April 2011 Archives

Considering CRPD Article 30

Those who want to thoroughly understand the meaning of Inclusive Tourism will appreciate the 2009 article by Lord and Stein, "Social Rights and the Relational Value of the Rights to Participate in Sport, Recreation, and Play."

 The article begins by charting the paradigmatic shift from a medical model of disability to a social model: a rights oriented understanding of disability that makes possible an equality approach to dismantling persistent disability discrimination and social marginalization, isolation, and exclusion. Next, it analyzes the conceptual framework for social rights in the CRPD and the connection between state obligations to eliminate disability discrimination and social rights'guarantees for equal participation in sport, recreation, leisure and play.

It further considers the content of CRPD's Article 30. Finally, it explores the implications of these rights for the expressive and socializing effects of the Convention.

The new book, "United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities - Multidisciplinary Perspectives", Jukka Kumpuvuori and Martin Scheinin (eds.) includes"Participatory Justice, the UN Disability Human Rights Convention, and the Right to Participate in Sport, Recreation, and Play"

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MIUSA reports:

Accessibility checklist available for taxi drivers to improve accessibility for people with disabilities 

The International Road Transport Union (IRU) and the European Disability Forum (EDF) have joined forces to develop and disseminate an Accessibility Checklist with recommendations to help taxi drivers improve the quality of the services they provide to customers with disabilities and reduced mobility.

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Desde el Diario del Alto Aragon:

Begoña Consuegra

, técnica especialista en accesibilidad y museos, inició ayer en Huesca la última jornada del seminario organizado por el Máster de Museos, con una ponencia sobre las personas con discapacidad visual grave.

Consuegra lamentó que el panorama actual en los museos dista mucho de ser accesible para las personas ciegas, en parte debido a la legislación, que aunque establece que estos espacios deben ser accesibles, la normativa no está desarrollada. "Es una ley muy vaga que no especifica cómo, ni en qué grado, ni quién se va a encargar de controlar que se cumpla la norma. Además, no es sancionadora. Por eso, la accesibilidad en España es sólo una cuestión de buena voluntad", precisó la técnica.

Por eso, Begoña Consuegra propuso en primer lugar un cambio en la legislación, que debe ir seguido de la incorporación de la accesibilidad en los planes de estudio, para que las personas que trabajan en los museos estén formadas en las técnicas de descripción y de relación con este colectivo, que se basan principalmente la utilización del oído y el tacto.

La ponente también criticó que el desarrollo de las nuevas tecnologías no tiene en cuenta la accesibilidad, y puso como ejemplo el audioguía. "Una persona ciega no sabe cómo manejarla, y además no puede sostenerla con las manos porque las utiliza para explorar las obras de arte. Además hay que darle referencias visuales para situarla y una descripción de la pieza adaptada a sus necesidades", detalló.

"Tenemos una cultura visocentralista y tenemos que empezar a dirigirnos hacia otros sentidos", recalcó Begoña Consuegra, quien lamentó que las personas ciegas prefieran ver una película o irse de viaje a visitar un museo, cuando es "mucho más fácil" hacerlo accesible. "Potencialmente los museos podrían ser un campo muy importante en materia de accesibilidad, porque además hay muchos conceptos que si no es en un museo las personas ciegas no los pueden conocer, pero en la práctica se están haciendo sólo pequeñas cosas".

Como ejemplos a seguir, Consuegra citó el Museo Reina Sofía de Madrid y el Museo de la Cultura del Vino en La Rioja, ambos con programas de accesibilidad destacados que aplican el relieve en las ilustraciones o las descripciones adaptadas.


Teresa Soldevila

cerró ayer el seminario con una conferencia en la que ofreció una guía práctica para eliminar barreras en los museos. Soldevila partió de su experiencia como encargada de la Responsabilidad Social Corporativa del Museo Marítimo de Barcelona para mostrar cuáles son los "trucos" que pueden hacer más accesible un espacio museístico. En este sentido, destacó el concepto de "diseño universal", que se refiere a que "lo que es bueno para unos cuantos, es bueno para la mayoría".
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Celebrating Ralph Braun: Rise Above

Here are three videos from BraunAbility TV.

Interview with Frans de Man from Retour by Carlos Buj

The mission of Retour from the beginning has been to assess the contribution tourism can make to the empowerment of local people. We look at tourism from a political-economic perspective, as a means for sustainable development, not as a goal. The starting point of the work of the foundation was a paper that we called the myths of tourism.

Frans de Man at the UN

Frans de Man is a Dutch man linked to sustainable tourism from the beginning. I was lucky to meet him in London  some months ago, at a conference on tourism and local economic development organized by Harold Goodwin. After knowing the amount of experience and knowledge that this man held, I asked if he would talk a bit about his experience by email.

Frans, there is now increasing buzz about responsible tourism but already in 1986 you founded Retour, a foundation to promote responsible tourism as the concept assustainable development had not been released yet by the Brundtland Report (1987).

Could you explain how ideas and people inspired you to found Retour?

In the 80's I studied political science with an emphasis on Third World issues and I volunteered for an organisation that organised workcamps in Africa. After having spent 4 months in Liberia, the organisation expected me to volunteer and train future workcamp participants to prepare them for a stay in Africa. This was an important difference with today's hyped voluntourism: we believed that this type of tourism was not a type of ecotourism but (as any form of tourism) egotourism, in which the interest in an interesting adventure has a higher priority than the interest of the people living in the destination (which by the way we refused to call the hosts, because most of them never had invited us).

So for our participants it was obligatory to take a course of 15 three-hour sessions in which we wanted to convince them that their intentions were not better than those of a hard-working bluecollar worker who, after 11 months of slavery in a factory, decides to spend 3 weeks sunbathing, drinking beers and dancing in Benidorm. We wanted to show that the consequences of this voluntourism are just as negative to the interests of people in the Third World as those of mass-tourists, both economically and socio-culturally. For this purpose we wrote a brochure, critically approaching tourism, based on the dependency theories (which when I read it today has not lost any of its power).

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Another in the RollingRains.com anthology of articles, "But of Course Blind People Can't..."

Here is a snippet from Maria L. La Ganga's artcle in the LA Times:

The architects met on a damp October Saturday and set off to visit a modern New York landmark, the American Folk Art Museum.

The building is clad in lustrous bronze panels that shift in color as they catch the sun's slow trek across the sky. Inside, a skylight shoots brilliant beams into a grand interior space.

But the two men hadn't traveled to Midtown Manhattan to look at the structure's famous features.

Instead, they slid their curious fingers along the pocked surface of the alloyed bronze facade. Inside, their hands explored a smooth, round railing of warm cherry wood, a counterpoint to the chilly glass panels of the main staircase. Their canes clicked along the intricate floor, sensing the shift from swaths of concrete to planks of Ruby Lake fir.

