November 2006 Archives

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On 3rd December 2006 the DisAbled Recreation Club of Perth, Australia, in partnership with ACROD WA are having an all day party - Celebration of Ability - and you’re invited.

To celebrate the United Nations International day of People with a DisAbility and the launch of the DisAbled Recreation Club, we are having an exhibition promoting participation and what people with disAbilities can do rather than what they can’t do!

We have two pavilions at the Perth Convention and Exhibition Centre full of fun filled activities, demonstrations, speakers and exhibitors. Be inspired by the guest speakers including Paralympian Janet Shaw, awed by a demonstration of a hand controlled motorbike and impressed by the skills of the Wildcats who’ll play a game of wheelchair basketball against the Wheelcats and that’s just a few of the events that will be happening throughout the day.

ACROD-WA

Over at Wheelie Catholic somebody is asking the right question. When will Visitability ("Universal Hiousing" in Australia) bring joy to the holiday season?

Every holiday, I receive invitations to go to parties at friends and families' homes. The bottom line is that I can't get into these events because no one's home is accessible. It isn't a matter of just getting in the front door, although that can be daunting in itself - I'm getting flashbacks here of using pieces of plywood to roll up eight concrete steps - but once inside, the hallways may not be passable and of course, the bathroom may not be accessible.

My friends with disabilities have accessible housing by necessity so I can always be with them, but they live many miles away. It is discouraging as a person who works toward inclusion to discover that the friends I have who are not disabled might as well be living in a castle with a moat with alligators in it!

Read more:
http://wheeliecatholic.blogspot.com/2006/11/dear-santa-can-i-have-universal-design.html

Valerie Fletcher tells it like it is in Kyoto: at the 2nd International Conference for Universal Design:

The conference reinforced that what it means to be old is changing. Many people over the age of 70 are staying active, whether it’s someone in Norway (a world leader in universal design along with Japan) extending their career or a grandparent in sub-Saharan Africa taking care of an HIV-positive baby whose parents have died of AIDS. It isn’t just polite to make their world accessible: it’s imperative.

For many other retirees, mental and physical isolation is the challenge. A major antidote, says Dr. Jane Barratt, secretary general for the International Federation on Aging, is creating “age friendly cities. It’s about creating enabling environments. Public space is an important opportunity.”

Relatedly, there was a debate at the conference about whether governments can or should mandate the creativity and innovation necessary for good UD. “I think fixed standards and regulations make design more predictable,” if not outright boring, says Valerie Fletcher of Adaptive Environments in Boston. “It becomes, ‘Just tell me what I have to do.’”

Source:
http://www.metropolismag.com/cda/story.php?artid=2407

Travel Impact Newswire

Imtiaz Muqbil in Bangkok writes Travel Impact Newswire.The current issue contains a report on the UK's recent sutdy on global warming:

Calling climate change the “greatest market failure” ever seen, a report prepared for the U.K. Treasury says the aviation industry is likely to be “among the fastest-growing” contributors to the problem by 2050. It has called for both the aviation and shipping industries to be slapped with a “carbon pricing” structure to curb emissions of greenhouse gasses.

Released with much fanfare in the U.K. earlier this week, the conclusions of the so-called Stern Report are sure to put the lifeblood industry of travel & tourism on the defensive to account for the environmental downside of deregulation, liberalisation and unbridled open-sky competition that has seen more people take to the air than ever before in recent years.


Source:


TRAVEL IMPACT NEWSWIRE -- Edition 73 -- Thursday, 02 November 2006

Travel With Wheelchair Dancer

Wheelchair Dancer has several posts on her recent travels.

"On my last trip to NYC, I had the misfortune to meet the TSA person from hell."
http://cripwheels.blogspot.com/2006/11/wcd-meets-tsa-ii.html

Explore Southern Brazil by Wheelchair

Caminhadores


The Brazilian non profit Caminadores is part of the vibrant national market for inclusive leisure and adventure travel. Activites include trail walks, orienteering, rappelling, as well as infrastructure building and marketibng projects such as tourist maps and accessibility audits of tourism venues.

London: Getting Around Underground

youreable logo

Youreable.com
reports:

London Underground, in partnership with Direct Enquiries, has commenced assessments of all of their 274 stations, as part of a commitment to improve access for customers.

The assessments, conducted by Direct Enquiries (the Nationwide Access Register), are the first step in a campaign to make access details of London Underground more accurate, timely and widely available. This follows on from work to determine where actual improvements to access could and should be made.

