September 2006 Archives

Japan is implementing Universal Design with innovative projects and comprehensive planning at the highest levels:

The entire Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport will develop more advanced measures based on the concept of universal design and introduce the successful results nationwide by effectively supporting efficient and pioneering efforts by project and by region based on the characteristics of problems encountered according to conditions in each region in order to encourage such pioneering efforts that contribute to the widespread introduction of universal design.


Philadelphia by Ear: Podcast Tourism

While it does not appear to have been motivated by an intention to enhance Inclusive Tourism the consequence of Philadelpia's SoundAboutPhilly is just as beneficial.

Part Google mash up, part iTunes podcast, part RSS feed this project puts Web 2.0 technology on the tourism industry map.

Home Arcihtecture Built for the Future

This home, while not wheelchair-friendly from the outset, was built with adaptability in mind:

While Thompson’s client was reflecting on her past experience with a Modernist home as she and the architect set the program for the house, she was also considering a future when elderly parents would move in with the family. In the guest wing, handicap accessibility includes a wheelchair accessible shower off the guest bathroom, while the hall allows for a future ramp to be integrated to negotiate the changing floor levels of the main house. “The house was designed to create a continuum, and this family wants to stay here through retirement and beyond,” says Thompson. “It is truly a home for living.”

Reading about the Lancaster Arts Hotel has me imaging a dressed down version of Hobart, Tasmania's impressive Henry Jones Art Hotel.

The Jones was not spectacularly accessible -- bathroom counters with no legroom under them for wheelchair users -- but it didn't seem to flaunt such obstacles as stairways or exhibit confusion about what might constitute an accessible bathroom. In fact, their combination of Braille and illuminated signage throughout the building was artistically compelling.

Six Degrees of Separation -- from Yourself


When you have lived in or traveled to enough places this vast globe begins to feel like a Mobius Strip.

Once a chance ride home from church by someone I new only through her ministry at the parish revealed that she was the daughter of the housekeeper who served the family I lived with in Guatemala in high school. We had probably met several decades earlier and a continent away.

More recently, my interest in lilies (lilium species) has me virtually revisiting Tasmania and Taiwan. Taiwan, formerly Formosa ("Beautiful" in Portuguese), is home to the endangered Lilium formosanum.

The Appeal of Adventure Travel

The Seattle-based ATTA ( is a strategic membership organization dedicated to raising the profile of adventure travel globally. Established in 1990, the ATTA provides services, knowledge, and connections that help its members succeed in their businesses and contribute to responsible industry growth. The Adventure Travel Trade Association also is host to the annual Adventure Travel World Summit (

Challenge Air Gives Hope On Ground

Take Flight for Kids gets off the ground on September 30th in Hayward, CA. Theron Wright ready:

"The magic is when you put them in that co-pilot seat, and you let them take the controls, and you challenge them to challenge themselves, say, ‘look, you're flying this airplane, what can’t you do?,’" Wright says.

See the videos:

Flight Gives Hope on the Ground


How Buildings Make Us Happy

I have not read Alain de Botton's The Architecture of Happiness but Katherine Ashenburg's review at the Globe and Mail makes it seem like an interesting read. Interesting also to see if he deconstructs dominant assumptions about what physical and sensory functionalites are available to users of buildings.

She writes...

Adventure Travel

British retirees are increasingly seeking more adventure on their breaks, according to new research.

A fifth of so-called golden age packers intend to fly to far-flung countries such as China and Australia, says AA Travel Insurance.

Almost a quarter of retired people want to try risk-filled pursuits such as hot air ballooning, while another 18 per cent favour safaris.

Guatemala,Transmetro, y Diseño Universal

Desde el momento en que se anunció la construcción del Transmetro, las organizaciones de personas con discapacidad presentaron a la Municipalidad Capitalina propuestas concretas para que Guatemala se convierta en un país que toma en cuenta los derechos de personas con discapacidad y con movilidad limitada;

Do Sydney in style! Lime Taxis says:

Australia has never before seen a taxi fleet to rival Lime.

Everything about Lime, from its fleet of luxurious Mercedes-Benz Vito vehicles, to its service quality, operating principles, back up and support systems, has been purposely built to exceed expectations. The business principle that underpins all this is as simple as it is effective: find out what passengers want and give it to them.

For the disabled community, this will mean a design previously undreamt of in standards of access and comfort. For the corporate world, it will mean delivering on all the touch points of customer service - on time, every time.