"We were exploring how we could sense it with a cane, sense it with our fingers, sense it with our feet," said Northern California architect Christopher Downey. "There is this great palette of textures. . . . All of a sudden, it starts to engage your brain in a different way."


 Read more:


Articles on architect Christopher Downey:






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DREDF has produced an infrmative overview of the restoration of the ADA:

On March 25, 2011, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) published strong, final bipartisan regulations implementing the ADA Amendments Act (ADAAA) of 2008.

What Does This Mean?

The new EEOC regulations implement Congress's goal of restoring a broad ADA definition of "disability." This definition includes a wide range of physical disabilities, mental health disabilities, intellectual disabilities, sensory disabilities, and medical conditions within the sweep of the ADA's nondiscrimination protections.The regulations emphasize that identifying "disability" should not require extensive analysis, and that the ADA's focus should be on preventing and redressing discrimination.

Background - U.S. Supreme Court Narrowed the ADA

The original ADA defined "disability" as a "physical or mental impairment" that "substantially limits" one or more "major life activities" (often called actual or "first prong" disabilities).The law also protected people with a record or history of disability ("second prong"), or those who are regarded as having disabilities ("third prong"). This basic definition was adopted from Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. This definition had worked well, and had been broadly interpreted by the courts during the period from the 1970s to 1990, when Congress enacted the original ADA.

However, in the first decade or so after the ADA went into effect in the 1990s, the courts became increasingly focused on scrutinizing whether plaintiffs in ADA lawsuits had disabilities under the law. Court decisions--including several critically important U.S. Supreme Court decisions--began to interpret the ADA definition very narrowly. This eliminated disability nondiscrimination protection for many people with disabilities who would have been covered by the older Section 504 interpretations.

In particular, the high court ruled that the limiting effects of disability should be assessed taking "mitigating measures" into account. This made it hard for people who, for example, used hearing aids, or took insulin, or had prosthetic limbs, to meet the "substantial limitation" requirement.The high court also ruled that "substantial limitation" required a very high degree of restriction.Courts and covered entities spent an enormous amount of time analyzing impairments, and demanded a great deal of information and evidence from people seeking disability rights protections.

Congress Responds with the ADAAA of 2008

In 2008, Congress passed amendments to the ADA that were intended to invalidate the U.S. Supreme Court's narrow interpretations, and restore a broad ADA definition of disability. The ADAAA keeps the same basic language in defining disability as a "physical or mental impairment" that "substantially limits" one or more "major life activities". However, the intent and meaning of these terms has been clarified. Congress specified that "limitations" should be assessed without regard to the mitigating measures that people might use to lessen the impact of their impairments. Congress also specified that "substantial limitation" does not require significant restriction. Conditions that are episodic or subject to remission are covered (such as depression, cancer, carpal tunnel, and multiple sclerosis). Conditions that affect "major bodily functions" are covered (such as diabetes or HIV infection), even if those functions do not involve overt, conscious activities.Congress also clarified that disabilities that affect learning, reading, or concentrating can be ADA disabilities.

Most important, the ADAAA emphasizes that Congress intended broad definitional coverage that does not require extensive analysis. The emphasis is on the critical question of whether discrimination has occurred--not on the preliminary question of whether there is a disability.

The EEOC Regulations

Congress gave the EEOC the authority to issue regulations to implement the ADAAA. In September 2009, the EEOC issued proposed regulations on which the public was invited to comment. Many interested employers, businesses, government representatives, disability rights advocates, and people with disabilities participated in this public comment period. DREDF submitted comments in November 2009.

After considering all of the public comments, the EEOC issued its final ADAAA regulations on March 25, 2011. These regulations bolster the efforts of Congress to ensure that the ADA's original goal is met--the goal of providing broad disability nondiscrimination protection to people with a wide range of impairments and conditions, without undue focus on the threshold question of disability.

A key aspect of the EEOC regulations is the statement of nine fundamental principles, or "rules construction," that govern the interpretation of disability:

"Substantially limits" must be construed broadly, and is not a demanding standard.
"Substantially limits" does not require significant restriction.
Primary focus must be on whether covered entities have complied with their obligations.
While the ADA requires individualized assessment of disability, it does not require a high level of scrutiny.
Determination of degree of limitation usually will not require scientific, medical or statistical analysis.
"Substantial limitation" must be assessed without regard to mitigating measures (except for ordinary eyeglasses).
Episodic conditions, or conditions in remission, are assessed as if in an active stage.
Substantial limitation of just one major life activity is sufficient.
While "transitory and minor" conditions are excluded from "regarded as" (third prong) coverage, the exclusion of transitory conditions does not apply to first prong or second prong disabilities. Thus, people who have an actual non-minor impairment, or a record of such an impairment, are covered by the ADAAA, even if the impairment lasts only for a short time.
  1. Source:


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Watch a demonstration of Sketchup software in the development of a universally designed kitchen.

Very little has been written about autism and travel but PBS has done a series on autism that provides valuable exploration of the medical and social issues. Read and see the coverage here:

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 The call for abstracts for the 13th International Conference on Mobility and Transport for Elderly and Disabled Persons (TRANSED 2012) scheduled to be held in New Delhi, India from September 17-21, 2012 have now been extended to 30 June 2011. Abstracts may be developed for either a paper or a poster.


Hosted by Svayam in partnership with Ministry of Transport, Government of Delhi and Ministry of Tourism, Government of India, the conference is co-sponsored by Transportation Research Board (USA). The theme of the Conference is "Seamless Access for All: Universal design for transport systems and infrastructure as a key element in the creation of livable cities" and sub-themes are: 


A.   Role of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD)

B.   Best practices and innovations

C.   Accessible tourism: Conservation, access to the historic and natural heritage

D.   Environmental impact, sustainability, and accessibility of integrated multimodal systems

E.   Accessible Public Transport (Bus Rapid Transit, Metro, Para-transit systems etc.)

F.    Highway design and safety

G.   Pedestrian mobility & safety for livable communities

H.   Rural access and mobility

I.     Implementation, monitoring and enforcement

J.    Potential of Technology in Accessibility for all (Information Technology, Accessibility aids, etc.)

K.   Others


Important Dates:

30 June 2011 - Deadline for receipt of abstracts

October 2011 - Notification to Authors of acceptance of abstract as Paper/ poster

30 March 2012 - Deadline for submission of full papers/posters by authors.

17-21 Sep 2012 - Conference Dates for TRANSED 2012, New Delhi, India


We encourage all interested persons, academicians, research institutions, DPOs, non-government organizations and friends to consider submitting an abstract for this important conference independently or in collaboration with other professionals.   Also, please feel free to circulate this call for abstracts to any other parties who might be interested in submitting an abstract or attending the conference.   For details please refer:http://www.transed2012.in/Call%20for%20Abstracts/M__7

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UNWTO and Inter-American Development Bank partner to strengthen tourism development in Latin America and Caribbean(Forimmediaterelease.net) The UN World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) and the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) have deepened their cooperation on tourism development in Latin America and the Caribbean. Joint activities will focus on improving the measurement of tourism, strengthening governance, and promoting investment in the region.