The assessments will provide London Underground with detailed reports on all public areas of the network, allowing them to understand the access routes and facilities available to people who have specific requirements. This includes disabled people, older and younger people, parents with pushchairs and people with luggage.

Once the assessments have been completed, the information will be made available to the public through www.directenquiries.com, the TfL journey planner and paper-based customer information products.


Source:
http://www.youreable.com/TwoShare/getPage/01News/01Current/Nov2006/Underground%20Stations%20to%20be%20assessed

Fly With Steve Wright

british-concorde

Here's a sample of travel writing by somebody with real life experience:

When your spouse uses a wheelchair, your travel options aren't so much limited as they are dependent on creativity and flexibility.

Long cross-ocean flights, for example, are not out of the question. But a wheelchair user with stiff joints, constant pain and prevalent fatigue due to severe rheumatoid arthritis will cope much better with eight-plus hours of flying if he or she can be accommodated with the roominess of a business-class seat.

The same goes for a place to sleep far from home. On a trip to Spain, we found there are barrier-free hotels, hostels, palladores and apartments, but that only about one in 50 is wheel- chair-accessible and about one in 10 of those advertise the fact that they can accommodate a disabled traveler.

And some places somehow come to the conclusion that they are wheelchair-accessible even though the only route to the front door is via eight steep, slippery steps.

Accessing Downunder

Singapore: Diffusion of Universal Design

Universal Design has swept through various parts of the world at different rates and for different reasons over the past 30 years. Here is a real-time opporunity to see it impact a domain in Asia as Ivan Chew diffuses and plays with the concept:

map of singapore

Accessible Design in Asia
http://sglead.wordpress.com

Universal Design in Asia
http://preetamrai.com/weblog/archives/2006/10/21/universal-design-in-asia/

Do You Have More Examples of Accessible Design?
- http://ramblinglibrarian.blogspot.com

A Story of South African Travel

south africa flag

A travelogue at Youreable.com includes the following:

After reading a book called The Wilderness Family by Kobie Kruger I was determined to visit Africa myself. The book is about living in the Kruger National Park as the wife of a game ranger and the trials of bringing up three children with orphaned animals running riot through the house and crossing hippo infested rivers to get to the car every day. I was so inspired by the book and my Dad’s tales of the African bush throughout my childhood that I just had to go and give Dad a chance to see it all again.

UN Logo

December 3 is the United Nations International Day of Disabled Persons.

Rebuilding along the Gulf Coast provides a "unique opportunity" to make housing, transportation and health care more accessible to the disabled, the National Council on Disability said...

"If you build for accessibility from the get-go, you won't shut people out from coming back from other states" if they left after Hurricane Katrina, said Martin Gould, director of Research and Technology for the agency.

The Gulf Coast area was mentioned specifically in the 160-page report because there is a disproportionate number of disabled people in the area, about 25 percent, he said

.

Source:

http://www.sunherald.com/mld/sunherald/news/local/15898377.htm

The Disability Access Symbol Exhibition

ISA Modified

Take out you cameras and contribute to this project to document the many faces of the International Symbol of Access.

The Other "Fare War"

Candy Harrington is following the Canadian debate on whether or not attendants and companions should have to pay full fare when accompanying a passenger with a disability. See One Person, One Fare?

The Chicago Sun-Times reports on a small step toward making Chicagoland an Inclusive Destination:

The signs, stripes and wheelchair logos painted on the pavement make it obvious the spots are earmarked for disabled drivers. But motorists eager to park close to a store or restaurant frequently ignore those warnings.

"It's a total disregard for anything,'' said Bill Bogdan, the disability liaison for Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White who uses a wheelchair himself.

Reminder: Free Voice Recognition Software

free software

Monday November 27 starts the four day software giveaway here at Rolling Rains. Pick up a copy of Dragon Naturally Speaking voice recognition software.

Destinations logo
Destinations 2006

The Destinations 2006 World Tourism Forum features a panel on Inclusive Travel. Some speakers' names appear frequently here at the Rolling Rains Report: Dada Moreira, Adriana Braun Santos, & Jani Nayar. It is also encouraging to see new leadership emerging:

Happy (US) Thanksgiving!

