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December 31, 2008

Looking Back at 2008: An Example from India

The North Block, in New Delhi, houses key gove...

Image via Wikipedia

One of the most enjoyable of New Year's traditions is counting achievements and blessings. Here, from Shivani Gupta of India's AccessAbility in New Delhi, is just one example of how Inclusive Tourism is professionalizing and institutionalizing around the world. Watch for more in 2009!

It has been an exciting year for AccessAbility. Some of our key achievements in 2008 have been:


1. Launch of our Diversity Employment Initiative at www.AccessAbility.co.in/jobs that has brought together over 70 sensitised employers who regularly use this portal to recruit disabled job seekers. Working closely with CII & Naukri.com we hope to extend the reach of this initiative to a pan-India level.

2. Launch of Free2Wheel - www.Free2Wheel.co.in - the first Indian tourist guide for disabled travelers. The travel portal is being advertised by the Ministry of Tourism on the Incredible India home page to promote India as an accessible destination.

3. Our Access Consultancy division has assisted premier brand names in the travel and hospitality industries, higher educational institutes, retail and office complexes and builders in incorporating disabled friendly infrastructure in their existing and upcoming properties. We have also had an opportunity to review and develop some path breaking policies with various Government Ministries.

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4. Publication of books authored by us:

1. Employing Persons with Disabilities (online version at http://www.accessability.co.in/files/Employing-Persons-with-Disabilities.pdf)
2. A Guidebook on Creating Sporting & Recreational Facilities for Persons with Disabilities (online version at http://ccdisabilities.nic.in/Sportsf.pdf )

5. AccessAbility team members have been adorned with prestigious awards such as the CavinKare Ability Award 2008 and Helen Keller Award 2008.

Posted by rollingrains at 05:12 PM

December 29, 2008

Santander: 'Plan Integral de Accesibilidad, Santander Diseño Universal' (Spanish)



General Dávila y Los Castros serán más accesibles antes del fin de 2009


Con el inicio del nuevo año, el Ayuntamiento de Santander pondrá en marcha el 'Plan Integral de Accesibilidad, Santander Diseño Universal', cuyo objetivo es hacer de la capital cántabra una ciudad totalmente accesible.
Así lo aseguraron ayer los concejales de Autonomía Personal, Roberto del Pozo, y de Infraestructuras, Vivienda y Urbanismo, César Díaz, quienes explicaron que los primeros trabajos comenzarán por General Dávila y Avenida de los Castros.

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El plan, diseñado por los Servicios de Vialidad municipales con el apoyo de la Fundación Once, a través de su empresa Vía Libre, está dividido en tres grandes unidades de trabajo: la primera comprende la avenida de Los Castros y está dividida en cuatro fases; la segunda, General Dávila, entre las bajadas de Polio y El Caleruco, incluido un tramo de Camilo Alonso Vega; y la tercera, glorieta de los Osos, Avenida de Pedro San Martín, Cuatro Caminos, Camilo Alonso Vega, Profesor Jiménez Díaz, Cisneros y calle Monte.
Location of Santander in Spain.

Image via Wikipedia

Díaz señaló que tras Año Nuevo se iniciarán los trabajos por la fase dos, que contará con un presupuesto de 481.808 euros y un plazo de ejecución de cinco meses. Se espera que estén terminados en 2009.
También está previsto que el próximo año se ejecuten las obras de uno de los cuatro tramos de la Avenida de los Castros, entre las bajadas del Caleruco y San Juan. Su presupuesto es de 250.000 euros. Estos cuentan con la financiación del Imserso y la Fundación Once, con quienes el Ayuntamiento ha firmado un convenio.
El resto de los trabajos se acometerán «progresivamente», señaló Díaz, ya que se trata de un plan «muy ambicioso», que requiere un presupuesto «importante».

Las principales actuaciones son la creación de nuevos pasos de peatones y la instalación de vados peatonales y se reducirá la distancia entre aceras.

Funete:


http://www.eldiariomontanes.es/20081227/santander/destacados/general-davila-castros-seran-20081227.html

Posted by rollingrains at 04:10 PM

December 27, 2008

Getting Around Greece as a Tourist in a Wheelchair

The Olympics in Greece left some accessible infrastructure from the games and a bit more enthusiasm for innovative approaches to accessibility for the mobility impaired. Progress is not uniform throughout the country but these photos illustrate some solutions that have been put ito practice.


Find more photos like this on Tour Watch

Posted by rollingrains at 03:17 AM

December 14, 2008

Japan for Sustainability - Eco/Universal Design

Japan for Sustainability reports on the convergence of green and Universal Design. Once again, as in Thailand, innovation revolves around the lowly restroom:

Japan's Shutoko Group (Metropolitan Expressway Co. and Metropolitan Expressway Service Co.) reopened its revamped, more eco-friendly Yoyogi parking area on Route 4 of the Shinjuku Line (inbound) on April 26, 2008.

With this renewal, the number of cars that can be parked in the parking area has increased to 41, which is about twice as many as its conventional capacity. In the rest rooms, larger toilet stalls were installed so that elderly people and those with children can use them more easily. The Group also increased the number of multipurpose restrooms equipped with a nursing-care bed for adults. The concept of universal design has been adopted in every part of the facility.

Electricity generated by solar panels provides the power needed for lighting and other electrical needs, and a hybrid electric power facility utilizing sunlight supplies power to the public for free to recharge their cell phones.

The facility features many other innovations, including the non-heat-retaining insulated pavement used in the parking lot, greenery planted on the roof and the barrier that divides the main expressway lanes and the parking area, and multi-pane low-heat-transfer windows. Other environmental concerns are being addressed by doing things such as installing planter boxes on the facility's wall and planting tall trees on the grounds. In addition, the Group aims to create green spaces that complement the local environment of the adjacent Meiji Jingu forest.

- Metropolitan Expressway Co. official website
http://www.shutoko.jp/english/

Posted by rollingrains at 03:45 PM

December 13, 2008

Judy Wee Advising Penang on Public Transportation Accessibility

Chow Kon Yeow is working on a master plan for Penang's transportation systems which will be implemented in 2010. He said the project address buses, taxis and ferries, and at airport terminals for commuters.

It appears that progressive, demographically-aware social planning taking place in Malaysia . That should not be surprising with disability advocate and wheelchair-using expert Judy Wee advising on access audits. As American's read about plans for massive public works infrastructure projects about to be be funded as an economic stimulus they may be wise to look to Malaysia for conceptual grounding:

"Our objective is to introduce a universal design concept to cater for the disabled and the elderly," he said at a forum "Making Penang Accessible" yesterday.

The state government is considering increasing the width of pavements and building more ramps for the wheelchair-bound. Chow also launched a two-year pilot project to introduce disabled-friendly amenities, undertaken by the state Economic Planning Unit, the Federal Government and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). He said the state government would seek feedback from local authorities, various transport stakeholders and non-governmental organisations to help implement the project.

UNDP representative James George Chacko said Penang was chosen for the project because of its comprehensive range of road, sea and air transport modes. "Penang will become the model public transport system which other states can emulate," Chacko said.

Source:

http://www.nst.com.my/Current_News/NST/Friday/National/2426370/Article/index_html

UNDP and the Economic Planning Unit of Penang Thursday (11 Dec) announced that Penang will be the first state in Malaysia to conduct a full audit of its public transport facilities as it develops a comprehensive blueprint to improve the ease of access and mobility for persons with disabilities (PWD) by 2010.

In line with the goals set in the 9th Malaysia Plan, the ‘barrier free’ public transportation study represents a two-year pilot project by the Penang Economic Planning Unit and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) with the support of the Ministry of Women, Family and Community Development (MWFCD) to boost the economic and social independence of PWDs.

Forming the base of the blueprint, the audit will assess accessibility of PWDs to transportation spanning buses, taxis, trains right up to ferries and airplanes as well as its facilities at pick up points, stations and terminals with an emphasis on interconnectivity between the different modes of public transport.

Among other measures that will be also introduced under this project include a public awareness campaign as well as the establishment of a demand responsive door to door transport service for PWDs.

According to UNDP Assistant Resident Representative, James George Chacko, PWDs have a fundamental right to public transport, which currently remains inaccessible.

“We need to broaden our thinking and efforts on what transportation for PWDs means. It should not be merely confined to the customary allocation of a handful of seats on transportation vehicles.

“There is a need for greater cooperation among all relevant parties to ensure that we also place adequate emphasis on the physical access to transportation areas such as bus stops in addition to the transportation modes themselves,” he said in his speech.

Chacko added that it was hoped that the project would provide critical policy insights for the government to improve the ease of access and mobility for PWDs that could eventually be scaled up throughout the country.

“UNDP believes that the protection and promotion of the human rights of individual disabled persons, particularly in the poorest countries where ¾ of the disabled population lives is contingent upon development being inclusive.

“Poverty for disabled persons is also about social relations and includes issues of ownership, control, participation and access.

“In Malaysia, PWDs continue to face limited choices on where they are able to go and how they will get there, with the vast majority of public transportation remaining inaccessible. The consequences of this exclusion are multi-faceted and include the inability to access basic services such as health care, education, training, employment and retail facilities, which undermines their ability to participate in social and cultural life. A lack of transport options may also mean having to be dependent on others for assistance. “

According to World Bank statistics, people with disabilities account for one in five of the world’s poorest.

Of this total, only two per cent of disabled children in developing countries receive an education and a recent World Bank study indicated that disability is a bigger barrier to school participation than gender and household economic status.

At the same time, research commissioned for the UN World Programme of Action Concerning Disabled People suggests that 350 million people with disabilities live in areas where essential services such as transport needed to help them are not available.

Accessibility is a critical part in the inclusion of persons with disabilities and an accessible barrier-free environment is the first step towards meeting the rights of disabled persons to participate in all aspects of community life.

During his speech, Y.B. Chow Kon Yeow, Penang State Executive Councillor for Government, Traffic Management and Environment underscored the state government’s support for the project.

“The State Government is committed to the principles of non-discrimination and social inclusion for persons with disabilities. Accessible public transport, within the framework of an overall integrated transport policy is fundamentally important to delivering that commitment. “

“The overarching goal is to promote the concept of universal design in public transportation, which implies equal opportunity for use by individuals with or without disability,” he said, adding that the output of the study would be an integral part of the state’s plans to improve the public transportation system in the coming years.

“Having cheaper fares for PWDs is meaningless if you cannot get your wheelchair through the door. It is most important to recognize that providing for disabled persons and the elderly does not mean making separate and costly arrangements. It means providing better for everyone.

“Design and service improvements to help PWDs and the elderly will almost invariably assist other users, including pregnant women, parents with infants, people of size and even people who are burdened with heavy shopping bags.

“Public transport should be affordable but it must also be designed, built and managed around the principles of ‘accessibility’ as well as affordability if it is to serve all segments of the Malaysian public effectively. The findings of the audit will fast track us towards this vision.”

In 2006 official figures, there are 197,519 disabled persons in Malaysia who have registered with the Department of Social Welfare and 12,481 for the State of Penang.

However, the United Nations believes that the figure could be higher, estimating that approximately six to 10% of the population in developing countries having disabilities, which roughly translates to about 2.7 million disabled people in Malaysia, excluding senior citizens who become disabled due to illness and aging.

The event also featured a presentation by Judy Wee, who is the main consultant for the access audit, on Singapore’s experience in improving accessibility as well as a forum with the state’s main public transportation providers on key issues related to accessibility to the built environment and public transport.

The event closed with a workshop for key stakeholders which highlighted international best practices in providing accessible public transport services for persons with disabilities. (UNDP)

Source:

http://www.mysinchew.com/node/19193?tid=14

Posted by rollingrains at 04:08 PM

December 12, 2008

South Africa Wheelchair Adventure 1

Follow a young crew from the EU on their adventures in wheelchairs through South Africa.

Posted by rollingrains at 09:49 PM

December 10, 2008

Birding inside Penn Station? - No, Just More UD Coming Home to Roost

Universal Design in public transit is a key factor in developing a destination-of-choice for travelers with disabilities. Accessible train and bus systems that link to airports make travel in an unfamiliar place feel safe and more convenient.

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority has installed a new talking kiosk at Penn Station. The device, which gives detailed verbal navigation advice in association with a tactile map, is yet another innovation in inclusion. Personally, I like the added feature of "indoor virtual birdwatching" from the alerts it emits!

"We're really looking at systems here that are fully accessible to people with a variety of different needs, but also are completely usable and inviting to members of the general public," said Steven Landau, director of research for Manhattan-based Touch Graphics, which developed the technology for the MTA. "This approach to universal design is the wave of the future."

The wall-mounted device, which resembles an automated teller machine, is located between tracks 14 and 15 of the Long Island Rail Road in the main terminal and makes its presence known by emitting the sound of a lark sparrow.

A customer uses a tactile map of Penn Station that includes a "You are here" type of star with an indentation to communicate where he or she is relative to the surroundings. A programmed voice also will give instructions to a destination; for example, explaining that to get to the escalator to New Jersey Transit, one must "with your back to the kiosk, walk forward with your angle slightly to the left."

Full article at Newsday.com:
http://www.newsday.com/news/local/transportation/ny-limta105959245dec10,0,7817306.story

Posted by rollingrains at 04:05 PM

December 08, 2008

Swamp Tours?

From the archives comes this story of an intrepid traveler:

Disability View, an organisation which provides current and useful information on disability in Britain, had sent its editorial representative to Malaysia on an educational trip jointly organised by Wings on Wheels, a specialist travel company for people with special needs, Malaysia Airlines and Malaysia-based travel agency Diethelm Travel Management.

In its September/October 2003 issue, Disability View's magazine reported that although it took a considerable amount of "woman-handling" to get Jones in and out of the boat and to lunch, the excursion at the mangrove swamp was "worth the effort" and, according to [Helen] Jones, "the boat ride to look at some of the country's marine life was 'just amazing'."

For the full article:

http://thestar.com.my/lifestyle/story.asp?file=/2008/11/20/lifetravel/1998044&sec=lifetravel

Posted by rollingrains at 05:04 PM

December 07, 2008

Moving Dubai Ahead

Hadas Kroitoru offers an insight into efforts at inclusion for tourists in the Middle East in the article "Tourism for All":

When four-time Paralympian and world traveler Sharon Myers entered her handicap-accessiblesuite in Dubai's world-renowned Burj Jumeriah Hotel on a visit four years ago, she was amazed. It was the most luxurious room she had ever seen. Myers had no problems accessing the suite's second floor on the elevator, no difficulty getting through the widened doors, and the bathroom's roll-in shower, she says, was not only fully accessible, but it was absolutely gorgeous – covered in blue and turquoise tiles – the most elegant she had ever seen.

There was just one hitch – there was no bench in the shower...

Full story:

http://www.themedialine.org/news/news_detail.asp?NewsID=23508

Posted by rollingrains at 05:06 PM

December 04, 2008

How Accessible is Tourism in KwaZulu-Natal?

I plan to discover the answer firsthand in January 2009. Watch for the travelogue.

The world's expert on safari accessibility is Gordon Rattray with his site Able Travel but the emerging tour operator for travelers with disabilities in KwaZulu-Natal is Jennae Bezuidenhout. You will find her site at Access2AfricaSafaris

Below is their 10-day itinerary packed with options.

10 DAY TOUR

DAY 1

A warm welcome awaits you at Durban International airport where you will
be met by your friendly hosts.You will be transfered in fully
accessible, airconditioned vehicles through Durban, africas exciting
seaside paradise to The Makaranga Garden Lodge. This lodge is the
premier lodge in South Africa catering for people with physical
disabilities and one of the few resorts in the world providing
wheelchair users with the opportunity to enjoy luxurious facilities and
30 acres of private botanical gardens.The grounds and buildings of
Makaranga have been designed to be totally wheelchair friendly with 18
ponds,waterways and profilic birdlife and sleeping facilities for
carers.There is even a swimming pool with full access for wheelchair
users. Located in the rolling hills of KwazuluNatal and near the Valley
of Thousand Hills this is the perfect place to unwind, relax,be
enchanted by the scenery after your exertions of a long flight.The
beautiful gardens are a oasis of peace and serenity with indigenous and
exotic plants and provide the ideal backdrop to achieve the desired
levels of relaxation for all who visit. Soak up the spirit of our
special slice of africa while enjoying refreshments on the Tuscan
Terrance which overlooks a pond.

DAY 2

Today holds much excitement as we explore The Golden Mile along the
Durban Beachfront with its wonderful mix of
cultures,nationalities,shops,stunning beaches,fleamarkets,restaurants
and places of interest. You may choose exciting attractions to visit
such as Ushakamarine World Africas largest aquaruim with its seal and
dolphin stadium and aquariums where you can touch a starfish and feel
the skin of a sea cucumber with the help of a trained guide. Be
fascinated by sharks,sea snakes and stone fish! We have lunch along the
Village Walk with its numerous shops and restaurants before heading back
to the Makaranga Lodge for much needed rest from the days excitement.

DAY 3

A unique and captivating day begins. We head for Umshlanga a prime
up-market beach resort with protected beaches,restaurants and many other
attractions. Umshlanga is home to The Sharks Board where we enjoy an
informative, entertaining and eye opening audio and visual of sharks and
their history. For those who would like a adventure of a difference we
head for the beach where the QuadPara Association of South Africa
through the sponsorship from Approved Auto and The Rotary Club of Kloof
have placed 3 beach wheelchairs. These chairs allow persons with
mobility difficulties the opportunity to be pushed easily over the
beachs and to the waters edge and in calm conditions one can float
safely on water. There is no charge for the use of these chairs.
Alternatively one can relax,unwind and enjoy the views of the warm
Indian ocean all along the beachfront as it is completely accessible.

DAY 4

Time to head for The Valley of Thousand Years Hills towards
Petermaritzburg. Revisit a bygone era as you travel along the same roads
as ancient Zulu Tribes did. Sleepy villages of ancient Zulu communities
nestled in thick forests welcomes you to the valley. The Phezulu Park in
The Valley of Thousand Hills is famous for its crocodile farm,the
longest crocodile of which is 4.5 metres long. Learn of the African Zulu
Tribe as you visit its cultural village.Be spellbound by the energic
Zulu Dancing with its awesome rhythm of drumbeats and african dancing.
There is a stunning heritage market in Hillcrest filled with
curios,quaint coffee shops,home industries and crafts where you will be
entertained looking for special reminders of your african adventure.

DAY 5

After a leisurely breakfast we set out for the Midland Meander towards
Petermarizburg,a stunning stretch of 80 kms long and brimming with
amazing sights,sounds,and activities.In 1985 local artists,potters and
weavers decided to join forces to create an arts and crafts route and
The Midland Meander was born.Today we explore,eat,drink,shop,play and
enjoy the diverse and fascinating mix of arts,crafts through the
villages set in picturesque landscapes offering magnificent views.

DAY 6

Today we head out for the great african safari to the Umfolozi/Hluhluwe
Game Reserve situated in the largest and most spectacular Ecotourism
region in South Africa. Established in1895 Hluhluwe/Umfolozi is the home
of The Big Five and Operation Rhino. It became world renowned for saving
the white rhino from extinction. This is where we will be spending the
next three days. A warm welcome awaits you at your accommodation, The
Hilltop camp which is situated high on the edge of a forested slope
where it commands breathtaking views of Zululands hills and valleys.
After settling in at your comfortable spacious and completely accessible
thatched chalet,we introduce you to the magical experience of Zululand
and explore this magnificent 100000 hectares of africa.

You will be sure to spot elephant,buffalo,giraffe,warthog,zebra,impala
and wildebeest and many other species.The park is also home animals such
as Lion,Leopard and Wild Dog. Enjoy a peaceful and safe ambience with
africa and its wildlife in your luxurious,airconditioned vehicle with
your experienced Game Ranger and your host. Enjoy a safari picnic at one
of the several picnic sites with splendid views overlooking floodplains
and rivers.All meals during your stay is at the Mpunyane Restaurant
where you will be captivated by excellant service and world class
cuisine.There is also the relaxing Uzavolo Bar Lounge which lends itself
to discussions of the days experiences.

DAY 7

This is the day where the spirit of africa touches your soul. We embark
on leisurely extended game drives to all areas of the Park. There is
much to explore! Your experienced ranger will help you spot and identify
many species of bird and animal life. (The Elephant Coast has more then
500 species of birdlife recorded). With a little assistance most people
will be able to distinguish the more common families of birds in no time
at all.Look out for the abundant animal life such as black
rhino,nyala,kudu,hippo,crocodile,waterbuck,reedbuck,red
duiker,baboons,monkeys,hyena,wildebeest,giraffe and often to be seen
elephant and buffalo You may also see lion, cheeta, wild dog and other
predators.For those who are able to transfer, we arrange night drives in
open vehicle safari trucks where one can get to spot the noctural animal
life such as leopard and the bushbaby.Those who prefer can be taken on
nightdrives with the accessible buses.


DAY 8

Today will be a special excursion: You will visit numerous eco/cutural
activities available in the area. Visit the ancient World Heritage Site
at False Bay ,the largest estuarine system formed in africa formed 140
million years ago. Other attractions include Ilala Weavers with its
restaurant,museum and curio shops featuring tradtional Zulu basket
weaving and beading. A trip to a local Wildlife Reserve, an animal
sanctuary which is a non hunting reserve will intrigue you as the Zebra
are so tame they eat out of your hands. Other activites available is a
tour to Muzi Pan where one can be taken by canoe past the abundant
bird,crocodile and hippo life. Alternatively you will be able to enjoy
this from the shoreline as well.

DAY 9

After waking up to the sound of Africa with birds and nature, we enjoy a
leisurely breakfast and set off for the return back to Durban. We visit
St Lucia, a picturesome village situated within a nature reserve and
which is surrounded by 5 distinct ecosystems and Isimangaliso Wetland
Park.St Lucia offers the day visitor an endless wealth of possibilities
with its shops,curio and africanware, fleamarkets,pubs,restaurants,
boattrips, crocodile farms and a lovely interpretation centre explaining
the ecology of the World Natural Heritage Site.

For those who are adventurous whale watching sightseeing boat trips(In
season) can be arranged.We finally head back down the Elephant Coast to
Durban to your hotel for a good nights rest.

DAY 10

Time to rest relax and prepare for your flight and transfer to Durban
International Airport. For those who prefer to extend their tour to
Capetown or Johannesburg, we are more then happy to assist you with any
final arrangements.

Contact: Access 2 Africa Safaris

http://www.access2africasafaris.co.za
Tel: 0027 35 5620614
Fax: 086 524 3482
Cell: 0027 842642194
E-mail: info@access2africasafaris.co.za

Other resources:

KwaZulu Natal Tourism
http://www.tourism-kzn.org/

Report from a previous KwaZul-Natal fam:
http://www.travelweekly.co.uk/Articles/2007/08/24/24981/africa-kwa-zulu-natal-fam-trip-24-aug-2007.html

Southern Africa's attractions:
South Africa Direct TV:

http://www.travelweekly.co.uk/Articles/2007/11/19/25923/new-tv-channel-to-promote-southern-africa.html

African Beach Report:

http://www.travelweekly.co.uk/Articles/2007/08/24/24982/african-beaches-five-of-the-best-24-aug-2007.html

Posted by rollingrains at 07:41 PM

November 28, 2008

The 2012 Games - Tourism Development Survey

In 2012 the eyes of the world will be on the UK and of course the South West, therefore The South West RDA are trying to build up a picture of what the current offer is to disabled visitors and their families when visiting the region.

Please could you spare 5 minutes to complete the following survey:

http://www.surveymonkey.com/s.aspx?sm=ASMTBNPP61Ie24c3ZGNCVA_3d_3d

Your input will be invaluable now, in the lead up to 2012 and beyond.

The Paralympics will increase the focus on disability issues and participation in disability sport across the board. It will highlight our attitudes to disabilities and the service we provide to people with special requirements in the South West.

The South West RDA are already focused on this area of work, and the opportunity it provides for destinations and businesses to build the markets of the future by welcoming the wider audience of those people considered to have a disability, as well as athletes with disabilities, their families, friends and supporters.

http://swtourism.blogspot.com/2008/11/access-research-and-2012-games.html

Posted by rollingrains at 06:41 AM

November 25, 2008

Una casa para toda la vida (Spanish)

La Sociedad Insular para la promoción de las personas con discapacidad (Sinpromi) del Cabildo de Tenerife, vuelve a estar, por tercer año consecutivo, con Una casa para toda la vida, en la Feria Construye, que se celebra del 26 al 30 de noviembre en el Centro Internacional de Ferias y Congresos (Recinto Ferial).

En este puesto se darán a conocer los parámetros de accesibilidad, y se mostrarán las características de los muebles y elementos que la convierten en una vivienda de estas características.

Sinpromi, dependiente del Instituto de Atención Social y Sociosanitaria, IASS, de esta Corporación, aprovecha la oportunidad que representa este foro de encuentro para el sector de la construcción en la Isla para continuar con su labor de concienciación y sensibilización.

A través del título Una casa para toda la vida, instalará un espacio a modo de vivienda, con el objeto de promover un cambio en la manera de proyectar las viviendas, en el que donde se incorpore la accesibilidad desde el inicio, elevando la calidad de uso de las mismas y favoreciendo una fácil adaptabilidad a las diferentes situaciones en las que nos podemos encontrar a lo largo de nuestra vida.

De igual modo, debe garantizar unos determinados parámetros que se centren en la entrada, las rampas, el ascensor, los pasillos las puertas y los baños.

Además, de las condiciones mínimas de accesibilidad de la vivienda, también son importantes las características de los muebles y accesorios que se pongan en su interior, de manera que se garantice un uso cómodo, adaptado a las necesidades de todas las personas que la habitan. Es lo que denominamos elementos de diseño universal.