The cooperation program, which will run until the end of 2012, got underway with a Workshop on Tourism Statistics for the Southern Cone Countries held in Montevideo in collaboration with the Ministry of Tourism of Uruguay (April 11-15, 2011). With the participation of representatives from tourism administrations, national statistics offices, and central banks, the workshop represents an important step towards increased coordination in tourism measurement.

The statistics component of the program aims to reinforce governance and tourism policy in Uruguay, Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay, and Chile by providing reliable and harmonized tourism indicators and data. The project is part of both organizations' objectives of improving national tourism statistics systems and accelerating regional integration. The statistics component further includes the development of a Regional Tourism Observatory. 

In the area of tourism governance, UNWTO and the IDB will collaborate to set out a framework for tourism governance at the national and regional level. Special attention will be given to tourism promotion organizations.

The third activity is focused on the promotion of direct private investment, as well as on public investment strategies. Research will be carried out on the key factors driving private investment decisions including legislation, fiscal policy, credit lines, warrants, administrative procedure,s and capital movement. In the area of public investment, UNWTO and the IDB will focus on the transversal character of tourism and the fact that most investment decisions, which impact the sector are taken by multiple areas of government.

The cooperation program between UNWTO and the IDB aims to contribute to the process of economic and social development in Latin America and the Caribbean through tourism. The sector is one of the largest and fastest growing in the region and plays a critical role in creating jobs, providing foreign currency, and generating and distributing wealth.

In 2010, Latin American and Caribbean destinations received around 74 million international tourist arrivals. In 2009, tourism to the region generated just over US$58 billion in international tourism receipts. 



UNWTO Economic Measurement of Tourism: http://statistics.unwto.org/ 

UNWTO Regional Seminar on Tourism Investment in the Americas:http://americas.unwto.org/es/event/seminario-tecnico-sobre-inversiones-en-turismo-en-las-americas 

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Visiting China

Rick Hansen is visiting China, among other countries, to mark the 25th anniversary of his original Man in Motion World Tour that began in 1986 and spanned 40,000 kilometres across 34 countries on four continents. A Paralympian and noted activist, Hansen was paralyzed from the waist down after a car accident when he was 15.

Rick Hansen visits the Great Wall near Beijing exactly 25 years to the date of his original visit on his Man in Motion World Tour, which took him over 40,000 km and through 34 countries in 26 months to raise awareness of the potential of people with a disability.

Source: http://apcdfoundation.org/ecafe/node/3661

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"But I'll just be here for a minute!"

The world's first professional dance theatre by differently-enabled people has impressed audiences worldwide.

THERE'S a hushed silence in the New Delhi auditorium as a troupe of dancers seamlessly execute scenes from the Hindu scripture Ramayana in ballet form.

ramayana.jpgThe mesmerised audience stare in disbelief as the graceful artists, ranging from five to 25 years old, are all physically and mentally challenged. Most of the production's cast are on crutches and wheelchairs, while four-year-old Zubed - who has no fingers or toes - is crawling.

Other performers, including children with cerebral palsy, mental retardation, speech and learning disabilities, are moving around on wheelchairs, tricycles, crutches, walkers and sticks to enact their roles. As the curtains come down, a thunderous applause fills the auditorium, leaving many misty-eyed.

Read the full story here:


En este encuentro -que se encuadra en nuestro Programa de Responsabilidad Social Universitaria "Extendiendo Equidad"- reflexionaremos acerca de las barreras arquitectónicas y sociales que obstaculizan la inclusión de las personas con discapacidad.

Por otra parte, se brindará información acerca de los beneficios del diseño universal, así como la importancia de su difusión entre profesionales pertenecientes a diferentes disciplinas y ámbitos.


  • Barreras arquitectónicas y sociales.  Acerca de la accesibilidad como un derecho de todas las personas, con o sin discapacidad.
  • Presentación del libro "Espacio Libre de Barreras- Diseño Universal", (Edit. Nobuko) de la Arq. Lidia Figini.
  • Al finalizar la jornada se sortearán dos ejemplares del libro "Espacio Libre de Barreras- Diseño Universal" entre los presentes.

Destinatarios: Profesionales y estudiantes de Turismo, Ingeniería, Psicología y carreras afines. (Este encuentro es abierto al público en general interesado en la temática).

Panelistas: Arq. Lidia Figini: Master en Arquitectura, con especialidad en Arquitectura Educacional (Stanford University, EEUU). Especialista en Escuelas Comunitarias en el National Center for Community Education (Michigan, EEUU).  Especialista en Discapacidad y Accesibilidad en espacios para las artes y la recreación (EE.UU). Becaria de la OEA y de la UNESCO.  Asesoró en temas de accesibilidad para personas con discapacidad física y/o sensorial en las Cadenas Hoteleras: Holiday Inc, Sheraton y Hilton.  Vicepresidenta del Philadelphi Home Proyect, Inc (EE.UU)

Sr. Raúl Peloni: Periodista y escritor especializado en Marketing Social.  Co-creador del programa de radial "Un poco mas" y del taller educativo de Comunicación social inclusiva con orientación periodística para personas con discapacidad.  Ambos espacios han sido distinguidos con los siguientes premios: TEA 2004- CGP 11 2008 UTPBA 2010- GOTA EN EL MAR 2007 Y 2010.

Lic. Silvia Gabriela Vázquez: Psicopedagoga y docente; Curso de Posgrado "Formación de Formadores en Responsabilidad Social" (PNUD). Distinguida con el Premio Vocación Académica 2009 (Fundación El Libro) Premiada en la "Convocatoria a favor de los 8 Objetivos del Milenio" (Asociación Letras Comprometidas, Ayuntamiento de Cardedeu y Edit. Icaria-España). Secretaria de Extensión Universitaria Udemm.

Actividad No Arancelada

Fecha: Miércoles 27 de abril, de 19 a 21hs

Contactarse con la Secretaría de Extensión Universitaria, al: TEL: 4953-9000 int. 209 (Srta. Melisa)

Mail: udemm_extension@udemm.edu.ar bmelisa@udemm.edu.ar

Página Web: www.udemm.edu.ar


News From the US Access Board

Board Seeks Comment on Access to Shared Use Paths 

Image: shared use pathThe Access Board seeks public comment on a new initiative to develop accessibility guidelines for shared use paths which provide a means of transportation and recreation for various users, including pedestrians, bicyclists, skaters, and others, including people with disabilities. The new guidelines will provide technical provisions for incorporating accessibility into the construction or alteration of shared use paths covered by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and, in the case of those federally funded, the Architectural Barriers Act (ABA).

