October 2006 Archives

Get Around Guide

Darren Hillock produces a blog, Get Around Guide, that I read to stay up-to-date. A recent post covers the globalization of Universal Design in the backpackers travel niche.

You saw it in Kerry & Jane Winberg's revolutionary Tasmanian circuit of accessible backpacker accommomdations. Starting with their flagship venue in Launceston, Tasmania I had the pleasure of visiting their porperties two years ago. Fast forward to October 2006 and read about Northwest Portland International Hostel in Portland, Oregon.

A partir de quinta-feira (02/11), 22 jovens portadores de necessidades especiais começam a trabalhar nos postos de informações turísticas da Bahiatursa espalhados por Salvador. Eles fazem parte do Projeto Adolescente Aprendiz, apoiado pelo governo estadual, que está aproveitando-os no atendimento ao turista e em muitos outros serviços.

Blind Travelers and Valencia, Spain

Valencia, Spain initiated a project for travelers with visual impairments.

Panasonic's prototype of a green home, the Eco & UD model home (Eco stands for ecological; UD stands for universal design) sports a host of energy-conserving appliances and could be built by 2010. CNET News.com's Michael Kanellos took a look during a recent trip to Tokyo. Read the story here:


Big Bear Countree

The outdoors present some challenges for travelers with mobility impairments. Darrel Von has a vision for meeting the challenges -- and having a good time! The culmination of his dream is Big Bear Countree in Carlton, Oregon.

Browse his site for Darrel's history, stories, and links with a focus on outdoor adventure.

Free Publicity for Hilton Hotels


When the Head Concierge himself asks me to post about an oversight in accessibility here at Rolling Rains I am ready to take a closer look at the values of his hotel.

It happened as I was checking into the Arlington Hilton last week for the SeniorNet 20th Anniversary Conference. Henry, the night concierge, was there to assist me from the moment the taxi pulled up. Showing me to my room (which, for some reason - perhaps a case of mistake identity - was on the exclusive Club Floor.) In the process of getting settled he pointed out to me that, in spite of his repreated requests to the management over the year, the bathroom counter in the accessible room 726 was too low and I would hit my knees on it.

Sure enough, I did. Several times!

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The site La Ciudad sin Barreras gathers online information to serve a Spanish audience with disabilities:

Este espacio pretende facilitar el acceso a la información existente en Internet en relación con las necesidades de los discapacitados españoles, así como facilitar su integración social y difundir aspectos relacionados con la prevención de las minusvalías.

Segway Synergies

Alan Rice offers a unique mode of travel to tourists in Hawaii. He is " the only official Segway dealer in Hawaii, he's already sold units to the Honolulu Police Department and the U.S. military, and hopes that more people will consider purchasing the device.

"You can go outside, get on the city bus ... roll out and do your business, roll back in and go back home," he said. "So many physically challenged people are using these and getting out of wheelchairs, and it makes them feel alive."

You learn something new every day:

Some examples of Universal Design are the football huddle, originally created for players with hearing impairments, and foil seals on modern coffee cans, which replaced tops that were hard for people with arthritis to open with can openers.



Remember The Alamo?

Michael Martinez writes in the San Jose Mercury News that the Alamo and Riverwalk make for good destinations for wheelchair users visting San Antonio, Texas.

The Chicago Tribune reviews Candy Harrington's latest book: There Is Room at the Inn: Inns and B&Bs for Wheelers and Slow Walkers

Singapore & Universal Design

Universal Design made inroads into the building policy of Singapore last month.

Internet Librarian 2006

Usability, accessibility, and Universal Design are fairly predictable topics, or at least side conversations, at a techie event like the one here in Monterey, California -- Internet Librarian. I didn't expect to discover something relevant to the Rolling Rains Report in a workshop on Mashups but here it is: Travel & Tourism data sets at the US Bureau of Economic Analysis.

Crisscrossing the USA

Speaking at the SeniorNet 20th Anniversary Conference in Arlington, VA provided an unexpectedly rich opportunity to review travel accessibility. Jetting directly to Internet Librarian extended the adventure. On to speak at AARP's Life @ 50+ on Thursday.

