May 2013 Archives

Universal Design Practices to Enhance Work Outcomes

A NIDRR Disability and Rehabilitation Research Project (DRRP)

Principal Investigator: Jon Sanford

Co-Investigators: Fran HarrisMaureen LindenKaren MilchusNathan MoonHsian-Yu Yang

Overview

The goal of the DRRP is to increase knowledge about, availability of and access to UD accommodations to enable employees with disabilities to participate fully in the workplace, enjoy enhanced employment outcomes and have equal opportunities for advancement.

To accomplish this goal, the Center for Assistive Technology and Environmental Access (CATEA) at Georgia Tech, in collaboration with the IDEA Center at SUNY Buffalo, will:

  1. develop and validate the Workplace Accommodation Rating System (WARS), a set of standards and a new rating system for UD accommodations based on the Commercial Building Standards developed by IDEA Center for the Global Universal Design;
  2. expand the Work RERC's Workplace Participation Survey (WPS), originally developed and validated for workers who use wheelchairs in an office setting, to include workers with all types of limitations, including vision, hearing, mobility, dexterity, speech, and cognition in multiple work settings;
  3. describe the relationship between employer accommodation practices and work outcomes;
  4. identify the salient UD accommodation practices that are associated with positive work outcomes for employees with disabilities; and
  5. identify needs and opportunities, develop and disseminate materials about accommodation policies and practices.

Overall, the research will enhance our understanding and develop an important evidence base that demonstrates the potential benefits of UD accommodations not only in meeting both activity and participation needs of employees with disabilities but also promoting positive work outcomes in job satisfaction and productivity. Such information is critical to practice and policy decisions that recognize the importance of multiple dimensions of work as both an individual and social experience as well as the contributions of the work environment in shaping that experience. This evidence is essential for laying the foundation for improved practices, policies and perceptions regarding accommodations for individuals with disabilities and adoption of UD practices by policymakers, rehabilitation professionals and employers.


Learn More About This Project:

View Research Papers and Presentations

Participate in our Studies


Source:

http://uddrrp.gatech.edu/

The story below illustrates the difference between "accessibility thinking" and Universal Design." Even given that those designing the following map may have determined that a tactile version for blind users was beyond their competence or budget why was color blindess not considered? The solution is simple - redundant methods of marking the distinctions they wished to make. For exemple, three types of broken lines could have been used to indicate slope of footpaths.


For more on mapping solutions and color blindness see the work done at ColorAdd: http://www.coloradd.net/

The Queenstown and Districts Accessibility Map was launched by disAbilities Resource Centre Queenstown late last month after four years of research and development.

Centre staff and supporters colour-categorised all the streets and roads of central Queenstown, Frankton and Arrowtown as a guide for new residents and visitors who have walking difficulties or use a wheelchair, mobility scooter or pram.

Duke St was coloured green, like other ''gently sloped streets'', Sydney St and other ''steeper streets'' like it were blue, while upper Ballarat St and other ''very steep streets'' were brown.

White, blue and brown dotted lines indicated the severity of footpaths and walking trails. Scenic viewpoints, picnic/rest areas, useful services, medical centres, accessible car parks and public toilets, as well as the 37 operators and businesses that sponsored the map, were all pinpointed.

Information officer Tracey Allison said the centre received many national and international inquiries about what and where was accessible in Wakatipu.

Asked what state Wakatipu was in for accessibility, Mrs Allison said there was ''room for improvement''.

About 10,000 copies of the accessibility map were produced and were being distributed around Wakatipu, including i-Site Visitor Centre Queenstown, Destination Queenstown and the council...

Requests for the map can be made by calling the centre on (03) 409-0900.

Source:

From


Here's the Planet's Headfirst Dive into DeafSpace Architecture


The main egress into the assembly hall is a wide, slowly sloping ramp, which allows people to keep their attention on the conversation, not Point B. It's all low-tech stuff, implemented in a way that's simple and smart.

The method is called DeafSpace and it has as its founding pillars two simple things, concepts that, really, should apply to any intuitive piece of architecture: awareness and sensitivity. "It's about creating empathy between the individual and the building," campus architect and planner Hansel Bauman toldMetropolis, which recently ran a feature about the space.

