January 2009 Archives

Planning for Aging

"But our time of standing pat, of protecting narrow interests and putting off unpleasant decisions -- that time has surely passed." ~ Barack Obama

The Philadelphia Enquirer reports on the overlooked trend:

Between now and 2030, the number of Americans 65 years and older will double to more than 70 million, according to Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission statistics.

"It's going to be scary when we have the state of Florida in all 50 states," said Jack Carman of Medford, owner of Design for Generations, which creates therapeutic gardens and landscapes for senior communities and health-care facilities.

Carman, a landscape architect, and his wife, Nancy, a gerontologist, are authors of the recently published Re-creating Neighborhoods for Successful Aging. Their collaborators are Pauline S. Abbott, director of the Institute of Gerontology at California State University, Fullerton, and Bob Scarfo, a landscape architect and social geographer at the University of Washington-Spokane.

"Our neighborhoods were created for people in their 20s and 30s," said Jack Carman. "They're for people who can fully function."

Source: http://www.philly.com/inquirer/local/nj/20090121_Municipal_planners_prepare_to_meet_needs_of_aging_population.html

Wellington Visitor Strategy

The new Wellington Visitor Strategy http://www.wellingtonnz.com/about_us/wellington_visitor_strategy_2015
has heavy emphasis on IT for PwDs and seniors. It may be the first municipality in NZ to spell out an IT strategy. They should be applauded.

Sea Kayaking in New Zealand



OAKLAND, Calif. - Under a settlement announced today, Hotels.com and Expedia.com, two of the world's leading online travel companies, have agreed to add features to their online travel reservation systems so that millions of travelers with disabilities can use their online services to search for and reserve hotel rooms that have the accommodations they need.


Plaintiffs in the California lawsuit Smith v. Hotels.com L.P. were represented by the public interest law firms of Disability Rights Advocates (DRA) and Public Justice, and a leading class action law firm in Mill Valley, Calif., Chavez & Gertler LLP.


As part of the settlement, Hotels.com and Expedia.com will gather information about hotels' accessibility features, and will then incorporate that information into their websites so that travelers can both search for hotels with rooms that offer the particular accommodations they need, and make special requests online to book those accessible rooms. Each special request will be given individual attention by a trained customer service representative, who will work with the customer to accommodate his or her needs. These new features will be rolled out later this year.


"For years, travelers with disabilities have been unable to take advantage of the convenience and low cost options of booking hotel rooms online," said plaintiff Bonnie Lewkowicz. "Now, for the first time, I will be able to reserve a hotel room online that meets my needs, just like anyone else."


Lewkowicz and co-plaintiff Judith Smith are members of AXIS Dance Company, a not-for-profit company of professional dancers with and without disabilities based in Oakland, Calif. Ms. Smith and Ms. Lewkowicz both rely on wheelchairs for mobility.


"By adding website features to meet the needs of disabled consumers, Hotels.com and Expedia are showing that they are true leaders in the hospitality industry" added Victoria Ni , a staff attorney at Public Justice, a public interest law firm specializing in cutting-edge litigation nationwide. "We hope and believe that other online travel agencies will follow their lead."


In 2006, American online consumer travel sales generated $79 billion. For American travelers, the Internet is an indispensable resource for planning trips and booking lodgings and transportation.

Adults with disabilities spend over $10 billion annually on travel, and almost half of them consult the Internet to support their travel needs.


Wheelchair users need wide doorways and grab bars and accessible bathrooms. People with visual or hearing impairments also need accessible features, such as Braille signage or a text telephone.


"This settlement ushers in a new era in the online travel industry. A wheelchair user who reserves a hotel room online will no longer have to worry that she or he literally might not be able to enter the room after they arrive," said Kevin Knestrick, an attorney with DRA, a non-profit law center based in Berkeley, Calif., that specializes in high-impact lawsuits on behalf of people with disabilities.


No damages were sought in the case, which was filed in the California Superior Court for Alameda County.


For more information about the lawsuit and settlement, please go to Public Justice's website, at www.publicjustice.net, or to DRA's website, at www.dralegal.org.




Public Justice is America's public interest law firm, supported by - and calling on -- a nationwide network of more than 3,000 of the nation's top lawyers to pursue precedent-setting and socially significant litigation. It has a wide-ranging litigation docket in the areas of consumer rights, worker safety, civil rights and liberties, toxic torts, environmental protection, and access to the courts. Public Justice is the principal project of the Public Justice Foundation, a not-for-profit membership organization headquartered in Washington, DC, with a West Coast office in Oakland, California. The Public Justice web site address is www.publicjustice.net.