Italian Study: Accessible Tourism

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Below is a reproduction (without graphics) of the May 1999 Italian study on accessible tourism.

The data which this work is based on are taken from the survey carried out in the period between 31 May – 2 July 1999, by the Iter company commissioned by ENEA, as part of the STARe “Study of the Demand for Accessible hTourism”. This enquiry is part of the project “Italia per Tutti” promoted by the Ministry for the Industry (Department General for Tourism) and realised by ENEA as a tool for the promotion of holidays for “tourists with special needs”. The complete results of the survey can be found in the ENEA site at the following Internet address www.italiapertutti.it/i mprenditoria.htm .

Singapore Welcomes Universal Design

Singapore's Building and Construction Authority is poised to enact an important affirmation of Universal Design in March 2007.

From "Holiday Care" to "Tourism for All"

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In 1979 the organization Holiday Care was formed in the UK to anticipate the growth of Inclusive Tourism. Changing its name in 2004 to the local monkier and movement designation for accessible tourism, "Tourism for All," it continues to grow its services and web presence adding robustness to the pan-European movement to integrate the seven principles of Universal Design into the leisure and travel industry.

The existence of industry-oiented online advice and additional consulting service such as this is essential to tourism far beyond the borders of the European Union. Thank you Tourism for All - UK!

Designing for Your Lifespan

ASID Promotes Universal Design

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Recognizing that the majority of Americans want to remain in their homes as they age, the American Society of Interior Designers has established a volunteer council of noted experts to look at how design solutions can enhance and support residents throughout the life span. The Council will draw upon its vast experience and networks of professionals to provide the ASID Board of Directors with recommendations on information, research and education efforts that the Society should undertake to better prepare designers and consumers to meet the challenges that come with the normal process of aging.

When comparing international schemes for developing Inclusive Travel and strategizing on the integration of Universal Design in development the following EU document provides practical guidance:

This Guidance describes how tourist facilities, large and small, and destinations as a whole can improve the quality of the service that they offer to disabled people and others who will benefit from better accessibility...

This Guidance shows how to move beyond simple information provision
and provides further contacts to assist organisations in moving forward.
A key aim of this Guidance is to present a consistent and practical EU-wide
approach to providing access information, so that tourists can compare their options.
For this reason, all tourist facilities and destinations should consider this Guidance
as providing a complementary approach to existing actions.

Home Accessibility in Oregon State, USA

Last year, the Legislature of the State of Oregon instructed the Oregon Construction Contractors Board to develop a list of accessible features that contractors may offer to clients when building or remodeling private residences. The complete list contains 60 items, including:

The Republic of Poland was at the United Nations with the presentation of Franklin Delano Roosevelt International Disability Award, an honour bestowed on a country that has promoted and protected the rights of their disabled population. The award was presented to Poland’s President Lech Kaczynski by Anna Eleanor Roosevelt, granddaughter of the late president, Franklin D. Roosevelt, at a ceremony held at United Nations Headquarters in New York, New York.

More here.

Save the Date in 2008 - ICCHP

The 1th International Conference on Computers Helping People with Special Needs (ICCHP 2008) will be held July 9-11, 2008, at the University of Linz, Austria. The pre-Conference will run July 7-8, 2008. See: http://www.icchp.org/

The coming of age of Universal Design on a populist level is the thrust of the argument behind Randi Bjorns''s article Accessible Design Turns A Corner: Baby Boomers are Among Those Grasping the Keys to Independence.

Quoting George Braddock of Creative Housing Solutions we hear an astute summary of how we arrived at this point which continues to buoy Inclusive Destination Deveopment:

Braddock says people with disabilities have been "pioneers of a sort" in the development of universal design, a movement that focuses on building design that accommodates wide swaths of the overall population, from those still able-bodied to people temporarily or permanently disabled by illness or injury. advertisement

"The disability movement had an advantage because it was so 'cross-cultural,' " Braddock says. "Disabilities can affect anyone at any time and at any level, and as a result it has attracted a fair amount of resources."