One of the things that I give thanks for today is a vibrant, international Disabled Community and the wonderful celebration of its strenght over at Goldfish's hosting of the Disability Blog Carnival. Welcome to all who have stumbled upon the Rolling Rains Report through the Carnival - and a reminder to all that there will be a contest here for free copies of Dragon Naturally Speaking voice recognition software starting Monday November 27. The contest only runs for four days. Check back and snag free software!

Over at the Carnival you will be reading about adaptability. Entries are ordered under headnigs like the following. I'll let you guess where this submission appears: "This is super long and unedited, but if you want to read about my sex life this is probably your only chance" (Hmmm, sex and free software in the same post. What's that going to do to our server stats, Wayne?)

build for all logo

Build for All is an EU project of capacity building for inclusion. November 15 was the launch of the Build for All project manual.

The Rolling Rains Photo Sharing Site

Have you seen the photos at Rolling Rains - Travel With a Disability? There are over 200 and they come from all over the world.

The Flickr sidebar here on the blog serves up a sample every time you come to Rolling Rains. Feel free to add your own photos to these:

http://www.flickr.com/groups/rollingrains/pool/

Instructions are at:

http://www.flickr.com/groups/rollingrains/discuss/72157594222938958/

José Isola of Peru is co-author of the first history of accessible tourism. He has been a longtime advocate for Universal Design and all the areas advocated here at the Rolling Rains Report: Visitability, Inclusive Destination Development, and Inclusive Travel.

As of yesterday he is also an elected offical:

It's an honor to announce to you all that by democratic and popular elections, held yesterday in Peru, I have been elected a Town Councilman for the District of San Isidro, where I have lived almost all my life. The team led by Mr. Antonio Meier was elected by more than 45% of the votes and we will take office on January 1 st 2007.

In times like these the only thing I can think of is to deeply thank all those friends that in one way or another have supported my activities in favor of people with disabilities over all these years.

Thanks to you all.

José A. Isola

Sanabria

Sanbria Lake in the Parque Natural del Lago de Sanabria y alrededores is about to become more visitable through the application of the principles of Universal Design.

Post-Katrina Mississippi

Universal Design has an opportunity to contribute to post-Katrina recontruction through the event “A Cultural Charrette: Conversations about Coast Community Life"

Four Mississippi cultural agencies will host a cultural charrette in Gulfport on December 1 and 2. The Mississippi Arts Commission, the Mississippi Humanities Council, the Mississippi Library Commission and Mississippi Department of Archives and History are holding the event at the Jefferson Davis Campus of Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College. This innovative gathering will bring together organizations and individuals to discuss the unique culture of the Mississippi Gulf Coast—its rich history, architecture, cuisine, way of life and ethnic diversity. Residents will have an opportunity to be part of reweaving the fabric that constitutes the heart and soul of the coastal area. This town hall meeting will encourage collaborations among cultural entities and interested residents as recovery continues. For more information call 1-800-647-7542.

A Break in the Travel Schedule

Pollo Patagonico is a prolific visual artist with a disability. He contributes his work at http://www.flickr.com/groups/rollingrains/. His latest post, Sin Ideas | Without Ideas turns his sense of boredom into a clever demonstration of his photo animation skill.

I, on the other hand, am longing for something approaching boredom after back-to-back trips to:

"Valerie Cooper thought the special features in her new Venice home would come in handy some day. She had no idea that day would come so soon" writes Victor Hull in the Herald Trubune.

Map.gif

Inclusive Destination Development is being fostered by Spain's premio Reina Sofía de Accesibilidad (Queen Sofia Accessibility Award.) The latest recipient is the town of Lugo.

Text-to-speech

Text-to-speech is usually the less emphasized function of speech recognition software like the Dragon Naturally Speaking that we be giving away during the week of November 27. Text-to-speech is an important feature for many people with disabilities.

I had the opportunity to listen to Stephanie Dailey explain her award-winning web site, , at Georgetown University. As she demonstrated the site's built-in audio output features the linguistics major in me could not help note the quality. There must be a very good algorthm for supra-sentential structure like emphasis and inflection because the robo-voice sounded very real.

Free Stuff at the Rolling Rains Report

dragon naturally speaking

Yes, I used the word "free". It's free software as a matter of fact. (Will all the spambots in the blogosphere now descend on the Rolling Rains Report? Let's hope it is a longtime reader who wins one of the two free copies of Dragon Naturally Speaking that will be given away during the week of November 27.)

Keep watching for details but here's the first hint. Once it starts, the contest will only run for fours days once it opens.

