November 2007 Archives

Spain & Inclusive Tourism: Ara Lleida


Ara Lleida accesible

Ara Lleida presents Inclusive Tourism in the typical European fashion as a "social benefit that ought to be available to all." This "rights-based" orientation may be somewhat foreign to those in the United States. It should not be. The United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) affirms transportation accessibility as a right. Tourism is a specific case of that right to transportation access. In fact, in Asia, the UNESCAP Biwako Plus Five document explicitly calls for promotion of Inclusive Tourism as goal of regional development policy.

Take a look t Ara Lleida's approach to inclusion on the Iberian Peninsula available here in Spanish

The situation of people with disabilities in Malta is similar to many other countries. In 2005 Dr Andrew Azzopardi published a reflection on the dynamics of the Disability Rights Movement in his country.



<> Involve: Observance of the Day provides opportunities for participation by all interested communities - governmental, non-governmental and the private sector - to focus upon catalytic and innovative measures to further implement international norms and standards related to persons with disabilities. Schools, universities and similar institutions can make particular contributions with regard to promoting greater interest and awareness among interested parties of the social, cultural, economic, civil and political rights of persons with disabilities.

<> Organize: Hold forums, public discussions and information campaigns in support of the Day focusing on disability issues and trends and ways and means by which persons with disabilities and their families are pursuing independent life styles, sustainable livelihoods and financial security.

<> Celebrate: Plan and organize performances everywhere to showcase - and celebrate - the contributions by persons with disabilities to the societies in which they live and convene exchanges and dialogues focusing on the rich and varied skills, interests and aspirations of persons with disabilities.

<> Take Action: A major focus of the Day is practical action to further implement international norms and standards concerning persons with disabilities and to further their participation in social life and development on the basis of equality. The media have especially important contributions to make in support of the observance of the Day - and throughout the year - regarding appropriate presentation of progress and obstacles implementing disability-sensitive policies, programmes and projects and to promote public awareness of the contributions by persons with disabilities.

Tom Chun is " Rolling Down Under!"


Tom Chun reports on his current wanderings:

Hi Friends,

From Auckland I took a couple side trips out of the city. My first trip is to Rotorua to see the geothermal springs in the Maori Whakarewarewa Village. The boiling hot springs give out the smell of sulfur, some say it smells like rotten eggs. While on my way there, I stopped at the Agrodome where I was introduced to the many varieties of sheep and sheep shearing.

La Consejería de Ordenación del Territorio y Vivienda firmó hoy un convenio de colaboración con COCEMFE-Castilla-La Mancha mediante el cual, el Gobierno regional aporta 265.000 euros para dar continuidad a la Oficina Técnica de Accesibilidad, para contribuir a la mejora de las condiciones de accesibilidad para la eliminación de barreras arquitectónicas.

Este convenio tiene por objeto la defensa de los intereses de las personas con discapacidad en referencia a la accesibilidad, divulgando para ello la normativa legal existente y haciendo efectivo su cumplimiento.

Imtiaz Muqbil writes the Travel Impact Newswire. Coincidentally his recent commitment to using this widely-read tourism industry publication to promote the UN Millennium Development Goals parallels messages about the need for non-governmental collaboration given by presenters such as Theresia Degener at the World Assembly of Disabled Peoples International in Seoul and myself at ICAT 2007 as it pursues the theme of a rights-based approach to disability. Announcing his campaign Muqbil writes:

The eight Millennium Development Goals are: 1: Eradicate extreme poverty & hunger; 2: Achieve universal primary education; 3: Promote gender equality and empower women; 4: Reduce child mortality; 5: Improve maternal health; 6: Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria & other diseases; 7: Ensure environmental sustainability; 8: Develop a global partnership for development.