Florida / Brasil: Turismo nos Estados Unidos

Este sitio nao tem muito para portador pois o que existe esta em Portugues!

After a brief hiatus of four years The Guardian has resurrected its Travelling With Disabiities Blog.

Launching what we hope is to be a regular set of posts is John Horan with "The Wheels Come Off."

Back to the Roots: Tourism for All - UK

The Belfast Telegraph recounts the history of Inclusive Travel in the UK. After an early lead in promotion the UK is still striving to achieve quantifiable data on the travel behavior and purchasing power of travelers with disabilities. Such data is essential to providnig travel and hospitality professionals with the tools they need to bring travelers with disabilties and seniors from the margins to the core of their market:

Government statistics estimate there are around 10 million people registered as disabled in the UK, of which Visit Britain estimates roughly 2.5 million are regular travellers. "In terms of spending power the figures we have are quite general," says Mr Seaman, "but as a market sector we're talking billions of pounds."

Inclusive Travel Workshop


Tuesday, September 19, 2006 Stephanie Acosta, Corporate Travel Manager, United Spinal Association presents, "Accessible Travel Options: By Land, By Air, and By Sea."

The event is scheduled from 1:00-2:30 p.m. (90 minute sessions) Central Time Zone(CT). The program is available in three formats:

* Teleconference
* Streaming Audio via the Internet
* Real-time Captioning via the Internet

Sign up here.

More on Mario Walenda's Skywalk


He made it:

There are a few news stories accumulating in anticipation of Mario Wallenda's aerial "wheelchair" maneuvers today over the Chicago River:

WLUP (The Loop 97.9) Covers Skycycle Ride

ABC 7 Chicago

Since December 2005 Disabled Peoples’ International Asia Pacific Region has been reporting deficits in the design and construction of Bangkok's Suvarnabhumi airport. At no time during that period were the five safety hazards reported by DPI reacted to by the public or the authorities.

Perhaps coverage by the Bangkok post will lead to retrofit solutions to a poorly conceived project that can stand as an international warning to those who neglect Universal Design in airport constrcution.

An Occupational Therapist as Tour Guide


This is no ordinary tour and you tour guide is tour guide is no ordinary OT. This is Ingrid ("SpookyOT") from the Rolling Rains Travel With a Disbility photo-sharing site at Flickr giving you the insider's view of universally designed playgrounds!

Take a tour of a playground in Hamilton, Ontario here

Access Board Holds Meetings on Vehicles

On July 25, 2006 the US Access Board held public meetings as an initial step in upcoming efforts to update its ADA guidelines for transportation vehicles and to develop supplementary guidelines on communication access. The meetings provided an opportunity for interested parties to advise the Board on key issues or subjects that should be addressed in these initiatives.

This review of Japan's "G-Mark" system revelas a hopeful future:

Japan's G-Mark program is the successor to the "Good Design Selection System" established in 1957 by the former Ministry of International Trade and Industry, and is Japan’s only comprehensive system for evaluating and awarding design. During its 50-year history, G-Mark has handed out Good Design Awards or G-Marks to 30,000 products....

To position Japan as leading the international standards, the G-Mark system held out as its next objective to set the global standards in terms of interactive design (design involving a dialogue with users); universal design (design that is non-discriminatory when used); and ecological design (sustainable design with green considerations).

As I recall, crossing the Chicago River near the Merchandise Mart can be diffiult -- traffic, gusts of wind, obstacles in the curb cuts. Even so, Mario Wallenda's approach never occurred to me.

In a sign that hope trumps experience, a high-wire performer paralyzed in a notorious fall plans to cross the Chicago River on a tightrope 100 feet in the air.

Mario Wallenda of the famous "Flying Wallendas" will try to cross the river Tuesday in a specially built electric "sky cycle." Wallenda, 64, will start in front of the Merchandise Mart and travel along a steel cable hoisted between two cranes on each side of the river.

Take Flight for Kids

take flight logo

This is a project that is close to my heart. The looks on the faces of young disabled pilots-for-a-day and the boost to their spirits given by Take Flight for Kids is unforgettable. You can see photos by organizer Dean McCully here.