Cabe destacar que una de los objetivos fundamentales de la Sociedad insular para la promoción de las personas con discapacidad, Sinpromi, es la promoción de la accesibilidad universal y la supresión de las barreras físicas y de la comunicación, como elemento esencial para garantizar la igualdad de oportunidades y el ejercicio de los derechos fundamentales de las personas con discapacidad.

Pero, además de las personas con discapacidad, existe otra gran parte de la población, las personas con movilidad y comunicación reducida, que por diversas circunstancias encuentran dificultades para realizar las tareas cotidianas debido a las características del entorno, informa el Cabildo de Tenerife en un comunicado.

Una Casa para toda la vida es una vivienda que da respuesta a las necesidades cambiantes de las personas, con un diseño que garantiza el acceso y uso a cualquier edad o circunstancia. Es un hogar en el que poder vivir y envejecer con dignidad y en el que, si nos sobreviene una situación que nos reduce gravemente la movilidad, poder realizar las adaptaciones necesarias con la máxima facilidad y el mínimo coste.

Fuente:
http://www.canariasaldia.com/noticia.php?noticia_id=110374#

Es una vivienda adaptable que se dirige a todo tipo de personas, con unas medidas mínimas de accesibilidad en el acceso e interior de la misma, adecuadas para alcanzar unas buenas condiciones de habitabilidad en los diferentes ciclos de la vida y que, además, permite realizar fácilmente y sin grandes inversiones, las adaptaciones que se requieran, favoreciendo la permanencia de las personas en sus hogares.

Posted by rollingrains at 06:23 PM

November 22, 2008

Strategies for Promoting Universal Design in the US

The US elections signaled the mainstreaming of a frustration with confrontation and gridlock in addressing the common good of societies. Whether Republican, democrat, or independent the mantra was "Change!" Here the message has consistently been that the change that is needed at this stage in history flows from the seven principles of Universal Design and can be summed up as social inclusion -- not merely accessibility; not mandated minimums adhered to reluctantly when they could not be subverted directly or indirectly.

This article on workshop by AARP on Universal Design and Visitability Fairfax County Virginia is typical of the recent surge in high-quality mainstream press articles on UD. This piece "Blueprint for Boomers" contains not only the demographic trend arguments but something seen less frequently - an analysis of the strategy and tactics being used to promote UD. We hold out hope that mainstream press will soon pursue reporting on Inclusive Tourism (See the current issue of Success & Ability, Chennai, India for "What is Inclusve Tourism?") and Inclusive Destination Development as diligently as other countries have begun to. Perhaps that will occur as President Obama rolls out massive infrastructure development projects that are grounded in Universal Design:

Like the move to green homes, the trend toward universal design is gaining acceptance through a mix of mandates and market incentives. The National Association of Home Builders has created a Certified Aging-in-Place Specialist program for trained builders and designers. Some jurisdictions, including the village of Bolingbrook, Ill., and Pima County, Ariz., have mandated universal design elements in all new housing.

Virginia's Department of Housing and Community Development offers a $500 tax credit for incorporating certain features, and Howard County is pushing to develop model homes on a publicly owned property that would combine elements of green homes, universal design and affordable housing.

Fairfax Supervisor Sharon Bulova (D-Braddock) said she was interested in allowing developers to exchange universal design for more density. "We're more interested in encouraging incentives rather than using a policing approach," Bulova said.

Betsy Luecking, disability policy specialist with Montgomery County's Health and Human Services Department, said that advocates initially hoped to enact a mandatory program requiring developers to incorporate universal design in a percentage of single-family homes in developments with more than 35 dwellings. But the plan ran into resistance from builders, and the county adopted a less confrontational approach.

"We are hoping to convince builders to offer it as an option just like skylights and finished basements," Luecking said.

(Credits to this author for coming closer than many to the actual date that Universal Design began by locating it in the 1980's. It will be very affirming when the press finally gets it right and places it in the 1970's. It was already a regular topic of conversation when we founded the first Disabled Students Commission at the University of Washington in 1974 and Ron Mace never even came to our campus from across the country in North Carolina!)

Posted by rollingrains at 05:24 PM

November 16, 2008

Taxi! (Portuguese)

Enasio sensivel por Laurinda Alves no blog

A minha crónica de sexta-feira passada no jornal Público. É impossível não ficarmos indignados perante as reacções e declarações de responsáveis que se recusam a incluir os que têm necessidades especiais. A mim repugnam-me todas as formas de exclusão e por isso aqui fica o texto da minha indignação.

Incluir? Não obrigado! Num país onde a esmagadora maioria de pessoas portadoras de deficiência são obrigadas a ficar em casa por não terem condições para vencer os obstáculos na rua, é perverso ouvir declarações públicas feitas por pessoas aparentemente responsáveis que se recusam a dar passos para incluir os mais frágeis. Falo de Florêncio Almeida, presidente da Antral, que explica com toda a eloquência possível que "não há mercado" para este tipo de transporte e que "as pessoas sem deficiência não querem viajar em táxis próprios para deficientes". Inspirado, Florêncio Almeida, vai mais longe e admite: "eu próprio não gosto de ser conotado com o que não sou". Extraordinário raciocínio, este. Mas há mais e continuo a citar o que li no Público de dia 22 de Agosto: "o que eu quero é trabalhar e não fazer serviço social". Bravo! Uma boutade pareceu-lhe pouca coisa, duas ou três de enfiada deram-lhe certamente outra assurance discursiva. Pois bem caro Florêncio a serem verdade, estas suas afirmações falam por si e infelizmente dizem o pior. Mostram uma total insensibilidade e revelam uma ignorância chocante. Isto para não falar da falta de estratégia empresarial e da ausência de sentido do negócio. Mas vamos por partes. Ao contrário de Florêncio Almeida, a maior parte das pessoas que não tem handicaps físicos sente-se muito mais confortável quando anda em transportes onde há lugares ou circunstâncias adaptadas aos deficientes do que quando percebe que estes foram completamente excluídos. É completamente falso que os ditos normais se recusem a apanhar um táxi adaptado para pessoas com necessidades especiais. Aqui e em qualquer lugar todos ganhamos com a inclusão e por isso é bom que Florêncio Almeida fale por si, coisa que obviamente não pode fazer por ser presidente de uma Associação que representa uma classe com milhares de profissionais. Uma coisa é as pessoas sem handicaps não se lembrarem que são precisas adaptações, outra radicalmente diferente é estas mesmas pessoas recusarem estas adaptações com argumentos patéticos. Nesta linha é bom que Florêncio Almeida separe as águas e não amplie uma voz distorcida. Quanto a não gostar de ser conotado com o que não é, neste caso particular com pessoas com deficiência, cada um sabe de si. Eu lido perfeitamente com todos os tipos de deficiência e a única que verdadeiramente me incomoda é a deficiência moral. Essa sim, incomoda-me por revelar pobreza de espírito e indigência moral, passe a redundância. Finalmente a questão do serviço social. Numa época em que todos temos consciência de que o empreendedorismo e a responsabilidade social das empresas são uma aposta ganha à partida, não fica bem a ninguém defender o indefensável. Se Florêncio Almeida não faz nem quer fazer que se chegue para o lado e deixe que outros façam o que tem que ser feito. Uma cidade como Lisboa precisa urgentemente de táxis adaptados para deficientes, para velhinhos com bengalas, para pessoas frágeis ou doentes, para homens e mulheres que fizeram operações graves, para pais e mães que têm filhos pequenos ou bebés de colo e, quem sabe, até para um dia o próprio Florêncio Almeida poder transportar algum familiar ou amigo que tenha dificuldades de locomoção. Contra estes factos não há argumentos. Ou há, senhor Florêncio Almeida? [ fim do artigo e início de outro] O Senhor Comentador aplaude a Câmara de Lisboa pela iniciativa dos táxis adaptados a deficientes Textos de Carlos Quevedo lidos por Rui Unas, de segunda a sexta, antes das sete da tarde, na Antena Um http://osenhorcomentador.blogs.sapo.pt/46734.html

Há um projecto bem intencionado da Câmara de Lisboa para incentivar a adaptação de táxis ao transporte de pessoas com dificuldades de mobilidade. Contudo, o Presidente da Antral, Florêncio Almeida, defende que "não há mercado" para este tipo de transporte. Entre outras objecções acrescenta que "as pessoas sem deficiência não querem viajar em táxis próprios para deficientes. Eu próprio não gosto de ser conotado com o que não sou". Eu percebo o Florêncio: eu também não gosto de ser conotado com o que não sou. Embora nunca me passaria pela cabeça usar a palavra "conotado". No entanto, discordo do nosso presidente da Antral. O problema não é a falta de deficientes de mobilidade. Há imensos. Só que não gostam de o reconhecer. Devia haver uma campanha a explicar às pessoas com deficiências que não são as outras pessoas que se movem com rapidez mas que são elas que não se movem. Mas percebo que uma campanha de consciencialização de deficientes, além de custosa, pode ser embaraçosa. Como é que se diz a alguém que está habituado a ser como é que de facto o normal é não ser como ele? Podemos apanhar um deficiente com formação filosófica que pergunte: "Como é que tem a certeza disso?" E pronto. Aí acabou o conceito nobre de compaixão para sermos enterrados no fundo da nossa suposta e arrogante normalidade. Mas pondo de parte a óptica de angariar clientela para reflectir sobre como as pessoas ditas normais não aceitariam ser confundidas com deficientes, devo dizer que o Florêncio se engana rotundamente. Para começar, quem tenha ido a uma casa de banho com a alternativa só para "deficientes", verificou que o dito compartimento sempre é mais limpo e tem um ar mais confortável do que os vulgares nichos de evacuação fisiológica dos ditos normais. A razão dessa extrema limpeza é óbvia: eles são menos e a sua manutenção higiénica está facilitada. Se fazemos uma transposição simples, podemos imaginar que os táxis para deficientes serão também mais limpos e os seus condutores menos stressados. Até diria mais: iam estar mais contentes por não terem de andar a subir e descer do carro por causa do cliente. Os clientes, por sua vez, sentir-se-iam mais confortáveis porque normalmente este tipo de carros está feito para facilitar tudo. Habitualmente são mais espaçosos (ninguém sabe o que um deficiente pode trazer consigo) e claramente mais limpos (os deficientes que podem andar de táxi são normalmente mais limpos que os que andam a pedir na rua. Eu, que gosto de andar de táxi quer em Lisboa quer no Porto, não hesitaria em optar por um carro adaptado a deficientes. Por isso não concordo com o que Florêncio Almeida diz - que não gosta de ser conotado com o que não é. Eu também gosto de ser bem tratado e ser transportado tão educadamente num carro limpinho como aqueles que a Câmara de Lisboa quer promover. Estou a favor dos táxis para as pessoas com dificuldades de mobilidade, com a condição de não serem mais caros nem exclusivos. Estamos todos com dificuldades. Fora isso, tudo bem.

Posted by rollingrains at 12:28 AM

November 14, 2008

New in Canada: Accessible Travel

Accessible Travel.jpg

Community Solutions Limited of Greater Toronto Canada has launched a new service and web site Linking People & Places. Congratulations to CSL and especially Nancy Gagnon who guided creation of this initiative from its inception and now serves as Accessible Travel Coordinator!


Linking People & Places advertises a Cottage Getaway package and will expand their travel packages to include more:

COTTAGE GETAWAYS

Everyone loves the cottage! Community Solutions Limited: Linking People & Places, has been providing opportunities for cottage vacations since 2007 in response to requests from individuals and families to be able to experience the benefits of leisure in a cottage setting. Whether it's a long weekend to enjoy fall colours, a "mini-break" to try out snowshoeing, or a lazy summer week relaxing by the dock, our cottage vacations provide individuals with a chance to be themselves in a safe way.

For those interested in being travel companions the call for employees is open here:

http://www.accessibletrav.com/employment.htm

Posted by rollingrains at 04:51 PM

November 12, 2008

Special Issue of Design for All India on Inclusive Tourism

D4All India.bmp

Design for All India is the journal of the Indian Institute for Technology Delhi on Universal Design. I have selected this graphic for the November 2008 special issue on Inclusive Tourism in India. In the foreground is Craig Grimes of Accessible Nicaragua and Accessible Everything

To subscribe to the free Design for All India e-zine ask Dr Sunil Bhatia to put you on the mailing list:

dr_subha@yahoo.com

Posted by rollingrains at 04:44 PM

November 08, 2008

Indien setzt auf Barrierefreiheit im Tourismus (German)

Wolfen (kobinet) Indiens Staatssekretär für Tourismus hat eine gesetzliche Regelung verkündet, nach der mit Geldern der Zentralregierung geschaffene Reiseziele in Zukunft barrierefrei sein sollen. Wie das Europäische Netzwerk für barrierefreien Tourismus - ENAT einem Bericht der indischen Tageszeitung The Statesman entnahm, sollen körperlich geforderte und ältere Personen in Indien in Zukunft leichter ein Reiseziel finden. Die Regierung will dabei mit Vorschriften zur Barrierefreiheit helfen. Wie der Staatssekretär für Tourismus Shilabhandra Banarjee bei einer Schulung für Manager und Ingenieure erklärte, hat das indische Tourismusministerium gesetzlich geregelt, dass alle touristischen Anlagen, welche mit Unterstützung der Zentralregierung geschaffen werden, barrierefrei sein sollten.


Mehr:
http://www.kobinet-nachrichten.org/cipp/kobinet/custom/pub/content,lang,1/oid,19389/ticket,g_a_s_t

Posted by rollingrains at 12:29 AM

November 02, 2008

On "Rollidei": "Para Vigo Me Voy"

With a headline tip-of-the-hat to the movie "Bye Bye Brasil" here is a notice about accessibility in Vigo:

The port of Vigo is sited on the shores of a great natural harbour, which is sheltered from Atlantic storms by the Cies Islands: in summer, regular excursions are run to these islands.

New wheelchair users accessible piers have been built at Vigo port; these will make boarding easier and safer not only for people with reduced mobility but to all users who travel on the vessels to Cangas and Moaña (both towns on the opposite side of the bay).

Estación Marítima
Estación Marítima s/n. Vigo
Tel: 00 34 986 225 272
Informatión: 902 454 645

Posted by rollingrains at 01:00 AM

November 01, 2008

Is Delhi Ready to Accommodate Disabled Visitors During the Commonwealth Games?

Shivani Gupta Director of AccessAbility | Delhi sent in the following:


As the clock is ticking for the Commonwealth Games, Delhi is seemingly gearing up fast, the government is spending $37.5 b into Delhi to make it ready for 2010 Commonwealth Games. There is tremendous spur in infrastructure development to meet the deadlines.

There will be an expected inflow of 50,000 foreign visitors during this time requiring 30,000 hotel rooms to accommodate them as per Jones Lang LaSalle Hotels (JLLH), global hotel investment service firm. With less than 2 years left for the event there are presently only about 11000 rooms available with an obviously huge dearth of available accommodation. In this crunch there is neither a talk about accommodation for visitors with disabilities nor any concrete efforts are being made in this direction. If the Government was to take a count of rooms that are accessible for disabled visitors, the numbers will not be more than 80 considering that only 4 star and 5 star hotels need to be accessible.

Regulation for Accessible accommodation

The Ministry of Tourism has a voluntary scheme for classification of fully operational hotels in categories. These classifications are made so as to equip Indian tourism sector to meet international standards. The 4 star, 5 star and 5 star Deluxe hotels have some basic accessibility requirements they need to comply with in order to get the star rating from Ministry. A brief of these requirements is as follows:

Classification Checklist (edited)

Accessible Lifts for buildings higher than G + 2
Public Areas
Accessible Public Restrooms
Ramps with anti-slip floors and handrails at the entrance.
Minimum door width should be 32" to allow wheelchair access and other facilities for the physically challenged
Wheelchair access with suitable table in at least one Restaurant.
Facilities for Aurally/ Visually handicapped
Safety & Security
Visual & Audible Fire and Emergency alarms.
Earmarked Accessible Parking Facilities


Through these classifications the Ministry of Tourism require all new hotel projects to adopt facilities for physically challenged persons, since 31st December 2003 the ministry mandated all existing 4*, 5* and 5*D hotels to add facilities for physically challenged persons.

The Ground Situation

As per the Ministry of Tourism’s ‘Hotel Classification System’ all 4 star, 5 star and 5 star deluxe hotels should have incorporated accessibility by January 1, 2004. Based on a research conducted by AccessAbility, a leading Universal design consulting firm in Delhi which also makes travel guides for tourists with disabilities, in 2008 shows the reality far from being so.

The research was conducted on 15 hotels in Delhi. The breakup included eleven 5 star hotels and four 4 star hotels. The study evaluated these hotels based on requirements of a wheelchair user.

While according to the criteria for the stars awarded by the Ministry of Tourism all these should have been accessible to guests with disabilities, the ground reality reveals that only:

• 33% hotels had a guest room that could be used by a guest on a wheelchair user.
• 7% had accessible public restrooms
• 73% had at least one restaurant that was accessible.
• Out of the four 4 star hotels that were reviewed, a glaring 50% of them had absolutely no provisions for guests with disabilities.

Major Drawbacks Noticed

Considering that all 4 and 5 star hotels should have been accessible by 1st January 2004 but almost five years later the reality remains bleak. Some of the major drawbacks that have emerged are as follows:

1. Ambiguous and inadequate accessibility requirements in the present Hotel Classification System - Considering that design layout for disabled must meet some minimum space requirements, the lack of these specifications in the rating criteria opens the doors for subjective interpretation by hoteliers thereby resulting in the ‘facilities for physically challenged’ guests that are actually unusable by the very client group these facilities are supposed to cater. Also the Hotel Classification System does not include fitness and entertainment areas that are bundled into the room tariff. Additionally these classifications do not adequately address needs of people with sensory impairments.

2. Lack of accessible budget hotels – Presently the accessibility requirement of the Hotel Classification system apply only to the 4 star and 5 star hotels. Accessibility is not a requirement that budget hotels need to fulfill, forcing the majority of disabled travelers to spend their entire savings on luxury hotels.

3. Poor enforcement by the Ministry – The evaluation and auditing committee deputed by the Ministry deputes for checking against the said classification before a hotel gets its star rating have no knowledge of accessibility for people with disabilities and hence are unable to check the disabled friendliness of the various hotels.

4. The exemption mechanism not specified – There may be instances where the existing structural limitations, especially in heritage hotels, make it difficult to cater to the needs of persons with disabilities. There is no exemption mechanism specified by which hoteliers may apply for to get a waver in such instances.

Summary

With the upcoming Commonwealth Games, it is not only will the requirement for regular accommodation that will multiply, but also the need for accessible accommodation will increase many fold. While people are aware and working towards filling the regular accommodation shortfall, there is no awareness or concern about accessible accommodation for visitors with disabilities. Today Delhi may boast of merely 80 hotel rooms that are supposedly accessible (based on their star ratings) to disabled travelers and that too only in the 4 star and 5 star categories.

While the Ministry is planning to revise the Hotel Classification requirements but it is not clear yet if they will strengthen the accessibility component of this classification. Even if they do consider strengthening it – the time may not be enough for the industry, especially the budget hotels, to gear up the increased demand of accessible accommodation.

For further information, please contact:

Shivani Gupta

Director
AccessAbility | Delhi
Mob. (0) 9310245743
shivani@accessability.co.in
www.AccessAbility.co.in

Posted by rollingrains at 09:16 PM

October 29, 2008

Accessible Taxicabs to Get Priority at JFK Airport

Starting on November 3, 2008, accessible taxicabs will receive priority when
being dispatched at JFK Airport
. The Port Authority of NY and NJ will
sponsor this pilot program as an incentive to encourage taxicab drivers to
provide service to people with disabilities.

Accessible taxicabs must have the new, blue accessible logo on the front
hood of their cars to participate in this program. For more information on
the logo, please visit the TLC website at:

http://www.nyc.gov/taxi

Posted by rollingrains at 02:04 PM

October 27, 2008

Historic Renewal in India: Svayam and the Ministry of Tourism

Oct-2008-MoT-Training
Photo courtesy of Kavita Agrawal, Svayam


Inclusive Destination Development continues to experience success in India. Most recently Svayam and the Ministry of Tourism conducted a training for more than 60 government and business representatives on Inclusive Tourism. As the economic slump hits India's tourism industry, which tends to offer a relatively expensive product, this progressive impetus toward inclusion of a greater range of tourists is a safe strategy for increasing market share - and capturing its loyalty as economic matters improve. See the final article below for insight into the current India market.

Tourist destinations to be made barrier-free

New Delhi, October 25, 2008

Physically challenged and elderly persons might soon find it easier to access tourist destinations as the government intends to make them barrier-free for the benefit of this sections of tourists.

The tourism ministry has made it mandatory that all tourist facilities, which are being created with Central financial assistance, should be barrier-free, the tourism secretary, Mr Shilabhadra Banerjee, said yesterday.

The ministry believes that physically challenged and older persons are becoming a growing group of consumers of travel, sports and other leisure oriented products and services.

To tap the potential of this group for promotion of tourism destinations in the country, the ministry has therefore taken this initiative to make tourist destinations barrier-free.

As a part of it, the ministry organised a workshop for engineers of state tourism corporations, Indian Tourism Development Corporation and officials of Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) to sensitise them about the special needs of the physically challenged and elderly.

Inaugurating the workshop, Mr Banerjee said it makes sense to provide special facilities for the physically challenged persons because this group is now willing to travel to different tourist destinations which provide accessibility and also has surplus funds to spend.

“Moreover, the accessible environment created for disabled persons are also used by people with limited mobility and the elderly,” he said. The workshop was followed by a site visit to Qutab Complex, which has been made barrier free by ASI.

source:
http://www.thestatesman.net/page.arcview.php?clid=2&id=254845&usrsess=1
*****

MoT organises workshop to promote Accessible Tourism in the country

Monday, October 27, 2008, 11:00 Hrs [IST]

According to a PIB release, People with Disabilities (PwDs) and older persons are now becoming a growing group of consumers of travel, sports and other leisure oriented products and services. The Ministry of Tourism (MoT) wants to tap the potential of this group for promotion of tourism destinations in the country. The MoT has therefore, taken the initiative to make barrier free tourist facilities available to PwDs with central financial assistance. For this purpose, the MoT organised a workshop in association with Svayam, a Delhi-based NGO on creation of disabled-friendly environment at tourist destinations to sensitise the engineers of state tourism corporations, India Tourism Development Corporation (ITDC) and officials of Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) about the special needs of PwDs. Engineers and officials of various state tourism departments/state tourism corporations attended the workshop. The objective was to sensitise the stakeholders towards the needs of the physically challenged and motivate them to implement accessible facilities.

Inaugurating the workshop Shilabhadra Banerjee, Secretary (Tourism), Government of India stressed on the need for making our tourist destinations barrier free for the benefit of persons with disabilities and older persons. He also said that it makes sense to provide special facilities for physically challenged persons because this group is now willing to travel to different tourist destinations which provide accessibility and also has surplus funds to spend. Moreover, the accessible environment created for disabled persons are also used by people with limited mobility and the elderly.

The team of experts of Svayam trained by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and Pacific (UNESCAP) at Asian and Pacific Development Centre (APCD), Bangkok conducted the workshop. The representative of ASI shared the experience of making Qutab Complex barrier free. The representative of Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) also explained the efforts being made by them to provide accessible public transport in Delhi.

The workshop was followed by a site visit to Qutab Complex which has been made barrier free by ASI with the assistance of Svayam, in an Accessible Low Floor Bus provided by DTC.
*****

from Ravi Teja Sharma NEW DELHI


WINTER is peak time for travel to India, but with the financial crisis impacting both corporate and leisure spending across the globe, Indian tourism industry is expecting a drop of 15-25% in business for the January-April period. October-December might be comparatively safe because travellers have already paid. There has been a slowdown of at least 30% from the US market, which was one of the biggest source for India, especially in the luxury segment. “The phones have stopped ringing,” says a US-based travel partner of an Indian tour operator. The recent bomb blasts haven’t helped the sentiment either.

Foreign tourist arrivals have touched 3.87 million by September this year, an increase of 10.4% and foreign exchange earnings were Rs 36,464 crore in the same period, a 17.8% increase over the previous year. However, uncertainty abounds in the tourist season, which starts in October. “Forward bookings for the second half of the season—January-April—are looking very slow,” says Creative Travel marketing director Rajeev Kohli, adding that the only saving grace is that there have been no real cancellations as yet. While October-December is safe because people have already paid and bookings are sealed, the fate of the January-April part of the season is still uncertain. “That part of the season is almost 60% of the business for us, which might see a considerable drop,” explains Mr Kohli.

Kuoni Destination Management (KDM) is expecting a drop of 20-25% in business for the January-April period, going by their forward bookings data. “The effect of the slowdown will show up in the first quarter of next year,” says KDM COO Dipak Deva. For Indo Asia Tours and Le Passage to India, business is expected to be down 10-15%.

“The world will not stop travelling, but we will surely see a realignment of pricing, which will be healthy,” says Le Passage to India managing director Arjun Sharma. Overall spends have come down and it is clear that the Indian tourism product is overpriced. “We are expensive at a time when people cannot pay much,” says Mr Kohli. Indo Asia director Suresh Behal feels that if hotel rates go down 20-25% from the current rates, there is a chance that the second half of the season will still pick up for the better. “When there is a better offer for a destination there will be some positive impact,” he says. The hotel component constitutes 50-70% of the total tour package cost, depending which category hotel one chooses.

Interestingly, Mr Kohli says that Delhi hotels are looking for business for the November–December period, months which have traditionally been packed for the hotels. Hotel occupancies are under pressure and many city hotels are offering huge discounts. “Hotels are uncertain about rates, which are already down 5-7% and are expected to go down a further 10-13% soon,” says Mr Sharma.