Disability Rights Advocates is a non-profit law firm based in Berkeley, California, whose mission is to protect and advance the civil rights of people with disabilities through high-impact litigation, advocacy and education. Disability Rights Advocates is a national leader in protecting the rights of people with all types of disabilities, including mobility, sensory, mental health and learning disabilities.

And Sometimes the Answer is Persistence

In January 2008, disAbilities Resource Centre Southland, New Zealand the story of the Southland District Council's failure to comply with accessibility regulations at a tourist point of interest. ( Original article: http://drcsouth.blogspot.com/2008/01/riverton-viewing-platform-fiasco.html )

Following successful resolution they write:

Peter Dolamore, a qualified Barrier Free Advisor, assessed the platform for accessibility and found it non compliant with the Building Code and yet the Southland District Council had approved Building Consent for the structure. Peter forwarded a full report of his findings to the SDC who argued that they did not have to include access to the top level platform for wheelchair users because the view wasn't any different up there! Southland DPA members and other disabled people checked out the platform themselves and found that there clearly was a difference.

The Council's tokenistic response was to issue a notice to fix some of the 'minor' problems but flatly refused to admit that they had breached the Building Code by denying wheelchair users access to the top deck.

Source: http://drcsouth.blogspot.com/2008/09/southland-man-wins-access-case.html

Reintroducing the Rolling Rains Blog

There has been a makeover at the Rolling Rains Report.

The new design allows for the more than 2,600 posts to be broken down by
topic on separate pages. Some sections are awaiting content but I wanted
the site re-launch to take place before I spend the next month in South

To stay up-to-date watch the site's Travelogue section ( http://www.rollingrains.com/travelogues/ ) for a trip chronicle.

Here are links to the new site sections:


The Blog

Profiles of Inclusive Tourism Leaders


Case Studies in Inclusive Tourism

Photo Documentation



Readings in Inclusive Tourism

About the Site

Contact Page

By the way, I have re-activated the Comments feature on the blog, Interact!

Na última década, a população da terceira idade cresceu 47,8% no Brasil, bem como a expectativa de vida (segundo dados do IBGE). Muitas vezes com uma situação financeira mais estável e tempo livre, pessoas da terceira idade começaram a procurar mais opções de lazer, entre elas, viagens de intercâmbio. É o que confirma Flávio Crusoé, diretor da agência Bex Intercâmbio, que só em 2008 enviou mais de 20 intercambistas da terceira idade para o exterior.

"O crescente aumento da população idosa fez com que surgissem mais opções de cultura e diversão para este nicho". Flávio Crusoé acrescenta que "aprender ou aprimorar um novo idioma, conhecer novas culturas e pessoas, são alguns dos atrativos que tem feito idosos procurarem por programas de intercâmbio cultural".

Apostando neste nicho, a Bex Intercâmbio lança pacotes especiais para a terceira idade. Com durações menores, de duas semanas, a agência oferece diversas opções de destinos e idiomas, para estudantes com 50 anos ou mais. Na Espanha, a agência oferece pacotes com destinos para Alicante ou Marbella. Com duração de duas semanas, o pacote inclui 20 aulas de espanhol semanais e mais cinco aulas eletivas, com duas atividades pela tarde e duas excursões de dia inteiro por semana. O valor fica em 630 euros, sendo que a passagem aérea, alimentação e traslado não estão inclusos.

Para a Inglaterra, o destino é Bournemouth, cidade localizada no litoral sul. O programa de duas semanas de curso de inglês com 20 aulas semanais, mais duas atividades culturais por semana, como city tour, classic britsh films, entre outros, e duas excursões de dia inteiro, com opções para Londres, Salisbury, Stonehedge, etc. O pacote sai por 650 libras esterlinas (sem aéreao, alimentação e traslado) As acomodações podem ser feitas em casa de família, residência estudantil ou albergues, dependendo do espírito do estudante.

Para mais informações acesse o site da agência http://www.bexintercambio.com.br.

 Fonte:  Ricardo Della Coletta - Jornal de Turismo

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Universal Design Newsletter

Universal Design Newsletter invites you to subscribe to its quarterly newsletter.