Through a notice published on March 28, the Board invites comment on the guidelines to be developed, including their scope of coverage and the definition of "shared use paths." The Board also seeks feedback on draft technical provisions that address various features of paths, including surface characteristics, width, grade and cross slopes, changes in level, surface joints and openings, protruding objects, gates and barriers, and intersections and curb ramps. The notice explains these provisions and poses questions to the public on specific topics.

This rulemaking will complement guidelines the Board is developing for outdoor developed areas, including trails, and public rights-of-way. Public comments previously received in these rulemaking efforts urged the Board to specifically address shared use paths which differ significantly from trails and public sidewalks in their use and design. Shared use paths are primarily designed for bicyclists and others for off-road transportation, such as commuting to work, as well as for recreation purposes.

The notice includes instructions for submitting comments, which are due by June 27, 2011. The notice can also be accessed, and comments submitted, through www.regulations.gov.  For further information, contact Peggy H. Greenwell at greenwell@access-board.gov (email), (202) 272-0017 (voice), or (202) 272-0075 (TTY), or sign up to receive emails updates on this rulemaking.  

Board to Publish Guidelines on Public Rights-of-Way for Public Comment

The Board plans to propose guidelines for accessible public rights-of-ways for public comment this summer.  The new guidelines will complement the Board's existing guidelines for facilities covered by the ADA and ABA and will address access to public sidewalks and streets, including street crossings, on-street parking, street furniture, and constraints posed by terrain and space limitations, among other topics. The Board recently submitted the proposed guidelines to the Office of Management and Budget for clearance which has 90 days to complete its review.  Once cleared, the Board will publish the guidelines for public review and comment.

The Board previously released drafts of the guidelines for public input but must follow up with an official proposal and comment period before the guidelines can be finalized. In addition to the feedback received on the earlier drafts, the upcoming proposal will incorporate information gained through close coordination with counterpart agencies and research on rights-of-way issues sponsored by the Board. The proposed guidelines also will be responsive to issues further identified through the Board's extensive outreach and training program on rights-of-way accessibility.

Those interested in this topic can sign up to receive email updates on this rulemaking.

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London taxi drivers are generally the best in the world. Their knowledge of London's streets and landmarks is second to none. Just one small request - for those of you who don't yet know how to use your wheelchair ramp (or ramps) please get some training in before London 2012. Warning - contains loud music.

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Mestres do Brasil: Inclusão de Todos

"Onde a acessibilidade é passiva - deixando a porta aberta sem obstáculos no caminho - a inclusão te convida de forma ativa a participar da rede humana, indo além da porta livre de barreiras. Acessibilidade olha para coisas e lugares. Inclusão olha para vidas humanas."

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Reprinted with permission:

'Deaf Space' has taken on a specialty as further research and knowledge has become available in recent years.

The idea of 'Deaf Space' goes back over 100 years ago to Olof Hansen, one of the first deaf architects, who designed the Dawes House at Gallaudet University, deaf clubhouses and state buildings across the country and even in Venezuela. 

Several years ago, a deaf couple in Faribault, Minnesota, was looking for a home. One day a husband saw a house he liked very much. He asked his wife to come see it. She loved it. It had fewer walls which gave the feeling of being roomy with windows giving plenty of light, etc. They bought the house. Not until later did they discover that the architect was none other than Olof Hansen, the Deaf architect. The house gave the feeling of being deaf-friendly.

What is 'Deaf Space'?

Robert Arnold, a Deaf Studies professor at Mt. San Antonio College in Walnut, CA explains that 'Deaf Space' is a definition of architecture from building inside and out, and including the landscape. A cultural example: an igloo, you would know what that's from and who, what culture, a teepee, an African hut, a mansion, a log cabin, etc.".

George Balsey, a deaf architect in Amherst, MA states that "we create visu-centric spaces where the Deaf could see everything which helps with visual communication. For our designs we also deal with light - natural and artificial, high tech that's available for the deaf especially in educational settings and communications. We look for one communication system that works for both the deaf and hearing. We focus more on seeing and be seen".

Deaf people require an unobstructed line of sight. Hearing people can hear from another room, even from upstairs, not so with a Deaf person", says Staci Greenberg of Interior Design Services. Greenberg, who is the mother of a deaf daughter, emphasizes that "Lighting is another important consideration. If the Deaf person is trying to see someone signing to them and the light is behind the signer, it is not possible for them to see what is being signed. Well-placed lighting source will address that issue."

Factors to Consider

Some of the criteria came to light after talking with different people including some deaf architects and designers who deal with either commercial or residential space:

* Use of partial walls - less than floor-to-ceiling height;

* Placement of windows - locate them so they produce diffused light, not glaring light;

* Use of building materials such as clouded glass instead of brick, concrete, or drywall, to create privacy and still feel open;

* Wooden floors - so banging can be felt from other rooms;

* Select colors on floors as not to confuse a Deaf person's wide vision range;

* Use curved corners instead of right-angled walls or sharp turns;

* Create an open Kitchen to be visually accessible to adjacent rooms;

* Position light switches outside bathroom and bedrooms;

* Implement circular areas to see each other comfortably;

* Create wide, non-white sidewalks outdoors to accommodate people walking and signing to each other, and avoid glare of sunlight.

Universal Design 


The SmithGroup, who was involved in developing the Sorenson Language and Communication Center, says that the building "establishes a new level of architectural accommodation... Because the hearing-challenged community uses visual cues as a primary means of communication, lighting is a key component of the SmithGroup design on both functional and aesthetic levels."

"Personally, I've come to a conclusion that the 'Deaf Space' principles would benefit everyone all over the world, not just deaf people, because humans are naturally collective and tactile," says Ryan Commerson, a graduate student at Gallaudet University who enrolled in a course on 'Deaf Space', "For me, 'Deaf Space' is just one more validation that being deaf is truly a great thing; that being a visual-tactile oriented member of a collectivist culture has something of value that can be shared with the world."

Deaf Senior Housing

With the baby boom generation entering retirement age, designing and building housing for deaf seniors are including elements of design to meet the specific needs of deaf people. Deaf seniors are moving into deaf-friendly assisted living apartments and senior housing with open kitchens and living rooms and strategically placed lighting. Clubrooms with kitchens are created within large open spaces.

Thinking 'Deaf Space' Makes Sense


Deaf and hearing architects and designers can incorporate their designs into a viable presentation of 'Deaf Space' that can fit either a residential or commercial environment. It does not exclude use of that space by hearing people. Incorporating criteria for 'Deaf Space' could enhance use of space, and possibly improve its marketability in today's volatile real estate market.


  This report is presented by Deaf411.

The report appeared in April edition of the Deaf411 eNewsletter, a monthly publication available free of charge by signing up at www.deaf411.com/signup. 