The year 2007 marks the half-way point of the 2015 target set for attainment of the goals by the UN Millennium Summit in 2000. With a mere seven years left, and time time running out, the travel & tourism industry can and should put its shoulder to the wheel. Because of its relationship with each of the eight MDGS, the travel & tourism can be a major contributor to facilitating the success of the MDGS.

Below is the text of the opening keynote of Presentation to ICAT 2007 held at the UN in Bangkok, Thailand. My appreciation to the various ministries of the Thai government, UNESCAP, and several disabled peoples' organizations (DPOs) including Disabled Peoples International - Asia Pacific (DPI-AP) and the Asia Pacific Disability Forum (APDF).

Inaccessibility Challenged in Mexico


Architect José Luis Gutiérrez Brezmes of Mexico's Universidad Iberoamericana reminded attendees to attend to Universal Design and diversity at the Jornada Académica de Ingeniería Biomédica Espacio Biomédico 2007. Recognition of the diversity in human size and capacity as well as inaccessibility as a societal, rather than an individual, problem are key to achieving a solution he indicated.

Ellen Creager of the Detroit Free Press did a little research on trends in accessible travel:

Good news. The world is getting friendlier for travelers who use a wheelchair, scooter or who just walk slowly.

"It is getting better," says Candy Harrington, an accessible travel expert who has monitored the scene for more than a decade.

In 2005 Lex Frieden wrote a review of lessons learned in the Independent Living Movement in the United States. Speaking at the time as Chairman of the National Council on Disability his paper sought to:

• outline key concepts central to the understanding of living independently and in the community as expressed by the American disability community;

• identify the principal barriers that impede the enjoyment of living independently and in the community by people with disabilities;

• provide a summary overview of the existing international legal framework that promotes living independently and in the community;

• identify examples drawn from the American law and policy context that advance living independently and in the community; and

• provide a tool for assessing implementation of these rights in anticipation that they will be given full expression in the drafting of a convention on the rights of people with disabilities.

As a precursor to a focused campaign on access to recreation and travel Frieden's study provides helpful background to place current work on developing Inclusive Tourism in historic context.

Sidewalks & the ADA


Tuesday, November 27, The Universityhouse Channel will show Episode
138 of "Perils For Pedestrians" -- "The ADA and Sidewalks".

Contents of Episode 138 (2007):
--The Coordinator of Research at the US Access Board explains how the
Americans With Disabilities Act applies to sidewalks.
--A lawyer in Barden v. Sacramento discusses the lawsuit, which
determined that sidewalks are a government program covered by the ADA.
--A plaintiff in Barden v. Sacramento describes the negotiations that
led to the settlement.

DISH Network Channel 9411 -- The Universityhouse Channel
Tuesday -- 9:30 PM Eastern, 6:30 Pacific

Episode 138 is also available on Google Video:

Jerry Romansky's Advice


TH Online writer Jerry Romansky advises a reader on a gray area of air travel -- accommodating people of large stature. The suggestion, standardizing practices, anticipates the trend we will see as the industry registers the combined impact from initiatives like the UN Declaration on the Rights of People with Disabilities (the rights-based approach to disability) and the market potential and studies on travel behavior of PwD (the profit-based approach to disability):

If requested, the airline on which you traveled that day is willing to sell an overweight passenger two seats and refund the price of the second seat should the flight depart with any empty seats.

In any case, a protocol should be established.

Airline personnel should be trained to diplomatically offer two seats when a passenger exceeds the space between armrests. In such instances, I would like to see airlines offer two seats for the price of one whether or not the flight is full. It would be similar to other concessions that include special meals and accommodations for people with disabilities.

The Rhetoric Favors Universal Design


Even if Universal Design has not spread uniformly through the consumer product lineup yet we can take heart that it is getting a marketing push with arguments like this one for a Canadian design conference:

Are your designs excluding 20% of the market? According to Health Canada, one in five Canadians will have reached the age of 65 by 2026. Find out what essential factors you should take into consideration when making decisions, designing products, and looking at spaces to accommodate our rapidly aging population.