And it's not all just about the visuals, either. According to the article:

"DeafSpace guidelines emphasize acoustics. Hearing aids capture distracting ambient noise, such as foot traffic, chairs scraping along a hard floor, and echoes. The design team modeled acoustic ceiling solutions several times before settling on layered panels and cedar slats. Additional sound control in wide-open spaces comes from carpet tiles and bamboo partitions, which also provide seating and work surfaces.

Read more about DeafSpace, right this way.

Source:

http://curbed.com/archives/2013/07/26/heres-the-planets-headfirst-dive-into-deafspace-architecture.php


European Commission calls for entries from across the EU

Brussels, 21/05/2013 - The European Commission has opened today the competition for the fourth "Access City Award", the European Award for Accessible Cities. The annual prize recognises and celebrates cities that are dedicated to providing an accessible environment for all, and for disabled and older people in particular. The Award is part of the EU's wider efforts to create a barrier-free Europe: improved accessibility brings lasting economic and social benefits to cities, especially in the context of demographic ageing. Cities with at least 50,000 inhabitants have until 10 September (midnight Brussels time) to submit their candidacy for the award.

"Let's keep working together to facilitate lives of EU citizens", said Vice-President of the European Commission Viviane Reding, Commissioner for Justice, Fundamental Rights and Citizenship. "I encourage cities all over Europet o participate and share their ideas on how to make life more accessible for all. If you have made special efforts to improve accessibility, your city can be a good example and inspiration for others".

Approximately 80 million Europeans have a disability. With the ageing of our society, the number of people with a disability or those with reduced mobility is growing. Giving everyone access to city transport, public spaces and services, and technology has become a real challenge. However, providing accessibility also gives economic and social benefits and contributes to the sustainability and inclusiveness of the urban environment.

In line with the United Nations Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities, accessibility is one of the pillars of the European Union's Disability Strategy 2010-2020 which aims at creating a barrier-freeEuropefor all.

The selection process

The selection will take place in two phases, with a pre-selection at the national level followed by a final selection at the European level. In the European competition phase, a jury composed of accessibility experts including representatives of the European Disability Forum will select out of the national nominees maximum four finalists to attend the award ceremony in Brussels. The ceremony will coincide with the European Day of People with Disabilities Conference on 3-4 December 2013. The winner of the competition will be recognised as the "Winner of the Access City Award2014". Another two cities will be awarded as ''finalists'' for their innovative measures on accessibility.

The European Jury will also give special "mentions" to cities that have achieved notable successes and results in specific areas or aspects of accessibility.

Award criteria

Accessibility needs to be implemented in a coherent and systematic manner in goods, services and infrastructure. Initiatives will be assessed for their integrated approach across four key areas: the built environment and public spaces; transportation and related infrastructure; information and communication, including new technologies (ICT); public facilities and services.

The jury will particularly look at the impact of accessibility measures on the everyday life of people with disabilities and the city as a whole, and it will consider the quality and sustainability of the results achieved. Cities will also have to demonstrate active involvement of persons with disabilities and their representative organisations in the planning and implementation of the city's accessibility policies.

How to apply

Applications can be submitted on-line until 10 September 2013 (midnight Brussels time) in English, French or German viahttp://ec.europa.eu/justice/access-city.

Background

The Access-City Award's first, second and third editions

After a first successful inaugural year2010 inwhich the Spanish city of Avila received the Access City Award 2011, the campaign in 2011 saw 114 cities from 23 EU member states joining the competition. On 1 December 2011 the Austrian citySalzburgwas proclaimed as the winner of the Access City Award 2012.

The application phase for the Access City Award 2013 closed on 5 September 2012 with 99 cities from 20 EU member states in the competition. The Award was given to theGermanCityofBerlinat a ceremony organised inBrusselson 3 December 2012, on the occasion of the European Day of Persons with Disabilities.

The two other finalists were:Nantes(France) andStockholm(Sweden). . In 2012 the jury also assigned special mentions to:Pamplona(Spain) for the built environment and public spaces,Gdynia(Poland) for transport and related infrastructures,Bilbao(Spain) for information and communication, including new technologies and Tallaght (Ireland) for public facilities and services.

TodayGdyniahosts a conference called ''accessible cities - best practices'' where the winner, the finalists and other EU cities will share their practices and discuss their projects and future plans on accessibility.Gdynia, awarded with the special mention for transport and related infrastructure, is well known for promoting awareness and understanding of disability.

