural ability.

Over the past academic year the University of Illinois - Urbana-Champaign has been engaged in a unique experiement in learning. They have held a series of workshops entitled, "Walking as Knowing as Making: A Peripatetic Investigation of Place."