Blue Wheelchair. Book Cover

Walt Balenovich just wrote to tell me about his excellent adventures!

I' know some PwD who do a lot of travel - but Walt just moved himself to the top of the list in terms of places he has been in the world. See his blog at

6 Continents, 28 Countries, over 50 stories, countless new friends and only 1 backpacker in a dusty old blue chair.

Take a look at his book "Travels in a Blue Wheelchair."

What would you do as you lay in a Zambian clinic alone with a broken leg? Or stranded aboard a small boat, in the dark, on the Java Sea, off Indonesia?

Jill Paradis is busy setting up an inclusive tourism operation in northern Italy. She forwarded this report form the INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE TURISMO PER TUTTI IN PIEDMONT. For the document in Word 2007 format Download file




Rob Tannen at Designing for Humans selects two online ergonomics resources for special mention. Note the clear discussion of anthropometrics in the first, Allsteel's downloadable Ergonomics and Design

In the guide note the elegantly clear overview of Universal Design and the Americans with Disabilities Act set in the context of the temporary nature of the absence of disability over every individual's lifespan.

There is an interplay between progress on social inclusion for citizens and Inclusive Destination development. As the general level of accessibility for people with disabilities increases so can the desirability of a location as a destination of choice for the disability community. The influx of tourism dollars can provide for the continued improvement of barrier-free infrastructure.

Below is a paper written by Mojalefa Zacharia Ntlatlapa on the evolving scene in Lesotho in regard to the infrastructure of basic services for people with disabilities there.

Orlando and Universal Design


Vacation homes typically are sold to individuals, who in turn convert them into short-term rentals. They are less regulated than hotels and are often rented through real-estate agencies that list properties on Web sites.

Wayne Gray, a principal with FRO Group, a vacation-home rental agency, suggested the disabled vacation-home idea to Fazzini.

"When I first saw his plan, I asked the builder what was different from the 3,000 other properties already on the market," Gray said. "He said nothing, really. Then I suggested building accessible housing."

Gray said special features would be built into houses from the start. Wall studs might be placed more closely together to accommodate handrails, even if they aren't installed immediately. He said buyers could have the houses tailored for specific disabilities -- features such as specially textured walls to help the blind navigate or stair-lift systems for those in wheelchairs.

The builders say all houses in Monticelli would meet access standards established in the Americans with Disabilities Act and that most would exceed those federal standards.,0,1647606.story

"How to judge a bathroom" is the title of this page at Mary Ann Racin's Bathroom Diaries. You won't find ADA/DDA regulations or auditors checklists. Instead she sets cleanliness as the highest criteria and:

Other considerations for good restrooms are: safety, handicap access, changing tables (anyone who changed his/her baby on an airport floor will agree) and hours of operation. Unisex bathrooms are helpful both to parents with young children as well as to our pre-and post-op trans-gendered brothers and sisters

Her site sets out to answer the age old question, "So we know what we want, but how do we find it?"

Read Elizabeth Tai's review in theStarOnline.

Loi Krathong in Thailand


Loi Krathong festival

Thailand has always been a popular tourist destination. This year Bangkok ranked third in Travel + Leisure's list of top destinations. The Loi Krathong November full moon celebrations are among the most enticing of reasons to visit Thailand.

This year the Loi Krathong celebration will occur during the second International Conference on Accessible Tourism (ICAT 2007).

Tai Lihua and Thousand-Hand Guanyin


New Zealand Tourism Strategy 2015

New Zealand Tourism Strategy 2015 represents one of the global travel trends that I will discuss at ICAT 2007 in Bangkok - regional planning by government, industry, and stakeholders informed by emerging global standardization. The value base is clearly articulated and inclturated in traditional values ina trend toward affirmation of First Nations that more countries should emulate: kaitiakitanga (guardianship) and manaakitanga (hospitality). Sustainability and environment are paramount. Proponents of Universal Design know that the flip side of green design are the complementary seven principles of human-centered Universal Design.

