December 2005 Archives

Resources on Universal Design for Homes

Here's a list of guides on building or altering homes to suit the needs of the elderly or disabled

AARP Guide to Understanding Universal Design
Very complete Web site includes room-by-room advice and narrated slideshows of homes employing universal-design principles

News of the "Other" WTO

TravelWireNews reports that the World Tourism Organization has changed its official acronym from "WTO" to "UNWTO." The change reflects the close relationship the organization has with the United Nations and distinguishes it from the other WTO -- the World Trade Organization.

Here are a few articles reflecting the continued spread of Universal Design in the US market for private homes:

Boomers Push Interest in Universal Design Homes

Universal Design Bath & Shower Systems Showcased In BASF �Better Planet� House

Planning your Home with Universal Design

The Rolling Rains Report will take on a new look in 2006. The changes are not simply cosmetic. New technologies, generically labelled "Web 2.0", are making it easier for small publishers to offer greater depth of features to readers.

Features based on Google Maps provide context to many of the posts at Rolling Rains. Two mapping tools include A href="">Wayfaring and "Community Walk"

At its November meeting, the Access Board approved its research agenda for 2006. Every year the Board sponsors or promotes research on various aspects of accessibility. Through its work maintaining accessibility guidelines and standards and its provision of technical assistance, the Board regularly identifies issues or questions that merit further study. A public forum the Board held on its programs and services as a part of a series of ADA anniversary events also identified research priorities.

Evangelist for Good Design: Tom Klinkowstein

For the past year and half, Tom Klinkowstein has conducted workshops, called Horizon Projects, with design students in four countries using a methodology adapted from John Anderson, a NASA scientist. The workshops lasted from 1/2 a day in New York, to two days in Istanbul, Turkey, three days In Shanghai, China and five days in Mumbai, India.


On December 2, 2005 Vikas Khanna received the "Access to Freedom Award" from SATH - the Society for Accessible Transportation & Hospitality.

This is only a small part of what this celebrated executive chef from India has achieved. His accomplishments merit a full length article.

On this holy feast of the birth of Christ I salute a man whose compassion and dedication reflect the highest ideals of any religion and all people of goodwill.

A new issue of the online periodical of news and views,
DisabilityWorld, has just been produced by the World Institute
on Disability in collaboration with other groups active in
developing and resource poor countries. Posted on December 19,
the theme of the special issue is "Disability and Development"
that takes a closer look at policies and projects giving
mainstream assistance to disabled people within broader social
and economic programs.

Disabled passengers will not get on certain Qantas flights beginning Feb. 2007

SYDNEY, Australia (eTurboNews) -- Australian airline Qantas is under scrutiny because of a plan to restrict some passengers with disabilities on three types of aircraft.

In its defense, Qantas said cargo doors on its Boeing 737, 717 and Aerospace 146 planes are too small to fit some electric wheelchairs safely.

The airline has claimed that its staff have been injured trying to work around the problem according to a published report.

They will stop accepting passengers in electric wheelchairs on those aircraft from February.

But the secretary of Tasmanians with Disabilities secretaty Robyn Wilkinson told reporters the airline must stop discriminating and work harder on practical solutions. "There has to be a way of accommodating the needs of people with disabilities," he was quoted as saying.

"The ultimate should be something like one or two seats can be removed from the aircraft on a temporary basis and that people can actually board in their wheelchair, and have the wheelchair clamped down in position."

Tourism and Social Inclusion Brazilian Style

Some names keep reappearing recently in the field of Inclusive Tourism.
Fl�via Roberta Costa is one such rising star. In October she led the SESC symposium on inlucsive travel in S�o Paulo, Brazil. In Mazatlan, Mexico she also addressed the national conference on tourism for all.

Japan, with its precipitous shift to a large aging population, has been strategic in implementing Universal Design. For those who read Spanish here is an article reviewing the approach Toyota is taking to serving this new customer base.

From UC Berkeley:

We are pleased to announce open applications for our postdoctoral program funded by the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (H133P020009). The goal of this program is to train postdoctoral and professional scholars, in any discipline, to be leaders in disability studies and rehabilitation research and mentorship. Based at the University of California, Berkeley, a San Francisco Bay Area Consortium of universities, research institutes, and disability agencies will recruit people with advanced professional degrees who want to broaden their theoretical outlook and their disability research methodological skills.

Universal Design Resource List @

Coral Nafie, who writes tjhe Interior Decorating section at has a good collection of resources on Universal Design It has a consumer orientation so does not include a link to another good site Adaptive Environments and their excellent resource pages.

P&O has ordered a 3,100 passenger capacity ship to be built by shipbuilders
Fincantieri at a cost of about $600 million. The new ship, named Ventura,
will feature eight restaurants, six shops, five swimming pools and three
show lounges and a spa and family zone with four activity areas for
children. The ship will have 1,550 cabins and 900 of those will have a
private balcony.


Daily ARTA 9/21/05

This piece comes courtesy of Dave Reynold's informative Inclusion Daily Express:

European Trip In Wheelchair Was Surprisingly Accessible"
September 14, 2005

SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA--The following four paragraphs are excerpts from a story by San Diego Union-Tribune "Abilities" columnist Marilyn Salisbury:

What did I do on my summer vacation?

I spent two weeks traveling in Eastern Europe and fell in love with my wheelchair in the process.

I had polio as a child and have used either braces or crutches ever since. For the first time, I used my manual wheelchair almost exclusively for mobility on this trip.

I found the public accommodations for those with disabilities to be better than I expected. There were curb cuts, and the public restrooms were better equipped than those here.

Entire article:
"European trip in wheelchair was surprisingly accessible" (San Diego Union-Tribune)

With Age Comes Wisdom...

magnified face travel alarm clock
With age comes wisdom - and a bewildering variety of changes to one's visual accuity. So, here is a gadget for sighted travelers. It's a travel alarm clock with a built-in magnifier.