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Metropolis Magazine: Hits and Misses

Universal Design


When the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was signed into law in 1990, it was not exactly embraced by the design community--indeed, many saw its requirements as hurdles to achieving their vision rather than spurs for creating inclusive buildings and products. Metropolis took a more optimistic approach. Inspired by the ADA, and by a universal-design conference held in New York City in May 1992, we published a special issue that fall devoted to the question of access. It was a multidisciplinary look at a fledgling discipline, with stories on wheelchair design, accessible taxis, senior housing, city planning, retrofitting historic buildings, and the promise of a "barrier-free environment." Almost 20 years later, the design profession has come a long way--but we're still working to fulfill that promise. 


User-Friendly Skies


"Airplane interiors are ugly," Aaron Betsky declared in this 1994 essay. "Not only are they cramped, but they are the most plastic-filled, confusingly designed rip-offs of Star Trek aesthetics you or I will ever find ourselves inhabiting for any stretch of time." Fortunately, change was on the way! United Airlines was debuting spaces "as tailored as a Brooks Brothers suit." Continental was planning cabin upgrades that would have "the discreet allure of Miesian minimalism." And most promising of all, Boeing's new 777 would be big enough to have a truly open, flexible interior. Betsky admitted that substantive, industry-wide improvement was still years away--and, boy, was he right. Today, more than 16 years later, we're still waiting for the user-friendly skies.




The National Dialogue on Universal Housing Design, a group bringing together government, the residential building industry and the community sector, met this week to progress the Livable Housing Design guidelines.

Universal housing design means designing Australian homes to meet the changing needs of home occupants across their lifetime, including people with a disability and senior Australians. 
During the meeting Parliamentary Secretary for Disabilities and Carers, Senator Jan McLucas, announced that a not-for-profit organisation, Livable Housing Australia, will be established.
"Livable Housing Australia will promote greater understanding of the value of universal housing design within the community and promote Universal
Housing Design practices throughout the residential building and property industry," she said.
The organisation will also identify appropriate mechanisms to assist in achieving the milestones and targets in the Livable Housing Design guidelines and Strategic Plan. 
Developed by the National Dialogue in 2010, the Livable Housing Design guidelines provide awareness within the residential design and construction industry and governments about the benefits of incorporating universal design principles into new housing.
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Meridian was Celebrity Cruises' first ship.

Image via Wikipedia

The Daily Tribune reports a situation that bears further investigation. Public clarification of Celebrity Cruise's policy seems in order.

"I was in shock and couldn't believe it," he said. "Before I got onboard nobody raised any issue about my disability."

Jim Keskeny was left behind on a cruise -- intentionally:

What happened to Jim Keskeny, 66, a wheelchair user who has multiple sclerosis, is both shocking and scary.

Keskeny, who lived in Bloomfield Township for eight years, signed up for a 10-day cruise with the Miami-based Celebrity Cruises Inc., owned and operated by Royal Caribbean International, of the eastern Caribbean.

He paid $4,000 for his ticket so he'd have a larger stateroom for his wheelchair and also paid extra to have a butler assigned to him to help him since he was traveling alone.

Keskeny, now of Pinckney, who traveled extensively during his career on behalf of the Multiple Sclerosis International Federation, made sure he'd receive extra assistance on the cruise before he bought the ticket and flew to Miami on Feb. 13 to board the ship.

"When I went through check-in, everyone was aware I used a wheelchair because it was obvious," he said. "Cruise line officials knew I paid for extra assistance, if needed...

The ship left the Miami port Monday, Feb. 14.

But the next morning, when he asked the butler to help him get his wheelchair over a non-compliant ADA lip going into the bathroom, the butler refused.

The full story:

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Las personas con discapacidad auditiva y visual dispondrán de guías turísticas interpretadas al lenguaje de signos, locutadas y subtituladas. Un plano táctil situado en la plaza de la Marina será el punto de partida de las 5 rutas turísticas accesibles Estas rutas podrán ser descargadas gracias a la tecnología QR integrada en el plano táctil, así como desde la web malagaturismo.com.

El concejal de Accesibilidad Universal, Raúl López, y el director general de turismo, Elías Bendodo han presentado una nueva iniciativa en pro del desarrollo de una capital más accesible en materia turística.

Fotografía Plaza de La Marina - Málaga. Pulsar para ampliar imagenPor una parte, se ha dado un paso adelante en el servicio que prestan las tradicionales audioguías turísticas que el Área de Turismo del Ayuntamiento de Málaga desde la oficina central de la Plaza de la Marina viene poniendo a disposición de los visitantes en la oficina central de información turística de la plaza de la Marina. Y por otra, se ha presentado un plano táctil del centro histórico de la capital dirigido a las personas con discapacidad visual que será el punto de partida de las rutas turísticas accesibles de la ciudad.



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Kevin and Karen Carr have developed a seat that can be used by people with disabilities. The seat is designed to address balance and stability issues that can make sitting upright and paddling difficult for people with disabilities.

To learn more about these seats, give Kevin and Karen a call at Chosen Valley Canoe Accessories in Chatfield, MN. Their number is: 507-867-3961.
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We reside within a global village, approximately 10 per cent of the world's population or 650 million people(including about 200 million children) are living with some form of disability(United Nations, 2009).  The World Health Organization and the United Nations have recognized that people with disability have a right to access services from all areas of citizenship (Darcy & Taylor, 2009Genoe & Singleton, 2009). 

In particular, the United Nations' Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities (United Nations, 2006), Article 30 recognises 'cultural life' as an important part of any person's citizenship. As the United Nations' outline, whether 'cultural life' is recreation, leisure, the arts, sport or tourism it is the enriching part of people's lives where they strive to express themselves away from the everyday reality of their lifestyle situation and other constraints (Barnes, Mercer, & Shakespeare, 1999). 

As Stebbins (2006) and others have argued, for some individuals and groups of people with disability, 'cultural life' (recreation, leisure, the arts, sport or tourism ) plays a far more important role as they have been denied active citizenship in employment. Cultural life (recreation, leisure, the arts, sport or tourism )has become the 'serious' focus of their existence (Patterson & Lobo, 2000;Shaw & Dawson, 2001Stebbins, 2000). Yet, a great deal of research has focused on the medicalised benefits of sport and active recreation for people with disability due to lower levels of participation than the general population (e.g. Cooper et al., 1999Darcy, Taylor, Murphy, & Lock, 2011). While a very important consideration, participation in 'cultural life' is more than sport and active recreation for prescribed therapeutic outcomes (Darcy, et al., 2011).

The purpose of this call for papers for the Special issue is to seek contributions examining the inclusion and citizenship of people with disability in' cultural life' (recreation, leisure, the arts, sport or tourism): 

a)      clarify what the terms inclusion and citizenship mean in different cultures;

b)      to place inclusion and citizenship to 'cultural life '(recreation, leisure, the arts, sport or tourism) across discourses relating to economic, social and environmental contexts that affect people with disabilities participation; and

c)       to discuss the terms inclusion and citizenship from the ideological frameworks of government, researchers, providers of service or disability advocacy groups.