The Flint Michigan Parade of Homes include one using Universal Design principles this year.



N.O.D.is calling on America’s mayors and chief elected officials to enter their communities in the sixth annual Accessible America awards competition, open to all U.S. cities and towns. Entries must be postmarked no later than October 31, 2006.

Thanks to sponsors UPS and Wal-Mart, communities will compete for $35,000 in cash prizes. Entrants will showcase how their citizens with disabilities are participating in and contributing to local community life. Cambridge, MA, West Hollywood, CA and Austin, TX were the 2005 winners, surpassing dozens of outstanding entries from diverse communities nationwide.

Five Inclusive US Cities

One good reaon to pick up this month's New Mobility magazine is the article Five Inclusive Cities by Roxanne Furlong

This year, the National Organization on Disability awarded its $25,000 Accessible America first place prize to Cambridge, Mass. West Hollywood, Calif., won second prize -- $20,000 -- and Austin, Texas, won the third prize of $10,000. What does it take for these cities to win these awards? With an eye towards inclusion, New Mobility tracked down the main reasons these communities were winners, plus we threw into the mix two larger cities that we felt stacked up to the top two winners.

Easter Seals Project ACTION's

Mobility Planning Services Institute
May 14-17, 2007
Bethesda, Md.

MPS brings together community teams of leaders from the disability world and transportation industry to share information and strategies to improve access to transportation services in their communities.

About the Institute

The MPS institute offers intensive training and planning activities that result in plans each team can take home to improve services in their communities. The training component of MPS is provided by industry experts serving as faculty for breakout sessions. Interspersed with the learning sessions are hands-on team working sessions. In a relaxed setting, Institute faculty facilitate an interactive learning environment where team members can openly discuss challenging issues and plan solutions.

Camping Tent for Wheelchair Users



“The Freedom Tent is the first tent of its kind to offer, as its name implies, freedom and independence for campers with disabilities,” said Linda Grebe, product manager of Eureka! tents. “We are proud to have worked with Blue Sky Designs to help deliver this innovation to the market and pleased to be recognized by the NMSS for our efforts to provide safe, reliable and comfortable tents to the disabled community.”

The Eureka! Freedom tent sleeps two and features a pole, sleeve and grommet design which allows easier set up from one side of the tent or from a wheelchair. It has a combination side entry door/window in the sleeping area that provides extra ventilation and allows for a side transfer to a cot. Its roomy vestibule provides room for wheelchairs, gear, chairs, or sleeping space for the family dog. The patent-pending zipper-less vestibule fan door opens easily and is operated with minimal dexterity and reach. To learn more about the Freedom Tent visit www.eurekatent.com or www.blueskydesigns.us."



metropolis cover

Metropolis magazine editor Susan Szenasy will be the featured presenter at La Roche College's 2006 Design Dialogue Series from 6:15-7:45 p.m. Oct. 25 at the Carnegie Science Center, on the North Side.

Szenasy has been editor-in-chief of Metropolis, the award-winning New York City-based magazine of architecture, culture and design, for 20 years.

Her topic, "Making Waves: How the next generation is redefining design," will focus on issues of sustainability, ethics in design, universal design and a thoroughly integrated approach to design that will affect our future.

The presentation is open to the public. Tickets are $30 for general admission, with $10 discounts for La Roche alumni and half-price tickets for students. Tickets can be purchased through the La Roche College Interior Design Department.

Details: 412-536-1024.

Valencia Tourism on the Rise

Not only is Valencia, Spain making progess on public accessibility it is enjoying increased tourism. Cause & effect? To soon to prove but I'd bet money on it anyway.

The Ministry of Tourism has presented the results of the study IMPACTUR (on the Economic Impact of Tourism) carried out in collaboration with Exceltur. One of the conclusions of the study is that the contribution of tourism to the GDP of the Community of Valencia has gone from 12.9% in 2003 to 13.8% in 2005, almost one point more in only two years.

Source: TravelTurisme

home ground cover

Inclusion as a feature of the means of transportation and built environment of travel destinations figures prominently in articles here at the Rolling Rains Report. The seven principles of Universal Design are a recurring theme.