Now in its 17th year of publication, Universal Design Newsletter is devoted to keeping its readers informed about the latest news and information related to accessibility, federal and state accessibility regulations and universal design. Packed with useful information and design ideas, the newsletter, published by John Salmen, is a handy resource for business owners, facilities owner/managers, homeowners, builder/contractors, architects/designers, government officials or disability advocates. Compliance is complex... we will help you sort out the alphabet soup... ADAAG, ANSI, ICC, MGRAD, UFAS... and help you stay "in the know." You will meet the movers and the shakers in the industry and we will keep up-to-date on ever evolving regulations and legal trends. You will always find practical design tips and resources.

Route 62

GRAHAM BECK WINERY, Wheelchair Friendly Winetasting!


The first Braille wine bottle in the world

Will the Obama Administration Respond?

National Mall & Memorial Parks in Washington, ...

Image via Wikipedia

There is a level of hope tentatively permeating the fabric of the US in anticipation of a new presidential administration.

Significantly the travel industry organized a campaign to educate presidential candidates on the importance of tourism. The disability community was mobilized by the attention it received from president-elect Obama.

What concrete positive impact will result in terms of Inclusive Tourism and Universal Design more generally is an open question. Meanwhile, the grass roots enthusiasm of the disability community is reflected in the following list of inagural events.

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The sun sets on the boating season

Image by slack12 via Flickr

Beauty resides in attitude as well as good design. How a space is embodied brings to life the inclusion designed in by intention.

For much of the past two weeks I have been inspecting accessible private yachts moored up and down the Atlantic Coast of Florida with the director of Waypoint Yacht Charter Services. The tour was a feast of luxury, design, and hospitality aboard vessels valued at $40 million and more. Innovative designs included features like articulated carbon-fiber boarding ramps that double as exterior wheelchair lifts connecting the garage and swim deck to the salon deck. Appointments included custom furnishings, high tech toys, and memorable art.

Consistently, it was the story behind the boat -- the crews and owners themselves who give life to good design - that were the most impressive discovery.

One would expect super-service at this level of luxury. What could not be predicted was the way in which a crew with a genuine desire to serve can become so intimately knowledgeable about their boat, destinations, and guest's needs that the application of Universal Design manifests as a life-orientation rather than simply an approach to a design problem set.

Turning Toward South Africa

SA race

Through the end of January and for most of February I will be evaluating the accessibility and inclusion of South Africa's tourism products. Travelogue posts will start January 23 and continuing episodically as Internet access is available.

As a teaser, here is a preview of where I am scheduled to be for Valentine's Day (alas, sans sweetheart):

Outenqua Wheelchair Challenge

A wheelchair race exclusively for disabled athletes!

And - every year it is getting bigger and better! The number of entries has increased dramatically, with disabled athletes and other persons in wheelchairs flocking to this annual event.

The Outeniqua Wheelchair Challenge has been staged successfully during the past six years, growing from its humble beginnings of only 27 entries in 2002 (then known as the Outeniqua Chair Challenge -OCC) to the magnificent race attracting 511 participants in 2008!

The Challenge is not only unique as being the first and only event exclusively for the disabled in South Africa, but it is staged in the picturesque town of George, in the heart of the spectacular Garden Route in the Western Cape, situated at the foot of the splendour of the Outeniqua Mountains.

Athletes in racing wheelchairs, adapted bicycles, hand cycles, basketball chairs and ordinary wheelchairs have made this into the premier sporting event for the disabled on the South African sporting calendar. It undoubtedly has the potential to develop into one of the best events of its kind in the world!

Open Letter to President-Elect Obama

Dear President-elect Obama,

Congratulations on capturing the hearts, minds, and hopes of our nation! As grassroots, community-based, consumer-controlled disability organizations, which collectively represent over 50 million Americans with the full spectrum of disabilities, we look forward to working with you and your administration to make cost-effective policy changes to enhance the lives of and restore the civil liberties Americans with disabilities.

Attached you will find nine summaries of the top policy issues facing Americans with disabilities. Taking action on your commitment and these policy measures will not only benefit citizens with disabilities, our nation's wounded warriors, and the ever-growing aging population, it will benefit all Americans and save our government millions of dollars as individuals with disabilities become full participants in society.

They include:·

澳门 Macau

Image by Tianyake via Flickr

Will the interest in finding new markets encourage Macau to find us?

This article from PATA News:

Macau tourism continues drive to diversification

Macau's tourism industry continues to move towards diversification. That's a key messages to emerge from this week's Macau Government Tourist Office annual press conference.