Submissions are sought from the consumer (demand), providers (supply) and coordination/regulation (government) sector perspectives. The guest editor invites interested researchers to contribute theoretical, methodological or empirical papers related to the theme of this Special issue. The topics of potential papers include but are not limited to:

  • The role of inclusion and citizenship in the construction of 'cultural life'(recreation, leisure, the arts, sport or tourism) environments and experiences;
  • What is the impact of inclusion/exclusion on the person and their experiences?;
  • The social and/or cultural construction of inclusion in 'cultural life'(recreation, leisure, the arts, sport or tourism) activities and experiences;
  • The role of inclusion in the construction of cultural, sub cultural and personal identities of different societies;
  • The role of inclusion in the construction and/or deconstruction of the intersection with gendered, ethnic and sexual identities within the experience of 'cultural life'(recreation, leisure, the arts, sport or tourism);
  • How experiences of inclusion compare and contrast between different dimensions of disability (e.g. mobility, vision, hearing, cognitive, sensitivities etc.);
  • The impact of inclusion and citizenship within space and place making

Submission Guidelines

  1. In the first instance authors are invited to submit a 500 word abstract listen to meet with indicative of references for consideration for the special issue.
  2. Electronic submission of the abstract should be sent by e-mail attachment to Jerome@dal.ca
  3. Authors will then be selected to complete a full paper based on their abstract for potential publication subject to the full double-blind review process as required by Annals of Leisure Research.
  4. Abstracts and papers should be sent as Microsoft Word file attachments using APA sixth edition.
  5. Articles will be 5000-6000 words in length including references using APA sixth edition.
  6. All submissions will be anonymously reviewed by two independent assessors.

Important Dates:

Abstract deadline: 30 June 2011 to jerome@dal.ca

Notification of acceptance of abstracts deadline: 1 August 2011

Submission for double-blind reviewing process: 30 November2011

Review Process Notification: 30 January  2012

Special issue publication: June or December 2012


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Here is a look behind the scenes on the venerable technology of books. What is going in a digital age to include people with disability -- by design? How are we moving the publications industry from a charity to a PwD-as-consumer approach?

What is the Benetech business model behind Bookshare.org?

Benetech® is a unique bridge that connects the social sector with business and technology leaders. We join together the heart of social mission with the mind of high-tech process and project management. Leveraging the vast technical skill in Silicon Valley, we have project managers and engineers proficient in almost every area of software development. Together, we're using technology to serve humanity. 
  Good for Society and for Investors 
 Benetech operates much like a startup company in a venture capital environment. We identify needs and opportunities where technology could have a tremendous impact, improving the lives of thousands, potentially millions of people. Once we determine the viability of an idea, we apply research, analysis and business planning to develop and implement it. The crucial difference is that our primary goal is helping all of humanity, rather than making the maximum financial return. As a social venture capital partner, we make decisions on behalf of society, as well as for our limited partners providing the capital in the form of grants, donations and access to intellectual property. Investments are evaluated in terms of need, feasibility and long-term business sustainability. One thing we do not do: waste money and time. 85% of every dollar goes directly to support our initiatives
. Source: http://www.benetech.org/about/business_model.shtml

Jim Fruchterman eloquently lays out the Universal Design approach to the dueling moral high ground arguments taking place between the disability community and the publishing industry in this video:


This event is free of charge. Workshops are offered online via Elluminate

Session One: Friday, April 15, 9-11:30am HST (12-2:30pm PDT)

Integration of Cultural Diversity, Universal Design for Learning and Mentoring

Cultural Diversity

  • Recognizing the impact of diverse identities
  • Responding to students with disabilities in a cultural context
  • Issues of cultural competence

Universal Design for Learning

  • Balancing rigor with the need for flexibility
  • Diversifying instructional methods and materials
  • Specific strategies to increase classroom inclusiveness


  • Strategies for nurturing students with disabilities
  • Providing real-life learning
  • Learning from our students
Presented by Megan Conway, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Steven Brown, Ph.D., Associate Professor, & Michelle McDow, Center on Disability Studies, College of Education, University of Hawai'i at Mānoa

 Session Two: Tuesday, April 26, 1-2:30pm HST (4-5:30pm PDT)

Expanded Session -  Tools for Mentoring

 Presented by Steven E. Brown, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Center on Disability Studies, College of Education, University of Hawai'i at Mānoa

 For more information about the topics and speakers please visit www.ist.hawaii.edu

 Pre-Registration required up to three days before the event. Information about how to access the Webinars will follow. To register email Kathryn Parado atkathrynparado@gmail.com with your name, email address, department/institution or other affiliation. Please submit any disability accommodation requests when you register.

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The UN World Tourism Organization published the following press release on the place of tourism in development:

Tourism has been identified by more than half of the world's poorest countries as an effective means to take part in the global economy and reduce poverty. To maximize tourism's role in helping countries reach their development goals, UNWTO has come together with seven UN agencies
 and programs to boost tourism as an instrument for development.

Tourism is increasingly a major, if not the main, source of growth, employment, income, and revenue for many of the world's developing countries. The sector is currently the first or second source of export earnings in 20 of the 48 Least Developed Countries (LDCs) and is demonstrating steady growth in at least 10 others. As such, tourism has become one of the main engines of socioeconomic progress for many countries and a development priority for a majority of the LDCs.

In order to better position tourism in the development agenda and maximize this potential, UNWTO has come together with seven UN agencies and programs - the International Labour Organization (ILO), International Trade Centre (ITC), UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), UN Development Program (UNDP), UN Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), UN Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), and the World Trade Organization (WTO) - to create the UN Steering Committee on Tourism for Development (SCTD).

By harnessing the strengths and expertise of each agency and creating synergies between UN organizations, the committee will deliver more coordinated, effective, and efficient technical assistance and support to developing countries.

One of the first activities of the committee will be the holding of a Special Tourism Event at the Fourth UN Conference on Least Developed Countries (LDC-IV) to be celebrated in Istanbul, Turkey, May 10, 2011. 

The event, "Promoting Tourism for Sustainable Development and Poverty Reduction," will set the scene for a new international framework for development through tourism, providing the opportunity for LDCs, UN agencies, and key players of donor countries and other institutions to find ways to foster tourism for development and create mechanisms for LDCs as they seek to combat poverty, diversify their economies, and pursue inclusive growth strategies.

The role of tourism in increasing LDCs' participation in the global economy, and as a means of poverty reduction, will be the focus of the World Export Development Forum (WEDF), the International Trade Centre's flagship event, held this year at LDC-IV in partnership with UNWTO (Istanbul, Turkey, May 10-11, 2011). The WEDF will focus on the role of the private sector for tourism-led growth and inclusive sustainable development through the creation of key pilot projects.