EU policy on accessibility

The EU Disability Strategy 2010-2020 provides the general framework for action in the area of disability and accessibility at EU level to complement and support Member States' action. In this context, the European Commission is preparing a proposal for a European Accessibility Act, to be presented in the second half of 2013.

Specific provisions on accessibility are contained in EU legislation in areas such as transport and electronic communication services. The EU makes use of a variety of instruments beyond legislation and policy, such as research and standardisation, to optimise the accessibility of the built environment, ICT, transport, and other areas, and to foster an EU-wide market for accessible products and services.

The EU also aims to improve the functioning of the assistive technology market for the benefit of people with disabilities and supports a "Design for all" approach that benefits a wider part of the population, such as elderly people and those with reduced mobility.

For more information

Would you like to have your city projects featured in the next booklet of the Access City Award? If you want to share your experiences and actions with other cities, read more about the Access City Award on:http://ec.europa.eu/justice/access-city

European Disability Strategy 2010-2020

http://ec.europa.eu/justice/discrimination/disabilities/disability-strategy/index_en.htm

United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

http://ec.europa.eu/justice/discrimination/disabilities/convention/index_en.htm


Differentiating Design Approaches

From Springboard Consulting


"WHAT'S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN 
ACCESSIBLE, USABLE AND UNIVERSAL DESIGN?"
 
All three are approaches to design that make it easier for everyone to use, especially people with disabilities.  This includes design of physical space, customer services, products, websites, training, etc.

  • Accessible Design: A design process in which the needs of people with disabilities are specifically considered. This process is most known as requirements under the Americans with Disabilities Act and Amendment Act (ADA/ADAAA).

  •  Universal Design: The design of products and environments to be usable by everyone, to the greatest extent possible, without the need for adaptation or specialized design. 

  • Usable Design: Defined by the International Organization for Standardization as the "effectiveness, efficiency, and satisfaction with which a specified set of users can achieve a specified set of tasks in a particular environment". Unfortunately, people with disabilities are rarely included in usability tests.
 
So which principle of design is your company using to ensure a positive user experience for your employees and customers?  Is it successful? Does it enhance engagement and productivity while mitigating risk?  Ingrid Kanics, Springboard's Manager of Physical Accessibility and her team, will conduct a comprehensive on-site assessment that will include recommendations, supporting documentation and training, taking into account the following key design principles:           

  • It's useful and marketable to people with diverse abilities.
  • It accommodates a wide range of individual preferences and abilities.
  • It's easy to understand, regardless of the user's experience, knowledge or language skills.
  • It communicates information effectively to the user regardless of condition or sensory ability.
  • It minimizes hazards and the adverse effects of accidental or unintended actions.
  • It can be used efficiently, comfortably, and with a minimum of fatigue.
  • Appropriate size and space is provided for approach, reach, manipulation and use, regardless of the user's body size, posture or mobility.
Keep in mind, in addition to Physical Accessibility/Universal Design, Springboard offers a full array of Assessments & Gap Analysis to include IT/Web Accessibility (508/WCAG) and Organizational Assessments.

Contact Springboard today to learn more about any one or all of these assessment options at: 


info@consultspringboard.com                                                                                                           
Subject:  "Assessments"
OR call us at (973) 813-7260
 

NV Sig

Wheelchair Basketball on Tap

After a hard day of wheelchair basketball, these players head to the pub.


 

Inventory

Jim Cory of Remodeling has written a story that is so typical of the US cookie-cutter approach to Universal Design as code compliance and/or accessibility accommodation as to now go uncommented upon.


As an article on Universal Design it offers no insight into the design process and makes no mention of the necessity of user-participation in the design process.

However, as alist of what is considered canonical it is relfective of the current state of affairs:

Dan Bawden, owner of Legal Eagle Contractors, in Houston, and one of the earliest CAPS-certified remodelers, lists his favorite universal design features.