From the document:

The Strategy responds to the significant changes that have occurred since 2001 in both the domestic and global environments in which tourism operates.Changes at the global level include:

* growing concern about the impact of travel on climate change
* greater use of the internet and online bookings
* higher fuel prices.

At the domestic level, the industry faces challenges in:

* recruiting appropriately skilled staff
* becoming more environmentally sustainable
* the provision of appropriate, high quality infrastructure.

Meeting the last challenge for high quality infrastructure is where the research of Sandra Rhodda and bloggers such as Simon O'Keefe of New Zealand on Wheels.

Grabs Bars as Elements of Style?


It may seem a far-fetched claim but Sally Ann Sullivan, CKD, of Showcase Kitchens and Baths, Inc. in Tulsa, OK captures the sea change in attitude toward style taking place as Boomers age and redefine standards around themselves. They are starting to more and more like what the disability community has been saying for over three decades with Universal Design:

“Grab bars are now quite attractive to people and they can be done in a very sophisticated way, [especially] since the showers are so huge.”

Tips on Universal Design


The following advice surfaced in a discussion on Universal Design in San Clemente, California:

Many businesses in San Clemente are in older, even historical buildings, but that doesn't mean ADA compliance has to be difficult. [Raad] Ghantous [ a local commercial interior designer and proponent of Universal Design} said that if the building is on the National Registry, like the Ole Hanson Beachclub, for example, then you have to retain the integrity of the building. But for all others, the exteriors must be preserved while interiors can pretty much be remodeled as you like – and that doesn't mean it has to be ugly, or even cost very much.

"You don't have to end up with a bathroom that looks like a toilet at a gas station," Ghantous said. Many business owners don't know the ins and outs of ADA law, and as a result, don't realize how cheap it can be to comply. Instead of a flat, wall-mounted mirror, for instance, use one that tilts from the wall on a chain. Now someone of normal height or in a wheelchair can see themselves. If a restroom in an older building is cramped, bear in mind that it needs a 5-foot turnaround in the center of the room for someone in a wheelchair. Instead of knocking out walls, you might be able to clip the room's corners instead.

"I'm not saying 100 percent of the time you'll find a solution," Ghantous said. "But it's not difficult to do."

Call for papers


RollOn Travel: Thailand by Wheelchair


Volker Posselt and Mitsch Schreiner are making an impact on Thailand with RollOn Travel. Here is an interview with Mitsch ( in German). Find out more about their team here.

VibeAgent Unveiled


This afternoon I had the opportunity to get a behind-the-scenes look at VibeAgent just 24 hours after its public launch from Adam Healey, VibeAgent’s co-founder and CEO.

We know that the travel industry has not yet built the "killer travel research & reservation app" for the market of people with disabillities. We also know, from studies by the Open Doors Organization, that this market depends on the advice of trusted sources - usually other PwD - because it looks for very specific data. Simon Darcy and Bruce Cameron in Australia have published reports on the importance of visual documentation of hotel accommodations in the decision making of people with disabilities. That is one of the reasons I found to be so promising.

I think VibeAgent surpasses them in usefulness to the disability community right out of the box -- and they don't even offer video yet. Rather than write a definitive review of VibeAgent at the moment I am going to invite readers to register. Play with it and join the group that I have started: Disability & Travel.

ICAT 2007 - Bangkok


ICAT 2007 logo

The revised schedule for the Second International Conference on Accessible Tourism has been released. The section Exchange of Experiences on Accessible Tourism has an especially impressive range of contributors :

  • Thailand
  • Bangladesh
  • Singapore
  • Nepal
  • Hong Kong
  • Greece
  • Turkey
  • Pakistan
  • Vietnam

Christina Li on City Design for Usability


As ENAT's Accessible Tourism Conference in Spain winds down and the Second Annual Conference on Accessible Tourism reaches its finale in Bangkok, Christina Li, founder of UIGarden will speak in Beijing at User Friendly 2007.