Billionaires, Bathrooms & Universal Design

Forbes magazine ran an article that, inadvertently perhaps, equates Universal Design with luxury. The piece, "Billionaire Bathrooms" explains:

Now wealthy home owners are transforming their bathrooms into spas--and for practical, as well as indulgent, reasons.

The Community Technology Foundation of California (Full Disclosure: where I am a ZeroDivide Fellow) is a funder of the new DVD release of the exemplary Assistive Technology/Universal Design program from PBS, "Freedom Machines." Read on to find out how to purchase a copy at discount.

The following article appeared in the most recent issue of the Boletin Polibea Turismo in English as as "A Travel Trend on the Horizon" and, in Spanish, as "Una Tendencia en el Horizonte."

Universal Design in New Jersey

Universal Design and sustainability find a happy marriage in the "Better Home, Better Planet, Paterson Showhouse." The intention is to use innovations in solar hot water, ergonomic appliances and wheelchair-safe shower systemst to place this model project at the forefront of Smart Building Practices for seniors and people with disabilities.

The White House Conference on Aging (WHCoA) is taking place right now in Washington, DC. It occurs every ten years and, just like ten years ago, SeniorNet is running the on-site Computer Center.

I have been watching the posts of Richard Ambrosius at the WHCoA event blog portal. His recent post, "Beginning of a Renaissance?" motivated me to to reply here. Apparently Universal Design is under discussion and will recur as a topic in Richard's blog as the conference contionues through Wednesday.

On Decmber 13, 2005 a new forum will convene to discuss disability issues in the Auckland region. The focus will be on good urban design and the importance of creating a 100 per cent accessible city. Auckland City and its Disability Issues Advisory Group (DIAG) are hosting the inaugural Auckland Regional Disability forum for around 100 urban designers. For more information contact Auckland City's disability adviser, Minnie Baragwanath.

Reflections on Universal Design & Justice

Susan S. Szenasy, editor of Metropolis Magazine, addressed the designing for the 21st century III conference last December in Rio de Janeiro. Her presentation appears in Metropolis as, "What Happened? Where Do We Go From Here?."

She writes:

So the growing impact of these two sister movements, sustainability and accessibility, lead me to think that the English historian Arnold Toynbee might have been correct when he wrote that "The 20th century will be chiefly remembered by future generations not as an era of political conflicts or technological inventions but as an age in which human society dared to think of the welfare of the whole human race as a practical objective."

Disabled? Want to be a Travel Writer?

Disability Writes Logo

Disability Writes has a unique mandate. It is a service for writers with disabilities.

TRANSED 2007: Call for Papers

TRANSED is an international event promoting accessibility in transportation systems.

TRANSED Conference Banner

The Curb Cut Effect at Home

"I even get calls from people with no disabilities," says Steve Bible, owner of accessHomes in San Antonio, Texas. "They just like the idea of the wide-open rooms." Read more in Company specializes in accessible houses

Imagine that. Human-centered design appeals to people who are still temporarily not disabled. Cruise ship operators know that some of the clientelle will try to book the accessible cabin because, "They just like the idea of the wide-open rooms."

Next trend: people having to make special arangements to book small, incoveniently designed hotel rooms or rental cars!

Accessible Canadian Adventures

ACA Logo.jpg

Try Accessible Canadian Adventures for the hunter who uses a wheelchair.

Space Tourism to the Moon?

A flight to the Moon may cost space tourists $100 million, a senior official of the Russian Space Agency said Tuesday, reports RIA Novosti.

"A project for a flight around the Moon really exists and we are currently studying it," said Alexei Krasnov, the head of the agency's department of piloted programs. "This flight may cost some $100 million for a tourist."

According to Krasnov, a modernized cargo spacecraft Soyuz with a Russian cosmonaut and one-two space tourists on board will be put into low earth orbit and docked with the International Space Station.

Visit(ability) North Dakota!

"If you build it, they will come but they have to be able to get in," reminds Katina Tengesdal in yesterday's Minot Daily News. She interviews Eleanor Smith, promoter of Visitability and founder of and reports on the movement toward Universal Design on North Dakota. Touching on issues of the cost savings of correctly designed homes, the ability they offer for their owners to age-in-place, and the increased resale value of universally designed homes she lays out arguments that the NoDak tourism & hospitality sector would do well to heed.

Making Homes Accessible to All

Of Wheelchairs, Kitchens, and Universal Design

Universal Design is moving into mainstream America through the creativity -- and hard work -- of people like Kathleen Edwards. Read her story at "ON TOUR: Marin and Rockridge "

Tourism for Tomorrow Awards

Could the Tourism for Tomorrow Awards be a chance for your business - or your favorite destination - to be recognized for excellence iin Universal Design?

From the press relesase:

With categories for destinations and businesses of all sizes,
comprising all aspects of responsible tourism including conservation
and community involvement, the Tourism for Tomorrow Awards promote
and encourage the world's leading examples of tourism best practice.

Tourism & Postmodernity

The second call for papers has been issued for the 16th ISA World Congress of Sociology. The event will occur in Durban, South-Africa July 23 - 29, 2006.

The RC 50 Tourism & Postmodernity Panel will discuss theoretical models
to describe the social contexts and/or conditions giving rise to tourism practice.

Bright feet slippers with a built in flashlight

Small lightweight gadgets that serve mutiple puposes can be very handy when you travel. I wonder if I have room to pack a pair of Bright Feet on my next trip?

In Japan, Panasonic demonstrates the relevance of the Rio Charter on Universal Design for Sustainable Inclusive Development. See:

Panasonic Builds an Eco & UD Model House in Tokyo