Yuka: (Entrevista em Portugues)

Desde 9 de novembro de 2001, o músico e compositor Marcelo Yuka, 39 anos, vive numa cadeira de rodas. Marcelo Yuka Baleado com 9 tiros durante um assalto na Tijuca, zona norte do Rio, ficou paralisado da cintura para baixo. A vida profissional também parou. Saiu de O Rappa, precisou recuperar a vida para só então retomar o trabalho. Uniu-se a três novos músicos – o cantor carioca Maurício Pacheco e dois percussionistas pernambucanos, Jam e Garnizé. Juntos, eles formaram a F.UR.T.O (Frente Urbana de Trabalhos Organizados) e lançam agora o primeiro CD, Sangue Audiência.

Entrevista completa:

‘‘Tenho uma vergonha enorme de mim’’

Megan Smith Makes Travel a Lifestyle

"Disabled Traveler" Megan Smith has traveled to India and to Costa Rica and Peru - and she has only just begun to see the world. She enjoyed her travel so much that she plans to establish a career that involves travel. As she travels she opens up new perspectives t the people she meets.

Call for Papers: Geography & Disability

The Association of American Geographers, Disability Specialty Group (DSG) has issued a call for papers in their Student Paper Competition - 2007

Curso Turismo para Todo Desde la Argentina

TparaT Logo.jpg

Hay un curso virtual por Luis Alberto Grünewald y el Fundación Turismo Para Todos -- Como Mejorar la Competitividad de un Empresa Hotelera.

Accessible Lugo


Grab your Galego or Spanish dictionary and find out what is being said about inclusive tourism at 'Cadernos de Lugo" -- a site with the motto "Acceder es existir."

See Aquilino González' main site


The European initiative TouriSME, a community initiative of the Interreg IIIC Regional Operation Plan, reaches its conclusions this year. What will its lasting effect be?

Boletín Polibea Turismo

El mejor recurso de turismo para todos en la Espana se llama Boletín Polibea Turismo

Proud to be Proven Wrong

Over at the Rolling Rains photo-sharing site, Travel With a Disability, I jokingly mentioned to photographer Brian, "End of Level Boss," that sightseeing the Great Wall of China was not likely to be a passtime for travelers with disabilities.

I am glad to have been proven wrong by Huang Jianming and this video:

Avis Tries Harder in NYC

Avis Rent A Car System, LLC today announced it has received the Title III Public Accommodations Award from the Mayor's Office of New York City. The award is part of New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg's second annual Mayoral Advocacy Awards, at which companies are recognized for doing exceptional work in supporting the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

From the press release:

Avis Wins the 2006 Title III Public Accommodations Award from the Mayor's Office for People with Disabilities

Desafios y Compromisos del Turismo?

Como se puede humanizarse con una actvidade que se considera una clase de ser humano "menos valido?" Se humanizer la industria de turismo fue uno de los razones para nuestro congresso en el Río de Janeiro, Brasil despues del Diseñando para el Siglo XXI: Un Congreso Internacional de Diseño Universal

En Español:
La Declaración de Río : Diseño Universal para un Desarrollo Inclusive y Sostenible

En Portugese:
Carta do Rio: Desenho Universal para um Desenvolvimento Inclusivo e Sustentavel

Toward a More Human Vision

Conference flyer

The UNIJES Conference opens September 20 on the theme, “Challenges and Commitments of Tourism: Towards a More Human Vision”. What more basic place to start than "diseño universal" -- Universal Design.

El Congresso en me recuerda de lo que escribio el padre Jesuita James Spilane sobre la espiritualidade del trabajador en turismo -- otro aspecto del humanismo de turismo:

Spirituality of Work in the Hospitality Industry


For travel planning to Austria, provided your German is polished up*, try Informationsplattform Barrierefreier Tourismus. For more on Austrian accessibility see Behindertenarbeit.

Christina Li publishes UI Garden. Her article, Design, Technology and Their Roles in Social Changes, is an interesting piece.

Just Quick Note on Medical Tourism

Following up on the post here reporting on the press release Travel Agencies Jumping Aboard Medical Tourism Trend, here's a bit from 2005 Medical Tourism Growing Worldwide.

Michael Shaw, executive director of New Horizonshas a vision for community-based Universal Design. Read Disabled Don't Want To Be Forgotten by Gregory Seat at the Hartford Courant.

AT photo panel
I want to call your attention again to a conference on Assistive Technology in Hong Kong next month.