Posted by rollingrains at 04:32 PM

October 26, 2008

Sirens Resort: An Inclusive Experience in Loutraki, Greece

Sirens beach.gif

Looking for someplace to stay in Greece tht has given thought to wheelchair access? From their web site:

SIRENS RESORT is a complex of 5 fully accessible apartments, built by the higher standards to provide easy access to wheelchair users and people with physical impairments. The resort was designed with the disabled traveler in mind and that is why it offers both comfort and easy access in a perfect combination. The place is perfect for family vacation and ideal for children of all ages.

Our apartments sleep from 1 to 8 persons, depending on the particular requests of each of our guests. There are double beds, single beds, raised or not raised beds, and also 1-bedroom or 2-bedrooms or 4-bedrooms apartments to meet your special needs and comfort standards.

http://www.hotelsofgreece.com/central/loutraki/sirens-wheelchair-accessable-resort/index.html

Here are examples on their itineraries:

 Nafplion


1.One day tour to the Ancient theatre of Epidauros, city of Nafplion and ancient city of Mycenae

In this journey you will discover three well known places in central Greece. You will start by one of the last well conserved ancient theatre at Epidauros. This monument attracts a large number of visitors for its ideal symmetry and beauty, and it is concerned to be the bigger achievement of the ancient Greeks on theatre construction. The theatre still holds a number of performances during the summer. Afterwards, you will take a short visit to the city Mycenae and then you will enjoy the beautiful city of Nafplion, a small sea-side city which used to be the first capital of Greece. In the evening you will return to SIRENS Resort.
Depart at 10 am and return at 6 pm

2. One day tour to Athens, Parthenon, tourist center, Athens archeological museum

Your journey to Greek history will begin with a day tour in Athens, the capital of Greece, one of the most ancient cities of the world. You will experience the modern and ancient city at once, visiting the Parthenon, the most important and characteristic monument of the ancient Greek civilization and one of the seven wonders of the world. You will visit the Acropolis so called the "Sacred Rock" of Athens, a part of the ancient city and the ancient "agora", the market where the ancient Greeks used to spend there time by shopping, discussing and expanding their knowledge in all the known sciences. Then, you will take a visit to the most important archaeological museum in Greece and one of the richest in the world concerning ancient Greek art, the Archaeological Museum of Athens. In the evening you will return to SIRENS Resort.
Depart at 10 am return at 7 pm


3. One day tour to the ancient city of Olympia

In this tour you will discover one of the most important sanctuaries of antiquity, dedicated to the father of the gods Olympian Zeus. Olympia is the birth-place of the Olympic Games and also where they were held. You will have the chance to see the exact places and stadiums where the first Olympic Games were held more than 2500 years back in history. In the evening you will return to SIRENS Resort.
Depart at 10 am return at 6 pm

4. One day tour to Delphi, the ancient temple of Apollo, the famous museum

In this journey you will visit Delphi, the most seacred place of ancient Greeks, the place that was thought to be "the center of the world". The visible ruins of the temple of Apollo give a great idea of the architecture and the meaning of Greek temples dedicated to Gods. Some of the most important archeological treasures are kept in the museum. In the evening you will return to SIRENS Resort.
Depart at 10 am return at 7 pm

5. One day sailing cruise to the Argosaronikos golf and islands with accessible sailing yacht

In this journey you will experience the wonders of sailing around the Greek islands in your very own-skippered yachts. The yachts are accessible to wheelchair users and meet the higher levels of safety and comfort. You will visit the Saronic and the Argolic islands, where the weather conditions are ideal and the ports have an easy access. During sailing you will discover some wonderful bays for swimming, resting and leisure. This sailing holiday will be the most enjoyable and memorable experience of your life!
Each yacht can carry up to 2 people in their wheelchairs in safety and 6 more seated people. It is uniquely designed to allow open access to all living and sailing areas during the day. A specially designed slide and a hoist allow easy access to the sea for swimming. It is equipped with specially adapted toilet accessible to all wheelchair users.
Depart at 8 am return at 8 pm


Posted by rollingrains at 05:29 PM

October 23, 2008

The Universal Design Renovations Website

We have mentioned Alex Cochran's very public Universal Design home makeover before. InfoLink has just published a release on the project highlighting the way it is serving as a beacon to the industry:

“When my partner Desiree suffered a significant stroke in 2006 that rendered her wheelchair bound, it became imperative to make her surrounds as comfortable, accessible and considerate of her situation as possible.

I was shocked by the lack of resources available to people in our situation. When you are dealing with such a major emotional and physical change in your life, the last thing you want to be doing is to start from scratch researching and implementing universal design principles around the home,” said Cochran.

Determined to pave the way not only for his wife but countless other access-challenged people, Cochran launched an online resource capturing his research, relevant products and services, networks and even a regular diary detailing the renovation progress.

For the full piece:

http://www.infolink.com.au/c/Dulux-Australia/Universal-design-principles-for-Access-Challenged-n817465

Posted by rollingrains at 04:20 PM

October 16, 2008

Crotched Mountain Foundation Goes the Extra Mile

Crotched Mountain.jpg


Crotched Mountain Rehabilitation Center has a bold plan to increase outdoor recreation opportunities for people with disabilities. This article describes one part of the vision:

Off of Crotched Mountain Road across from the main campus of Crotched Mountain Rehabilitation Center, a sign marks a side road as restricted access. Beyond the sign, universal hiking trail builder Peter Jensen and his crew are working to make the area accessible to absolutely everyone.

"Coming out of a conversation with parents, there was a desire to create opportunities for recreation for everyone," says Michael Redmond, vice president for the advancement of the Crotched Mountain Foundation. "As we got thinking about it, that was exactly where we wanted to be, a place where everyone could come and enjoy the outdoors."

DAVE EISENSTADTER
Monadnock Ledger-Transcript Staff
October 14. 2008 8:35AM

GREENFIELD -- Off of Crotched Mountain Road across from the main campus of Crotched Mountain Rehabilitation Center, a sign marks a side road as restricted access. Beyond the sign, universal hiking trail builder Peter Jensen and his crew are working to make the area accessible to absolutely everyone.

"Coming out of a conversation with parents, there was a desire to create opportunities for recreation for everyone," says Michael Redmond, vice president for the advancement of the Crotched Mountain Foundation. "As we got thinking about it, that was exactly where we wanted to be, a place where everyone could come and enjoy the outdoors."

For the past year, Jensen and his crew have been working on creating a trail that will eventually stretch all the way to the summit of Crotched Mountain. It will allow small children, senior citizens and people confined to wheelchairs a pathway through the woods.

"It's designed according to federal guidelines," Jensen says, walking along the trail. "It undulates along with plenty of opportunities to rest along the way."

According to Jensen, the majority of the trail is at an incline of less than five percent. For short sections, the trail gets a bit steeper, but no more than eight and a third percent. These specs are in accordance with guidelines developed over 10 years by the United States Forest Service. Jensen served on the committee that determined those guidelines.

Along the trail, hikers will get to see huge boulders, have opportunities to touch bark and to hear babbling brooks. Jensen says he tries to provide a memorable narrative when he builds a trail.

"All of these things have meaning," Jensen says, pointing out upturned trees and describing an underground brook that hikers will hear but not see later down the trail. "That's what it's about, making an experience for the hiker."

Jensen says that by building trails that are accessible to everyone, more people will be encouraged to enjoy nature, particularly children, many of whom, he says, suffer from "nature deficit disorder" growing up.

"Children need to get back out into the woods and adults need to let them, or to take them," Jensen says. "This trail is ideal for family outings."

Built with remaining material from work on Crotched Mountain's new maintenance building, the trail is a natural surface trail -- packed dirt and gravel rather than blacktop.

"The material has to weather for a year," Jensen says. "Leaves settle in and become a part of the fabric of the trail."

According to Jensen, the trail is designed to be durable and hold up against rain and other drainage issues.

Don Shumway, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Crotched Mountain Foundation, says that the trail, which is on private property, will be open for public use. There will be no charge to use the trail except possibly a small fee for parking.

"Families might be able to travel to the Monadnock area for a vacation and know that everyone could participate in the things they love," Shumway says. "It's meant to be a high quality recreational amenity. It is here and they could rely on it to be a great experience for their family."

Redmond says outdoor accessibility began at Crotched Mountain in 2004 with the construction of an accessible tree house. A 150-foot ramp that moves between a series of oak trees leads to the house, which is 18 feet in the air.

"It's been a great addition to our campus and also a symbol," Redmond says. "When you think about the outdoors, you can think about things everyone can enjoy. We think the trails are the same way. Anyone who walks on them can think of their universal design."

Redmond says the first segment of the trail will be opened some time next year, and will consist of a loop trail around a wetland area that straddles the Greenfield/Francestown town line. Eventually, the system will consist of four miles worth of trails.

According to Redmond, the whole project will cost $2 million, and more than $600,000 has been raised already through donations and grants, including a $250,000 grant from New Hampshire's Land and Community Heritage Investment Program. Donations are still being accepted, Redmond says.

The Crotched Mountain Foundation has worked with town boards and conservation commissions, securing permits and wetlands crossings.

"We're pleased with the support they have given us," Redmond says. "They have realized this is a special opportunity."

Posted by rollingrains at 08:49 PM

October 14, 2008

ADAPTSURF (Portuguese)

No sito do ADAPTSURF vai aprender que:

A ADAPTSURF é uma Instituição que tem como missão promover a inclusão e integração social das pessoas com deficiencia ou mobilidade reduzida, garantindo igualdade de oportunidades e acesso ao lazer, esporte e cultura, através do contato direto com a Natureza.

Tem varios videos interesantes como estes.

Acessibildade das praias de Rio de Janeiro:

http://www.adaptsurf.org.br/projetos_acessibilidade_das_praias.html

http://www.adaptsurf.org.br/novidades_materias.html#materia_01

Posted by rollingrains at 12:12 AM

October 13, 2008

Calling Travel Writers: Contribute to Rough Guide's Accessible Britain

Accessible Britain.jpg

This travel writing competition is open to UK residents age 16 and over. Click here to register. Here's the offer:

Have you recently been on a fabulous day out? Have you discovered a hidden gem? Or do you simply feel the Rough Guide to Accessible Britain has overlooked one of your favourite trips?

If so, tell us about one of your own favourite days out and you could see your review in print. The best five entries will be featured in the next edition of the Rough Guide to Accessible Britain, due for publication in spring 2009. But please hurry as the competition ends Friday 7 November 2008!

Source: http://www.accessibleguide.co.uk/write_review

Rough Guides and Motability have joined forces to produce an inspiring new Rough Guide to Accessible Britain. Packed full of ideas on days out across the UK, this pocket-sized guide lists 100 wonderful places, tested and recommended by our researchers. Read what people who have bought the Guide say about it here.

Badge User friendly, with colour coded sections of different days out in Britain, it highlights the accessible facilities at each location as well as containing handy maps to help plan your day.

The Guide is FREE to Blue Badge holders (£1.99 for postage and packing) and just £6.99 (inc p&p) to others.

Please click to read our Terms and Conditions

Source: http://www.accessibleguide.co.uk/

Posted by rollingrains at 08:33 PM

October 09, 2008

Learning From Denver Colorado: "Travel Like Me"

Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper was interviewed by 9NEWS reporter Gregg Moss about the city's accessibility. Denver has a program called Travel Like Me where city planners are paired with citizens from all walks of life.

"We want to reexamine how people are getting around the city for starters", Hickenlooper said. By taking this tour with people with various abilities they can point out what's working and what's not. By doing this we get some perspective," the mayor said.

See a video interview here.

Posted by rollingrains at 08:53 PM

October 02, 2008

Express Travel World: Complete Access - India

Chetan Kapoor wraps up the three-article series on Inclusive Tourism for Express Travel World with Complete Access


"The sales point for hotels and brand India is Atiti Devo Bhava especially when guests are getting older. There is a need to understand this aspect and train hotel staff and make them realise that a wheelchair is part of the body (of the disabled) and that they need to observe, interact and understand their needs," said [Dr. Scott] Rains.

However, the crucial aspect missed by most planners at the designing stage is accessibility, and for [Craig] Grimes it is all about putting the person first and not their disability. He says, "I think it is probably a lack of information and culture for many. The disabled have been at home all this while and even hotels having facilities for the disabled aren't advertising enough."

Kapoor emphasizes the progress underway in India:

The travel and tourism industry is witnessing a turnaround. While on one hand there is a possibility of businesses shutting down, on the other there exists an opportunity to tap these businesses and look at newer niches in the market. While segments like adventure, women travel, gastronomy, archaeology and gay and lesbian tourism have caught up, travel for the disabled seems to be making itself heard.

The American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA) India Chapter organised a first of its kind seminar called 'Accessible Travel' that was held recently in the cities of New Delhi, Mumbai, Kochi and Chennai. Rajeev Kohli, its president, said, "We are hosting a series of training programmes for our members and judging by our last seminar in New Delhi where we had an audience of more than 100, including the secretary of tourism, proves the recognition this issue is getting."

For the full article:

http://expresstravelworld.com/20080831/management03.shtml

Posted by rollingrains at 06:41 PM

September 23, 2008

Brasil quer estimular visita de norte-americanos (Portuguese)

foz
Ja com atencão a turismo inclusivo o Brasil tem chance atrair mais norte-americanos.

A partir deste mês os turistas norte-americanos contarão com novos vôos para o Brasil, partindo de diversos pontos dos Estados Unidos, como Nova York, Miami, Atlanta, Chicago, Washington e Los Angeles. Além de atender destinos conhecidos como São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro e Manaus, esses vôos também chegarão a Belo Horizonte e ao Nordeste, pela primeira vez.

O anúncio foi feito nesta segunda-feira, 22 de setembro, pelo ministro do Turismo, Luiz Barretto, durante o lançamento, em Nova York, da campanha da Embratur Brasil Sensacional.

brasil sensacional.gif

O ministro ressaltou que o Brasil é uma das grandes potências emergentes do turismo mundial e lembrou que o bom momento econômico do país oferece mais oportunidade de negócios. Segundo ele, um dos desafios da campanha é aumentar o número de norte-americanos que visitam o Brasil, que no ano passado foi de 700 mil pessoas, que deixaram uma receita de US$ 780 milhões.

´´A campanha tem o papel de diversificar a oferta de destinos, não apenas os mais conhecidos como Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo e Foz do Iguaçu´´, disse. Segundo Barretto, a diversidade de destinos turísticos pode colaborar para o desenvolvimento regional do país.

O evento contou com a participação dos governadores de Pernambuco, Eduardo Campos, e da Bahia, Jacques Wagner, que ressaltaram a importância do turismo para os estados do Nordeste.

O presidente Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva disse que o governo federal está fazendo a sua parte para receber bem os turistas, como melhorias nas estradas. ´´Se você convida alguém para ir a sua casa, tem que garantir que pelo menos vai ter cerveja gelada para oferecer´´, disse. De acordo com o presidente, agora os norte-americanos vão ter mais oportunidades para visitar o Brasil. ´´Com apenas oito horas de distância, num avião confortável, com uma passagem razoavelmente barata, vocês podem descer em um país de 8,5 milhões de quilômetros quadrados, fazer o turismo que vocês quiserem e visitar possivelmente parte das coisas mais belas que a natureza nos ofereceu´´, acrescentou o presidente.

Fonte: Agência Brasil

Posted by rollingrains at 05:09 PM

September 20, 2008

On the Road in India: Inclusive Destination Development by Disabled Entrepreneurs

Prasad and Arvind are two names to know if you uses a wheelchair and want to get around in India. They are savvy businessmen filling a need in India's movement toward Inclusive Destination Development. Once again what is being done in to guarantee inclusion in tourism has a carry-over effect to local citizens and consumers by demonstrating a degree of accessibility for and service to the disability community that was considered impossible only a short time ago.

Read about their trend-setting work to provide accessible rental vans in India. Download file


http://epaper.hindustantimes.com/artMailDisp.aspx?article=17_09_2008_546_001&typ=1&Archtype=&pub=264

Posted by rollingrains at 05:36 PM

September 19, 2008

New Zealand Wellness Symposium - Including Disabled Travelers

Access Tourism for people with disabilities was a topic discussed at the first New Zealand Wellness Symposium held in Nelson 18-20 September 2008. Sandra Rhodda educated the gathered attendees on the potential to be found in the aging and disabled traveler markets

Spa and wellness tourism is a multi billion dollar industry internationally. The Symposiums’ overall aim was to examine the strategic direction for wellness tourism development in New Zealand and to promote the formation of a national network or association. Wellness Tourism has been on the radar for a number of national organisations, regions and businesses for some time, and an aim of the symposium was to examine the market, discuss the current New Zealand Wellness tourism offer, and plan for the future.

Representatives from the New Zealand Ministry of Tourism, its marketing arm, Tourism New Zealand, regional tourism organizations, tourism operators, researchers from polytechnics and universities, marketing consultants and wellness experience and product suppliers attended the symposium. The opening address was given by the Minister of Tourism, Damien O’Connor, and the keynote speech by Susanne Sims, Founding President of Hawaii Islands Wellness Travel Association.

Sandra Rhodda, Research Manager at Tai Poutini Polytechnic in Greymouth, South Island, and founding member of the Action Group for Access Tourism in New Zealand (AGATNZ) gave a talk on the importance of access tourism (AT) for people with disabilities (PWDs).

She pointed out that AT needs to be developed in New Zealand in order to strengthen Wellness Tourism, and provide for those tourists who will increasingly come here for wellness treatment or medical reasons. Rhodda went on to say that currently, AT, and the related Silver Tourism market, are virtually ignored in New Zealand, and this is short-sighted. This is because the world population is ageing, as people age they experience more disability. Reliable AT products in New Zealand are few and far between which means that the needs of current tourists who are PWDs are largely unmet, although it is unknown how many tourists within and to New Zealand are PWDs. Whatever the current number, that number is bound to rise with the ageing of the the large Baby Boomer cohort. It is this cohort which will dominate tourism in the next several decades, that will have the money, time, and inclination to travel, that will live longer than their parents, that are interested in health and wellness, that will increasingly add to the medical tourism sector, that are increasingly web savvy, and that will demand appropriate services and will tell the world if they don’t get them (see http://www.tppweb.ac.nz/rreports.php ).

Rhodda went on to say that because indigenous Maori culture was heavily focused on caring and reverence for older members of communities, that New Zealand was ideally situated philosophically to host this growing sector. There were also traditional Maori Wellness methodologies that could be ideally shared with guests of all ages, whether disabled or not. Some of these indigenous methodologies for increasing wellness were demonstrated by Maori Wellness Tourism operators who attended the meeting, as were a number of other products and services. Such products included a variety of healing therapies from all over the world and healthful food and beverages.

She also had a chance to put out for distribution the new report The Waypoint – Backstrom Principles on Maritime Inclusive Environments and Practice (Human-Centered Seaworthiness).


Posted by rollingrains at 08:42 PM

September 17, 2008

Heritage Site Accessibility: Trails

Inclusion at Heritage sites is a complex problem. Often there are structures to be preserved and conflicting values between accessibility and preservation. Yet all sites contain pathways or trails

The following discussion of a design charette illustrates a process that can be replicated and highlights some recurring issues that may surface at many heritage sites.


Trail Design Charette analyzes accessibility for pathways


California State Parks sponsors problem solving and trail construction project at Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park.

By Don Beers, California State Parks

California MapIn October of 1998 Whole Access and the North Coast Redwoods District of the California Department of Parks and Recreation co-sponsored a Multi-Disciplinary Trail Design Charette in Eureka, California. The five day synergistic problem solving session focused on developing a process for evaluating and designing recreational trails to determine the greatest amount of accessibility that can be obtained without adversely affecting the natural and cultural resources of the land.

The charette team members represented a wide variety of disciplines and expertise including disability/accessibility design, trail design and construction, assistive technology, archeology, geology, landscape architecture, park planning, physical engineering, ecology, inclusive recreation, surfaces and safety engineering and soil stabilization technology. A film crew led by Jay Moss and Bruce Schmiechen and still photographer Jack Hopkins documented the entire charette exercise and the follow up trail design and construction work.

The charette process began with a field review of two trails (Prairie Creek and Foothill) both located at Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park. These trails served as the outdoor laboratory for the charette design process. Both trails were totally inaccessible and had numerous trail maintenance and resource degradation issues. Prairie Creek trail closely followed a stream and meandered through a broad and heavily forested stream valley. Its linear grades ranged from zero to thirty-six percent with most of the trail grade being under ten percent. Steep linear grades, step carriages and bridges with step approaches represented obstacles to accessibility. Roots protruding into the trail bed and wet saturated tread surfaces also created obstacles and barriers.

Foothill trail was located on a steep hill slope and traversed through an old growth redwood forest winding around the giant trees both standing and fallen. The trail undulated around these ancient trees and the linear grades ranged from zero to fifty-nine percent with most of the trail being under twelve percent. Steep linear grades, severe cross slopes, narrow tread widths, precipitous drop-offs, step carriages and bridges with step approaches represented significant obstacles to accessibility. Roots protruding into the trail bed and seasonally wet and saturated tread surfaces were also obstacles and barriers.

Once the field review was completed and a thorough image of both trails and their issues was conveyed to the charette participants each member gave a brief presentation on their respective disciplines and how it related to trails, accessibility and resource protection. This cross training exercise enabled the participants to obtain a fundamental understanding of each other's disciplines and their views regarding improving accessibility and protecting resources.

Once the cross training was completed, the charette participants identified the commonalties and conflicts (conditions /design elements) between sustainable trail design, resource protection and accessibility.

Commonalties Between Accessibility, Resource Protection & Sustainable Trail Design

1. Curvilinear alignment produces a good sustainable trail and more moderate linear grades
2. Moderate linear grades have less erosion, greater sustainability and higher access potential
3. Firm, stable and uniform tread surfaces promote good sheet drainage, reduce tread deformation, soil saturation and improve access.
4. Tread surfaces with a good coefficient of friction provide a safer and more pleasurable hiking experience and improve accessibility

Accessibility Conflicts With Resource Protection & Trail Sustainability

1. Lower linear grades require longer trail alignments
2. Wider tread widths increase the size of the trail's footprint
3. Lower cross slopes and edge protection may reduce sheet flow and increase erosion and trail maintenance
4. Lower linear grades may require more engineered structures and increase construction and maintenance cost
5. Wider tread widths and hardened tread surfaces may change the character of the land or the user's experience
6. Lower linear grades, wider tread widths, engineered structures and hardened tread surfaces may increase the trail's impact on the resources

Resource Protection and Trail Sustainability Conflicts With Accessibility

1. Steeper linear grades are difficult to traverse up or down depending on the assistive device used
2. Steeper linear grades, when combined with higher cross slopes and change of direction, cause most wheeled assistive devices to track off the trail
3. Trail tread with a low coefficient of friction does not provide the traction necessary for many assistive devices
4. A steep drop-off along the trail edge may creates a safety issue
5. Narrow trail widths (less than 36") do not accommodate most wheeled assistive devices
6. Obstacles in the trail tread such as roots and rocks may create barriers
7. Vertical obstructions such as tree limbs and over hanging down trees may create barriers and hazardous conditions
8. Traditional trail structures such as steps, water bars and open culverts represent barriers

Once the charette team completed identifying the potential conflicts between accessibility and resource protection and sustainable trail design they used their collective knowledge and experience to identify potential solutions and or mitigations to those conflicts.

Solutions and/or Mitigations to Maximize Resource Protection and Sustainable Trails

1. Linear trail grades are kept moderate between 5 and 8%, with short runs up to 10%
2. Layout of trail maximizes side hill construction to provide a fuller native trail bench for better durability, drainage and sustainability
3. Trails located on flat terrain are turnpiked to provide drainage and protect tree roots
4. Trail structures such as retaining walls, bridges and drain lenses are kept to a minimum and are used to protect resources and maintain good linear grades
5. Trail cross slope is kept at 5% but may be up to 8 percent depending on the linear grade, tread width and type of tread surface
6. Edge protection is provided only when conditions warrant it. Native vegetation and natural features such as rocks and logs can serve as edge protection
7. Edge protection is installed in a manor to facilitate sheet flow
8. Trail tread widths are designed for 36 inches minimum and are widened only to mitigate conditions affecting accessibility
9. Tread surfaces need only to be firm, stable and have a good coefficient of friction
10. Mobility assistive devices that have a greater capability of traversing recreation trails need to be developed, manufactured and made available

Solutions and/or Mitigation to Maximize Accessibility

1. Steeper linear grades are mitigated by increasing the tread width and improving the coefficient of friction of the tread surface
2. Combinations of steeper linear grades, higher cross slopes and changes of directions are mitigated by widening the tread width, improving the tread surface and or providing edge protection
3. Locations with a steep drop-off are mitigated by widening the tread width and or installing edge protection
4. Trail tread surfaces are well shaped, compacted and constructed on fuller benches to provide better firmness and stability
5. Native soils are augmented with crushed shale rock when additional strength and firmness is required
6. Tread surfaces are constructed to be uniform but have enough roughness and texture to provide a good coefficient of friction
7. Trail structures that create barriers such as steps, water bars and open culverts are eliminated
8. Trail tread widths are designed to be a minimum of 36 inches
9. Tree roots protruding into the trail tread are covered with native soils or a combination of crushed shale rock and native soil
10. Rocks protruding into the trail tread are removed or covered with native soils or crushed shale rock
11. Vertical obstructions are either removed or mitigated by installing features that warn visually impaired trail users

Upon the completion of the design charette, a core trail design group comprised of Phyllis Cangemi, Barry Atwood, Jay Moss, Karl Knapp and Don Beers re-evaluated Prairie Creek and Foothill trails armed with the design solutions and mitigations developed by the charette team. This group also relied upon their many years of experience in accessibility and trail design to develop the prescriptions necessary to improve the access of these trails without compromising park resources.

In performing the redesign of these two trails the core group followed a process that could be duplicated by others regardless of the specific trail conditions or setting that may be encountered..