An expert on digital design Ms. Li, will address the gathering on the topic, "Designing an Enjoyable Living for Your Residents." Her talk will include Universal Design considerations.

In this talk, we will be looking at factors affect city residents' living experience. The talk will answer you the following questions: What are their aspirations living in the city? What will have effects on people's living experience? How we could improve it? Both good and bad examples will be given to help understanding the rules.

Event announcement:

CFP: Disability Studies Meets Sociology in Research, Teaching and Activism
Session organized by the Disability Division,
Society for the Studies of Social Problems (SSSP),
July 31- August 2, 2008,
Boston, MA

Hand in Hand - Performed by Ma Li and Zhai Xiaowei.

If you are sighted have you ever thought about how you would tell the difference between a one dollar bill and a five if you were blind? How about a one and a ten, a twenty, or a one hundred dollar bill?

Come come think of it, how would you know if the printed receipt you received after a bank deposit was accurate? Brazil's Bradseco has introduced the country's first system for producing Braille or large print receipts. Most foreign visitors too the country are not likely to be there long enough to open their own bank account but such major steps in social inclusion for citizens inevitably transform a country into a more hospitable and desireable destination for all.

Parabems Brasil! Congratulations Brazil!

Travell Guide.jpg

MIUSA is having a holiday sale on the book "Survival Strategies for Going Abroad: A Guide for People with Disabilities." They sent the following information:

Survival Strategies for Going Abroad: A Guide for People with Disabilities is an intuitive step-by-step guide sharing the best advice on:

· Choosing the right kind of international program to meet individual goals and plans

· Advice on the application, fundraising and preparation process as a person with a disability

· Tips on air travel, navigating unfamiliar places, and cultural considerations once abroad

· How to readjust after the overseas experience to life at home

· And More!

Islamic View of Disabilities and Autism


Ustadha Zaynab Ansari responds to a question posed by the mother of two children with autism. The compassionate answer outlines seven points and ends:

And, above all, there is love. Love your children. Don’t let them see you or anyone else get angry or resentful because this will hurt them and they will blame themselves. Even if they can’t articulate it, they know when people are upset. And it affects them. Deeply. Laugh with them, smile, kiss them, hug them and let them know how loved they are. And they will respond. Don’t buy into that myth that autistic children cannot show affection. That is a lie. They love you more than you’ll ever know.

As we build a world where inclusion is commonplace and Universal Design is ubiquitous it is always good to revisit foundational values.

Sweden Pays Attention to How Seniors Travel


Travel Daily News reports:

“Senior travellers are one of the most interesting sectors in Sweden right now,” says Johan F Lundberg, ITTFA President and Exhibition Manager for TUR. “In a few years there will be more than 3 million people over 55 years, which represents 30% of the total population in Sweden.”

Lundberg continues, “As well as an increase in numbers, there are also notable changes in the behaviour and demands of this market segment. These days Seniors now spend more money on themselves than before, not just on their own trips but also together with their families and grandchildren. They are also very experienced travellers, most of them having travelled for many years. “

“Recognising this new market, the Swedish Exhibition Centre started a specialist senior exhibition two years ago, where travel is the biggest product sector at the fair... “

In order to succeed, it is therefore essential that holiday companies adapt to provide the over 50s market with opportunities that are appealing, accessible and original. Trips that reflect their wanderlust, capture their imagination but also meet their specific needs in a mature and uncomplicated manner. This Third Age of travellers can only get bigger and more powerful. In order not to miss the boat, train or plane, companies need to get on board now and embrace a whole new generation.

Up Kilimanjaro


Kilimanjaro has racked up a growing reputation as a backdrop for some extraordinary accomplishments by people with disabilities.