Dehli: Accessible Public Transit

India eNews reports:

The Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) has decided to introduce buses convenient for the elderly and handicapped as well as revamp bus shelters to make the capital's public transport system more commuter-friendly.

The Georgetown?Fordham Lecture Series

I still recall the sense of surprise and delight at the first time I could feel "chi" as a volume between my hans in a Tai Chi session. Stepping onto a university campus is sometimes similar. Visiting Georegtown last night was one of those times.

As rail travel regulation addresses accessibility in Europe the Disability Intergroup reports:

RAIL PASSENGERS REGULATION

The regulation is in the 2nd reading at the European Parliament now (Rapporteur Dirk Sterckx, BE, ALDE). The report will be voted in TRAN Committee in December, and in plenary - in January 2007.
There are still open issues for disability community, such as:

- the request for assistance must be submitted 48 hours before travel;
- in order to receive assistance, person must be at station 90 min before departure;
- the assistance can only be provided at manned stations.

Ahoy! - Disabled Divers Welcome

Dive Pirates Logo

On the flight to Washington, DC yesterday there were swashbuckling pirates galore in the in-flight movie "Pirates of the Carribean III". The movie reminded me that even pirates -- Dive Pirates to be precise -- are adopting Universal Design and expanding the number of vacation destinations and leisure activites that are accessible to a broad range of people.

As the only resort to dive two of the three Cayman Islands, Brac Reef Beach Resort has added adaptive diver training to its repertoire.

Brac Reef Beach Resort has teamed up with Dive Pirates Foundation-an adaptive dive club and charity for divers with disabilities - to offer the underwater world of the renowned Cayman Islands.

Source:

http://www.langleytimes.com/portals-code/list.cgi?paper=47&cat=46&id=770217&more=

A Custom Carribean Cruise

junior suite

If you were having someone plan your vacation wouldn't you choose someone knowledgable and experienced? Here's your chance. Cruise the Caribbean this Fall with the person I turn to when I have a tough question about accessible travel -- Candy Harrington.

Building Industry Show 2006

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Canada Examines Airline Discrimination

Good start: The Canadian Transportation Agency is holding public hearings on additional air travel costs paid by persons with disabilities.

Lison: Global Travel & Tourism Summit

Global T&T Summit logo


The Global Travel & Tourism Summit will be held in Lisbon, Portugal from May 10 to 12, 2007.

Pacific Tent

I am a big fan of lifelong learning - new challenges and intellectual exercise through the lifespan.

I also enjoy goofing around - playing.

So when Chris Coleman of AblePlay asked me to review their program I dropped the work I was doing to go play!

Amory Park del Sol: Tucson

armoryparklogo

The Rio Declaration on Universal Design as Sustainable Development endorses the alignment of Universal Design and energy efficiency that is exemplified by Tucson's Amory Park del Sol. Read about their approach to to access & visitability. Projects such as this can significantly contribute to the next step -- Inclusive Destination Development.

Save the date for the TRANSED 2007 conference June 18-19, 2007 in the Palais des congrès de Montréal.

See the conference program here.

Dinning Out in Sydney

eatability_logo Genghis_khan_restaurant

Eatability Sydney, Australia has a special promotion going on. Restaurants listed at Eatability are accessible. A site with such high production values at Eatability can only be a positive impetus to consciousness of inclusion in the local dining market.

Win a Night Out at Genghis Khan Mongolian BBQ Restaurant! How would you like to win one of 20 dinners for two at Genghis Khan Mongolian BBQ Restaurant - King Street Wharf or Chatswood - valued at $75 each?

Universal Design continues to be the design approach of choice as lack of vision about the lifecycle of homeowners and the desire to allow Visitability spreads. here is a notice about a professional response in Canada:

Royal LePage Real Estate Services announced the launch of the Royal LePage Seniors Real Estate Specialist (SRES) Designation Program. The SRES designation is a North American real estate recognized designation, and Royal LePage will be the first organization in Canada to become a certified supplier, making it available to its Realtors in response to the changing housing needs, desires and options available to the 50-plus market.

Micrsoft's Bill Gates is poised to buy into ownership of the Four Seasons Hotel.

Given his philanthropic accomplishments through the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation one would hope so. However, there are no public indications that he has a leadership vision that includes Visitability. Past performance of his business partner, Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, who owns Fairmont Hotels & Resorts does not include an emphasis on Inclusion. Apparently the business case for Inclusive Destination Development needs to be made more strongly.