MGTO Director Joao Manuel Costa Antunes explained that diversification of tourism products and source markets are the main objectives for this year. "MGTO will utilise tourism resources to enhance the development of cultural tourism. Thematic tour routes will be developed to attract visitors of different interests, while multi-destination tourism itineraries will be explored to build up a regional tourism brand," he said. The MGTO is also planning a series of promotional activities to celebrate the 10th anniversary in December of the establishment of Macau SAR.

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Disability Travel Challenge Continues

travel challenge.jpg

John's latest report comes from Cairns, Australia, where he enjoyed the Kuranda Scenic Railway, Skyrail and Cultural Experience. See The Disability Travel Challenge: Kuranda tour, Cairns, Australia

Collaborative Design of a Lifestyle

The Chicago Tribune has another story about collaboration where a designer enters into the reality of someone with a disability to provide a mutually transforming result. See Young designer makes a kitchen accessible—and pretty

Starting from the fundamental reality that ADA is not Universal Design designer Jordan Guide began work on the kitchen of Connie Wurtzel:

"The look of ADA is not luxury by any means," Guide says. "It's very basic. It's very institutional looking. And Connie is not that and would never settle for that."

Notably, Guide used few specialty products designed for people with disabilities. Instead, she specified standard items and then used them in creative, accessible ways.

This is the goal of inclusion. Not separate and stigmatized but "imagined" into normalcy and full participation by intent of design


Yeoh Siew Hoon has been writing on travel for two decades. For 18 months she recently used a hard cast. It changed her writing.

See her piece "This Much I Know About Accessible Tourism." You'll find some themes we all share here:

I am an eternal optimist and I believe in these tough times, and with what has brought the global economy to its knees –all the stories of greed and fraud we have heard – we will become a more caring world. And if each of us look hard for our silver lining, we will all find it.

The niche market of accessible tourism could well be the silver lining for travel companies who are smart enough to recognise the potential and go after it in a targeted, responsible manner. Since it is such a new field, the ones who do it first and who get it right will have an advantage.

I see accessible tourism as the second wave behind the environment, which is now finally top on the agenda for tourism and other businesses. And just as it did with environmental issues, it will take a combination of political will, legislation and growing consumer demand to force the pace of change.

Travel Solutions

My Cyber Social Map

Image by frankdasilva via Flickr

Travel globally, socialize locally: PDAs and social networks keep far-flung friends more connected looks at Kelly Fallis' travel paraphernalia and travel style. We watch these trends for the way they suggest new more comfortable ways for travelers with disabilities to get around. As the travel niche that most utilizes word-of-mouth endorsements this snippet seemed especially appropriate:

According to Norm Rose, a travel technology analyst and consultant in Belmont, Calif., people like Fallis are on the leading edge of technology's impact on the travel experience. "As smart phones become the standard, we will see location-based services and specific applications from different segments of the travel industry catering to every sort of traveller," he says, citing ReardenCommerce.com as a good example.

Rose notes that as the Facebook generation gains greater disposable income for travel, the industry will have no choice but to change: Online social networks essentially digitize real-life ones, making them, and the collective wisdom they contain, instantly accessible. "By having instantaneous peer opinions on travel-related subjects and products, the impact on vendor choice could be significant. Especially since this generation is predisposed to book vacations on their own (using say, Tripit.com,) versus using a traditional travel agent," he says.


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Universal Design for Web Applications

Marisa Peacock writes:

O'Reilly has just published Universal Design for Web Applications, a new book that promotes designing accessible websites and teaches readers how to build websites that are more accessible to people with disabilities and explains why doing so is good business...

Once considered internet pariahs, the over 50 age group is rapidly expanding its web presence, and designers need to get their sites ready to handle the user behaviors accompanying it. Improving web site experiences and accessibility doesn't mean that your site will alienate other users -- in fact, it will improve your site's overall user experience.

Disabledtravel, Getaway and Rolling Inspiration magazines present:

WIN!!! Your share of 22 prizes worth R60 000 in total!


(You may enter one or both of the competitions)

Tell us of any accessible restaurant in your area and stand a chance of being one of SEVEN lucky draw winners of 2 nights accommodation.

Tell us of any accessible tourist attraction in your area and stand a chance of being one of NINE lucky draw winners of 2 night’s accommodation in your province.

A wheelchair-using author with the nom de plume John Roberts is writing about his travels at Travel Weekly in a series called The Disabled Travel Challenge. His itinerary is mapped here.