* Michele Norris talks to Nicolai Calabria, 13, who climbed Mount Kilimanjaro this summer. He climbed the 19,000-foot mountain on crutches, braving arctic temperatures. Listen to the interview on NPR.

*Jimmy Goddard on Kilimanjaro.

Seniors Travel Back to Campus?


Campus Continuum

The travel and leisure industry is abuzz with the question, "What are the trends to watch coming out of the Boomer generation?" One may be new ways of forming community.

Campus Continuum LLC, based in Newton, Mass., organizes residential 55+ Active Adult Communities for life-long learners on or near college campuses. The firm plans to develop a network of communities across the country boostrapping on each other's best practices. Will this include Universal Design?

Gerard Badler, Campus Continuum's managing director, says many Boomers are finding a sense of place that bypasses more conventional retreats such as beaches or golf courses: they're looking for a retirement -- or semiretirement -- lifestyle different from that experienced by their parents. They're looking for stimulating intellectual, social and volunteer opportunities.

In Campus Continuum's vision, residents will have access to the programs and facilities of the university, as well as seminars and other programs they organize themselves. Depending on their interests and backgrounds, some might become part-time lecturers, advise student clubs and organizations, act as tutors, mentors, or career advisors, and be an enthusiastic audience for music, theater and sports.

Australia Launches Transport Infoline


Transport Infoline logo

Press release:

Parents with prams and people in wheelchairs will now be able to plan their trip from the comfort of their homes by searching for easy access trains, buses and ferries before they travel.

A website set up by the State Government allows travellers to identify accessible services, such as low-floor buses and train stations with lifts.

Commuters wanting to pre-plan their trip can now do so by logging on to

"In the past, planning a trip based around easy access public transport could be an onerous task,'' said Transport Minister John Watkins.

Teri Adams on Models of Disability


Teri Adams presents brief reviews of the various theoretical models of social response to disability while personalizing them with her own experience. Read "Moloka'i: Disability History in Microcosm?" over at Crip Chronicles. Referring to the currently dominant models aligned around the concepts of "culture" and 'civil rights" she rights:

I reject the moniker of "cultural" model as being unworkable. The non-disabled public does not embrace disability culture as another culture to be recognized, like African or Hispanic culture....

I'll Take The Civil Rights Model

Born in the 1970's, with the Independent Living Movement, the Education for All Handicapped Children Act and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, all the way to the coming of age in 1990 with the Americans With Disabilities Act, American society is saying that persons with disabilities are entitled to the same civil rights as citizens who are not [presently] disabled.

I wonder. Is there a model that is emerging beyond these that we traditionally have named?

"La France, pays du tourisme, est encore très en retard", déplore la Fnath (Fédération nationale des accidentés de la vie, 200.000 adhérents), malgré l'obligation d'accessibilité inscrite dans la loi 2005 pour les établissements accueillant du public, et le développement récent de l'offre commerciale, sites web et guides.

Lire l'article:

Passeata SuperAção (Portuguese)



Out of Solitary Confinement in Alcatraz!


I spent the day on Alcatraz with Ray Bloomer, Jennifer Skulski, Nicole Montembeault, and Alice Voigt.

This year marks the 15th anniversary of NCA, a center within IU Bloomington's Department of Recreation, Parks and Tourism Studies and the School of Health, Physical Education and Recreation. NCA was created through a unique partnership between IU and the National Parks Service to conduct research and provide training and technical assistance to federal, state and local land management and recreation agencies on the inclusion of people with disabilities in parks, recreation and tourism. It is considered one of the leading national authorities on inclusion and compliance with federal disability legislation, including the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Architectural Barriers Act and the Rehabilitation Act.

The International Forum 2008: Securing the Rights of Persons with Disabilities is a pre-conference event to the 24th Annual Pac Rim Conference. The web site includes the following description:

* What are implications of the Convention [on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities CRPD] to persons with disabilities in countries of the Asia Pacific Region?