The landform was thoroughly researched and evaluated to identify potential trail routing needs, resource concerns, boundary issues, land use capabilities and political constraints.

The trails were evaluated to ascertain if their initial layout and construction work was fundamentally sound. Trail conditions reflecting resource damage and sustainability problems usually are a manifestation of poor trail design or construction. These problems are usually attributed to not thoroughly understanding the land base and its capabilities and limitations. Also not identifying and laying out between major and minor control points (locations where the trail has to be or stay away from), not following curvilinear alignment principles and constructing trails that disrupt the surface and shallow ground water hydrology. These conditions or deficiencies needed to be corrected as a standard practice in trail reconstruction. In doing so, resource protection and sustainability issues were corrected and the trail's accessibility potential was significantly enhanced.

Once major and minor control points were established the linear grade between those control points was identified and compared with the sustainable grade of the landform and the linear grade required too comply with accessibility standards.

If the linear grades between the established control points were within accessibility standards then the trail was realigned between those control points if there were no resource or esthetic issues. New trail alignments incorporated curvilinear layout and maximized side hill construction. All abandoned trail segments were fully rehabilitated by recontouring the trial bench and re-vegetating the trailway with plants salvaged from the new alignments.

If the linear grades between the control points were in excess of the accessibility standards then minor control points were evaluated to determine if they could be modified to reduce the linear grade between them. Example: constructing a retaining wall under a large tree (minor control) to allow the trail to pass under it and reduce the linear grade or lengthening a bridge at a stream crossing site (minor control) to elevate the approaching trail grades to reduce the linear grade. If the minor controls could not be modified without causing resource damage or sustainability issues the land base was evaluated to determine if additional linear run could be achieved through the use of properly placed topographic turns, climbing turns or switchbacks (turns).

If minor control point modifications or turns could not be achieved to reduce the linear grades then those segments of trail could not comply with the accessibility standards for linear grade. However, those segments still were reconstructed to comply with those standards that they could meet i.e. tread width, cross slope, tread firmness and stability, overhead clearance, etc. Those trail segments that could be modified to comply with accessibility standards were so as to make the trail as accessible as possible.

Trail re-design and reconstruction efforts focused on the simplest solution then graduated to the more complex as the situation dictated. Segments where the trail alignment met all the resource, sustainability and accessibility requirements were left untouched.

Tread width and surface: Trail segments with minor trail bench and tread surface deficiencies were reconstructed to obtain a uniform linear grade and outslope. Locations where the tread surface failed to meet firmness and stability requirements were augmented with a crushed shale aggregate, that when blended with native soils produced a firm and stable surface that closely matched the color and texture of the native soils. This material also provided a good coefficient of friction during wet conditions and when the trail was littered with organic material. It also allowed water to percolate and evaporate through it minimizing resource impacts.

Obstacles in the tread surface: Rocks or small roots were removed from the tread surface to provide a uniform and smooth trail tread. Larger roots were covered or capped with crushed shale rock and native soils to bridge over these obstacles (turnpiked)

Vertical clearance in the travelway: Limbs protruding into the travelway or trees spanning across the travelway were removed if they did not comply with accessibility standards and their removal did adversely impact the resource or the user experience. Slight trail re-alignments were made if adjusting the trail route a few feet could provide proper clearance. Logs and vegetation were used along the side of the trail to guide the visually impaired user to the clear opening. When significant down trees (specimens) were encountered the trail was rerouted around them but came close enough to provide the user with an up close tactile experience.

Combinations of steeper linear grades and cross slope: Where the linear grade was steeper (8 to 10%) and the cross slope was at 5% the trail was widened to between 48 and 60 inches and or the tread surface was improved by adding crushed shale rock.

Combinations of steeper linear grades, cross slope and change of direction: Where these conditions existed the trail tread was widened to between 48 and 60 inches, the tread surface was improved by adding crushed shale rock and edge protection was installed along the radius of the turn.

Edge protection: Edge protection was provided at locations where there were (1) a steep hazardous drop off along the outer edge of the trail, (2) steep linear grades, cross slopes and the trail had a precipitous drop off, and (3) a combination of steep linear grades, cross slopes and a change of direction. Edge protection consisted of native vegetation (if it was strong enough to restrain the user), logs and large tree limbs securely fastened to the ground, large rocks firmly attached to the ground, and combinations of hand rails, diagonal rails and or bull rails on bridge and puncheon structures. All edge protection used was installed to facilitate overland sheet flow and blend in with the natural surroundings. Edge protection was only installed at the locations where it was warranted.

Drainage crossings: Small ephemeral drainages were traversed by constructing armored rip rap crossings (cobblestone), drainage lenses or installing culverts. Low volume perennial drainages were crossed using puncheon structures (boardwalks). Bridges were constructed to cross the larger perennial streams. All of these structures were designed to have a finished elevation of trail grade and the puncheon and bridges had edge protection.

In performing the construction work every attempt was made to match the building materials to the natural environment and the local architecture. If synthetic materials were used (cellular confinement, geotextile fabric, etc.) they were hidden and covered by native soils and vegetation. Every attempt was made to make the finished trail seamless with the natural environment and provide a quality outdoor experience for all trail users.

The charette design exercise proved to be a very educational experience. It brought people together with very diverse backgrounds and experiences and helped them learn from each other and expand their own knowledge and understanding of trail and accessibility design. It helped close the gap between trail/resource specialist and accessibility specialist and advocates. It helped identify the commonalties between good trail design and accessible design. It also showed that the conflicts between those two disciplines could be solved or mitigated with simple design and construction solutions that already exist and are commonly used by trail designers and builders. Finally, it defined a process for re-designing existing trails or designing new trails to maximize accessibility, protect resources and provide sustainable trails. This process can be applied universally to all trails regardless of their location or conditions.

December 2003

Source:

http://www.americantrails.org/resources/accessible/CharetteCA.html

Posted by rollingrains at 06:15 AM

September 14, 2008

New Blog: Rights of Passage

rightspassagelogo.png

A new blog shows promise at The Windy Citizen called Rights of Passage. According to their self-description:

Rights of Passage is a blog that will address local issues facing the disability community in Chicago. Edited by Jo Holzer and Catherine Marsden, Rights of Passage will look at current news, commentary and developments pertaining to accessibility around Chicago.
All the things I have learned in 40-plus years of walking behind or beside my youngest daughter, he will have to learn from experience: expect the unexpected, do not assume the ramp is accessible, look across the street to the next ramp, know that most people do not understand "ADA accessible" or "wheelchair accessible" - at least not as specifically as is necessary for access. He must learn that, when he hears "Oh yes, we have customers in wheelchairs," it does not mean the premises are actually accessible. So we all come to rely on each other - have you actually been there? Do you know someone who has been there recently - and understands the ADA? Just getting from point A to point B becomes a daily challenge.
A successful lawsuit against the City of Chicago, launched in October 2005 by the Council for Disability Rights and settled in 2007, should go a long way toward guaranteeing predictably safe curb cuts in our fair city -- and we can only hope and pray that its influence will spread far beyond. One of the greatest hazards in daily life for folks in wheelchairs - or with other mobility problems - is the inconsistent accessibility of the public environment. Every day decisions must be made about accessible paths of travel - to lunch, to a new appointment, to a new store location, to any place you have not been recently.

Thanks to a remarkable federal judge -- who spent a very hot summer afternoon in 2006 on Chicago sidewalks with CDOT (Chicago Dept. of Transportation) crew, engineers, lawyers from both sides, people in wheelchairs, and two City Commissioners (DOT and Mayor's Office for People with Disabilities) -- access to the public environment will become a smoother, more reliably accessible roll. The CDOT now understands the subtle geometric complexity involved in assuring that each curb ramp is in compliance with the ADA standards, however unusual the geometry of the sidewalk, curb, and street may be and they have actually devised more than one standard ramp. They have also added a condition to City contracts that requires the contractors to correct ramps that are not compliant with the ADA. They have also extensively trained their own engineers and roadwork staff in the finer points of access and slope management.

Posted by rollingrains at 07:00 PM

September 12, 2008

2010 Legacy Now: The Right Project at the Right Time!

2010 Legacy Now asks the right questions - and answers them with action.

2010 Legacy Now image.jpg


Action is especially important because 2010 Legacy Now is about strategically and comprehensively capturing the synergies available and creating inclusive livable communities in light of the build up to the 2010 Winter Paralympic and Olympic Games in British Columbia:

Why does accessible tourism matter?

People with disabilities represent a growing population of travellers. There are:

* 638,000 British Columbians with disabilities
* 4.4 million people in Canada with disabilities
* 54 million people in the USA with disabilities
* 60 million people in Europe with disabilities
* 700 million people worldwide with disabilities

These numbers increase significantly when expanded to include seniors with accessibility needs; the friends, family and caretakers who travel with people with disabilities; and people with temporary accessibility needs such as injury, pregnancy and families using strollers.

Accessible tourism is tourism for all - and it benefits everyone:

* Consumers get more choice
* Businesses and communities access a significant and often underserved market
* BC demonstrates its commitment to equity and fairness
* People with disabilities become more engaged in community life
* Businesses have access to a larger number of employable people


http://www.2010legaciesnow.com/include-everyone/

The concept behind the initiative is comprehensive and inclusive. British Columbia showed foresight and leadership in its extensive targeted inclusion. They are capturing the value-add possible when livable community design meets inclusive destination development thinking.

Measuring up the North (MUTN) is a prime example:

2010 Legacies Now has a vision of British Columbia as a place where people can easily live, work, play and visit. With support from the Province of BC and other partners, 2010 Legacies Now is guiding communities in becoming more accessible and inclusive for everyone.

Measuring Up is both a guide and a process that assists communities in assessing and improving how accessible and inclusive they are for people with disabilities and others including seniors, parents pushing baby carriages, tourists carrying luggage, and people with injuries. By increasing accessible employment opportunities and improving public spaces, recreation facilities, restaurants and shops, Measuring Up is assisting communities in becoming more accessible and inclusive, so everyone can benefit.


Inclusive tourism has its own pride of place in 2010 Legacies Now:

http://www.2010legaciesnow.com/accessible_tourism/

The Province of BC provided 2010 Legacies Now with $1.14 million to establish the Accessible Tourism Strategy. Together with the Province of BC, Tourism BC and numerous other partners, 2010 Legacies Now is helping to establish BC as an accessible travel destination.

By the way, if you are looking for a job and have management and accessibility audit experience you might apply as Operations Leader - Accessibility Management reporting to the Accessible Tourism Manager described here.

I look forward to meeting with Mike Prescott next week. Mike is Manager of Accessible Tourism for 2010 Legacies Now. My special thanks to colleague and friend MUTN Project Director Laurie Ringaert for keeping me informed on the project from the start and introducing me to Mike.

Posted by rollingrains at 01:14 AM

September 10, 2008

Inclusive Tourism on the Agenda at Prince Salman Center for Disability Research

Prince Salman Center.jpg


Congratulations to the Saudi Commission for Tourism and Antiquities on taking a bold step forward in the promotion of Inclusive Tourism in collaboration with the Prince Salman Center for Disability Research.

JEDDAH: Prince Sultan bin Salman, chairman of the board of trustees, signed 10 separate agreements for the Prince Salman Center for Disability Research at a ceremony held here on Monday night. “These agreements are aimed at reaching out to the international community in a spirit of collaboration and help us achieve our goals to serve disability research,” the prince told a meeting at Jeddah’s Le Meridien Hotel.

World organizations to help in disability research K.S. Ramkumar I Arab News

“By linking bridges with like-minded organizations, we eliminate duplication of efforts and resources. We assemble world-renowned experts from various disciplines and provide them with the vehicle to seek solutions to a global issue,” he said.

“We strive to bring about real-life changes that lead to prevention and treatment of disabilities as well as to reduce their impact. We collaborate with key stakeholders to translate knowledge gained from research findings and essential services and policies, to enrich the lives of individuals with disabilities,” he added.

Various agreements signed highlight the center’s commitment and that of many prestigious organizations to develop an international collaborative effort to prevent and reduce the impact of disabilities. “Using knowledge to improve the quality of life for people with disabilities, we act as a medium for exchange of information both in the region and globally,” the prince said.

“Our founders and collaborators are actively engaged in partnerships with key stakeholders, and continue to build bridges around the world in order to benefit members of the disabled community. Together, we become a powerful force for change,” he added.

The agreements relate to various research projects initiated by the center. They include universal accessibility standards in the Kingdom with Universal Design and Accessibility Consultants in Hong Kong as the collaborator. Other partners in the program include Ministry of Transport, the Saudi Commission for Tourism and Antiquities, and the Ministry of Municipal and Rural Affairs. Development of standards and assessment system for day-care centers providing services to individuals with disabilities is another project. Its collaborator is the Academy of Educational Development based in Washington.

Establishment of a scholarship program for people with disability is another project. Publication of specialized materials in the field of disability is yet another project of the center, with Al- Obeikan Bookstore as its collaborator and Saudi Research and Marketing Group as its partner. It aims to publish reliable information in the field of disability for professionals and the public.

Source:

Arab News
http://www.arabnews.com/?page=1§ion=0&article=114080&d=10&m=9&y=2008

Posted by rollingrains at 12:41 PM

September 09, 2008

Mayor Sam Sullivan: Establish the Most Accessible & Inclusive City in the Country

Sam Sullivan.jpg

The Paralipmics are underway - but I'm already looking forward to the 2010 Winter Games. They will be in Vancouver, BC where Sam Sullivan is mayor.

Mayor Sullivan is a recipient of the nation's highest honour, the Order of Canada, for his community service on behalf of marginalized people. He has won several other awards, including the Terry Fox Award for national excellence, and the Christopher Reeve Award for his outstanding contributions to the community of persons with spinal cord injury and other physical disabilities.

He obtained a Business Administration degree from Simon Fraser University and has also taught himself the basics of several languages including Cantonese, Italian and Punjabi.

Sullivan broke his neck while skiing at the age of 19 and is a quadriplegic. He is the founder of six non-profit organizations that have improved the lives of thousands of North Americans with disabilities, including the Tetra Society which recruits technically-skilled volunteers to create assistive devices for people with disabilities (30 chapters throughout North America), and the Disabled Sailing Association which provides opportunities for people with disabilities to sail (20 chapters in North America). He is an avid sailor, and also enjoys hiking using an assistive device he co-invented called the TrailRider, a one-wheeled vehicle that enables people with disabilities to travel and participate in hiking/camping trips and is in use throughout North America.


From the web site of Mayor Sam Sullivan:

The following is a summary of accomplishments on this goal since the election:

* approved funding to establish “311 Access Vancouver” service in time for 2010 to provide information and city services around the clock and in multiple languages
* secured 2008 Beijing Paralympic Torch relay
* established regular online interactive surveys to gauge public opinion on important civic issues - resulting in over 4000 survey responses submitted
* $1.7 million annual funding increase over 2005 civic budget for Vancouver arts, culture & heritage projects
* worked with provincial government to develop $1 million accessible tourism strategy
* more accessible buses and taxis
* established a Triple R (Roles, Responsibilities and Relationships) panel to modernize Vancouver's volunteer civic agencies
* re-established Citizens Days to provide regular direct access with Mayor Sullivan
* increased cooperation with federal & provincial governments and outreach to First Nation and Metis
* supported expansion of Multicultural Helping Village to enhance community services for new Canadians
* initiated community roundtables on multiculturalism, accessibility & immigration
* renewed three-year funding agreement with Vancouver Heritage Foundation
* introduced Citizenship Ceremonies at Vancouver City Hall
* introduced YouthPolitik to encourage youth participation in local government
* conducted hundreds of hours of community meetings and public consultations
* approved a plan for guided tours of City Hall with the goal to educate newcomers and familiarize citizens with Vancouver, and its array of public services
* endorsed the recommendations of the Mayor's Task Force on Immigration, including providing funding for a recommended Business Summit to be held in Spring 2008

Posted by rollingrains at 09:28 PM

September 06, 2008

Adaptive Surfing in Hawai'i on Xable.com "No Free Rides"

Surfer Ann Yoshida is interviewed by Tiffiny Carlson here:

no_free_rides.jpg

http://www.xable.com/lifestyle/nofreerides/episode27

Posted by rollingrains at 04:40 AM

Adrenaline Influx: The Spirit That Drives the Paralympics

It is also the spirit that brings disabled adventure travel experts to the podium at Adventure Travel World Summit, the Adventure Travel World Fair, and the Brazilian Adventure Society in São Paulo, Brazil right now and to the 2009 national conference of SATH and the Adventure Tour Operators' Association of India 2009 national conference in India this coming January.

Posted by rollingrains at 12:36 AM

Portland Oregon Makes the Inclusive Tourism Map

Lulu logo.png
Always turning up new and relevant inclusive travel news the September 2008 issue of Global Access News Travel E-Zine has found Lulu for us:

Access news from the U.S. Pacific Northwest region includes, “Where’s Lulu,” a new site dedicated to disabled access in Portland, Oregon. The site provides a forum where readers can post their own access insights on local businesses and services. To learn more, visit http://www.whereslulu.com/

The e-Zine also featured this report:

Diane Brown, of Victoria, B.C. recently visited Portland as well and shares the following airport experience:

Now I have had another adventure that included a cop at Portland International Airport. Ever intrepid, I was attempting to get to my airport hotel by myself with scooter and small bag. I was turned back by my friend the policeman and told I’d have to call a shuttle van. Perhaps I was overreacting, but I was really pissed off at this curb on my independence. Plus the same guy (riding a bicycle inside the terminal!) stopped me the next day and questioned me about where I was going. I do think he was trying to protect my safety, but in the meanwhile he was leaving me without the ability to get there on my own. Portland says it’s interested in green, but I had to call a van to come and collect me and my electric scooter.

Anyhow, I wrote and protested all this to the City of Portland. I fear my message has been passed around to just about every official in the entire city. So far I think I’ve had about five detailed responses, including one from someone in the mayor’s office.

This evening I heard from the Port of Portland. This time it is explained to me that there is a way to do it, something the policeman didn’t inform me about. Here is the information he sent me:

For a map showing the airport's multiuse path, please visit http://www.portlandonline.com/shared/cfm/image.cfm?id=181862 and you'll see the airport and the NW Marine Drive path I mentioned above. (The new connecting path has not been added to the map yet.) This information plus additional bicycle route maps can be accessed via the City of Portland, Office of Transportation's website: http://www.trans.ci.portland.or.us Click on "Getting Around Portland," "Maps" and "Bicycle Maps."

Apparently bike paths are the intended conduit for mobility scooters, not something I would naturally have assumed. I hope this will be of help to other intrepid souls who take on PDX. If they see the cop, tell them to give him my regards.

As an aside, I could add that I rode Portland’s light-rail system MAX easily the first time. The ticket machines are a little tricky, but the train itself was a cinch to use, even for a non-resident like me!

Posted by rollingrains at 12:14 AM

September 05, 2008

Eve of the Paralympics: Update on China

(New York, September 5, 2008) – Despite recent positive steps, discrimination against persons with disabilities continues in China and organizations for the disabled face government pressure and harassment, Human Rights Watch said today on the eve of the September 6 Paralympic Games in Beijing.

“The Chinese government deserves praise for enacting laws and ratifying the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities,” said Sophie Richardson, Asia advocacy director at Human Rights Watch. “But so far these protections have meant little to persons with disabilities and their advocates in China who struggle to promote their rights and, in particular, to fairly compete for employment.”

The Chinese government has in recent years enacted a variety of new laws including the Law on the Protection of Disabled Persons, Regulations on the Education of Persons with Disabilities, and the Regulations on Employment of Persons with Disabilities, which on paper provide impressive protections of the rights of China’s estimated 82.7 million persons with disabilities. Human Rights Watch applauded the Chinese government’s August 1, 2008, ratification of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

Human Rights Watch said that the new laws have not ended discriminatory employment practices.

Paralympic Pictograms

In June 2007, shocking images of workers who had been held in slave-like conditions in Shanxi brick kilns were published; many of the workers proved to have mental disabilities. Over the next two months, authorities endeavored to free 1,340 people from similar working conditions in kilns, mines, and other forced labor situations. In August 2007, the State Council, China’s cabinet, announced that 367 of those freed had mental disabilities, underscoring that this population remains highly vulnerable to such exploitation.

A 2007 survey by the China University of Political Science and Law of 3,454 people in 10 cities, including Beijing, Guangzhou and Nanjing, among others, revealed that 22 percent of the respondents said their physical disabilities had prompted employers in both the public and private sectors to reject them for jobs. Those attitudes may have contributed to unemployment of the disabled. Official statistics show that more than 8.58 million employable people with disabilities did not have jobs in 2007 and that this number rises by 300,000 per year. Although the government has imposed a mandatory quota requiring that people with disabilities comprise a minimum of 1.5 percent of all employees of government departments, enterprises, and institutions, there is little evidence of official efforts to enforce that quota.

Human Rights Watch called for the Chinese government to ratify the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Optional Protocol, and to loosen restrictions on grassroots civil society organizations dedicated to assisting people with disabilities. Citizens of states which join the Optional Protocol can seek redress at the UN’s Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities after they exhaust domestic legal remedies for convention violations.

The Chinese government has only in the past two decades begun to tolerate grassroots civil society organizations, which operate outside official bureaucracy and control of the Chinese Communist Party. However, such organizations, particularly those devoted to addressing the needs of China’s HIV/AIDS and chronic hepatitis B sufferers, continue to be targets for repression by Chinese security forces suspicious of such groups.

Meng Weina, founder of China’s Huiling Community Services, a nongovernmental organization which assists disabled people in eight major Chinese cities, complained of harassment by Shanghai police in a letter to the International Olympic and Paralympic Committees. A group of Meng’s mentally disabled students were harassed en route to the Special Olympics in Shanghai on October 11, 2007; Meng described the incident as evidence that Chinese police “believe that events initiated by civil society must be ‘dangerous’ and ‘destructive.’”

“Until the Chinese government tolerates a civil society which operates without threat of official repression and improves ordinary citizens’ access to justice, its commitments on paper to people with disabilities will remain limited,” Richardson said.

Human Rights Watch said that the Beijing Paralympics also offer the Chinese government an opportunity to fulfill its Olympics-related commitments to media freedom and internet access. During the August 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, the Chinese government continued to obstruct media freedom and to restrict foreign journalists’ access to the internet.

“The Paralympics are the Chinese government’s last chance to live up to the Olympics-related human rights commitments made to the international community, but which were repeatedly violated during the Beijing Games,” Richardson said.

Source:
http://hrw.org/english/docs/2008/09/04/china19751.htm

Posted by rollingrains at 07:57 PM

Challenge Mountain

Here's a video on Challenge Mountain of Walloon in Boyne City, Michigan

Posted by rollingrains at 12:57 AM

September 04, 2008

Express Travel World: Visibility for Disability

Elizabeth Johnson from the Educational Institute of American Hotel & Lodging Association contributes the second in Express Travel World series on Inclusive Tourism in India. She offers valuable insights on serving customers with disabilities that are both visible and invisible:

Some hotel guests may have disabilities that are easy to recognise; for instance, a person using a wheelchair or crutches. Other disabilities, however, may not be as obvious: deafness or hearing loss, blindness, speech impairment, mental retardation, or learning disabilities. Following are some basic guidelines to help your property to serve guests with disabilities better

She covers blindness, deafness, speech, and mobility disabilities.

Other hidden disabilities include heart conditions, emphysema or asthma, cancer, or other conditions. The best rule to follow with these guests is to remember that the person is a guest first, and a guest with a disability second. Let them tell you what they need from you, and then provide it to the best of your property's ability. A helpful, courteous attitude is one of the most-appreciated amenities your disabled guests can receive.

For the full story:

http://expresstravelworld.com/20080831/management02.shtml

Posted by rollingrains at 06:49 PM

1º Congresso Nacional de Turismo Muito Especial de Pernambuco (Portuguese)

Esperamos tantos anos para um evento igual em Recife. E com orgulho nas colegas Pernambucanos que anuncio:

O 1º Congresso Nacional de Turismo Muito Especial de Pernambuco é um evento que visa difundir o turismo para pessoas com deficiência no Brasil, sensibilizando e mostrando cases de sucesso para o trade turístico, empresários, gestores públicos, organizações não governamentais, profissionais da área, acadêmicos e demais interessados.

O congresso será realizado de 10 a 12 de setembro de 2008 no Recife Palace Hotel, Av. Boa Viagem, 4070 - Boa Viagem - Recife - PE.

O Congresso »

Objetivo Geral

Realização de um Congresso na cidade de Recife, capital do Estado de Pernambuco, sobre Turismo Especial e a inclusão das pessoas com deficiência, no intuito de promover e divulgar o Turismo para pessoas com deficiência e/ou mobilidade reduzida.

Objetivos Específicos

· Desenvolvimento do turismo para as pessoas com deficiência no Brasil;

· Difundir no Mercado Turístico a necessidade de investir no atendimento as pessoas com deficiência para atender a demanda crescente deste público;

· Difundir o conceito de Turismo Especial;

· Difundir o conceito de inclusão social das pessoas com deficiência;

· Difundir o conceito de quebra de barreiras arquitetônicas e atitudinais;

· Contribuir para atualizar o conhecimento técnico dos profissionais da área;

· Contribuir para um melhor atendimento às pessoas com deficiência e/ou mobilidade no turismo.