Joint Tourism Special Event - Promoting Tourism for Sustainable Development and Poverty Reduction: www..unwto.org/en/event/promoting-tourism-sustainable-development-and-poverty-reduction 

World Export Development Forum - Private Sector Engagement with LDCs for Tourism-led Growth and Inclusive Sustainable Development: www.intracen.org/wedf/

MEDIA CONTACT: Principal Media Officer, Marcelo Risi, Tel: (+34) 91 567 81 60, Email:mrisi@UNWTO.org , Web: www.UNWTO.org ; UNWTO Communications Program, Tel: +34 91-567-8100, Fax: +34 91-567-8218, Email: comm@UNWTO.org

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Image by srains via Flickr

The breadth of topics covered at the 5th International conference on Responsible Tourism in Destinations is inspiring. I look forward with enthusiasm to taking part in this event. 

Kudos to the Responsible Tourism movement that have demonstrated their commitment to Inclusive Tourism even before this through the Cape Town Declaration and the Kerala Declaration.

Access for All

What does inclusive and accessible mean in the tourism context? And how do we achieve inclusive and accessible tourism? Presentations include provoking ideas and examples of initiatives addressing these topics and include discussions on opening tourism to people with disabilities, seniors, youth and minorities.

Polar Tourism

Our arctic and antarctic regions are rapidly opening up as tourism experiences.  How can we better manage tourism development in polar regions to ensure minimal environmental impacts while engaging and benefiting the communities that reside in the arctic?  Presentations will include operators and government engaged in polar tourism.

Indigenous Tourism

How can we develop more indigenous tourism experiences without commercializing traditions and culture?  Who decides what is available for tourism consumption and what remains exclusive to the indigenous people?  The presentations on indigenous tourism will share successes and best practices in developing indigenous tourism experiences in Canada and abroad.

Local Economic Development in Developed Countries

Local economic development issues have (for the most part) looked at developing economies in developing countries, however communities in developed countries are equally looking for ways to grow and diversify their economies to be able to survive and sustain their populations.  Presentations on this panel will share experiences and initiatives developing tourism related initiatives in rural communities.


What is the role of government and its agencies in developing a responsible and sustainable tourism destination? From policy and product development to marketing, this panel will share experiences and initiatives governments around the world are undertaking to create more responsible destinations in their jurisdictions.

Canadian Examples

This session will showcase responsible tourism initiatives and operations from across Canada.

Tuesday, June 28


Laura McGowan, International Centre for Responsible Tourism Canada

Honourable Cindy Ady, Minister of Alberta Tourism, Parks and Recreation (TBC)

Harold Goodwin, International Centre for Responsible Tourism at Leeds Metropolitan University

Access For All - Moderator TBC

Scott Rains, Rolling Rains Report - USA

Craig Grimes, accessible.travel - UK

Louie Lavoie, Parks Canada (TBC)

William Watson Lodge, Alberta Parks - Kananaskis (TBC)

Panel Questions

Group Discussion (Breakout session)


Harold Goodwin,  Rethinking Responsible Tourism: 10 years on  - what are the priorities for the next ten years?

Locally Inspired Lunch


Canadian Examples - Moderator TBC

Manuelle Prunier, Canadian Badlands Ltd.

Andrew Pratt, Inside Out Experiences

Marlene Abrams, Dine Alberta

Stan Cowley, Rafter Six Ranch (TBC)

Panel Questions


(15 minutes)

Polar Tourism - Ross Klein, Memorial University Newfoundland (Moderator)

Honourable Peter Taptuna, Nunavut Minister of Economic Development and Transportation (TBC)

Marie-Sylvestre Belanger, Yukon Quest

John Gunter, Frontiers North

Panel Questions

Group Discussion (Breakout session)

Evening Event Sponsored by Alberta Tourism, Parks and Recreation

Fort Edmonton Park (TBC) - Celebrating Alberta culture, history and local cuisine


Wednesday, June 29

Opening and recap from previous day

Indigenous Tourism - Quinton Crowshoe, Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump (Moderator)

Adama Bah, Gambia

Corrine Card, Metis Crossing - Canada

Justin Ferby, Carcross-Tagish Development Corporation - Canada

Bruce Whyte, British Columbia Arts and Culture Branch

Katelijne Lenaerts, Outback Business Network at Desert Knowledge Australia

Panel Questions

Group Discussion (Breakout session)



Locally Inspired Lunch


Local Economic Development in Developed Countries - Wynn McLean, Growing Rural Tourism (Moderator)

Ken Duncan, Boomtown Trail - Alberta

LaVerne Erikson, Rosebud - Alberta

Debbie Webster, Dames on the Range - Alberta

Marc Tremblay, Conseil de developpement economique d'Alberta

Rodd Taylor, Yukon

Panel Questions

Group Discussions (Breakout session)


(15 minutes)

Governance - Harold Goodwin, Moderator

Heidi Keyser, Cape Town Experience - South Africa

Reegan McCullough, Alberta Tourism, Parks and Recreation

David Owen, UNEP - France

Jason Freezer, Visit England

Victor Bjornberg, Montana Office of Tourism (TBC)

Yashin Dujon, Belize Ministry of Tourism

Panel Questions


(15 minutes)


Closing Remarks and Signing of the RTD5 Declaration

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A TWA Douglas DC-3 airplane is prepared for ta...

Image via Wikipedia

Be ready as a  new debate takes to the skies -- and speak up loudly if you expect to be heard from the "special section" that you may be assigned to - as exclusion-by-design submits a new flight plan:

Across the skies, there's a growing debate over whether airlines should do more to segregate the seating of passengers -- with designated areas for kids, for example. At a time when increasingly crowded jets have helped to make flying less pleasant for many passengers and social media allow them to instantly tweet their frustrations to the world, a comfortable perch on the plane -- and some tranquility around it -- has become ever more precious.

Polls of fliers by the travel search site Skyscanner and of business travelers by Britain's Business Travel & Meetings Show indicate a majority of airline passengers want sections set aside for families, or cabins that are for adults only. Overweight passengers have complained about being humiliated as airlines enforce rules that they pay for a second seat so they won't crowd their fellow fliers. And some passenger advocates say that designated rows for those who are tall, heavy or disabled would be a good idea.

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Economist Albert Park gave away eyeglasses to school kids in China. He was surprised (apparently he is not disabled) when the kids and their parents refused them. Why the refusal? In part, stigma.

Park thinks more families would have accepted the glasses if the researchers had better explained the program, if they had cultivated demand. So how do you make having four eyes cool?


In America, eyeglasses are the coolest thing you can put on your face right now.