* What are regional concerns surrounding implementation of the CRPD?

* What are the challenges for “developing countries” as they seek to implement the Convention?

* How can applying the guiding principles of the Convention affect positive real change for persons with disabilities?

* In what ways do international norms help or hinder local activism and advocacy?

* How can activists use international norms to promote disability rights within their nations?

Inclusive Tourism: Some Definitions


When does travel - moving from point A to point B - become tourism?

Webster says that tourism is:

Function: noun
1 : the practice of traveling for recreation
2 : the guidance or management of tourists
3 a : the promotion or encouragement of touring b : the accommodation of tourists


Wikipedia elaborates with:

Tourism can be defined as the act of travel for the purpose of recreation, and the provision of services for this act. A tourist is someone who travels at least fifty miles from home, as defined by the World Tourism Organization (a United Nations body).

It's a sign that Inclusive Tourism has caught on when Spain's premiere disability & travel e-zine, Polibea Turismo, features a story on accessibility in London. You can read about Artsline in the latest issue. Artsline's CEO, Alan Kerr, writes tha the organization was was founded in 1981 and now has an online database with information on over 1,400 accessible arts and entertainment venues in London.

Next door, Accessible Portugal, writes about BritRail, Eurail and new EU-wide air transportation regulations for people with disabilities. Somewhere on the ocean DeafMom writes about the first all deaf cruise - the Deaf Freedom Cruise. Across the pond, Global Access News has a story about wheelchair travel in Outer Mongolia! And, if you have been reading your subscription to Candy Harrington's Emerging Horizons, you would know that "New Orleans is Open for Business."

Say It Right in Any Language


Marco Nicoli, Executive Director of Lextracon – Language Solutions and Consulting has just announced a new social entrepreneurial initiative:

Lextracon LLC, a US-based company specializing in legal and financial language services, is launching a corporate social responsibility initiative called "Disability Focus."

Disability Focus has the goal of creating working opportunities for persons with disabilities, while providing disability-specialized translation services that are expected to be in demand during the process of implementation of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

Mugiho Takeshita, at the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), is asking for assistance in gathering information that many Rolling Rains readers may be able to provide for her.

Beautiful Universal Design by Cynthia Leibrock and James Evan Terry contains a wealth of information on doing UD right:

In the design of airports, courthouses, and correctional facilities, there is constant tension between the security and accessibility requirements. In historic properties, there is also a tension between the need to preserve and the need to change for access. Hospitality design must balance commercial and residential universal design needs.

In other occupancies, conveniences become requirements. A covered entrance must be installed in health care facilities while an assistive listening system is mandated in most assembly areas. Line-of-sight is required for seated customers in stadiums, and a bench must be added to each stadium dressing room. The ticket counter must be planned at heights tall, average, and short users as well as people in wheelchairs and children. These details often make the difference between empowerment and disability by design.

Desenho Universal por Silvana Cambiaghi

Ember Swift has a great collection of photos and anecdotes at "A Canadian in Beijing: Accessibility? If You Roll When You Stroll, 麻烦!"

Stephen Hallet of the BBC writes about the cosmetic changes taking place in China in preparation for the upcoming Olympics. See "One Eye on China; Mainly for Show"

Accessible Mexico: Updated Web Site


Adriana Ramirez Gonzalez is a pioneer in making Puerto Vallarta, Mexico a destination of choice for travelers with disabilities. She has just written to announce the expansion of her web site. See it at:

Mexico Accessible

Del viene:

El 45% de los hoteles de tres y cuatro estrellas no cumple ningún estándar de accesibilidad, y sólo el 0,7% alcanza niveles óptimos. Hay leyes suficientes, pero falta formación específica en la Universidad y sobran "barreras mentales" en las empresas turísticas.