But what about the times when the destination is pristine and the purpose of a trip is to encounter unmodified natural surroundings? Is there a way to "be part of it" even when disability and geography seem to conspire to make that impossible?

Without attempting to answer that question directly author Barry Lopez and managing editor Debra Gwartny illustrate the power of language to capture and engage as they discuss their new dictionary-style book, "Home Ground: Language for an American Landscape." A fascinating consequence of their collaborative effort with 45 writers to produce this work was the creation of a community inspired to renew the language of public discourse through the recovery of tradtional American folksonomy of place.

Listen to an interview at KQED's Forum program.

Daily Travel

Greg Livadas profiles John Bateman-Ferry, Luticha Doucette, and Victor and Christopher Hilderbrant, on life post-disability in Rochester, NY.

Doucette recently visited a new car dealership in Henrietta. They displayed a wheelchair symbol at one entrance, but it didn't have automatic door openers (which aren't required by the ADA).

"Having that sign there is very misleading," she said. "When I see a newer building, there should be as much accommodation as possible. That frustrates me when they don't do that.

"People who have disabilities want to get around like everyone else."


Accessibility to cultural venues, tourism and leisure services for people with disabilities is still very limited, according to the Spanish Committee of Representatives of People with Disabilities (CERMI). CERMI states that “Guaranties of accessibility should not be considered as a matter of sensitivity or of an agent’s good faith, but more as a matter of fundamental rights which should be guaranteed by the Government through a binding and effective law”.

Universal Design Unites Arch Rivals?

Well, maybe off the football field anyway!

Purdue and Ohio State Universities learn together about Universal Design.

Disability Conference Logo

There appears to be space for a presenter on inclusive Travel at the Tennessee Disability Mega Conference.

Jessica Reaves has found an accessible place to stay that has a bit of character in Newburyport, Masschusetts in Sunny Rooms in Scenic Massachusetts Port

Jimmy Goddard and Mount Kilimanjaro

Kilimanjaro 2006 Logo

Some people take sports to extremes! Meet Jimmy Goddard.


Community Based Design

lucchesi galati

Suvarnabhumi Airport is Thailand's public embrassment.

As in similar post-tsunami and post-Katrina rebuild debacles it was the disability community that raised an early warning signal. Citing the principles of Universal Design -- and predicting the damage to national prestige & local economics resulting from ignoring them -- advice went unheeded with the expected results:

Brou v FEMA 06-0838

It was inevitable in hindsight. The stonewalling began simultaneously with the Katrina floodwaters.

Immediately following Katrina Rolling Rains readers worked with FEMA, manufactured home producers, and their trade association advising on housing & infrastructure accessibility. All that was necessary to make 100% of the manufactures homes produced for Katrina survivors accessible (and Visitable) was an adjustment to the fabrication template to widen doorways to 36 inches. Simple.

Instead we have a legacy of needless suffering ending in Brou v FEMA 06-0838 providing only 5% access more than one year after the hurricane damaged a region of the US with a pre-disaster 24% disability rate.

Include 2007 - Call for Entires

The deadline for submissions for the Include 2007 conference is now
only a few days away. All submissions should be made by midnight on 5 October (GMT).


Gerontechnology Journal


Gerontechnology Journal is the Official Journal of the International Society for Gerontechnology (www.gerontechnology.info).

Monday Movies: Wheelchair Softball

TSA & Disability Aversion

I have just returned from a business trip that did not allow time to write a travelogue while on the road. While away Wheelchair Dancer posted a troubling account of her recent travels at Too Gross to Touch.

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Plan ahead for these European Union Inclusive Travel events:

  • ENAT International Workshop on Accessible Tourism
    Athens, Greece. Monday 23rd October 2006
  • Europe for All Stakeholder Conference on Accessible Tourism
    Brussels, Belgium. Thursday 18th and Friday 19th January 2007
  • The Second International Congress of Tourism for All (2007).
    Venue is not yet fixed but it will be in Spain. Wednesday 21st - Friday 24th November 2007