1. Lever handles for plumbing fixtures and door hardware.
2. Light switches and thermostats lowered to 48 inches off the finish floor; outlets raised to 18 inches off the finished floor.
3. Switches with push-button timers on all ventilation fans.
4. Walk-in curbless showers with benches (tiled in or fold-down teak and stainless steel).
5. Classy grab bars inside the shower/tub area.
6. Shampoo niches at varying heights in the bathroom.
7. Additional indirect lighting, such as under-cabinet and cope lighting, using dimmable LED fixtures or ribbons.
8. Pocket doors with high-quality tracks and hardware.
9. At least one section of kitchen countertop that's lower -- around 32 inches high.
10. Full-extension drawer slides and self-closing hardware on both cabinet doors and drawers.
11. Pull-down shelves in upper cabinets (in the kitchen).
12. Doorways 32 inches to 36 inches wide when possible.
13. Hallways 42 inches wide are optimal. Imagine carrying two suitcases down the hall.
14. Ramped entrances integrated into landscaping that makes them disappear.
15. Rails on both sides of stairs (often overlooked).
16. Natural daylight via tubular skylights or insulated roof windows.
17. Additional lighting at the main approach to the entry door most used.

Source:

http://www.remodeling.hw.net/universal-design/favorite-universal-design-features.aspx

How can we plan, construct and maintain our streets, green areas and yards for accessibility? Practical guidelines were established in 2004 through cooperation involving the cities of Helsinki, Espoo, Joensuu, Tampere, Turku and Vantaa. Working instructions were completed under the leadership of the Helsinki for All Project with the support of the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health.

The guidelines form the basis for the City of Helsinki Accessibility Plan. They are also freely available for use by other municipalities, corporations and planners. The guidelines contain criteria for evaluating the accessibility of outdoor locations and instruction cards for applying them.

Criteria for accessibility and the instruction cards (SuRaKu)

SuRaKu Instruction Cards:

  • 1 Pedestrian crossings and pavements (pdf) (doc)
  • 2 Pedestrian streets and squares (pdf) (doc)
  • 3 Differences in elevation (pdf) (doc)
  • 4 Public courtyards (pdf) (doc)
  • 5 Park paths and resting places (pdf) (doc)
  • 6 Public playgrounds (pdf) (doc)
  • 7 Public bus stop areas (pdf) (doc)
  • 8 Temporary traffic arrangements (pdf) (doc)

SuRaKu Accessibility Criteria:

  • 1 Kerbstones at pedestrian crossings (pdf)
  • 2 Outdoor staircases (pdf)
  • 3 Ramps (pdf)
  • 4 Guidance paving flags (pdf)
  • 5 Demarcation strips (pdf)
  • 6 Loading islands (pdf)
  • 7 Gutters and gullies (pdf)
  • 8 Walking surfaces (pdf)
  • 9 Pedestrian crossing markings (pdf)
  • 10 Handrails (pdf)
  • 11 Railings (pdf)
  • 12 Pedestrian push-buttons posts (pdf)
  • 13 Pedestrian crossing signs (pdf)
  • 14 Seating (pdf)
  • 15 Bollards in pedestrian zones (pdf)
  • 16 Pedestrian refuge islands (pdf)
  • 17 Tactile maps and information signboards (pdf)
  • 18 Warning areas (pdf)
  • Criteriatabels 1-18 (doc)


Mapping and evaluation guide for accessibility of outdoor locations (pdf, 8.7 Mb), guide cover (pdf, 547 Kb). The illustrated guide explains about pedestrian accessibility. It is suitable both as a check list and as study material (in Finnish).

SuRaKu stands for planning, constructing and maintaining. In Finnish that is suunnitella, rakentaa and kunnostaa.


Experts from New Zealand, Australia and the United States will share their knowledge about creating more inclusive places to live, work and play during New Zealand's first-ever Universal Design Conference.

The one-day conference will take place at the Aotea Centre on 24 May.

Universal design creates environments, products, learning programmes and systems to be used by as many people as possible. This year's conference will focus on the built environment.

It is co-hosted by Auckland Council, through its Community Development, Arts and Culture department, and Lifemark, a not-for-profit organisation which advocates adaptable and accessible housing design standards. The Ministry of Social Development is also supporting the conference from its Making a Difference fund.

"This really is the start of a new movement across New Zealand and it comes at a significant time," says Dr Roger Blakeley, Auckland Council's Chief Planning Officer.

"With the rebuilding of Christchurch underway, and as we work towards achieving Mayor Len Brown's vision of making Auckland the world's most liveable city, this is an opportunity to get things right from the start.

