More on Darren Brehm's "Stadium Seats as Wheelchairs": Green/UD Convergence Thinking


The original idea came from Darren Brehm in Chicago. We posted about it yesterday as "Chicago's Plan to Literally Give Away Olympic Seats." Here's the rest of the story:

 IDEO, the design firm, was doing pro-bono work for the Chicago 2016 Committee.  Because Whirlwind Wheelchair has a relationship with IDEO and because they share the same design philosophy, IDEO contacted Whirlwind about this idea.  Ralf Hotchkiss of Whirlwind was an invited speaker at a recent Sport and Sustainability event in Chicago on 10 and 11 September.  At that meeting, the MC of the panel Ralf was on said that Chicago 2016 was delighted to be partnering with Whirlwind Wheelchair on this project.

I have already been in touch with Darren and Whirlwind and begun presenting the idea to key people in India (Commmonwealth Games 2010), Brazil (FIFA 2014 and Olympics 2016), South Africa (FIFA 2010), and other places.

Darren's proposal is an example of Geotourism thinking arising from an unexpected source. The surprise of it all demonstrates again the convergence of Green and Universal Design thinking.

While we point out in Universal Design that by applying the principles to an single individual's lifetime we see that they are more or less handicapped by the built environment as their stature and faculies first mature, then perfect, and then diminish. This happens to the extent that the idealized user is conceptulized as someone within the very limited middle range of "perfection."

Darren's thinking solved a problem in the lifecycle of a product by repurposing it as a way to dely its entry into the waste stream. His Green solution required Universal Design thinking to be applied at the first stage in the stadium seats' lifecycle - where they will not primarily be used by people with disabilities - so that it can fulfill its second stage properly as a wheelchair.

This is the same sort of thinking Boomers are applying to home purchases and remodels through the sustained support of AARP for Universal Design.

Because the Olympics are major events in the economics of tourism and the "byproduct" is a culture promoting legacy for groups distant from the event itself this proposal qualifies as a unique example of the Inclusive Tourism core of Geotourism. Together with projects like Adaptive Path's mobile phone project for emerging markets thinking long range along product - and human - lifecycles is emerging as a trend to follow.

Bravo Darren!

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