COLPISA. Madrid | El "turismo para todos" que garantice ese "bien social" a los 3,5 millones de españoles con discapacidad sigue siendo una asignatura pendiente, y "lo que más está costando es romper la barrera mental, sobre todo de los empresarios". Lo subraya Jesús Hernández, director de Accesibilidad de la Fundación ONCE, convencido de que, "si se aplicara, el material legislativo sería suficiente para poder avanzar" y de que, por tanto, hay que buscar la solución en otro sitio, como la formación universitaria especializada o la información adecuada a ese sector clave de la economía.

Sam Sullivan - Vancouver, B.C


Thulasi Venkat has reprinted several articles on disability and travel at the blog Information On Travel Articles and News. Mine on Universal Design and the travel industry, A Travel Trend on the Horizon is part of a collection that includes:

A taste of travel in Tasmania by Greg Killeen

Travelling with a disability: Europe by Bruce Mumford

Before You Go: Accessible Travel Tips
by Bruce Mumford

prospect airport services

On October 1,2007 the San Francisco International airport (SFO) passed a regulation that staff may not push two wheelchairs at the same time when assisting passengers. The instruction seems clear enough. However, reports have come in that the regulation has been ignored in some cases. If you have observed or experienced this, or other, unsafe practices at SFO please contact the Rolling Rains Report.

Unfortunately, the union reports that as of October 26, 2007 none of the workers in the agency responsible for this service at SFO, Prospect, had been formally notified of this new rule. In addition, they characterize Prospect management as engaged in stalling contract negotiations leaving workers frustrated and ready to take on major actions.

At the same time, the Prospect web site offers one of the most insightful observations on the importance of this service. In describing this demanding time-critical work environment faced by those who assist airline passengers with disabilities Prospect signals its best intentions:

How important are these services to the image of any airline? From skycap service to wheelchair assistance to baggage service personnel, they are often the first and last impression that customers receive when traveling. These representatives also frequently spend the most time of any personnel interacting directly with the passengers.

This high level of interaction is particularly true of passengers requiring physical assistance in navigating through the airport. As the fastest growing segment of the traveling population, the number of those requiring a wheelchair or electric cart continues to rise dramatically.

The SFO situation is similar to Los Angeles LAX.

As social networks like My Space and Facebook proliferate - and get relevant as in the case of Disaboom and others under production - Google has placed itself in the Open Source camp with Open Social announced today. Early reporting in Tech Crunch here coverage of the announcement, and a Ning site on Open Social offer background. How will developers utilize this new initiative to the benefit of the disability community?

AirAsia is not happy with Peter Tan.

Peter has a healthy sense of self-worth, a well-informed sense of social justice, and a widely read blog -- Digital Awakening. When he names his treatment by AirAsia as "discriminatory" he does not choose his words lightly.


Aside from the moral and legal issues involved in denying equal levels of service to passengers based on race or ability the tactic creates a public relations nightmare. Articulate and connected advocates like Peter are chided by their industry contacts for being precipitous, "We could have worked this out privately" is the line of argument-cum-shaming. That approach is ignorant of the ethos of advocacy that operates within a community when it becomes aware that it is tolerated as "special" rather than sought after as lucrative.

Over at New Mobility author Mark E. Smith notes that demographics of aging and disability have penetrated into product design thinking. Not just NTT DoCoMo's cell phone but Honda's Monpal and Porsche's P'Gasus represent the maturity of mainstream manufacturer's knowledge about PwD as a market.

pgasus wheelchair

Honda Motor Company - known for its automobiles, motorcycles and recreational vehicles - has entered the mobility market, launching its Monpal mobility scooter. As a mobility device, the Monpal is a bold move for Honda, reaching out to a consumer demographic that other mainstream transportation manufacturers haven't yet addressed: those of us with disabilities.

What's intriguing about the Monpal is that Honda approached the mobility market from an automotive perspective rather than a clinical one, integrating aspects like automotive-style lighting and bold body design that obviously take cues from the motorcycle market.

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