"By sharing expertise from around the world, we can work together to create places that are enjoyable, safe and accessible."

Lifemark general manager Andrew Olsen says: "It's a great opportunity for delegates to hear how those practising universal design are approaching the design and build of adaptable and accessible environments.

"This is particularly important for future housing development, which not only needs to be affordable, but accessible for all people, creating truly liveable cities."

Keynote speakers include Richard Duncan, the executive director of the RL Mace Universal Design Institute in the United States, and Dr Jane Bringolf, Project Manager, Liveable Communities with Council on the Ageing New South Wales (COTA NSW), Australia, both leaders in the field of universal design.

Two New Zealand experts in this area will also speak at the conference. Kay Saville Smith is the director of the Centre for Research, Evaluation and Social Assessment (CRESA) while Pete Bossley is an award-winning architect.

To find out more or register to attend, visit www.udconference.co.nz.

Source:

http://www.voxy.co.nz/national/design-experts-share-knowledge-auckland/5/155639

How can we plan, construct and maintain our streets, green areas and yards for accessibility? Practical guidelines were established in 2004 through cooperation involving the cities of Helsinki, Espoo, Joensuu, Tampere, Turku and Vantaa. Working instructions were completed under the leadership of the Helsinki for All Project with the support of the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health.

The guidelines form the basis for the City of Helsinki Accessibility Plan. They are also freely available for use by other municipalities, corporations and planners. The guidelines contain criteria for evaluating the accessibility of outdoor locations and instruction cards for applying them.

Criteria for accessibility and the instruction cards (SuRaKu)

SuRaKu Instruction Cards:

  • 1 Pedestrian crossings and pavements (pdf) (doc)
  • 2 Pedestrian streets and squares (pdf) (doc)
  • 3 Differences in elevation (pdf) (doc)
  • 4 Public courtyards (pdf) (doc)
  • 5 Park paths and resting places (pdf) (doc)
  • 6 Public playgrounds (pdf) (doc)
  • 7 Public bus stop areas (pdf) (doc)
  • 8 Temporary traffic arrangements (pdf) (doc)

SuRaKu Accessibility Criteria:

  • 1 Kerbstones at pedestrian crossings (pdf)
  • 2 Outdoor staircases (pdf)
  • 3 Ramps (pdf)
  • 4 Guidance paving flags (pdf)
  • 5 Demarcation strips (pdf)
  • 6 Loading islands (pdf)
  • 7 Gutters and gullies (pdf)
  • 8 Walking surfaces (pdf)
  • 9 Pedestrian crossing markings (pdf)
  • 10 Handrails (pdf)
  • 11 Railings (pdf)
  • 12 Pedestrian push-buttons posts (pdf)
  • 13 Pedestrian crossing signs (pdf)
  • 14 Seating (pdf)
  • 15 Bollards in pedestrian zones (pdf)
  • 16 Pedestrian refuge islands (pdf)
  • 17 Tactile maps and information signboards (pdf)
  • 18 Warning areas (pdf)
  • Criteriatabels 1-18 (doc)


Mapping and evaluation guide for accessibility of outdoor locations (pdf, 8.7 Mb), guide cover (pdf, 547 Kb). The illustrated guide explains about pedestrian accessibility. It is suitable both as a check list and as study material (in Finnish).

SuRaKu stands for planning, constructing and maintaining. In Finnish that is suunnitella, rakentaa and kunnostaa.

From 

Designing a City for the Deaf


Most cities aren't designed for deaf people. Sidewalks are frequently too narrow or too crowded for deaf persons engaged in a conversation that requires so-called "signing space." Public benches are often set in rows or squares, limiting the ability of the deaf to create the "conversation circles" and open sight lines that they require. Urban landscapes are so visually stimulating that they hinder communication among people who rely on visual cues. And light fixtures may be too dim or shine directly into signers' eyes.

These things don't just make a deaf person's life more challenging; they can make it dangerous.