Programa do Congresso »

10 de Setembro de 2008 – Quarta - feira:
08:00 – Abertura da secretaria para credenciamento
18:30 – Cerimonial de abertura
19:00 – Apresentação do Instituto Muito Especial e do Congresso
19:45 – Show de abertura - Apresentação de Música e Dança
20:30 – Coquetel de Boas - vindas

11 de Setembro de 2008 – Quinta - feira:
( Mediadora: Maria Beatriz Würth Lagranha, com assessoria de Patricia Würth Medina )

08:00 – Abertura da secretaria para credenciamento
08:30 – Welcome Coffee

09:00 – Mesa - TURISMO ESPECIAL

Marcus Scarpa
Vera Sanches
Adriana Braun
José Otávio de Meira Lins
Jorge Sales
Ricardo Shimosakai
Sílvio Costa Filho
Helcio Eustaquio Rizzi
Debate

12:00 – Almoço
14:00 – Mesa - COMO LIDAR COM AS PESSOAS COM DEFICIÊNCIA NO TURISMO

Ethel Rosenfeld
Jefferson Maia
Sarita Araújo Pereira
Antonio José de Athayde Junior
Debate

15:50 – Coffee Break
16:10 – Mesa - RESPONSABILIDADE SOCIAL E INCLUSÃO

Rebecca Monte Nunes Bezerra
Rosangela Cavalcante Lopes
Adilson Ventura
Edgar Werblowsky
Nerivaldo Lira Alves
Debate

18:30 – Encerramento

12 de Setembro de 2008 – Sexta - feira:
08:00 – Abertura da secretaria para credenciamento
08:00 – Mesa - ROTEIROS TURÍSTICOS – CASE

Adriana Braun
Maria Cristina Dal Pozzo Arzolla
Roger José Baqui
José Rogério Arruda
Gustavo Mauricio Estevão de Azevedo
Debate

09:40 – Coffee Break
10:00 – Mesa - ACESSIBILIDADE NO TURISMO

José Antonio Lanchoti
Maria Paula Teperino
Ângela Carneiro da Cunha
Artur Mendonça
Debate

12:00 – Almoço
14:00 – Mesa - MERCADO DE TRABALHO NO TURISMO E O SISTEMA DE COTAS

Romeu Kazumi Sassaki
Dadá Moreira
Leda Azevedo
Debate

15:50 – Coffee Break
16:20 – Mesa - A MIDIA E O TURISMO ESPECIAL

Cristina Lira
Cláudia Jacob
Janaína Lima
Alexandre Galvão
Rhaldney Santos
Antonio Roberto Rocha
Debate

18:00 – Avaliação dos Trabalhos
18:30 – Encerramento


Durante o evento ocorrerão debates e exposições sobre a temática do Turismo Acessível.

A programação está sujeita a alterações.

Local do evento »


O Congresso será realizado no Recife Palace Hotel.

O hotel fica na praia de Boa viagem, um cenário deslumbrante, e um dos pontos turísticos mais visitados da cidade de Recife. Av. Boa Viagem, 4070 - Boa Viagem Recife - Pernambuco - Brasil

Posted by rollingrains at 06:35 PM

September 03, 2008

Putting Ottowa on the Inclusive Tourism Map

Will Ottowa start becoming more friendly to tourists with disabilities? Maybe, if activist Bob Brown has his way:

OTTAWA-After challenging the National Capital Commission because the York Street Steps are not accessible to the disabled, Bob Brown is taking the Société de Transport de l'Outaouais to the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal because its buses aren't wheelchair-accessible.

The tribunal is to hear the case in October.

For the whole story:
http://www.canada.com/ottawacitizen/news/story.html?id=3eaef329-aec8-454c-ab33-8721d201c907

Posted by rollingrains at 05:03 PM

September 02, 2008

It's a Long Walk

Reema Sisodia of Express Travel World ends the first article in the publication's excellent three-part series on Inclusive Tourism with the following:

Bringing about radical changes may be intimidating for India given its position in this area at this point of time. But it can hope to reach a respectable level of sympathy and infrastructural sophistication only with singular efforts towards this direction. Trained and sensitive manpower is probably the first step.

The article is yet another affirmation of the leadership shown by the India Chapter of the American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA). Sisodia quotes ASTA India president Rajeev Kolhi:

What India needs if for service providers to see people with disabilities as a viable economic segment and not as one that calls forth their charity. Kohli for one believes this to be a segment where one can make money by providing quality travel services. "I don't mean to trivialise this issue or ask the industry to take advantage of disabled travellers, but basic laws of economics dictate that a smart entrepreneur will see opportunity in a challenge. Quality service can afford to ask for a good price," he says.

She continues:


Rajeev Kohli, director (Marketing) at Creative Travel and India Chapter president of ASTA (American Society of Travel Agents), which recently organised seminars on accessible travel across India, had something to share as well. "When we travelled with the speakers on the domestic flights, we saw the attitude that the ground staff had while handling guests on wheelchairs. There was no reason for that; it’s just an in-bred reaction to immediately say no. These are also one of the barriers we need to break down. It's easy to build ramps but what is more important is to train the staff that provides the services," he said. The ministry too needs to be proactive on this by making destinations and tourist spots friendlier to the disabled.

For the full article see:

http://expresstravelworld.com/20080831/management01.shtml

Posted by rollingrains at 06:22 PM

September 01, 2008

Corey Fairbanks: Universal Design Jock Levels the Field for the Disability Community

Anyone following the Paralympics, the impact of Article 30 of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, or who just wants inclusion and accessibility to really mean something should spend a few minutes reading Corey Fairbanks' article in Athletic Business "Obstacle Course."

His piece begins like any good travelogue by someone with a disability -- with the recognition that all travel is adventure travel for a person with a disability - and proceeds to extend the principles of Universal Design into the locker room (yes, complete with photos and illustrations):

To be part of Nebraska's elite football program, I had spent countless hours in weight rooms and recreation facilities preparing my body for competition. Now, wheelchair tennis matches notwithstanding, I find myself challenged by wet and cluttered locker rooms that lack proper shower accessories, as well as inaccessible weight and cardio rooms, gymnasiums and swimming pools. I, like so many others, also face the negative stigma attached to people with disabilities, despite the fact that we form a demographic that has begun to understand in greater numbers the benefits of good health and fitness. Unfortunately, our best efforts to maintain a healthy lifestyle are too often met by unaccommodating recreation centers. Accessing facilities by way of stairs, restricted paths and narrow doorways can be a workout in itself. One is left to imagine the obstacles that wait inside.

According to the most recent U.S. Census Bureau figures, more than 14 million Americans live with some form of physical disability. Whether these individuals are accommodated or excluded depends greatly on the way architects choose to conduct their business and design buildings.

His closing call for an "attitude adjustment" is widely shared by Rolling Rains Report readers around the world:

It is hard to believe, but even today I encounter basic discrimination based on my disability. Some recreation facility operators still have the attitude that their facility is only for healthy, able-bodied individuals and that they are not responsible for accommodating those with disabilities. Nothing could be further from the truth. These facilities must be designed for the health and well-being of all people.

More common, still, are the curious stares I get from other facility users. Human beings are methodical by nature and tend to get upset when they encounter anything that throws them off their routine; or is it just that they are afraid of what they don't understand? Fear of the unknown can be discomforting. I argue that it is therefore more important than ever to integrate members of the disabled community with their able-bodied neighbors. The more these two groups interact, the more comfortable all people will be.

I share these thoughts as a plea to recreation center designers and operators. The concepts discussed here should be integrated into the design of the facility from the beginning, when it is much more cost-effective, rather than renovating at a later date. Whether preparing for a new facility or the renovation of an existing one, facility operators should consult with members of the disabled community to learn firsthand their needs and desires, and they shouldn't be afraid to go above and beyond the norm.

Whether they lack enlightenment on the challenges faced by individuals with disabilities or empowerment to make changes to their facilities, too many operators do only what is required by law. More need to look at the issue from a different perspective and create something truly functional — for everyone.

Posted by rollingrains at 05:34 PM

Visit Spain!

The latest issue of Polibea Turismo is available in Spanish and English.

See articles like Viajes AccessSIbles or Atencion a los Pasajeros con Moviliidade Reducida - Aena

Posted by rollingrains at 03:35 AM

August 31, 2008

Inclusive Tourism: What is a "Deaf-Friendly City?"

Deaf411 is doing some very important research for those involved in inclusion and destination development Check it out:

DEAF411, Inc. is researching what makes a city "Deaf-Friendly".

We are collecting information about your city and would like to learn more about the city you live in, and develop information on what is needed before the city can be considered "Deaf-Friendly".

Take their survey here.

Visit them at http://www.deaf411online.com

Posted by rollingrains at 04:03 PM

August 27, 2008

Handicap et tourisme : des informations pour bien voyager (French)

Handicap et tourisme is looking for input to improve information available to travelers with disabilities.

Handicap et tourisme : des informations pour bien voyager

Une plage vraiment accessible?Partir en vacances, pratiquer des activités touristiques, trouver un lieu d'hébergement adapté, suivre l'actualité du tourisme adapté, sont l'essence de cette rubrique qu'handicap.fr. met à votre disposition.

Participez, à cette rubrique en apportant vos commentaires sur les sites touristiques que vous avez visités, où vous avez été hébergé etc...

Vous le savez, l'accessibilité au tourisme pour les personnes handicapées est parfois incomplète. Bien souvent, bénéficier de l'expérience et des informations des autres est un avantage pour être certain de son choix.

Faites fonctionner le bouche à oreille sur le net. C'est pourquoi handicap.fr vous offre la possibilité d'être un acteur de cette base de données en apportant vos commentaires.

Indiquez nous les sites ou activités touristiques que vous souhaitez voir dans la base de données tourismes d'Handicap.fr

Quelques explications sur les rubriques :

* Trouver un lieu, une activité touristique
Cordonnées, plan d'accès et plus pour les professionnels qui ont rempli leur fiche.
* Actualités Tourisme
Les dernières informations sur le tourisme. Idées, témoignages, articles de presse pour mieux vous informer.
* Sélection tourisme
Des sites, des activités proposées et renseignées par les acteurs professionnels du tourisme adapté.

Posted by rollingrains at 01:37 PM

McFarlane Safaris: Multi-Sensory South African Safari

McFarlane Safaris offers a Touch Trails Tour

Intinerary:

An exciting new South African Safari especially designed by McFarlane Safaris
in association with, and especially for the visually impaired.

AN 11 DAY SAFARI FEATURING THE HIGHLIGHTS OF THE CAPE, GARDEN ROUTE, DRAKENSBERG ESCARPMENT AND EASTERN LOWVELD WILDLIFE AREAS - INCLUDING THE KRUGER PARK.

Day1 – We will meet you at Cape Town Airport and transfer you to the hotel in the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront to relax. In the afternoon we visit the Two Oceans Aquarium. You will be able to feel the different temperatures of the tanks containing sea life from the warm Indian Ocean to that from the cold Atlantic Ocean. In the specially designed touch pool you can feel starfish and other marvels of the oceans. PORTSWOOD BB

Day 2 – After breakfast we travel along the Atlantic Seaboard to Camps Bay where we go for a walk on the secluded beach which is renowned for its soft, clean sand and cool Atlantic sea water. The tour continues to the fishing harbour of Hout Bay, full of sounds and smells of a historic fishing community. Here you board a boat for a cruise to Duiker Island - home to a large, fairly noisy, colony of Cape Fur Seals and various birds. Your guide will help you identify each type by the calls they make - be ready for the rather pungent aroma when the wind is blowing towards you.

We then continue over Constantia Nek to Groot Constantia - the oldest wine farm in South Africa. Here you will have the opportunity to taste some of the wines that have made this Estate famous. It is said that when Napoleon was in exile he would only drink Groot Constantia wines.

After lunch we visit Kirstenbosch National Botanical gardens where there is a braille trail where one can experience the different textures and smells of a wide variety of indigenous flora.

Tonight we enjoy a seafood dinner at a V&A Waterfront restaurant. PORTSWOOD LDBB

Day 3 - We leave Cape Town and travel to a local township where we visit the Uncedo pottery project and a local carpet weaving factory - you may even have the chance to taste some locally brewed traditional beer
We continue to the Spier Wine estate on the outskirts of Stellenbosch. After a conducted tasting of 7 of the finest local wines we invite you to enjoy a taste of Cape Malay cuisine at the Jonkershuis.

This afternoon the brave can go horse riding (accompanied by an experienced rider) through the vineyards while the more cautious can enjoy the same experience in a horse drawn buggy. THE VILLAGE AT SPIER LDBB

Day 4 – Today we travel through the Hugenot tunnel and on to the farming village of Worcester where we visit Kleinplasie - a living farm museum. Here you will be introduced to the implements that early farmers used and you may be able to taste bread and preserves made as they were in days gone by.
We continue through the Small Karoo to Calitzdorp - the home of South Africa’s Port industry – once again, you may wish to taste their produce as well as other sweet desert wines like muscadel and hanepoot.

Then it is on to Oudtshoorn - feather capital of the world. Here we visit Highgate Ostrich Farm where you will be encouraged to hold baby ostriches, feel the tanned and very expensive ostrich skin and the soft feathers. You may want to sit on an ostrich and sense the strength of ostrich eggs by standing on them. At dinner will be able to taste of the very healthy ostrich meat. HLANGANA LODGE DBB

Day 5 - This morning we visit the Cango Crocodile Ranch where you will learn more about these prehistoric beasts. You will be able to feel the roughness of their skin and sharpness of their teeth (not on a live one!) You will also feel the shells of the large variety of tortoises at the Ranch - from the tiny to the huge with all the wonderful different geometric designs on their shells.

We cross the Outeniqua Pass to George and continue to Knysna in the middle of our Lake District. It is also the centre of South Africa’s indigenous wood industry and you will be introduced to the textures of artifacts made from Yellowwood and Stinkwood.

This evening we enjoy a sundowner cruise on the Knysna Lagoon with champagne and local Knysna oysters. KNYSNA RIVER CLUB DBB

Day 6 - You will be transfered to George airport for your flight to Johannesburg. Here we connect to the capital of Mpumalanga Province, Nelspruit where you will be met and tour to Berg n’ Dal rest camp in the Kruger National Park. Berg n’ Dal has a braille trail within the camp. The Kruger Park, because of its size and shape and differing habitats, is home to the greatest diversity of wildlife species of any park in the world. Apart from Africa’s wildlife, this area is also home to a magnificent variety of indigenous vegetation, from the thorny Acacia species to the powdery barked Fever Trees. Your ranger / guide will introduce you to these species. (With due caution for the sharper kind!)

Tonights dinner will be a traditional braai (BBQ) prepared for you by your guide on an open fire made from the aromatic hardwood, Hardekool. We enjoy an evening around the fire to the calls of the African night and maybe even the roar of the King of the Beasts echoing in the surrounding hills? BERG n’ DAL RESTCAMP DBB

Day 7 – An early wake up call to enjoy coffee and rusks in the cool African dawn. The safari continues through the Kruger. Your ranger guide will be equipped with recordings of the calls of the species we pass on our way out of the park to Sabie in the heights of the Drakensberg escarpment. This is the heart of South Africa’s timber farming area and we will visit the forestry museum in Sabie. We then take a short drive to the source of the Sabie River (River of Fear) at Lone Creek Falls. Apart from enjoying a delightful picnic lunch in the forests we will also take a short walk to the pool, where the cool spray from the 89 metre high falls, plunging from above, is a welcome experience on a warm day.

We continue along the escarpment to Bourkes Luck Potholes. Your guide will relate the delightful gold mining history of this area and the geology of this 3.5 Billion year old rock. At Boukes Luck there is a brail trail where one not only gets to feel these rugged rocks but is also introduced to the unique and diverse textures of the lichens that grow on them. We descend back to the lowveld and Tshukudu Game Lodge in the heart of big game territory. Here we once again enjoy dinner and the calls of the African night. TSHUKUDU GAME LODGE LDBB

Day 8 – Another early wake up call before we enjoy a wonderful walk in the bushveld with your armed ranger. This is however a walk with a difference as you are accompanied by some of Tshukudu’s animals. Tshukudu have several orphaned animals who have been hand reared. A walk with an elephant, accompanied by lion cubs or occasionally leopard cubs or even a warthog is an unforgettable experience. Your ranger will also point out and explain interesting vegetation types, smaller insect life and maybe even the texture of dry elephant and antelope dung.

After lunch at the lodge we travel to Moholoholo Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre. Population pressures and habitat changes have regrettably seen many animals and birds suffer injury and this center becomes home to them during the rehabilitation process. Here, we are not only told of these changes and the work the center does, but also get to play with and touch some of the birds and animals living here. One can even enter the vulture cage to assist in the feeding of these large, and surprisingly heavy, birds.

On the way back to the lodge we will stop at a giant Baobab tree. These trees live for thousands of years and amazingly attain a girth at their base of up to 80 metres. TSHUKUDU GAME LODGE LDBB

Day 9 – After breakfast we travel to the Nyani Cultural Village. The indigenous people of this region are the wonderful Shangaan nation. Axon Khosa is the grandson of the former Chief Kapama and today we visit his village for an insight into the culture and traditions of these lovely people. The village is the original and retains the traditional mud and grass roofed huts. Demonstrations are given in which one can participate. These include rope making, mat making from reeds, maize crushing using a round and concave stone and even the opportunity of the Sangoma (Witch doctor) telling your fortune. We share in a meal of chicken with traditional vegetables and maize accompaniments, eaten with the fingers.

After returning to the lodge one is welcome to go on the evening game drive or relax and enjoy the sounds of roosting birds and other calls of the evening before dinner. TSHUKUDU GAME LODGE LDBB

Day 10 – Today is the last day of your safari so we decided to give you a day to enjoy the warm African sun, swimming pool and lodge facilities or just to reminisce on the exciting experiences you have had. Maybe another early walk, game drive or just a day of leisure. TSHUKUDU GAME LODGE

Day 11 – After a relaxed morning and breakfast at the lodge it’s a sad farewell. We travel to the copper mining town of Phalaborwa for your return flight to Johannesburg and onward connection back home.

BON VOYAGE!

Posted by rollingrains at 02:27 AM

"Acessibilidade: Siga essa idéia!" (Portuguese)

O Botafogo é o primeiro time de futebol brasileiro a aderir a campanha de acessibilidade promovida pela Secretaria Especial dos Direitos Humanos da Presidência da República (SEDH/PR) e o Conselho Nacional dos Direitos da Pessoa com Deficiência (Conade). O compromisso será assinado amanhã (27), em cerimônia, às 18h30, no Othon Hotel, Rio de Janeiro. Os ex-jogadores Roberto Dinamite e Jairzinho (Copa de 70) também vão declarar adesão à campanha.

No próximo sábado (30), no estádio Engenhão, o time do Botafogo fará a sua primeira ação em prol da campanha: entrará em campo para enfrentar o Náutico na companhia de 22 crianças com deficiência. Cada jogador estará acompanhado de duas crianças. O time exibirá em campo a faixa "Acessibilidade: Siga essa idéia!".

6.08.08 - Siga essa idéia: Botafogo entra em campo pela campanha nacional de acessibilidade
26/08/2008 - 18:38

Campanha pela informação

A Campanha da Acessibilidade tem o objetivo de mobilizar e sensibilizar da sociedade para a eliminação das barreiras que geram preconceito, de informação, arquitetônicas, dentre outras, que impedem as pessoas com deficiência ou com mobilidade reduzida a participarem efetivamente da vida em sociedade.

O Conade é um órgão de deliberação colegiada integrante da estrutura básica as Secretaria Especial dos Direitos Humanos da Presidência da República (SEDH/PR), responsável pelo acompanhamento e a avaliação da Política Nacional para Integração da Pessoa com Deficiência e das políticas setoriais dirigidas a esse grupo social.

"Acreditamos que a construção de um mundo mais justo depende efetivamente do esforço de cada um de nós", afirma Alexandre Baroni, presidente do Conade. Segundo ele, a ação conjunta do governo-sociedade civil, como propulsora e organizadora da mudança, representa o principal pilar para a eliminação das barreiras e a mudança da realidade atual.

Já aderiram: STF (Supremo Tribunal Federal), Ministério Público Federal, Governos do Distrito Federal, do Piauí, do Maranhão, de Goiás, de Alagoas, do Mato Grosso do Sul, Ministério Público da Bahia, Ministério Público do Mato Grosso, Conselho Nacional da Juventude, Associação Nacional do Ministério Público de Defesa dos Direitos dos Idosos e Pessoas com Deficiência (Ampid), Confederação Nacional do Comércio (CNC), Organização Nacional de Entidades de Deficientes Físicos (Onedef), Movimento de Reintegração das Pessoas Atingidas pela Hanseníase (Morhan), Associação de Pais, Amigos e Pessoas com Deficiência do Banco do Brasil(Apabb), União Brasileira de Cegos(UBC), Editora Microlins Brasil LTDA e o ex-goleiro da seleção brasileira Paulo Victor Barbosa de Carvalho e o ator Marcos Frota.

Assinatura do termo de adesão do Botafogo à campanha de acessibilidade

Data: 27/08/08
Horário: 18h30
Local: Othon Hotel, avenida Atlântica, 3.264, Copacabana, Rio de Janeiro

Posted by rollingrains at 01:41 AM

August 17, 2008

Deaf Tourism: Progress in Vietnam

Smile Tours is run by Hoang Thi Minh Thi in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. She is expanding her tour products to include itineraries for deaf and hard of hearing travelers. She has tour guides with ASL and ISL abilities. The field of deaf tourism keeps growing!


http://www.smiletoursvietnam.com/

Head Office: 41/20 Doi Cung street, Ward 11, District 11, HCMC, Vietnam
Tel: (84 8) 9650117 Fax: (84 8) 9650106
International Touroperator Licence: 0456/2005/TCDL-GPLHQT
Emails: thi_travel@yahoo.com ; info@smiletoursvietnam.com

Posted by rollingrains at 12:45 AM

August 13, 2008

Thank You to Javed Abidi

Last evening I spent almost three enjoyable hours with Javed Abidi learning firsthand the history of Inclusive Tourism in India.

Javed is an Ashoka Fellow. You can find his profile here:

http://www.ashoka.org/node/2550

Posted by rollingrains at 07:27 PM

August 05, 2008

Jaén: Campo de Jovenes Segue Diseño Universal (Spanish)

FEJIDIF ( Federación Provincial de Asociaciones de Discapacitados Físicos de Jaén ) ha inaugurado el Campo Nacional de Trabajo “Vía Verde del Aceite III” con la participación de un total de 10 jóvenes europeos. Hasta el próximo 28 de julio estos jóvenes de entre 18 y 25 años provenientes de Austria, Suecia, Bulgaria, Alemania, Murcia, Albacete, Vizcaya, Guipúzcoa, Murcia, Córdoba y Jaén compartirán trabajo, ocio y cultura en distintos rincones de la provincia de Jaén.

Los objetivos de este campo de trabajo son posibilitar a jóvenes de diversas procedencias y condición social la convivencia y mutuo conocimiento, a través de una experiencia común de voluntariado; contribuir a la realización de forma voluntaria y desinteresada, de un proyecto de trabajo con proyección social, y que revierte en beneficio de la comunidad; formar en temas de accesibilidad a los jóvenes para que cuando se organicen actividades socioculturales, formativas, de ocio y tiempo libre integren en sus métodos de trabajo el diseño universal y la accesibilidad y por último, evaluar la accesibilidad de espacios de ocio para el colectivo de personas con discapacidad física.

La actividad principal consistirá en la Integración ambiental del primer tramo de la Vía En la imagen, cartel del Campo Nacional de Trabajo Via Verde del Aceite IIIVerde del Aceite, procurando la mayor accesibilidad: acondicionamiento, mantenimiento de la jardinería, adecuación exterior, etc., así como la puesta en valor de la cultura del olivar y el aceite.
El completo programa de actividades contempla entre otras la participación en ETNOSUR, el Festival de Blues de Cazorla, elaboración de productos naturales con aceite de oliva, ejecución de actividades accesibles, visitas al patrimonio artístico y cultural de la provincia, etc.

Posted by rollingrains at 01:49 AM

July 31, 2008

Setting Standards: The EU Works to Take the Worldwide Lead

More than one in ten, that is, at least 50m citizens throughout the EU, must deal with a disability and are confronted daily with physical barriers. And, as populations are increasingly ageing and disabilities are often acquired with age, their number is set to increase. Although EU legislation has been in place since 2000 to implement the principle of equal treatment in employment, disabled people still remain among the most disadvantaged social groups throughout Europe. Indeed, 45% of Europeans recently surveyed think that discrimination amongst disabled people is particularly rife.

Posted by rollingrains at 02:27 AM

July 28, 2008

Para un turismo accesible a los minusválidos en los años 90 (Spanish)

La Oraganizacion Mundial de Turismo en su documento "Para un turismo accesible a los minusválidos en los años 90" considera con relación a este tema ciertas pautas de diseño:

"...A. Terminales, estaciones e instalaciones afines
1- Los pasajeros con deficiencias de movilidad en especial los que utilizan sillas de ruedas, deberían tener fácil acceso a servicios de transporte de ida y vuelta hacia y desde todas las terminales de los c/ Los prestadores de servicios deben contar con personal capacitado en la atención de PMR. medios de transporte.

2- Siempre que sea posible, las terminales deberían estar situadas a un mismo nivel o equipadas con rampas donde exista un cambio de altura.

3- Cuando sea necesario, deberían preverse rampas especiales o ascensores no utilizados para carga y otros fines, con destino a las personas con deficiencias de movilidad y a las que utilizan sillas de ruedas.

4- Los cruces de las vías de acceso deberían estar provistos de señales especiales y semáforos para las personas con deficiencias visuales o auditivas para que puedan atravesarlas con seguridad.

5- El acceso a los medios de transporte debería ser lo más sencillo posible y disponer de asistencia cuando sea requerida.

6- Las personas en silla de ruedas que tengan que trasladarse a sillas especiales de embarque, deberían poder hacerlo lo más cerca posible del medio de transporte, y las sillas de ruedas deberían ser almacenadas de modo que se les pueda devolver intactas inmediatamente a la llegada al destino o punto de tránsito

Fuente:

http://www.turismoparatodos.org.ar/tu

July 27, 2008

Ketna L Mehta: "Designing a Disabled Friendly Inclusive World Class City"

Designing a Disabled Friendly Inclusive World Class City
Imperatives and Issues for Mumbai

by Ketna L Mehta


KEYWORDS:

Disability, PwD (Person with Disability), World Class City.