His difficulties in Sydney are an illustration of the need for a good travel agent when attempting such a trip:

Our Sydney experience was not great. Getting around has been a real problem, with high kerbs and drop ramps that lead nowhere. We could not find one accessible city tour - even the tourist office could not offer much.

Cuban Accessibiliity

Hans and Ilja Hoen flew from the Netherlands to Cuba, and then rented a vintage car to tour the island for three weeks. You can read about their adventure at


Good Design Award 2008

The Financial resports on the Good Design Award for 2008 - an example of the Universal Design/Green convergence:

The JAL First Class chopsticks won a 2008 Good Design Award in the category of Tabletop for their elegant aesthetics and ergonomic functionality. Commissioned by JAL, the chopsticks were designed by Tripod Design Co. Ltd, Tokyo, represented by Satoshi Nakagawa, Japan.

White House Ground Floor showing location of p...

Image via Wikipedia

"Kids in the kitchen benefit from universal design as much as those managing physical limitations due to age and disability," writes Konrad Kalestch See his reflections on the application of Universal Design to the White House with the upcoming occipancy by the Obama family:


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Joann Pestaschnick writes about the trends that portend hope for travelers with disabilities - starting at home:

As the cost of fuel makes travel increasingly expensive, there’s a growing tendency among homeowners to stay put and add some new features to their homes. Call it a "staycation" or call it cocooning, but the focus is changing. "People are definitely turning inward, paying more attention to their homes and their quality of life," says Ed Miller of E. Miller & Associates in Cedarburg, and chairman of the Metropolitan Builders Association (MBA) Remodelers Council...

Some of the trends popular in the last couple of years are back again, says Chellee Siewert, chief operating officer of the MBA in Waukesha. For example, the concept of "aging in place" supports the notion that older persons should be able to live in their own homes for as long as confidently and comfortably possible. Livability can be extended through the incorporation of universal design principles and other assistive technologies. Modifications to bathrooms and changes to accommodate a wheelchair are common.

This idea of aging in place has become so popular that the MBA now offers a certification in it, according to Siewert. "What we heard from our members is that there is the need to respond to consumer demands. So, we developed this CAP (Certified Aging in Place) designation for our members who complete a series of seminars," she says.

The Center on Disability Studies at the University of Hawai‘i cordially invites you to the 25th Annual Pacific Rim International Conference on Disabilities on May 4-5, 2009 in Honolulu, Hawai‘i. Celebrate the collective achievements of the past and look forward to create an inclusive vision for the 21st century. As we face economic uncertainty and global challenges, it is even more important to honor tradition, and use this foundation to navigate our futures.

Webby Talents: Call for Videos

Axis Dance Company
is on Webby Talents. You'll find films from all over the world there. Maybe the site will give you some new ideas for places you would like to visit.

A map of Costa Rica

Image via Wikipedia

Twelve Americans with disabilities ages 18 - 24 will be exploring Costa Rica and participating in an exciting cross-cultural and cross-disability exchange program through MIUSA. They will become ambassadors of disability pride by sharing cross-cultural disability perspectives with members of the local the community! Delegates will be developing leadership skills, building self-confidence, making friends, and learning Spanish! Delegates will experience Costa Rican culture, food and customs by living with a host family!

MIUSA strives to organize programs that include people with and without disabilities and people from diverse cultural backgrounds. First time travelers with disabilities who are from a cultural minority and of low socioeconomic status are included every year. MIUSA exchange programs are inclusive of people who are Deaf and hard of hearing, or have cognitive, visual, physical, psychiatric, systemic, non-apparent, or other types of disabilities.

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Barging through Europe with Endellion


Here is a travelogue to launch you into 2009:

Stewart and Lesley MacLennan, from their home in Australia, decided to plan an adventure that would take them out of their comfort zone. Not that they had spent much of their lives in that particular zone!

The adventure involved designing and building a boat for the waterways of Europe - and it had to be wheelchair accessible. By late August 2008 they were on board and raring to go.

The goal of this website, as Stewart and Lesley meander along in Endellion, is to keep in touch with family and friends from around the world.

Looking Ahead to 2009

Location of the United States

Image via Wikipedia

"Tis the season to make resolutions - and predictions!

Doreen Hemlock at the South Florida Sun-Sentinel sees these trends in travel for 2009:

  • Value will reign
  • Travelers will stay fewer nights.
  • Travelers will use more Internet services
  • Travelers will expect businesses to go "green"
  • Marketers will celebrate diversity
  • Business travel will fall especially hard
  • Fewer will visit the United States from abroad
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