For the full article see: http://www.theatlanticcities.com/design/2012/03/designing-city-deaf/1600/ 

DEAFSPACE

Deaf people inhabit a rich sensory world where vision and touch are a primary means of spatial awareness and orientation. Many use sign language, a visual-kinetic mode of communication and maintain a strong cultural identity built around these sensibilities and shared life experiences. Our built environment, largely constructed by and for hearing individuals, presents a variety of surprising challenges for deaf people. Recently, deaf people have responded to these designs with their own particular way of altering their surroundings to fit their unique ways-of-being. This approach is often referred to as DeafSpace.
.
When deaf people congregate the group customarily works together to rearrange furnishings into a "conversation circle" to allow clear sightlines so everyone can participate in the visual conversation. Gatherings often begin with participants adjusting window shades, lighting and seating to optimize conditions for visual communication that minimize eyestrain. Deaf homeowners often cut new openings in walls, place mirrors and lights in strategic locations to extend their sensory awareness and maintain visual connection between family members. 
.
These practical acts of creating a DeafSpace are long-held cultural traditions that, while never before formally recognized, are the basic elements of an architectural expression unique to deaf experiences. 
.
DEAFSPACE DESIGN GUIDELINES 

The DeafSpace Guidelines is a catalogue of more than one hundred and fifty distinct DeafSpace architectural design elements that address five major intersections between deaf experience and the built environment: space and proximity, sensory reach, mobility and proximity, light and color, and, finally, acoustics. 

Deaf people inhabit a rich sensory world where vision and touch are a primary means of spatial awareness and orientation. Many use sign language, a visual-kinetic mode of communication and maintain a strong cultural identity built around these sensibilities and shared life experiences. Our built environment, largely constructed by and for hearing individuals, presents a variety of surprising challenges for deaf people. Recently, deaf people have responded to these designs with their own particular way of altering their surroundings to fit their unique ways-of-being. This approach is often referred to as DeafSpace.
.
When deaf people congregate the group customarily works together to rearrange furnishings into a "conversation circle" to allow clear sightlines so everyone can participate in the visual conversation. Gatherings often begin with participants adjusting window shades, lighting and seating to optimize conditions for visual communication that minimize eyestrain. Deaf homeowners often cut new openings in walls, place mirrors and lights in strategic locations to extend their sensory awareness and maintain visual connection between family members. 
.
These practical acts of creating a DeafSpace are long-held cultural traditions that, while never before formally recognized, are the basic elements of an architectural expression unique to deaf experiences. 
.
DEAFSPACE DESIGN GUIDELINES 

The DeafSpace Guidelines is a catalogue of more than one hundred and fifty distinct DeafSpace architectural design elements that address five major intersections between deaf experience and the built environment: space and proximity, sensory reach, mobility and proximity, light and color, and, finally, acoustics. 

Source:

DEAFSPACE CONCEPTS

Sensory Reach

Spatial orientation and the awareness of activities within our surroundings are essential to maintaining a sense of well-being.  Deaf people "read" the activities in their surroundings that may not be immediately apparent to many hearing people through an acute sensitivity of visual and tactile cues such as the movement of shadows, vibrations, or even the reading of subtle shifts in the expression/position of  others around them. Many aspects of the built environment can be designed to facilitate spatial awareness "in 360 degrees" and facilitate orientation and wayfinding.

Space and Proximity

In order to maintain clear visual communication individuals stand at a distance where they can see facial expression and full dimension of the signer's "signing space".  There space between two signers tends to be greater than that of a spoken conversation. As conversation groups grow in numbers the space between individuals increases to allow visual connection for all parties.  This basic dimension of the space between people impacts the basic layout of furnishings and building spaces.

Mobility and Proximity

While walking together in conversation signers will tend to maintain a wide distance  for clear visual communication.  The signers will also shift their gaze between the conversation and their surroundings scanning for hazards and maintaining proper direction.  If one senses the slightest hazard they alert their companion, adjust and continue without interruption.  The proper design of circulation and gathering spaces enable singers to move through space uninterrupted.

Light and Color

Poor lighting conditions such as glare, shadow patterns, backlighting interrupt visual communication and are major contributors to the causes of eye fatigue that can lead to a loss of concentration and even physical exhaustion.  Proper Electric lighting and architectural elements used to control daylight can be configured to provide a soft, diffused light "attuned to deaf eyes".  Color can be used to contrast skin tone to highlight sign language and facilitate visual wayfinding.   