INTRODUCTION:

This paper proposes a path breaking concept of a completely disabled friendly city, Mumbai. Generally, when one thinks world class cities, we conjure up images of 4 lane expressways, metro trains, skylines, speed trains, Airports, Malls with a art museum or a Zoo. Designing in this paper is considered in a holistic manner which is a synthesis of logic + knowledge + feeling; its being visionary, futuristic and humane.
When people of all socio economic strata are mainstreamed and all have equal access to world class infrastructure, that is indeed a world class city.
The disabled are at the bottom of the pyramid, so far as the government, BMC or the private enterprises are concerned both in thought and in action. PWD are living, feeling, active human beings contributing to the exchequer as an economic component. The author has conducted an empirical research over the span of 12 years and concludes that a World Class City is one where...

the differently abled are given dignity and equality by providing quality infrastructure like access, education, employment, health services and recreation . Just like the animals in the Zoo and the fishes in the aquarium merit a quality infrastructure, so does the 5 lac disabled in this city. According to census 2001, PWD in Mumbai are 5 lacs (3% of the total population, which according to the sector is a very conservative estimate). The paper benchmarks cities globally like Denver, Berkley, Netherlands and Sydney identifying the facilities and infrastructure and proposes a collaborative effort of the state government, NGOs, educational Institutions and the private sector to implement this basic Human Right that the disabled are entitled to as per the constitution.

Constitution and Statutory Provisions:

The parliament of India enacted THE PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES (Equal Opportunities, protection of Rights and full Participation) ACT, 1995 which cast obligations on appropriate Governments and Local authorities for creating barrier free facilities.

The Law:

Section 30 stipulates that the governments shall by notification prepare a comprehensive education scheme, which shall make provision for:

 The removal of architectural barriers from school, colleges or other institutions, imparting vocational and professional training.

Similarly, section 38 stipulates the appropriate governments and local authorities shall by notification formulate schemes for ensuring employment of persons with disabilities, and such schemes may provide for:

 Health and Safety measures and creation of non handicapping environment in places where persons with disabilities are employed

To ensure right to employment for PwD’s section 45 calls upon the appropriate governments to provide for-

a) installation of auditory signals at red lights in the public roads for the benefit with visual handicap.
b) Causing kerb cuts and slopes to be made in pavement for the easy access of wheel chair users.
c) Engraving on the surfaces of the zebra crossing for the blind or for person with low vision.
d) Engraving on the edges of railway platforms for the blind or for with low vision; and
e) Devising appropriate symbols of disability.

In protection of the right to have access to public places, the Disability Act in section 46, enjoins upon the appropriate governments and the local authorities to provide for:

a) Ramps in Public Buildings
b) Braille symbols and authority signals in elevators and lifts; and
c) Ramps in Hospitals, primary health centers and other medical care and rehabilitation institutions.

The architects of the disability act were conscious of the fact that for the creation of barrier free environment in educational institution, vocational training centers, places of work and in other public places, special designs of buildings and special technologies would need to be developed. Section 48 of the act calls upon the appropriate governments and local authorities to promote and sponsor research, inter alias, in the on site modifications in offices and factories.

As a follow of the PwD act, the ministry of Urban Development, Government of India, in collaboration with UNESCAP, undertook demonstrative exercises in Delhi to create a barrier free built environment in a 2 sq.km area of Indraprashtha estate. This further led to a preparation “Guidelines and Space Standards for Barrier Free Environment for Disabled and Elderly Persons” by the central public works department, Ministry of Urban Affairs and Employment. Further a reference was made to all state governments to make suitable amendments in their building bye laws to respond to this act.

The bureau of the Indian standard had already brought out the minimum provision to be made in public buildings for providing access to PwDs, way back in 1983 in the National Building code. The planning commission report on the Tenth Five Year plan also stress on issues connected with accessibility for disabled persons.

Places of Recreation (Theaters, Auditorium, Parks, etc):

Wheelchair Seating

 Applies to wheelchair spaces in auditoria, assembly halls, theaters and similar facilities.
 Accessible seating space should be provided in a variety of locations to persons with physical disabilities.

Barrier Free Transportation:

Every individual including PwDs have an equal right to travel and use public transportation with dignity and independence. It should be regarded as a fundamental right of all citizens, since travel is usually a daily necessity for education, employment, medical attention, entertainment etc. Transport is important in facilitating human communication and face to face meetings. It plays a significant role in economic development of the nation. Constitution and Statutory Provisions:

The parliament of India, on many occasions, expressed its concern about persons with disabilities and enacted law to deal with matters connected with disability. The first reference to disability was brought in the seventh schedule of the constitution, which empowered the state government to make laws with respect to relief of the disabled and unemployable.
Subsequently , the seventy-third and seventy forth amendments to the constitution of India made “safeguarding the interest of weaker sections of the society, including handicapped and mentally retarded” a constitutional obligation as referred to in the Twelfth schedule.

The parliament of India enacted THE PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES (Equal Opportunities, protection of Rights and full Participation) ACT, 1995 which cast obligations on appropriate Governments and Local authorities for creating barrier free facilities.

The Law:

Section 30 stipulates that the governments shall by notification prepare a comprehensive education scheme, which shall make provision for:

 The removal of architectural barriers from school, colleges or other institutions, imparting vocational and professional training.

Similarly, section 38 stipulates the appropriate governments and local authorities shall by notification formulate schemes for ensuring employment of persons with disabilities, and such schemes may provide for:

 Health and Safety measures and creation of non handicapping environment in places where persons with disabilities are employed

To ensure right to employment for PwD’s section 45 calls upon the appropriate governments to provide for-

f) installation of auditory signals at red lights in the public roads for the benefit with visual handicap.
g) Causing kerb cuts and slopes to be made in pavement for the easy access of wheel chair users.
h) Engraving on the surfaces of the zebra crossing for the blind or for person with low vision.
i) Engraving on the edges of railway platforms for the blind or for with low vision; and
j) Devising appropriate symbols of disability.

In protection of the right to have access to public places, the disability act in section 46, enjoins upon the appropriate governments and the local authorities to provide for:

d) Ramps in Public Buildings
e) Braille symbols and authority signals in elevators and lifts; and
f) Ramps in Hospitals, primary health centers and other medical care and rehabilitation institutions.

The architects of the disability act were conscious of the fact that for the creation of barrier free environment in educational institution, vocational training centers, places of work and in other public places, special designs of buildings and special technologies would need to be developed. Section 48 of the act calls upon the appropriate governments and local authorities to promote and sponsor research, inter alias, in the on site modifications in offices and factories.

As a follow of the PwD act, the ministry of Urban Development, Government of India, in collaboration with UNESCAP, undertook demonstrative exercises in Delhi to create a barrier free built environment in a 2 sq.km area of Indraprashtha estate. This further led to a preparation “Guidelines and Space Standards for Barrier Free Environment for Disabled and Elderly Persons” by the central public works department, Ministry of Urban Affairs and Employment. Further a reference was made to all state governments to make suitable amendments in their building bye laws to respond to this act.

The bureau of the Indian standard had already brought out the minimum provision to be made in public buildings for providing access to PwDs, way back in 1983 in the National Building code. The planning commission report on the Tenth Five Year plan also stress on issues connected with accessibility for disabled persons.

Places of Recreation (Theaters, Auditorium, Parks, etc):

Wheelchair Seating

 Applies to wheelchair spaces in auditoria, assembly halls, theaters and similar facilities.
 Accessible seating space should be provided in a variety of locations to persons with physical disabilities.

Barrier Free Transportation:

Every individual including PwDs have an equal right to travel and use public transportation with dignity and independence. It should be regarded as a fundamental right of all citizens, since travel is usually a daily necessity for education, employment, medical attention, entertainment etc. Transport is important in facilitating human communication and face to face meetings. It plays a significant role in economic development of the nation. People with diverse disabilities (sensory or physical) and reduced mobility (people with health problems for example respiratory, cardio – vascular, joint problems or temporary ailments; senior citizens; pregnant women; families with young children and people with heavy luggage, etc., constitute sizeable number of the population. Since majority of this segment belong to lower and middle income group, it is beyond their economic capacity to use private taxis / three wheeled auto rickshaws or purchase their own vehicle and are, therefore dependent on public transport.

THE GLOBAL BENCHMARK
New Mobility a Publication from USA conducted a comprehensive study of the cities in the USA and arrived at Denver as the most disabled friendly city.

Denver:
It has a population of . 468,000 plus with almost 1 million people living in adjacent counties is America's most wheelchair-friendly city. It offers a multitude of services and conveniences, a fully accessible mainline metro transportation system and exceptionally strong advocacy. Years ago, an NGO, ADAPT made accessible buses their business. The result of its efforts is inclusion. The paratransit door-to-door service runs about 23 hours a day, seven days a week, with no limit on number of rides. Personal assistance programs are available, medical facilities are plentiful, and Craig Hospital has terrific support services for people with head or spinal cord injuries. A wide range of recreational and cultural activities: peerless adaptive sports, both integrated and disability-specific arts programs, active ballet and theater, a symphony orchestra and two opera companies. Coors Stadium--home of the Rockies--is one of the most accessible in the country and, like the Denver Center for the Performing Arts, features universal seating.

Berkeley:
The bay area in general and Berkeley in particular are the cradle of independent living and equal rights for people with disabilities. Berkeley--home to more disability organizations per capita than anywhere else in the world, is number 2 benchmark

Netherlands:
A disabled community in a village close to Amsterdam is a model for disabled-friendly architecture, planning and systems. Accessible transportation system with sidewalks and the works is a dream for any disabled.

Sydney:
Cabs are accessible and a person with disability can independently travel, and even on a wheelchair go trekking or rock climbing. Most of the tourist areas are accessible and a person on a wheelchair can visit each and every site. In fact the prison here is also disabled friendly and the facilities offered make the life of inmates convenient with ramps and rest rooms too with zero barriers.

REQUIREMENTS FOR A DISABLED FRIENDLY CITY:

Access:
This means that everyone can, without assistance approach, enter pass to and from, and make use of an area and its facilities without undue difficulties. The level mobility of a person who is physically challenged is based on the physical infrastructure of a city. Is there an elevator in the building if not what are the options? Stair Lift, a ramp, a hoist lift or possibility of relocating to a house which is either at a ground level or with an elevator. How many times, one can seek support to be carried up and down. Next is transportation systems. Are the railway stations and trains, wheelchair accessible.? All the platforms level is much lower or higher then the train. So what is the point of having one or two Handicapped compartments, when one cannot get inside the same. Its completely apathy and insensitivity for this segment. Now, since lat year, BEST has launched star bus which is low floor with a locking facility for people on wheelchair. It does not cover all the routes, it only plays twice a day at fixed time and in a city which works 24 * 7 does not ply on Sundays. There is no fleet of special cabs with a ramp to freely more about. The Gold cab service started recently has modified only one Versa for a population of 5 Lacdisabled in the city. How many schools, colleges and higher education institutions have ramps, railings and elevators. Even our centre of excellence IIT at Powai is not world class, as it does not have accessibility . For a bright student qualified to get admission would be discouraged due to this daily drudgery of seeking support to gain physical entry. The students and faculty design world class technology and other products, what does it take to design and implement a barrier free campus? And so also offer to replicate their model to other institutions. Our Indian culture is ancient and very progressive. Apparently the forts which were built had a wide, gradual gradient like a ramp, alongside the innumerable steps – for elephants, who carried all the supplies on their backs (Uttam C Jain’s paper on Access, 2002) How considerate? In the modern age, why don’t our architects, builders and urban planners have holistic thinking and planning while designing our infrastructure. kerb Cuts, Sidewalks, Roads and footpaths all to be convenient for wheelchairs. Thus visibility of a disabled person on the streets is negligible. This designing would also assist the elderly to walk. Singapore, USA, Europe, Australia all have visible signages. Special parking zones for the disabled motorists. They self drive in a modified vehicle,park and independently go to their work place or shopping complex. Subways, Streets, recreation centres are all inclusive and its not uncommon to spot a wheel chair player amongst other able-bodied swimming or playing basket ball. Human rights is an issue which needs to be addressed on an urgent basis. BEST has started the Star buses recently and it’s a positive move.

The bureaucrats and officials need to have a paradigm shift from a charity model to a Humanistic Model. The recent BMC elections had a directive from the election commissioner, New Delhi for accessible polling booths, the compliance was missing. Almost 90% of the disabled had to return without exercising their franchise. This is the state of Mumbai.

Tourism
Domestic tourism plays a vital role in achieving the national objectives of promoting social and cultural cohesion and national integration.
The National Toursim policy 2002 attempts to position India as a global brand to take advantage of the increasing global travel and trade and vast untapped potential of India as a destination. However, none of the key areas take into consideration requirements of disabled traveler. Also there are no statistics / data available on tourists’ with disability (both domestic and foreign) visiting places of tourist interest. There is no database maintained by government agencies of the accessible tourist spots in the city. The efforts made by individuals / organizations are also scattered. There is growing demand, for the tourism industry to improve its services to PwDs: accessible transportation, accessibility within hotel facilities and travel operators to provide tailored packages to PwDs.


Universal Design:

Universal design is defined as “the design of products and environment to be usable by all people, to the greatest extent possible, without the need for adaptation or specialized design”

In a universal design approach, the user consideration is different as it refer to products and buildings that are accessible and usable by everyone, including PwDs. Rather than providing separate facilities; integral solutions accommodate PwDs as well as the rest of the population.

Universal design means products and buildings that are accessible and usable by everyone, including PwDs. Moreover, Universal Design means ‘design for all’, including people with short stature, tall, obese, frail, elderly as well as young, women as well as men, left handed persons as well as right handed persons. For example, the conventional round handle doorknob is difficult to grasp and turn by persons with hand and upper handle not only benefits those persons whose hands are full, they can open the door with an elbow, forearm or back of the hand.

A wheel chair accessible toilet is larger than a ‘normal’ toilet. But a toilet room, designed with universal design may have larger space clearances in mind particularly for wheelchair users but for with additional facilities: changing tables for babies, grab bars for pregnant woman etc. Besides providing accessible cubicles in a man and woman toilet room, there might be a unisex toilet (family toilet room). This kind of toilet avoids embarrassment when a man escorts his young daughter, a woman takes an older father or a wife takes her husband who is severely disabled. This washroom could meet the needs of people with a wide range of physical limitation.

Employment & Enterprise:
3rd of December is International Day of the disabled. ADAPT of Spastics Society of India organized a Job Fair, where there were 50 candidates with varying disabilities and only 17 companies offering to recruit. It was a good beginning, no doubt, for a city which boasts of being the financial capital and a vibrant city of entrepreneurs, where talent from all over the country and the world flock. This proves that it is still an uphill task. How many progressive HR departments publicly announce themselves as “An equal opportunity Employer”? NCPEDP (National Centre of Promotion of Employment for Disabled People) each year gives the Helen Keller Award to organisations which are ‘Best Employers and which employs maximum differently abled’ – till date, only 10 organisations have been awarded from Mumbai, out of the total 62 companies. A sad reflection, of our fast paced city. There is as per the persons with disabilities (Equal Opportunities, protection of rights and full participation) Act, 1995, 3% reservation of the differently abled. How many such posts are filled up and how many are given promotions periodically?

Health – Services:
There is marked apathy in the government run hospitals and centres which issue disability certificates. This in-human treatment has to be seen to be believed. There is rampant corruption and in order to avoid expenses in frequent visits at fixed days and time; the non affording PWD also falls in the trap. The system is not at all disabled centric. Information and awareness about various health issues is also woefully missing. There are no insurance policies catering to their needs and no guarantee for source of earnings as well as the higher cost of living. Insurance policies for the disabled covering modifications at home is very much needed for periodic purchase of aids and appliances, supplies, medicines, health checkups etc

Inclusive Playgrounds:
Inclusive Playgrounds are built by a company called National centre for Boundless playgrounds (USA) with sponsorships from the Rotary Clubs and Private Companies. Why should young children be discriminated and not enjoy an outdoor life of a playground. They learn so much in a playground while interacting with children of all abilities, so the design and playground environments reflect the development of children. In Mumbai too we need to increase public awareness of the tremendous need for barrier free playgrounds and how all children, regardless of ability or disability benefit from them.
The mantra in USA, where there are such playgrounds is:
“Accessible is good. Inclusive is better.

IMPLEMENTATION AGENDA:
There are several examples of successful human endeavors which were thought impossible. The Eiffel Tower, an engineering marvel or an arid desert converted into a green belt etc. For any initiative to take off and succeed requires the insight, initiative and a positive mindset. This paper has explained the various issues dogging our city for the disabled, now what is required is the full hearted support and cooperation from all the stakeholders. There is a BMC legislation which mandates all public buildings to be barrier – free. Though it’s a long way off. The strategy would be:
Each ward office has a mission plan for the year and by giving three months for the cost allocation and execution for making their ward accessible in physical form. It is achievable. Subsequently all markets, temples, gardens, schools, colleges, clubs etc in that ward have to be audited along with an NGO like ADAPT, ROTARY CLUBS etc. and after assessing the requirements appeal to each place to build the ramp, railing, access facility. Proper signages will create a sense of welcome to the various visitors. BMC has to declare kerb cuts on sidewalks as mandatory and execute phase wise within one year. All new projects whether metro railways, subways, new complexes have to have international standard accessibility features.


CONCLUSION:
Mumbai has given to India great minds like Mr. Nani Palkhiwala, acclaimed Lawyer and Advocate of Free Enterprise who has contributed immensely to the financial sector- the core of Mumbai city. Yet in his sunset years, bound to a wheel chair he had to be physically carried up at the landmark heritage Tata Headquarters – Bombay House, a reputed conglomerate with huge CSR budgets. Dignity to a disabled comes at a negligible cost, it’s more of a deeper understanding of making our built environment inclusive and granting a disabled the honour of independent mobility. It is more of an attitude and a mindset which can transform our city. A disabled friendly city offering a good quality of life to all its residents is truly a world class city.

BIBLIOGRAPHY:

Rehabilitation Council of India; “Access For All – Training Manual to promote ‘Barrier Free Environment” August 2005.

Mccoy Cindy; “10 Disability Friendly Cities – Where to Live and Why”; New Mobility

Dobs Jean; “The Ed Roberts Campus & the power of Nine”; May 2000

Nine Foundation – “One World – Voice of Paraplegics” various issues www.ninafoundation.org

http://www.censusindia.net/disability/disability_data_main.html


AUTHOR DETAILS:

Ms. Ketna L Mehta is a Life member of BMA. She is also associated in various committees of BMA since 1990. She is the chairperson of the editorial board of BMA Review for the past 8 years. She is currently editor & Associate Dean, Research with Welingkar Institute of Management, Development and Research. She is also the editor of NINA Foundation (www.ninafoundation.org) newsletter; ONE-WORLD- Voice of Paraplegics. She is pursuing her PhD from SNDT University, of which Welingkar Institute of Management, Development and Research is an extension centre. Her topic is “Market Potential Study for a World-Class Rehabilitation Centre for Spinal Cord Injury in Mumbai. She met with an accident in 1995 and has paraplegic due to spinal cord injury, a permanent disability. She has seen Mumbai before and after disability and thus understands the nuances of the travails faced by a physically challenged person.

Address: Ketna L Mehta
240/11, Shankar Sadan, Sion [E]
Mumbai 400022
Tel: 24071952
Email: ketna@vsnl.com



Posted by rollingrains at 11:28 PM

July 26, 2008

India: Railway Accessibility

The Anand Vihar Railway Station in Delhi received an accessibility assessment during construction. The responsible team was a collaboration between Samarthya and Handicap International.
The May 2007 study is available here. A follow-up is underway.

Posted by rollingrains at 08:26 PM

July 25, 2008

Samarthya: A World-Class Example of Inclusive Tourism Promotion

One organization in India has distinguished itself on the national and international stage for innovation and expertise in Inclusive Tourism - Samarthya. It follows the path of "Promotion of a Barrier Free, Rights-Based Inclusive Society."

At the center of this remarkable organization are Ms. Anjlee Agarwal and Mr. Sanjeev Sachdeva. They have been trained in the Promotion of Accessible Tourism at Bali (Indonesia), 2000; Non-Handicapping Environment for Disabled People by United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP), 2002 & Asia Pacific Development Centre on Disability (APCD), Bangkok (Thailand) 2004. They have in turn taken this training and put it to continuous use for the benefit of their nation and the region.

* Sanjeev and Anjlee have represented India at various International forums such as: International Conference on Transport & Mobility for Elderly and the Disabled (TRANSED), Hamamatsu (Japan), 2004;
* Panelist at the 2nd International Conference for Universal Design, Kyoto;
* Guest Lecturer at Osaka Municipal Lifelong Learning Centre, Osaka, (Japan) October 2006
* Resource Persons at International Workshop on Implementing Accessibility Regulations in Sri Lanka, Colombo (Sri Lanka) December 2006

So far Samarthya has conducted Access Audits (facilities checks) of more than 80 public utility buildings in various States, most of them with implementation results.

In addition, Samarthya has organized more than 60 Awareness & Capacity Building Excursion Tours for persons with severe disabilities to Indian places of historical, cultural, religious and tourist interests’ promoting the concept of Barrier-Free Tourism. Some of the places visited include Agra, Mathura, Bharatpur, Jaipur, Udaipur, Mt. Abu, Ahmedabad, Vadodra, Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine, Dalhousie, Chamba, Amritsar, Shimla, Kurushetra, Rishikesh, Mussoorie, Nainital, Lucknow, Kolkata, Hyderabad, Mysore, Chennai, Tirupati, Goa, Port Blair, Bangalore, Gauhauti and Shillong.

Publications
include:

* Access for All- Technical Brochure on Internal & External Design Considerations prepared in consonance with internationally accepted standards and building bylaws fourth edition in English, Hindi and Braille for Professionals, Administrators and Planners.

* Authored first Training Manual to promote Barrier Free Environment- Guidelines for Training of Trainers, 2005 published by Rehabilitation Council of India (RCI). The contents as far as practicable, developed in Indian perspective with simple line illustrations, easy to understand format and result oriented case studies with photographs. Second Edition of the Manual is underway.

* Authored chapter in Handbook of Inclusive Education for Educators, Administrators and Planners, 2005 published by SAGE Publications; New Delhi/Thousand Oaks/London

* Authored chapters in Work Book for In-service Teachers, 2006 on Barrier Free Environment in Inclusive School published by Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU)

* Currently reviewing of first edition of Guidelines and Space Standards for Barrier Free Environment for Disabled and Elderly Persons, 1998 by Central Public Works Department (CPWD), Ministry of Urban Affairs and Employment, Government of India, is underway.

Other reports on Samarthya at RollingRains.com dating back to 2004 are available here.

Posted by rollingrains at 11:34 AM

Turismo Inclusivo na Argentina e Sergipe (Portuguese)

A Secretaria de Turismo da Argentina deu um passo importante ao definir as diretrizes para a acessibilidade nos alojamentos turísticos do país.

A consolidação dos esforços para convocar os empresários do setor hoteleiro argentino a aderirem o processo de implementação é a reta final para viabilizar as normas que entram em vigor em setembro próximo.

O evento, que teve lugar em San Martín de Los Andes, em meados deste mês, teve como objetivo familiarizar o setor de hospedagem com a questão da acessibilidade e do conjunto de práticas para viabilizar a sua aplicação. Em linhas gerais as autoridades do turismo argentino visam otimizar a prestação de serviços, assegurar a satisfação dos usuários e promover a inclusão sem discriminação.

Informações: www.turismo.gov.ar

Fonte: http://www.bj.inf.br/conteudo_visualiza.php?contcod=15787
__._,_.___

A Promotora de Justiça Especializada nos Direitos dos Idosos e das
Pessoas Portadores de Necessidades Especiais, Dra. Berenice Andrade,
reuniu representantes da Universidade Tiradentes (UNIT), do Instituto do Patrimônio Histórico
e Artístico Nacional (IPHAN), da Secretaria de Estado da Cultura, da
Empresa Municipal de Urbanização (EMURB) e da Secretaria de Estado do Planejamento
(SEPLAN), a fim de definir as ações de execução do projeto de acessibilidade à Câmara
Municipal de Aracaju.

Aberta a Audiência, o representante do IPHAN informou que, após a
reunião com a equipe da UNIT, foram efetuadas as modificações
solicitadas conforme o documento
apresentado, então o projeto foi entregue conforme as observações e
análise dos técnicos.

o projeto deverá ser analisado pela equipe da Secretaria de Cultura de
Sergipe, que emitirá o parecer conclusivo. Para isso, a representante
requereu o
prazo de sete dias. Já a SEPLAN e EMURB afirmaram que dentro do
encaminhamento tomado durante as audiências, o projeto atende à
acessibilidade.

Todo processo de plotagem do projeto arquitetônico de adequação será
feito pela equipe da UNIT, e em seguida, encaminhado à Promotoria de
Justiça.

Fonte: http://www.faxaju.com.br/viz_conteudo.asp?codigo=25720081391839750


Posted by rollingrains at 03:54 AM

July 24, 2008

Free2Wheel - India Promotoes Its Accesssibility Travel 2.0 Style!

free2wheel.gif

Sometimes it is some hard to not tell you all about excitng new developments for travelers with disabilities when they are still in "Top Secret" phase.

Today I am pleased to be able to announce -- Free2Wheel:

Free2Wheel, a first of its kind information service in India, endeavours to encourage people using wheelchairs in getting out and about. This web site has over 1600 listings of places of interest in Delhi and NCR like budget and star hotels, shopping malls, historical monuments, restaurants/bars/pubs/nightclubs, cafe, currency exchange counters, and tourist information centres etc. Each listing is accompanied with an accessibility overview of the site.