He would say that. That's Harvey Moscot, an optometrist and president of a New York eyewear institution called Moscot. Every year, Moscot sells about 300 pairs of vanity glasses -- with clear plastic lenses -- for around $225 a pop. In the industry, they're called "planos." According to one estimate, some four million Americans wear planos everyday. Not to see better; just to look better. I asked Moscot why there's such a difference in eyeglass culture between the U.S. and Gansu Province.


Famous Chinese icons probably are not wearing their glasses like they are in America. From any hip-hop star to any idol of a sports star that wears them influences children's perception of eyeglasses.


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FabCab: UD in the Wide Open Spaces

New video from FabCab


 The blog: http://fabcab.com/interact/blog/
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Parking Mobility meets a need.

Answer the call to create a database of accessible parking places in your city. 

Use this the Parking Mobility app to report violators.

Using your phone, you can take pictures of cars parked illegally and submit them. Parking Mobility shares this information with your city and they send a ticket to the owner of the car. A portion of the ticket collected by your city is shared with charities as chosen by you. You make your city more accessible and support your favorite charity at the same time!


Here's how:

    1. Download the application to your iPhone, Blackberry or Android phone.
    2. When you see a car parked illegally in a disabled parking spot, launch the application to take the following 3 photos of the car. Then submit. It takes less than 2 minutes.
      • License plate
      • Front windshield (showing no placard)
      • The parking spot (showing the car and disabled parking sign)
    1. Parking Mobility then shares combines this information with your city.
    2. The city takes this evidence and issues a ticket to the owner of the car.
    3. When the city is paid for the ticket, a portion of the ticket is given to the charity you choose.
    4. You can review your submitted reports and change your selected charity at any time in Settings.

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Here's from Kelly at the National Association of the Remodeling Industry:

Universal design has never been so attractive. Noting that so many Americans prefer aging in place rather than nursing-home living, manufacturers are beginning to make more appealing universal design products, The New York Times reports. Designer Rosemary Bakker told NYT,

"Even 10 years ago, products for bath and kitchen were very institutional-looking with a lot of stainless steel and the stigma of disability. Now, U.D. is getting cutting edge, even trendy."

Full article: http://blog.nariatlanta.org/news-for-home-owners/remodeling-helps-homeowners-prepare-to-age-in-place/

How do we get to "attractive, cutting edge, and trendy?" Partly through intellectual clarity. We identified the Medical Model of Disability as an incomplete expression of the political consensus of the disability community. Thinkers in the UK articulated the Social Model of Disability which went viral immediately. Cultural, artistic, and disability pride impulses coalesced across disability sub-communities.

Through it all the first psychological step was beyond stigma as a system for socially-enactment of "self"-limitation. Consider the transition from the stigma of being bullied on the playground as being a "Four-Eyes" for wearing glasses to eyewear (note the language change) being a fashion accessory:

Design meets disability

Pullin, G. (2009). Design meets disability. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press.

A powerful, important book. Eyeglasses made the switch from shameful medical appliance, which is how the British National Health Service labeled them, to revered fashion item, so much so that people who didn't need glasses would wear them anyway. If eyeglasses can do it, why not hearing aids, wheelchairs, or walkers? Change stigmas into desirables. Moreover, as the proponents of universal design have long proclaimed, meaningful design aids everyone.



And once the threshold of stigma and social limitation is passed a new consumer market takes its place in the travel and hospitality economy -- in as far as tourism industry stakeholders adopt Universal Design. Those in the industry who have learned the economic disadvantage they have caused themselves through their collaboration with stigmatization learn to recognize the extraordinary power of providing service to the underserved. Who would not want this recent commentator to the NYT as a loyal and vocal repeat customer:

The Spirit of Inclusive Travel

by Deborah Davis Deb in the Everglades

I travel because I want my mind and my heart and my soul to overcome the boundaries that my body now feels. I travel in spite of the fact that it is "inconvenient" in that I am unable to walk onto the plane or to simply stand up and use the bathroom when needed, or that I have to spend innumerable hours planning and seeking out where I may be able to go in a wheelchair; what I will be able to see and where will accommodate me once I reach my chosen destination. I travel because to do so puts me in the realm of saying "HA! Look at me now!" I can do and be and see and experience this wonderful world. I CAN taste, smell, delight in the people and remarkable sights and win in the battle of my body over my spirit.

Deb in StockholmI was a dancer and I was 18 when I crashed my car in front of the Mormon Chapel on the Maryland beltway. I broke my neck and was told I will never move from the neck down again. Yet, I heard a voice as I lay alone in the night..-

"you will not be able to move your legs..but it will not be permanent and there is a purpose"

I accepted this, moved on and regained the use of my arms and hands...just like the voice said.

So I go--and I relish in the next trip--the next challenge that I WILL over come. 

Full story by Deborah Davis:

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Oh, BTW Erik Weihenmayer, who is blind, climbed Mt Everest. 

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Separating to Emphasize Unequal?

Passenger Liner AUSONIA of Cunard Line

Image via Wikipedia

"There is a new cruise ship class system," begins the article by Andrea Petersen in the Wall Street Journal.

For the sake of argument, and stay in step with current political discourse in the US, let's bracket the American sensibility of egalitarianism and take it on face value that entitlement is a good thing. After all, the tradition of inequality on cruise ships is longstanding - and skillfully managed:

The Cunard Line has had at least two different classes on its ships for all of its 171 years. But President Peter Shanks says the industry's newest enclaves may provoke some backlash, particularly if they stick out as so much nicer than other parts of the vessel.
"When you create special luxury areas, it sort of doesn't gel with the rest of the ship," says Mr. Shanks. "If you're not careful, you can feel a bit imprisoned and at odds with the rest of the customers."

The phrase "feel a bit imprisoned and at odds with the rest of the customers" applied here to the privileged class might be the straightforward response to the experience. There is a revealing irony that this experience of being "excluded by design," which is the daily experience of the disability community, is also the experience of those segregated through privilege.  Still, no mention is made whether Universal Design permeates these enclaves or if the presumption is still that travelers with disabilities will be further segregated by limited access even when booking inside these ship-within-a-ship complexes:

 A growing number of cruise lines have built lavish--and separate--cocoons for their biggest spenders. It is a departure from the egalitarianism that had reigned on most ships for the last several decades when everyone from the humblest inside stateroom to the most luxurious suite would rub elbows in the same bars, dining rooms and pool decks. In a way, the trend is a throwback to the heyday of trans-Atlantic crossings in the 1920s, when first-, second- and third-class passengers were assigned separate areas of vessels...

Ship-within-a-ship complexes are usually tucked away, and cruise line executives insist that other guests don't mind the class distinctions.

"Generally people don't really know about it," says Kevin Sheehan, chief executive of Norwegian Cruise Line.

Source: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704608504576208662079704894.html
True, ppeople don't really know about it. More detail is necessary about the disability inclusion/exclusion assumptions expressed through design in these enclaves.

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