Acoustics

Deaf individuals experience many different kinds and degrees of hearing loss.  Many  use assistive devices such as hearing aids or cochlear implants to enhance sound.  No matter the level of hearing many deaf people do sense sound in a way that can be a major distraction especially for individuals with assistive hearing devices.  Reverberation caused by sound waves reflected by hard building surfaces can be especially distracting, even painful, for individuals using assistive devices. Spaces should be designed to reduce reverberation and other sources of background noise.

PEBA Venezia Il Piano di Eliminazione delle Barriere Architettoniche (PEBA) del centro storico, approvato dal Consiglio Comunale nel 2004, individua 80 ponti, lungo i principali percorsi urbani, strategici per l' accessibilità pedonale della città. La particolarità urbanistica - ambientale di Venezia e le risorse finanziarie disponibili, rendono improponibile intervenire per garantire l'accessibilità di un così alto numero di manufatti. 


 Il PEBA, pertanto, riconosce il ruolo del trasporto pubblico acqueo, garantito da ACTV, come fattore che più di ogni altro influisce sull'accessibilità urbana: con l'azienda di trasporto pubblico l'amministrazione comunale ha da tempo avviato un'azione di coordinamento e collaborazione che ha, ad esempio, consentito di apportare un miglioramento significativo ai motoscafi giracittà, dotandoli di uno spazio protetto ed esclusivo riservato alle carrozzine (sedia a ruote, passeggini per bambini), nonché ai vaporetti, il cui nuovo disegno ha previsto una dotazione di sei spazi dedicati alle carrozzine. 

 La mappa Venezia accessibile è la rappresentazione grafica dell'attuale accessibilità del centro storico veneziano, garantita dai mezzi pubblici acquei e integrata dagli interventi di opere pubbliche relativi ai ponti, anche attraverso soluzioni progettuali sperimentali.

From AARP:


I've spent the past two days here attending a conference dedicated solely to Universal Design. Una-what? In spite of what it sounds like, Universal Design isn't a Carl Saganese approach to designing the cosmos.

The definition of Universal Design, some shorten it to UD, is a process of designing spaces -- cities, streets, buildings, homes, rooms - "that enables and empowers a diverse population by improving human performance, health and wellness, and social participation," according to Edward Steinfeld and Jordana Maisel of the University of Buffalo's IDEA Center.

So, why should you care about UD? Well, you're getting older. Sorry to break the news to you but it's true. Take a look around your home and determine if you (or your parent) age there easily? Are doorways and hallways wide enough to roll a wheelchair through? Is there a kitchen counter low enough to sit and prepare supper? Are there grab bars installed in the bath or shower? If you answered "No" to any of these, read on.

Sorce:http://blog.aarp.org/2013/05/08/universal-design-home-audits-aging-in-place/


Making a Difference by Design

REIS_D20081231GH_GREENHOUSE_Port_We speak with Esther Greenhouse, M.S., CAPS

Builders know that their homes make a difference in the lives of their customers.  But most professionals, whether they are builders, designers, or manufacturers, do not know the extent of that impact.

My work focuses on a key concept:  Good Design Enables

  • Good design enables people to function at their highest level (environmental fit)
  • Poor design pushes people down to a lower level of functioning (environmental press).  This is unnecessary and avoidable.

We all have experienced this.  For example, a well-designed car with adaptable features enables us to drive the car comfortably and safely whether we are 5'-1" or 6'-2".  A properly designed and adjustable workstation allows us to complete our tasks without ending up with sore shoulders or carpal tunnel syndrome.  Designs like speakerphone eliminate the crick in the neck inherent to a long phone call.  A well designed tool, whether it be an electric drill or an app, will encourage use whereas a poorly designed one will sit unused-a wasted expense-or make our lives more difficult.

So while most professionals and consumers are aware of this on a basic level, few understand the depth of this.  Design that does not meet our needs and abilities acts as a stressor, called environmental press, and can make us more dependent on others as well as at risk for accidents.  Again, this is preventable.