This portal provides an interactive zone, and we invite you publish your travel-logs, upload pics of your latest escapades, rate and comment on the enlisted places so that most people can benefit from your experiences. Most importantly, we will be grateful for any feedback that can assist us in improving this website and the soon to be released travel guide.

Free Your Wheels & Enjoy Delhi !!

Log onto www.Free2Wheel.co.in

Posted by rollingrains at 05:37 PM

July 21, 2008

Intergenerational Girls-Only Travel - Where's the Accessibility?

This article, "Women's getaways becoming bonding affairs across the generations," by Steve Stephens of the Coulmbus Dispatch takes a look at intergenerational travel He notes:

Annie Roegner, her two sisters and a friend recently took Roegner's mother, Evelyn Roegner, on a 15-day cruise of Hawaii. The trip was a present for Evelyn Roegner's 80th birthday.

The trip was a success, although the group had trouble finding accessible shore trips for Evelyn, who uses a walker, Annie Roegner said. That's an issue that anyone traveling with an older family member should investigate before a trip, she said.

"The ship is accessible, but who wants to stay on the ship all that time?" she said. "The excursions she could go on were very limited."

Posted by rollingrains at 01:32 AM

July 20, 2008

Day on the Beach 2008

Yesterday's Day on the Beach in Santa Cruz California was another demonstration of community support for making the beach town a destination of choice for people with disabilities.




Find more photos like this on Tour Watch

Posted by rollingrains at 06:56 PM

July 15, 2008

Promoting Inclusive Tourism in India

On July 28 I will begin a four city workshop tour for travel professionals in India with Jani Nayar of SATH and Craig Grimes of Accessible Everything.

The first workshop will be in New Delhi, followed by Mumbai, Kochi, and finally Chennai. As Internet connectivity permits I will post travelogue entries along this tour sponsored by ASTA India.

India Wkshp Flyer.jpg

Wkshp New Delhi.jpg

Posted by rollingrains at 03:50 AM

July 13, 2008

Turismo Multi-Sensorial: “Lisboa Sensorial”

Em Lisboa o grupo Cabracega aumenta a cidade como destino predelito para turista com deficiencias:

Imagine o que é redescobrir o bairro de Alfama de olhos vendados: são as ruas apertadas, o cheiro das sardinhas a assar, o som de um fado que se ouve ao longe e tantas outras aventuras sensoriais…

São passeios a pé, no bairro de Alfama, em que os participantes têm os olhos vendados e são conduzidos por um guia invisual da ACAPO que partilha as suas referências sensoriais. Estão também presentes um guia Lisbon Walker, que faz a contextualização histórica do percurso, e 4 elementos da Associação do Património e da População de Alfama (APPA), que ajudam os participantes a percorrer o espaço.

O projecto tem dois grandes objectivos:

- proporcionar uma experiência sensorial, que visa a construção de um novo conhecimento do espaço através do estímulo dos sentidos do cheiro, tacto, gosto e audição pela ausência da visão.

- sensibilizar para o universo invisual, não num sentido incapacitante, mas num sentido positivo e estimulante, em que o próprio invisual nos convida a entrar no seu mundo de códigos e referências.


http://www.cabracega.org/lisboa-sensorial

Posted by rollingrains at 12:46 AM

July 12, 2008

US National Parks Web Site on Disability Access

Crater-Lake

From the web site:

The National Park Service has developed and made available a web site to aid visitors with disabilities and special needs to find accessible trails, programs, activities, and other features at national park units nationwide. It is hoped that we can assist visitors and their families and friends in travel planning to the NPS site of their choice. Visit the “National Parks: Accessible to Everyone” website at http://www.nps.gov/pub_aff/access/index.htm to learn about what opportunities are available in parks for visitors with disabilities and special needs.
Posted by rollingrains at 12:31 AM

July 10, 2008

Are the Olympics Bad for Tourism?

ETurboNews reports on a finding that hosting the Olympics seems to damage future tourism statistics.

This is a fact worth pondering within our community since the construction of accessible infrastructure for the Olympics and Paralympics is one of the arguments we have used to support the games as contributors to Inclusive Destination Development.

Perhaps there would be less of a falloff in tourism if a city's Olympic Planning Committee was truly committed to Universal Design (Inclusive Destination Development) and began a campaign presenting their post-Olympic messaging before and during the games. The message would highlight accessible "easy travel" by people of all abilities.

Tom Jenkins, executive director of the ETOA [European Tour Operators Association] , argued that the tourism benefit of staging the Olympics was something of a myth, saying that the effect of staging a large sports event is to scare regular visitors away from host cities, not just during the events themselves but in the months leading up to them.

“The principal problem is the impression that everything will be overcrowded and overpriced and this blights a region,” Mr Jenkins said.

As visitors become deterred, the effect on subsequent demand becomes detrimental, losing the momentum of sales and suppressing marketing, he added.

Source:
http://www.eturbonews.com/3530/hosting-olympics-can-damage-tourism

Posted by rollingrains at 02:56 PM

July 09, 2008

Dubuque Aims to be 'Proudly Accessible'

Katrina Wilberding is executive director of Proudly Accessible Dubuque. If you have time to look at only one page on their site take a look at this survey and description for at your businesses on how to identify and remove accessibility barriers: http://www.proudlyaccessibledubuque.com/tools/survey.cfm


In an interview with TH Online she makes the inclusion argument using the Open Doors Organization survey results on the travel behavior of people with disabilities - another sign that Inclusive Tourism is simply becoming the 'common sense' approach in heartland America.


Besides needing to abide by the law [ADA], accessibility is good business, Wilberding said.

A travel industry survey shows that four out of 10 travelers are either disabled or traveling with a disabled companion. And according to the U.S. Census Bureau, more than seven out of every 10 Americans will acquire some sort of disability by the time they reach the age of 75.

"Most don't realize the business they are losing because they're not accessible," Wilberding said.

For the full article:
http://www.thonline.com/article.cfm?id=207388

Posted by rollingrains at 12:37 AM

July 06, 2008

Deaf Tour Guides for Deaf People? - by Craig Grimes

[Editor's note: This week Craig Grimes and Seek Geo launch a unique program in Nicaragua to prepare the Central American tourism industry to serve tourists whose native language is American Sign language (ASL). Watch for daily reports at Grimes' and Geo's sites. They are available to give the training at other locations on request.]

Ever since I started working in inclusive tourism for people with disabilities I have always wanted to provide tours to deaf people in sign language. This is relatively easy if the tours that you are providing are to people from the country where the tours are based as the language is the same. The problems begin to arise when you are covering incoming tourism at the destination and the deaf people that want the tours are from various different countries. The problem being that the sign language in every country around the world is different, and even within the same country, there are wide regional dialects.

There is probably really only one real way around this issue for deaf people, bring your own translator from home. However, this solution is very expensive, the problem of deaf people isn’t seen as a disability by many, it’s a communication issue, they use a different language, one which isn’t spoken but is signed.

So where is the compromise?

One solution that I have thought about whilst being in Nicaragua is to supply tours in American Sign Language (ASL) as the Americans are a stones throw from Nicaragua and probably the most likely to use the service. But who exactly do you teach ASL to in order to be able to give the tours? Your average tour guide is going to struggle for years to learn ASL to a good enough standard, so what’s the alternative? In Nicaragua there are many unemployed or poorly paid deaf people that use Nicaraguan Sign Language (ISN), which is different to ASL, but close enough so that with basic training they would be able to use ASL easily. This is the theory anyway!

Therefore, thanks to the very generous funding of Mr. Jeremy Rowe a client and friend of AccessibleBarcelona, I am very proud to announce that on Monday 7th July the “First ASL - ISN Deaf Guide Training Course” begins here in Matagalpa, Nicaragua. I’ve been organising the course for the last couple of months with Seek Geo and Green Tours, Matagalpa. The end result is that Geo, and his hearing partner Jes, are flying down from the USA to help teach a total of 6 deaf people from Matagalpa, San Ramón and Jinotega basic ASL. We also have a local hearing translator attending the course to learn ASL with us and help out with ISN where required and Norlan Alberquerque of Green Tours has been helping us set up some basic routes to practise in Matagalpa.

With the combination of basic ASL, the knowledge of how to establish a tour and the use of an English - Spanish dictionary the newly fledged Deaf Tour Guides will be able to begin ASL guiding in mid-July. Here is the program for the “First ASL - ISN Deaf Guide Training Course”

Related stories by Seek Geo:

http://www.seekgeo.com/?p=978

Flyer on training:

Download file

Posted by rollingrains at 05:32 PM

July 05, 2008

Turismo Domestico para cegos em Belo Horizonte (Portuguese)

Belotur lançou nesta semana um guia turístico de Belo Horizonte em Braille. É a primeira cidade do Brasil a ter essa iniciativa. Ele vem sendo preparado há sete meses e custou R$ 11.800,00, um valor considerado muito baixo pelo órgão de turismo.

Apesar de ter recebido o nome de guia de turismo, a intenção principal do material não é atrair visitantes cegos. "O importante para nós é que os nossos deficientes visuais conheçam a cidade. É mais um processo de inclusão social do que de turismo propriamente dito", diz Fernando Lana, presidente da Belotur.

Segundo Fernando, o guia faz parte de um processo de democratização da cidade. "Estamos dando ao deficiente visual acesso aos atrativos e belezas que a cidade tem. A única condição que ele tinha antes do guia para ter informações sobre a cidade era através de alguém que falasse com ele. Agora não. Ele lê em Braille e tem a idéia do que a cidade com informações precisas e corretas".

O guia será distribuído para hotéis, postos da Belotur e escolas, principalmente as voltadas para os deficientes visuais. Serão impressos mil livros em
português e cem em inglês. Em setembro devem ser publicadas edições em francês e espanhol.

Fonte: http://www.odebate.com.br/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=9086&Itemid=51

Posted by rollingrains at 02:53 PM

July 01, 2008

Sri Lanka: IDIRAYA and CEAT Tyres Team up for Inclusion

Dr Ajith C S Perera has worked tirelessly to promote Inclusive Destination Development in Sri Lanka through his organization IDIRAYA. Below is an article from Lanka Business Online noting his new sponsor CEAT Tyres.

Sri Lanka access for disabled campaign gets corporate support

June 05, 2008 (LBO) - Only two percent of the public buildings in Sri Lanka have easy access to the disabled, CEAT Tyres which is backing an organization that is campaigning to improving access to public buildings by the disabled, has said.

"Statistics show that less than two per cent of all buildings, private or public, have access for the mobility impaired," Oscar Braganza, managing director of CEAT Sri Lanka , was quoted as saying in a statement.

"Wittingly or unwittingly we are discriminating against this increasingly large sector of the community."

The tyre maker is supporting 'IDIRIYA', an organization of professionals that is campaigning to improve access of public buildings to the disabled.

Very often what is needed is very simple. For example, access to each and every public and private building and its facilities," Braganza said at a ceremony to launch a book called ‘Access Ability For All - Why You?’ by the IDIRIYA organization.

"We know this to be a fact instinctively, but somehow our corporate plans and strategy do not factor in this basic human right.”

Activists say the true extent of the disabled in Sri Lanka is not known.

"Decision makers should not be misguided by the published figures on disability, which are often underestimated," IDIRIYA secretary general Ajith Perera said.

"For numerous reasons, disability in both visible and invisible forms is on the rise in Sri Lanka. Today, the risk of becoming disabled has become a grave social problem afflicting a wide range of people."

"By the way we continue to design our buildings, man is creating more physical barriers to man in attending to normal daily activities. This is wholly unacceptable in modern day Sri Lanka.

Activists are promoting ‘designing for inclusion’ in Sri Lanka’s construction industry to accommodate the increasing numbers of people who are physically or sensorily disadvantaged.

Posted by rollingrains at 07:14 AM

June 30, 2008

Sydney: Inclusive Tourism Portal Opens

Sydney for all logo

The inclusive tourism market incorporates people with disabilities and those who are ageing and who have access needs (mobility, vision, hearing and communication). Significant numbers of Australians and people from overseas have disabilities – 600 million worldwide. The Australian Bureau of Statistics estimates that 4 million Australians have a disability [1]. Based on the National Visitor Survey 88 per cent of these people travelled within Australia in the previous year, 7 per cent travelled overseas and most travelled in independent groups with an average size of 4.1 people. The accessible tourism market has recently been valued at $4.8 billion to the Australian economy [2] with significant latent demand.

Yet, finding tourism experiences and day trips that are accessible has been a major issue for people with disabilities and those with access requirements. Many disability organizations provide member created word of mouth lists, tips and stories to help others plan their day trips and holidays more easily. However, these information systems are incomplete and problematic.

A prototype Web “portal”, www.sydneyforall.com, aims to make it easier to find accessible destination experiences around Sydney for those with access needs.

The portal reflects the findings of a research project and seeks to provide accessibility information about key tourism experiences that people can enjoy when they are in Sydney. The area covered by the portal includes The Rocks, Circular Quay, The Royal Botanic Gardens and Domain. It also includes the Sydney Fish Markets, a ferry trip to Manly and a visit to North Head.

The research project was sponsored by the Sustainable Tourism Co-operative Research Centre, Tourism NSW, the Tourism and Transport Forum and the NSW Department of Environment and Climate Change. The project was led by Associate Professor Simon Darcy of the University of Technology, Sydney.

One key feature of the portal is its ability to provide information to people with vision impairment. The portal has been developed to meet international W3C Web Accessibility standards and was independently assessed by Vision Australia to verify compliance with those standards.

Sydney portal


The information provided on the portal was gathered by people with disabilities actually experiencing the attraction and documenting that experience. Information was also provided by the attraction, many of which have implemented strategies to improve their access for people with access needs. For example, the Sydney Opera House has not only started to improve mobility access but also access for people with vision and hearing impairment.

The web portal offers information by icon, text, photographs and links to additional information. It embraces ‘wayfinding’ maps, transport, parking, toilets and most importantly the experience itself. The portal will also help providers within the tourism industry plan to market collaboratively, improve their services and encourage more tourists with disabilities to visit them.

As this is a test site and will be reviewed at the end of three months, feedback on the portal and suggestions are welcome. People can complete the independent survey that is linked to the portal, or you can contact either the researchers directly on accessibletourism@uts.edu.au or sydneyforall@tourism.nsw.gov.au

The long-term aim is to have a more expansive portal that will assist people to plan their holidays and will incorporate detailed transport, accommodation and disability support information.

[1] Australian Bureau of Statistics. (2004). Disability Ageing and Carers Summary of Findings, 2003 (Cat No. 4430.0). from http://www.abs.gov.au/Ausstats/

[2] Dwyer, L., & Darcy, S. (2008). Chapter 4 - Economic contribution of disability to tourism in Australia. In S. Darcy, B. Cameron, L. Dwyer, T. Taylor, E. Wong & A. Thomson (Eds.), Visitor accessibility in urban centres: Technical Report 90040 (pp. 15-21). Gold Coast: Sustainable Tourism Cooperative Research Centre (forthcoming).

Printable .pdf version:

Download file

________________________

Further Information, please contact:

Dr Simon Darcy, University of Technology, Sydney – 61 2 9514-5100 Simon.Darcy@uts.edu.au

Bruce Cameron, Easy Access Australia – bruce_eaa@bigpond.com


Web Portal Front Page http://www.sydneyforall.com/

Posted by rollingrains at 02:18 PM

June 28, 2008

Reality Tour Takes You to Socorro, Brazil

Reality Tour in Brazil contacted us to let us know that the trip I recently took to Socorro in Brazil is part of the itinerary that they regularly offer. Contact them for more details.

What is included:

• 2 overnight stays in São Paulo at Hotel Caesar Business Paulista, with breakfast,
• 6 days in Socorro at Hotel Fazenda Campo dos Sonhos (Farm-hotel) with all meals, (breakfast, lunch, afternoon coffee and dinner),
• A historical city tour through São Paulo City (adapted executive van),
• Transfer from the international airport to the hotel (adapted executive van),
• Transfer from São Paulo City to Socorro City (adapted executive van),


What is not included:

• Air transportation,
• Lunch and dinner in São Paulo,
• Personal expenses,
• Entertainment and adventure tours and activities which are available as options in Socorro,
• All drinks and meals other than those included in the item above “What is included”,
• Any services not specified in the item above “What is included”.


Itinerary:

• (Saturday)
Transfer Airport / Hotel,
12:00 a. m. – Check in – Hotel Caesar Business,
Afternoon – Historic City tour in São Paulo Coty,
Evening – Free.

• (Sunday)
Morning – Free,
12:00 a. m. – Check out – Hotel Caesar Business,
1:30 p. m. – Departure to Socorro City,
3:30 p. m. – Check In – Hotel Fazenda Campo dos Sonhos.

• (Sunday to Saturday)
Monitored activities at Hotel Fazenda Campo dos Sonhos.

• (Saturday)
2:30 p. m. – Check out – Hotel Fazenda Campo dos Sonhos,
3:00 p. m. – Transfer Hotel Fazenda Campo dos Sonhos / Hotel Caesar Business,
5:00 p. m. – Check in – Hotel Caesar Business,
Evening free.

• (Sunday)
Morning – Free,
12:00 a. m - Check out – Hotel Caesar Business,
Transfer Hotel / Airport.


Price:

• Doublé package (couple)
• $ 3.245,13
• £ 2.109,97

• Extra adults or Doublé package (maximum of 8)
• $ 2.120,84
• £ 1.378,97

Child under 4 years old: free


Extras
• All extra expenses at the hotels will be paid at the moment of check-out,

No show
• The sum paid as down payment for confirmation of reservations will not be returned in case of absence, unless justified, in accordance to the policies of the hotels and the emitting agency,

Description of the hotels
• Caesar Business Hotel Paulista
Situated in Paulista Avenue, the Caesar Business Hotel Paulista is a few blocks away from the major financial institutions, the MASP Museum, Trianon Park, movie theaters and restaurants.

• Hotel Fazenda Campo dos Sonhos
Considered one of the best Farm-hotels in Brazil, the Campo dos Sonhos (Dreams Field) is a tourist complex fully equiped to ensure total comfort and entertainment for the whole family. Its restaurant offers a varied menu, in which the most remarkable are typicla doshes from the country side in Minas Gerais and Sao Paulo. It offers also comfortable apartments for people with physical disabilities, as well as many activities - entertainment, adventure and tours under the guiding and supervision of highly qualified guides and appropriated equipments.


We remain at your full disposition for any other information you need.

Sincerely yours,


CONTACT REALITY TOUR

Solange Barbosa - Brasil
Phone: 55 (12) 3672-3427
Adress: Rua Bom Jesus, 183 – Centro – Tremembe – SP
E-mail: realitytour@uol.com.br


Joedson Nunes - Europa
Phone: 07505969717
Adress: 208 Borough High Street Flat B London SE1 1JX
MSN e Email: nunes_op@hotmail.com
Skype: jtnunes

Posted by rollingrains at 03:09 PM

June 27, 2008

Gregory Cowen on Accessibilty Work in Mongolia

Mongolia


VSO Mongolia volunteers and staff extricated ourselves from work for a couple of days to go to a green valley in the Mongolian countryside to take stock of what we have achieved, in our annual volunteer conference.

Gathering over thirty volunteers from Africa, The Philippines, The Netherlands, Canada, Australia and Britain, with placements as far afield as Bayan Ulgii, Choibalsan and Darkhan, everyone seemed pleased to get together. On the second day I assisted Nickson Kakiri in leading a session on mainstreaming disability in all of our work here, and we discussed and (re)discovered issues of disabilities, rights, exclusion and working with various challenges. We reflected on some positive work done in the last year, including work on universally accessible buildings, and a recent accessibility audit of the Equal Step Camp, our conference venue, in this remote village apparently known only by its train siding, 'Point 290'.

The camp had recently installed a ramp and accessible toilet, and its generous volunteers, on our arrival, had also erected a ger and made us some great meals, a horhog, and a bonfire. VSO's scarce funds seemed in this case to have been directed towards a very promising locally owned and highly sustainable enterprise.

Most of the conference sessions were held in a wooden hall, which worked well with improvised flipcharts and the occasional powerpoint presentation. As Secure Livelihoods Programme volunteer coordinator, I led a session - on a grassy riverbank - which included an update of all livelihoods volunteers' work, where we later returned at dusk to wade in the river, like the local horses.

Posted by rollingrains at 03:52 AM

June 25, 2008

Revolução no turismo -- O Poder do Consumidor (Portuguese)

Para diretor do Ministério do Turismo, Diogo Demarco é preciso que grandes empresas, governos, entidades e consumidor final exijam empresas certificadas no setor.

O consumidor irá impulsionar uma verdadeira revolução no setor de turismo quando começar a exigir a certificação das empresas das empresas do setor, acredita Diogo Demarco, diretor do Departamento de Qualificação e Certificação e Produção Associada ao Turismo, do Ministério do Turismo.

Revolução no turismo passa por consumidor exigente

Segundo ele, a certificação dos estabelecimentos e das empresas que trabalham com turismo só acontecerá de fato à medida em que grandes empresas, governos, entidades e o consumidor final exijam que empresas sejam certificadas para a aquisição de produtos.

“Quando uma Petrobras exigir que seus funcionários só se hospedem em hotéis certificados, será uma correria pela certificação”, diz. Demarco lembra que o Rio de Janeiro está vivendo uma situação parecida provocada por uma exigência do Comitê Olímpico Internacional. “Eles querem uma lista de hotéis por classificação. Todo mundo começou a correr atrás para conseguir uma classificação”. Atualmente no Brasil há apenas 18 hotéis classificados por classe no País, segundo o representante do Ministério do Turismo.

De acordo com o diretor, a proximidade com a Copa do Mundo de 2014 já está fazendo com que algumas empresas estejam procurando as certificações necessárias. “Não é fácil certificar o setor de serviços. Quando falamos de produto é fácil conseguir uma padronização por tamanho, tipo, etc. Mas o serviço prestado é subjetivo”.

Dival Schmidt, consultor do Sebrae Nacional, lembra as dificuldades nos anos 80 para implementação da ISO. “A Europa restringiu a compra de produtos que não tivessem a ISO. Foi uma correria e tanto no Brasil”. Segundo ele, a certificação no turismo exige campanhas de esclarecimento à população, nos moldes das campanhas sobre epidemias, como Aids e Paralisia Infantil.

Os dois especialistas participaram no último sábado (21) da palestra 'Certificação no Turismo: Desafios e Perspectivas', durante a terceira edição Salão do Turismo, realizado entre 18 e 22 de junho no Parque de Exposições do Anhembi, em São Paulo.

Normas no turismo

Atualmente existem 67 normas técnicas em vigor no setor de turismo, sendo que apenas 10 não foram publicadas. Desse total, 28 foram elaboradas a partir do apoio direto do MTur a projetos de formulação dessas regras.

A consulta às normas pode ser feita pelo endereço http://www.abntnet.com.br, pelos sites do MTur e da ABNT (Associação Brasileira de Normas Técnicas). Para realizar a consulta, o usuário terá que fazer um cadastramento, prestando informações como nome completo, CPF e RG e motivo de interesse.

Desde 2003, o Ministério do Turismo aposta em programas de capacitação e certificação para pessoas, produtos e empreendimentos nos segmentos do turismo, mais especificamente em turismo sustentável, turismo de aventura e competências profissionais. Vale lembrar também que o Brasil conta com 40 mil profissionais certificados nos diferentes ramos do turismo. A maioria deles é de garçons e cozinheiros.

Projetos

Um acordo de cooperação técnica assinado no ano passado entre Sebrae, Ministério do Turismo (MTur) e Instituto Brasileiro de Turismo (Embratur) prevê investimentos de cerca de R$ 21,5 milhões para o turismo nacional, com foco no desenvolvimento das micro e pequenas empresas. As ações têm prazo de dois anos, com a possibilidade de renovação pelo mesmo período.

O convênio se baseia no Plano Nacional de Turismo 2007/2010 e pretende utilizar a capacidade do setor para promover inclusão social. Pela parceria, serão realizadas ações como capacitação dos profissionais, incentivo para adoção das melhores práticas de gestão e fortalecimento do trabalho desenvolvido pelos órgãos estaduais de turismo e pelas empresas do setor.

O acordo também terá investimentos para a criação de um banco de dados do setor turístico e para a produção do Guia do Empreendedor do Turismo, entre várias outras iniciativas.

O trabalho conjunto do Sebrae e do MTur ainda aborda a questão ambiental, com o objetivo de promover a sustentabilidade no entorno das áreas de preservação e dos parques nacionais. Os especialistas em turismo hoje chamam a atenção para a necessidade de conciliar o potencial turístico com o respeito à ecologia e à preservação ambiental.

Fonte: Portugal Digital

Posted by rollingrains at 12:25 AM

June 20, 2008

Follow-up on Story of Trapped Wheelchair Users

This news item by Matt Kersten apears in the Greymouth Star. It follows th story of Shirley and Roy Dyer whop were trapped for 11 hours on a Tranz Alpine train in New Zealand:


The owner of the Tranz Alpine passenger train has promised to better accommodate disabled people in the future — if and when it introduces new carriages on the Christchurch-Greymouth service. Taylorville man David Brooks filed a complaint with the Human Rights Commission in February after his cousins — Shirley and Roy Dyer, from Rolleston — were left on the Tranz Alpine train for 11 hours because there was no facility for them to disembark at Greymouth.

Mr Dyer suffers severely from multiple sclerosis and Mrs Dyer is a double amputee paraplegic. Mr Brooks was not happy with the facilities for disabled people on the train. Representatives of Tranz Scenic, which runs the Tranz Alpine, the Human Rights Commission, Mrs Dyer and Mr Brooks met last month to discuss the experience.

