Universal Design - Cutting Edge, Attractive, and Trendy!

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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