Read the full story:

http://builderradio.com/blog/?p=5160

Different Strokes

Let's start with the end of this post on the Different Strokes blog. Follow the link below for the full story --

Conclusion: You couldn't put it better than my friend Rajiv (a wheelchair user and committed `disability activist) said on Facebook today:

30 million Indians live under house arrest in their home-land because being disabled in India could mean:

  • Not leaving your house because pavements are not accessible if you are on crutches, impossible on wheelchairs, and dangerous if you are visually impaired.
  • Oh and if you somehow manage to cross the road, public transport could pose an insurmountable barrier.
  • Only a few lucky children can afford to make their way to an inclusive school.....if it exists.
  • Being barred from voting. Or starting a bank account. Or marrying. Or making any decision on your own (assuming you had a choice).
  • Not being free to pursue education of your choice or being excluded from jobs because workplaces aren't properly designed.

Getting Around the ADA?

From Inside Higher Ed


Wanted: Tenure-track professor of political science specializing in constitutional law to teach four courses per semester. Juris doctor degree highly desirable. Occasional weight-lifting required.

Sound strange? Not at California's Azusa Pacific University, where a majority of academic job ads outline expectations of not only mental but physical prowess from applicants. Of the institution's 18 posts on available faculty and administrative positions, 13 include detailed "physical demands," such as "the ability to exert up to 10 pounds of force and occasionally lift and/or move up to 15 pounds."



Read more: http://www.insidehighered.207elmp01.blackmesh.com/news/2013/01/17/job-ads-physical-demands-raise-eyebrows#ixzz2dg1MtMHX 

Accessible Greek Tours

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From Accessible Greece:

Seeking for an inclusive, multi-sensory experience in Greece? Join one of our autumn multisensory tours. Choose from Athens, Chania (island of Crete) and a classical tour of Greece for a true hands-on experience! For more information press the link

The DeafSpace Project

In 2005 architect Hansel Bauman (hbhm architects) established the DeafSpace Project (DSP) in conjunction with the ASL Deaf Studies Department at Gallaudet University.  Over the past five years the DSP developed the DeafSpace Guidelines, a catalogue of over one hundred and fifty distinct DeafSpace architectural design elements that address the five major touch points between deaf experiences and the built environment: space and proximity, sensory reach, mobility and proximity, light and color, and finally acoustics.  Common to all of these categories are the ideas of community building, visual language, the promotion of personal safety and well-being.

Source:

http://www.gallaudet.edu/campus_design/deafspace.html

Jaccede announces Eurotrotters project

Jaccede announces Eurotrotters project Jaccede is a not-for-profit organisation based in France which aims to share information about accessibility, promote accessible places, raise awareness among the general public and carry out grassroots activism. The organisation has created an interactive online information-sharing platform which allows users to upload details about the accessibility of places they have visited.

In autumn 2013, as part of a series of events in advance of Jaccede's Journée de la accessibilité (Accessibility Day), the "Eurotrotters", two volunteers from Jaccede, will be travelling to different cities around Europe to spread the accessibility message and create a human exchange platform to complement the website's virtual tools. At each destination, they will invite people to follow them in information-gathering sessions using the Jaccede mobile applications, thereby experiencing different approaches to accessibility. The Eurotrotters project aims to lay the foundation for an associative network in Europe and raise awareness about accessibility in as many European cities as possible. 


Source: http://www.designforall.org/en/novetats/noticia.php?id=1912

What is DeafSpace?

Deaf people inhabit a rich sensory world where vision and touch are a primary means of spatial awareness and orientation. Many use sign language, a visual-kinetic mode of communication and maintain a strong cultural identity built around these sensibilities and shared life experiences. Our built environment, largely constructed by and for hearing individuals, presents a variety of surprising challenges to which deaf people have responded with a particular way of altering their surroundings to fit their unique ways-of-being.  This approach is often referred to as DeafSpace.

When deaf people congregate the group customarily works together to rearrange furnishings into a "conversation circle" to allow clear sightlines so everyone can participate in the visual conversation.  Gatherings often begin with participants adjusting window shades, lighting and seating to optimize conditions for visual communication that minimize eyestrain. Deaf homeowners often cut new openings in walls, place mirrors and lights in strategic locations to extend their sensory awareness and maintain visual connection between family members.  

These practical acts of making a DeafSpace are long-held cultural traditions that, while never-before formally recognized, are the basic elements of an architectural expression unique to deaf experiences. The study of DeafSpace offers valuable insights about the interrelationship between the senses, the ways we construct the built environment and cultural identity from which society at large has much to learn.

Source:

http://www.gallaudet.edu/campus_design/deafspace.html

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