The conference itself promises to be outstanding but I have to admit that the double-amputee mountaineer in the photo panel above from the CTC Foundation inspires the adventurer in me! The conference is the First Conference on Assistive Technologies: Expanding a Universe of Opportunities for People with Disabilities, to be held in Hong Kong, October 10th to 12th, 2006.

The Camera Toting Wheelchair User

Julia Hollenbeck of Wheel Me On has written a piece called Lightweight Shutterbug Travel. Here is an excerpt:

Winter travel can certainly add the extra luggage, (depending on where you are heading) with a lap blanket, coat, sweaters, and boots for outdoors and of course all the comfy things for indoors. Soon your luggage adds up to three or more suitcases or one gigantic case with a tote you hope someone will help you load and unload.

Seeing Rome by Wheelchair

slow travel talk logo

There is a helpful discussion specifically about visiting Rome, Italy at SlowTravel,.com. Here is the link to a thread on the discussion board.

pambazuka logof

The 2004 Rio Declaration on Sustainable Inclusive Development set a high standard in the ongoing dialogue on development and disability. Progress continues. The following is by Lina Lindblom, communications officer at the Secretariat of the African Decade of Persons with Disabilities. The aricle celebrates the August 25, 2006 approval of a UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

taiwan was host to the 2005 International Conference on Accessible Tourism Chen Zhengwen keeps the hope kindled there burning brightly - for love of his daughter Mixi.

Chen Zhengwen is about to retire, and he has a dream: he hopes that one day he will be able to see his daughter, Mixi, travel independently around the island, without having to worry about stairways or barriers in her path. Chen is doing his bit with great tenacity, petitioning the government in hopes that bit by bit, he can create a totally accessible Taiwan.

RAC logo
Tools for Inclusive Destination Development include the new Rebuilding Accessible Communities, a joint venture of the ADA Technical Assistance Centers and the Access Board:

A new initiative is underway to promote accessibility in the rebuilding of communities destroyed by last year’s hurricanes. Rebuilding Accessible Communities, a joint venture of the ADA Technical Assistance Centers and the Access Board, is focused on developing and distributing guidance on achieving accessibility in reconstruction projects. Under this program, an on-line resource has been launched to disseminate information prepared and collected to date which is available at

Monday Movies: The Wheelchair Backflip

Tipping over backwards in a wheelchair is a relatively common experience. Performing an aerial backflip in a wheelchair was only first done in July 2006. Not the usual mode of travel-with-a-disability presented here the following URL links to what the skateboard generation is doing to push the boundaries of mobility.

A word of caution, the first several tricks go awry and end with bone-jarring lack of grace. If you can make it through the fiascos you will see the backflip:

Bob Coomber: California Mountain Man

From the Contra Costa Times:

Bob Coomber powered his wheelchair smoothly along a rugged dirt trail in the Mount Diablo foothills until he struck a hidden rock.

The man with arms of steel shuddered to a halt like a ship running aground.

He instantly popped his front wheels in the air like a kid on a bicycle and skimmed over just one more barrier to his quest to conquer rugged California hill and mountain trails where no one else has wheeled before.

Recent News on Universal Design

Imagine 2106 in the Back to the Future Youth Contest sponsored by the Canadian Association of Independent Living Centres to celebrate its 20th anniversary. The contest is open to anyone — able, disabled, whatever — aged 16 to 29. See by Helen Henderson's Contest crafts future with no limits

As home bathrooms become spas, Universal Design moves onto center stage. Read this article in the Arkansas Democrat Gazette by Catherine Rdgers, Awash in Choices and come back next week for herpiece: Ways and means of implementing the principles of universal design.

David Fischer, writing in the Herald Today, reports on the use of Universal Design in public spaces in Group tries to make playgrounds accessible for the disabled. What is especially noteworthy here is the clear distinction made between ADA compliance and Universal Design.

Disabled Traveler Survey

Hard data from surveys such as this 2005 study done by Microtel allows hospitality industry professionals to reinforce their anecdotal evidence that Universal Design is good business. If you are in a professional position to advocate for such a study consider doing so.

Spain continues its push toward municipal Universal Design. Here Malaga celebrates its recognition by Queen Sofia.

Access to Digital Information

NetSquared is a project to facilitate adoption of new, Web 2.0, social web tools by non-profits. Their informal gatherings and conference in the San Francisco Bay Area are an engine of technology dissemination and best practice sharing.

One topic covered at the NetSquared multi-author blog is Accessibility. In the latest post Sharron Rush looks at Goggle's Accessible Search.