Investment tip to Bill: You could own the hotel industry operating system by building out the Universal Design infrastructure of your lodging empire.

Stillborn Arguments for Exclusion

The bankruptcy of the medical model of disability as a base for social policy is starkly exposed today in the work of Britain's Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecology.

Promoting discussion of the death of children with disabilities as medicine the College's report includes the statement, "A very disabled child can mean a disabled family" - a false sentence in that the definition of disability is a lack of function. Handicap is the condition experienced by the family and the child with the disability.

A disability - a medical condition - may or may not be cureable by medicine. A handicap - a soclal consequence of exclusion due to a medical condition - is a social practice that is "cureable" by non-medical means.

One such manifestation of non-lethal approaches to resolving handicaps is the application of Universal Design in various markets such as Visitability in housing and Inclusive Travel and Inclusive Destination Development in transport and leisure.

The topic is not Inclusive Travel, Universal Design. or disability but when have you known me not to include at least part of that triad into an article or presentation?

I have the privilige of participating in the Communications in an Unstable World panel discussion series being co-sponsored by Fordham University's McGannon Communications Research Center and Georgetown University's Communication, Culture & Technology program. The topic of the November 14th discussion is Communicating Effectively to an Aging Population.

Visitability

Concrete Change is the flagship promoter of the concept "Visitability."

Ragged Edge magazine has also developed a valuable online resource at www.visitability.org. So has SUNY-Buffalo's Center for Inclusive Design and the Australian Network for Universal Housing Design. The Center for Universal Design at the University of North Carolina keeps a listing of Visitability-related events here.

On August 14, 2006 the information reported here at Sight Community News was presented by Olegario D. Cantos, U. S. Associate Director for Domestic Policy:

http://www.tabinc.org/blog/archives/2006/08/over_the_last_2.html

Ski France! (in French)

handica logo

Doing anything special this Christmas Season? Handica.com has an idea for you:

Symconcept - Handi-skiez à Noël : Vacances de rêve en Haute-Savoie ! SYMCONCEPT (SYMCONCEPT) Résumé : Au coeur de la montagne, dans un village typiquement savoyard, en hôtel ou en appartement , SYMconcept vous garanti un accueil chaleureux et convivial.

Disabilities Studies contributes to the growth of Inclusive Travel and the 4th Annual Conference of the Canadian Disability Studies Association will be held Saturday, May 26th & Sunday, May 27th at the University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada.

FICCDAT logo

The Call for Submissions has been extended to December 11, 2006 for the Festival of International Conferences on Caregiving, Disability, Aging and Technology (FICCDAT 2007).

The event consist of five concurrent conferences:

  • Growing Older with a Disability
  • 2nd International Conference on Technology & Aging
  • Advances in Neurorehabilitation
  • Caregivers: Essential Partners in Care
  • Improving Medical Device Usability

Now that's what I'm talking about - some serious attention to the lessons of Katrina!

Research Improves Inclusive Travel

Inclusion of customers with disabilities is in the economic self-interest of the travel & hospitality industry but reliable studies of the market are necessary before most businesses will risk innovation.

Scott Gordon's paper researching a neighborhood in Philadelphia from the perspective of wheelchair users reflects the sort of inquiry necessary to educate those who would design destinations and travel products for those with disabilities.

Ziggi at Wheelchair Diffusion

Ziggi writes Wheelchair Diffusion. If you have not been there yet here is a high impact post on travel and disability -- if your prefereed mode of travel is a 500+ hp Tiger Mustang GT with hand controls! See: Inside the Tiger

The How and Why of Life and Death

I like klezmer music. Maybe that's why I immediately liked Kevin Kling when I heard him on National Public Radio tonight.

No, he is not a musician. He is a storyteller. But his style is, with apologies to the group, is "klezmerim" in the sense of a slightly off tempo building to frantic crescendo that darts sidelong towards its point.

Connections 4 All

C4All_logo

Polibea Turismo is an important global voice for Inclusive Tourism. Based in Spain their travel and tourism advocacy grew from their established work serving the broader needs of people with disabilities.

Here is an announcement of CTCNet's Connections for All training and grant program. It is specifically targeted to Community Technology Centers (CTCs) that hope to better serve people with disabilities but I include it here on the principle that there may be CTCs in the US poised to make a contribution to the travel & leisure information needs of people with disabilities -- maybe something on the order of Polibea's excellent publication.