At the meeting, Tranz Scenic representatives assured the pair that any new rolling stock for the train would contain many of the features present in recently introduced carriages operating on the Wairarapa rail line, between Masterton and Wellington. Toll NZ general manager of corporate affairs Sue Foley said that was a “No 1 priority”. “Out of any of our long distance trips, that is definitely our main focus.” Facilities would include a wheelchair hoist, dedicated positions for wheelchairs to be located and secured, and easily accessed toilets.

Tranz Scenic representatives also said a number of changes had been made to the ticket booking process to ensure passengers with special needs were clearly identified prior to their travelling. Mr Brooks said he found the meeting had been “constructive”, noting that the problem had never been with the staff involved.

Source:
http://www.greystar.co.nz/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=2140&Itemid=43

Posted by rollingrains at 10:24 PM

Seminar on Expansion of Tourism for Socio-economic Development in India, 24-26 June, in Guwahati, Assam

ESCAP and the World Tourism Organization, in collaboration with the
Government of India's Ministry of Tourism, are organizing a Seminar on
Expansion of Tourism for Socio-economic Development in India
, 24-26
June, in Guwahati, Assam.

The seminar aims to strengthen the capacity
of India to formulate and implement appropriate policies, strategies
and programmes to enhance the role of tourism in socio-economic
development.
Participants will include officials of government
agencies, representatives from the tourism industry including
airlines, hotels, tour operators and travel agents, and members of the
Network of Asia-Pacific Education and Training Institutes in Tourism.

Posted by rollingrains at 01:52 AM

June 13, 2008

Progress in New Zealand: Research Results in New Outdoor Access

The Department of Conservation (DOC) on the West Coast of the South Island of New Zealand is sitting up and taking notice of access tourism.

Knights Point 1.JPG


DOC manages more than 1.9 million hectares (about 4.7 million acres) of land on the West Coast, which is about a quarter of New Zealand's protected public land. Within its 600 km (373 mile) long West Coast boundary are two kiwi sanctuaries, five national parks, two Wilderness Areas and a World Heritage Area. The West Coast has remarkable collection of natural features which includes rainforests, glaciers, wetlands and an ocean habitat that is home to the world's stronghold population of Hector's dolphin. DOC also looks after more than 150 actively managed historic places on the West Coast ranging from historic buildings to mining sites. This richness of natural and made-made heritage attracts about 1.2 million visitors per annum to the region, but to date, little attention has been paid to tourism for PWDs.

A report by Dr. Sandra Rhodda of Tai Poutini Polytechnic on access tourism on the West Coast (http://www.tpp.ac.nz/taipoutini/report.asp?id=4#item) and a talk given by her at the New Zealand Eco Tourism Conference in 2007 highlighted the issues for people visiting the coast with some level of disability. The report highlighted specific design elements required at sites that need to be taken into consideration where tourism operations are providing facilities for people with mobility difficulty. These include ensuring appropriate surfaces in car parks and on footpaths, providing access through kerbing and channelling, having suitable access to toilets, and removing barriers at the entrance to tracks.

The examples of issues faced by people with mobility difficulties outlined in the report highlighted the need for DOC to have a whole of site design approach when carrying out upgrades to facilities and attention to detail. As a result, DOC has carried out some projects to improve access for PWDs and is planning to undertake further work at front country sites in the coming years.

Work completed in the last twelve months includes:

• Knights Point, South Westland: provision of parks for PWDs; sealing of the footpath to new viewpoint; provision of accessible toilets. The design brief included wheelchair access through kerbing and channelling (previously, footpath was gravel, there was no break in the kerbing, and no provision for PWDs parking).

knights Point car park.JPG

• Pororai Walk, Punakaiki. New sealed car park at the eastern side of the State Highway now provides a safe access to the Pororari Walk and a picnic area which includes wheel chair access. A short walk up the Pororari River has been resurfaced providing people with limited disability the opportunity to enjoy this valley. Previously, people who use wheelchairs did not have access to this location.

Work planned for the future includes:

• Ship Creek, South Westland. Upgrade of short walks. Improve access for PWDs (mobility) to both the Dune Lake walk and Kahikatea Swamp Forest Walk. This will involve redesign of the car park, boardwalk to the beach, resurfacing of the swamp forest walk, and identifying any impediments to those who use wheelchairs e.g., lack of manoeuvrability on the track.

Lk Math.JPG


• Lake Matheson, South Westland. Development of a design for a new car park and toilets at Lake Matheson. Design elements in the brief are to cater for those with disability. The project also includes upgrading the walking track from the car park to the jetty viewpoint. Currently sections of the walk are to steep and the viewing area at the jetty needs to be improved.

• Cape Foulwind, Buller. Planned upgrade of the toilet facilities.

• Various short walks. Upgrade of two of the 6 kilometres (about 4 miles) of accessible walks to reduce grade, widen surface where required, compact surface, removal of loose material, and remove gated structures where present.

• Improving access to some of the DOC visitor centres, particularly doorways at the entrances to these buildings.

“Given that currently about 17% of Kiwis report a disability, and given that this number is probably going to rise steeply because of our ageing population, it is timely that DOC on the West Coast is improving access. Already about half of tourists in New Zealand are 45 years old or older. Because the worldwide population is ageing the same as here, these improvements can’t help but act as a draw card for both international and Kiwi tourists who need an accessible tourism product” said Rhodda.


Posted by rollingrains at 02:44 AM

Overstream and a Site Visit: A Strategy for Public Input on Accessibility

Cumverland island, Georgia is open for suggestions on accessibility. Have a look at the video below and offer them your insights. Notice the ability to add both comments and captioning at Overstream.com


Cumberland Island is Georgia's largest and southernmost barrier island.
Pristine maritime forests, undeveloped beaches and wide marshes whisper the
stories of both man and nature. (
from Park web site)

Recently a group from the Shepherd Center tested the Island's accessibility. That included a 45
minute ferry ride, tour of the Island and time on the beach. The Park
Superintendent and staff would like to make some changes to improve access,
but the Regional office is slow to respond and needs to hear from YOU.


Our adventure is at http://www.overstream.net/view.php?oid=ngeprjsmr8al


More about the Park at http://www.nps.gov/cuis/


WRITE: David Vela, Regional Director, 100 Alabama St SW, Atlanta, GA 30303,
(404) 562-3123

Posted by rollingrains at 12:01 AM

June 06, 2008

Museum Accessibility News

Ray-Bloomer

On June 3, the U.S. Department of Justice announced the terms of a settlement agreement with the International Spy Museum in Washington, D.C., to make the museum more accessible to people with visual impairments. Ray Bloomer, director of education for the National Center on Accessibility at Indiana University, provided DOJ and the museum staff with technical guidance on the accessibility needs and expectations of visitors who may be blind or have low vision.

Ray Bloomer, a 30-year veteran of the National Park Service, said the settlement agreement requires the museum to provide for increased program access by including such design features as the provision of tactile maps of the museum and floor plan that visitors can borrow; qualified audio describers for any requested museum audiovisual presentations, computer interactives or exhibits; qualified readers to read labels in all exhibitions; and a representative sample of objects, models and/or reproductions of objects to communicate the main themes of the exhibitions for tactile examination, accompanied by audio description. Bloomer has advocated for such measures for the past 20 years and expects the agreement to result in design improvements in other museums.

"This is a wake-up call to other museums," Bloomer said. "It lets people with disabilities, in particular those who are blind or have low vision, know that they have a right to receive equal benefit and enjoyment of the museum experience."

Bloomer lost his sight at age 17 and has since become one of the nation's most prominent experts on museum access for people with disabilities. He has worked to improve access for people with visual impairments and advocated for universal design on projects such as the Statute of Liberty restoration, Trail of Tears exhibit at the Cherokee Heritage Center in Tahlequah, Okla., and the Yosemite Valley Visitors Center exhibit hall in California.

NCA, part of the IU Bloomington School of Health, Physical Education and Recreation's Department of Recreation, Park and Tourism Studies, provides training, technical assistance and research on the inclusion of people with disabilities in parks and recreation. To learn more, visit www.ncaonline.org/.

Bloomer can be reached at 812-856-4422.

Source:

Indiana University press release
http://newsinfo.iu.edu/news/page/normal/8343.html

Posted by rollingrains at 01:32 AM

June 04, 2008

After Touring Alaska - Ripples of Inclusive Destination Development

Halibut-hook


If my travelogue did not make it clear already let me compliment the arrangements made by Sherri Backstrom of Waypoint Yacht Charter Services in Bellingham Washington and the foresight and commitment shown by Kimber Owen, owner of the wheelchair-friendly Sea Wolf. Articles will appear in various publications. One went off to Sandra Vassallo at ebility.com in Australia this morning and two more are in process.

Pioneers like Kimber and Sherri shift cultures.

To get to the Sea Wolf ported in Gustavus, Alaska we flew in a six-seater prop bush flight from Juneau on Air Excursions. Not quite adept at accommodating passengers with mobility limitations the pilot's brute-force solution to not having the proper equipment landed me on the floor as I noted on May 24. They won't make many more mistakes like that -- and accessibility will improve for those who will increasingly come for early-season cruises on the Sea Wolf (i.e. after June 1 Alaska Airlines flies jets into Gustavus with a more polished passenger loading protocol.)

The night before the cruise we stayed at Annie Mae Lodge. The meal was sumptuous and the welcome was like family. The owners have built a stylish Alaskan lodge and given great detail to accessibility. My room had a roll-in shower. I can recommend Anni Mae. As our community provides them with business we will see the trend to inclusion spread to other venues including the towns single - but inaccessible - grocery store.

Alaska is on the "Must Visit List" of many travelers. To take the trip yourself contact:

Sherri Backstrom
Waypoint Yacht Charter Services
contact@waypointcharter.com

www.waypointcharter.com/accessible_travel.htm
t 888-491-2949 or 360-656-5934

Posted by rollingrains at 05:01 PM

May 18, 2008

Universal Design and Architecture Education in Mongolia

Gregory Cowan teaches architecture in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. He also writes on accessibility and independent living at Nomadologist. Here are some interesting posts:

http://nomadologist-nomadology.blogspot.com/2007/12/participation-and-access.html

http://nomadologist-nomadology.blogspot.com/2008/05/independent-living.html

Here he reports on the wheelchair users' city tour of December 4, 2007.

Posted by rollingrains at 04:53 PM

May 17, 2008

Whistler joins ‘accessible tourism’ coalition

From The Question Whistler, BC:

A strategy is underway to help make B.C. a world leader in offering travel that’s accessible to people with disabilities, and the Resort Municipality of Whistler and Tourism Whistler are offering support and the expertise of their employees to help make it happen.

Whistler’s Mayor and Council voted at their regular May 5 meeting to sign onto the Accessible Tourism Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), which is part of an initiative led by 2010 Legacies Now to improve travel services in B.C. for people with disabilities. Signatories to the MOU include the provincial government, the City of Vancouver and five tourism organizations such as Tourism B.C., said John Rae, municipal manager of strategic alliances.

Full article here.

http://www.whistlerquestion.com/madison%5CWQuestion.nsf/0/317094298FE38B098825744A006E18F1?OpenDocument

Posted by rollingrains at 08:37 PM

May 15, 2008

Comparative Analysis of Disability Laws in the United States to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD)

One way to understand the Rolling Rains Report - and the network thriving behind the published word - is to think of it as the Think Tank and resource archive for implementing Article 30 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

A new tool exists to help understand the impact of the CRPD with reference to US standards. The United States National Council of Disabilities has released a Comparative Analysis of Disability Laws in the United States to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). I encourage readers to facilitate similar studies in their own countries and disseminate them internationally. In particular I encourage analysis of Article 30 and contribution of those analyses to the Google group Article 30: The CRPD on Tourism, Sports, & Leisure

Here is the document's analysis of Article 30 of the CRPD as it relates to US Law:

Article 30 - Participation in Cultural Life, Recreation, Leisure, and Sport

The United States’ approach to participation in cultural life, recreation, leisure, and sport is based almost entirely on an antidiscrimination model. This means that to the extent that such opportunities exist for the general population, the federal government provides a legal right to people with disabilities to participate in such activities without discrimination. In terms of enforcement, the Department of Justice has made accessibility of cultural and recreation facilities a priority. But the larger project envisioned by Article 30, including enabling persons with disabilities to develop and utilize creative and artistic potential, establishing support and recognition of specific cultural and linguistic identities, and encouraging mainstreaming of sporting opportunities, is largely left to private actors and advocacy organizations. Accordingly, a gap exists between U.S. law and CRPD protection, albeit one that could be filled with aggressive implementation and/or additional Congressional action.

In the Appendix they further elaborate:

Coverage of United States Law

United States domestic law has several provisions that prevent discrimination against people with disabilities in cultural life, recreation, leisure, and sport. Many such activities take place at privately owned places of public accommodation – that is, privately owned businesses or establishments that open themselves up to the public – and are covered by Title III of the ADA. As such, the owners and operators cannot discriminate in the full and equal enjoyment of the goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages, or accommodations.

Title III’s reach has therefore extended significantly into recreation and cultural opportunities for people with disabilities. The organizers of sports and recreation activities must make reasonable accommodations unless such accommodation would fundamentally alter the nature of the goods or services being provided. Thus, for example, the Professional Golf Association had to provide a golf cart as a reasonable accommodation to a professional golfer to allow him to participate in tournament play. A requested accommodation also does not have to made if it causes a direct threat to the health or safety of others. Title III has been applied to sports leagues; i.e., its coverage is not limited to actual locations.

As discussed above, pursuant to the Telecommunications Act of 1996, the Federal Communications Commission has adopted rules requiring closed captioning of most, though not all, television programming.

Similarly, as with any Title III covered entity, facilities that house cultural and recreational opportunities have accessibility obligations. Facilities that predate the ADA must be accessible to the extent that doing so is “readily achievable,” and new facilities (and modifications to existing facilities) must be more fully accessible to people with disabilities in accordance with the ADAAG standards. The accessibility of entertainment venues (sports stadiums and movie theatres) has been a heavily litigated area. In particular, there have been several “line of sight” cases, involving the issue of whether people who used wheelchairs are entitled to seats where they can see over people who stand in the rows in front of them. Another frequently litigated issue is whether wheelchair seating in stadium-style movie theaters must offer choices of position within the theater, and to what extent wheelchair seating must be integrated into the stadium seating section of the theater.

Some of the parties that control and manage recreational opportunities are public entities; for example, public parks and high school athletic associations. Therefore, Title II of the ADA and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act (to the extent these entities receive federal funds) are relevant as well. A public entities’ obligations regarding recreation opportunities under Title II and Section 504 closely track those of private operators of places of public accommodation: they cannot discriminate on the basis of disability in their operations (which includes a duty to provide reasonable accommodation), and must make their facilities accessible. One frequently litigated issue in this area involves public sports associations’ role as standard-setters for who gets to participate in high school athletics.

Posted by rollingrains at 07:42 PM

May 14, 2008

Gilda Quintua and Inclusive Tourism in the Philippines

Key to the philosophy of economic development inspired by the Disability Rights movement is recognition that persons ith disability are themselves in a unique position to know and express their needs. Occasionally an innovator arises setting direction for many others. Gilda Quintua founder of M.G.I.Q. Deaf Tourist Assistance in the Philippines is one such person. She is one of the reason's for that country's growing tourism industry:

In 2006 alone, the country recorded 2.84 million tourist arrivals due to the country’s fast growing industry, marketing success and affordable air travels. 20% of these are Koreans, followed by the Americans, Japanese and Chinese. A classic example is the Marine Life Tour in Pamilacan Island, Bohol.

At the regional and policy level the groundwork for pioneers like Gilda has ben established over the years by UN-ESCAP Social Development Officer Aiko Akiyama working on frameworks such as the CRPD and the Biwako Millennium Framework (BMF) Plus Five.

Further reading:

http://www.ncwdp.gov.ph/index.php?rt=&tsq1=57

Posted by rollingrains at 04:17 AM

May 13, 2008

Mapping an Alternate Future - Using Social Media to Implement Article 30 of the CRPD

Green Map Icons


Toronto constitutional lawyer David Lepofsky is all fired up and he is making some changes that mean accessibility for us all.

The article "Improving accessibility is taking too long: critic" recounts one of the action suggestions he made at the recent Intermunicipal Accessibility Symposium:

To continue the fight for accessibility, Lepofsky encouraged all participants at Saturday’s symposium to take action by hosting events such as a barrier-buster scavenger hunt, where people could look and start to identify barriers. He also suggested community forums to get more people educated and aware.

Let me suggest a tool for multiplying the impact of such a Barrier-Buster Scavenger Hunt that will make the results instantly available to the entire world. Create a Green Map documenting results that in itself becomes a community forum available 24/7/365 or, as they say, "Think Global, Map Local!":

Green Map ® System promotes inclusive participation in sustainable community development around the world, using mapmaking as our medium.

GMS supports local Green Mapmakers as they create perspective-changing community ‘portraits’ which act as comprehensive inventories for decision-making and as practical guides for residents and tourists.Mapmaking teams pair our adaptable tools and universal iconography with local knowledge and leadership to chart green living, ecological, social and cultural resources.

This approach is the application of social media to the implementation of Article 30 of the UN Convention on the Rights of persons with Disabilities (CRPD).

More on Green Maps:

http://www.greenmap.org/greenhouse/en/participate

You are invited to Green Map’s Top Ten Party on May 21!

Join us at our global office, 220A East 4th Street in Manhattan on Wednesday, May 21 from 5 to 8 pm. We’re celebrating the generosity of our supporters who responded to America's Giving Challenge and made our non-profit a Top Ten winner!

At the party, our OpenGreenMap interactive mapmaking website will be previewed. We'd love to hear what you think about this inclusive new global project-in-progress that was seeded by hundreds of small Giving Challenge donations. We'll also be introducing the updated Green Map iconography and showing some of the newest resources we offer for youth and citywide Green Map projects, locally and globally.

Come and enjoy refreshments provided by Angelica Kitchen, Brooklyn Brewery, the Sixth Street Community Center and others. Bring friends and network with our staff, board and supporters. 220A East 4th Street is between Avenues A & B in the East Village. The closest subway is the F or V at 2nd Ave or the 6 train at Astor Place. There is no need to RSVP, but if you have questions, email apple [at] greenmap [dot] org or call 212 674 1631. Thanks again to all who put Green Map in the Top Ten - we look forward to seeing you on May 21st!

Another Local Event, the Green Apple Cycling Tour

On Saturday, May 17, see places you never knew about and find great ways to get involved in everyday green living in New York. Join us during Bike Month for free community sustainability tour covering East Village, Lower East Side, riverside and greenway sites beginning at 11 AM at the Temperance Monument near 9th & Avenue A in Tompkins Square Park. This easy ride concludes nearby 2 hours later. All cyclists are welcome. Those 14 and under need helmets. Ride cosponsored by Time’s Up! and rain cancels. Click GreenAppleMap.org/page/events for details!


A Decade of Green Growth

Ten years ago, our director met Maeve Lydon of Victoria BC’s Common Grounds/LifeCycles project and Beth Ferguson, then a Hampshire College student, in Havana at a conference on the ethics and culture of sustainable development. It was there, too, that the seeds of Green Mapmaking were planted in Cuba, soon to be cultivated by Liana Bidart Cisneros and a network of biologists and educators at Centro Felix Varela.

This May, a reunion took place at the Community University Expo hosted by the University of Victoria, Canada. A host of remarkable Green Map outcomes were presented, including 113 diverse Mapa Verde Cuba projects; a dozen Green Maps published in the Victoria region along with a new project base within UVic’s Office of Community Based Research; and Beth’s ongoing youth resources development with Green Map System and her creative lino-cut Austin Texas neighborhood map. Our thanks to everyone at UVic, as well as the Canadian, Swedish and Latin American Mapmakers who took part in a half-dozen Green Map presentations and helped our Americas network development planning move forward!

Our Wonderful Interns!

We very much appreciate the work of spring interns Dru Hara, Akiko Rokube and Ana Isabel Lagos. Yelena Zolotorevskaya will be with us all summer, joined by Yoko Ishibashi and Andrew Sass, along with trainees Miikka Lammela and Gottfried Haider, whose presence was made possible by CDS International and the Pall Mall Foundation. These talented interns are joining the OpenGreenMap development team of Wendy Brawer (director), Thomas Turnbull (lead technology developer), Carlos Martinez (project assistant), Lee Frankel-Goldwater (technology develoment assistant) and Bob Zuber (outreach specialist). Watch for more news as our inclusive, interactive project heats up with the season!

See you at our party, tour and other events (including the NetSquared Challenge and Beyond Broadcasting conferences) in the coming weeks!

Posted by rollingrains at 11:01 PM

May 11, 2008

Chapulín gana el concurso Taxi de la Ciudad de México

Ayer, con la ausencia de funcionarios del Gobierno del DF, se premió a los ganadores del concurso de diseño del Taxi de la Ciudad de México, que organizó el Instituto de Ciencia y Tecnología del DF y la Setravi

El primer lugar, acreedor a 40 mil pesos de premio, una medalla y diploma, fue para el proyecto Chapulín, presentado por la empresa Rigoletti Casa de Diseño y cuyos autores fueron Arturo Millán Martínez, Eduardo González Morón y Juan Alberto Islas.

Éste último explicó que su prototipo cuenta con un diseño universal, es decir, no sólo es para personas con movilidad total sino también para quien posee alguna discapacidad, cuenta con un motor híbrido y aprovecha al máximo el espacio del vehículo.

Chapulín gana el concurso Taxi de la Ciudad de México
por Jessica Castillejos

Ayer, con la ausencia de funcionarios del Gobierno del DF, se premió a los ganadores del concurso de diseño del Taxi de la Ciudad de México, que organizó el Instituto de Ciencia y Tecnología del DF (ICyTDF) y la Secretaría de Transportes y Vialidad (Setravi).

Durante la ceremonia realizada en el Palacio del Ayuntamiento, Esther Orozco, directora general del ICyTDF, resaltó que el concurso fue creado con tres objetivos: estimular la creatividad de la ciudadanía; involucrarla en la resolución de los problemas de la ciudad y participar en el diseño del taxi ideal para la capital del país.

El primer lugar, acreedor a 40 mil pesos de premio, una medalla y diploma, fue para el proyecto Chapulín, presentado por la empresa Rigoletti Casa de Diseño y cuyos autores fueron Arturo Millán Martínez, Eduardo González Morón y Juan Alberto Islas.

Éste último explicó que su prototipo cuenta con un diseño universal, es decir, no sólo es para personas con movilidad total sino también para quien posee alguna discapacidad, cuenta con un motor híbrido y aprovecha al máximo el espacio del vehículo.

A finales de 2007, cuando se anunció este certamen, la Setravi dijo que parte fundamental del concurso era el diseño de la cromática “ideal” para los taxis de la ciudad, sin embargo, en la ceremonia de premiación poca mención se hizo de este aspecto, mientras que en las calles los taxis ya comienzan a pintar sus unidades con los colores que se publicaron en la Gaceta Oficial del Distrito Federal y que es la combinación del vino con el dorado.

“Si realmente se pudiera financiar esto, los taxis como Chapulín podrían circular en dos o tres años, el diseño es totalmente producible y viable, a pesar de su estética”, comentó Juan Alberto Islas.

El segundo lugar –que se hizo acreedor a 30 mil pesos y diploma– correspondió al Taxi para Zonas Metropolitanas, diseñado por Daniel Chinchilla Ochoa, mientras el tercer lugar fue para el Taxi inteligente, de Manuel Rangel de Jesús, quien recibió 20 mil pesos y diploma.
Ayer, con la ausencia de funcionarios del Gobierno del DF, se premió a los ganadores del concurso de diseño del Taxi de la Ciudad de México, que organizó el Instituto de Ciencia y Tecnología del DF y la Setravi

Ayer, con la ausencia de funcionarios del Gobierno del DF, se premió a los ganadores del concurso de diseño del Taxi de la Ciudad de México, que organizó el Instituto de Ciencia y Tecnología del DF (ICyTDF) y la Secretaría de Transportes y Vialidad (Setravi).

Durante la ceremonia realizada en el Palacio del Ayuntamiento, Esther Orozco, directora general del ICyTDF, resaltó que el concurso fue creado con tres objetivos: estimular la creatividad de la ciudadanía; involucrarla en la resolución de los problemas de la ciudad y participar en el diseño del taxi ideal para la capital del país.

El primer lugar, acreedor a 40 mil pesos de premio, una medalla y diploma, fue para el proyecto Chapulín, presentado por la empresa Rigoletti Casa de Diseño y cuyos autores fueron Arturo Millán Martínez, Eduardo González Morón y Juan Alberto Islas.

Éste último explicó que su prototipo cuenta con un diseño universal, es decir, no sólo es para personas con movilidad total sino también para quien posee alguna discapacidad, cuenta con un motor híbrido y aprovecha al máximo el espacio del vehículo.

A finales de 2007, cuando se anunció este certamen, la Setravi dijo que parte fundamental del concurso era el diseño de la cromática “ideal” para los taxis de la ciudad, sin embargo, en la ceremonia de premiación poca mención se hizo de este aspecto, mientras que en las calles los taxis ya comienzan a pintar sus unidades con los colores que se publicaron en la Gaceta Oficial del Distrito Federal y que es la combinación del vino con el dorado.

“Si realmente se pudiera financiar esto, los taxis como Chapulín podrían circular en dos o tres años, el diseño es totalmente producible y viable, a pesar de su estética”, comentó Juan Alberto Islas.

El segundo lugar –que se hizo acreedor a 30 mil pesos y diploma– correspondió al Taxi para Zonas Metropolitanas, diseñado por Daniel Chinchilla Ochoa, mientras el tercer lugar fue para el Taxi inteligente, de Manuel Rangel de Jesús, quien recibió 20 mil pesos y diploma.

Posted by rollingrains at 12:22 AM

May 07, 2008

Da AVAPE: Turismo acessível

Arvorismo-Socorro

Convênio entre o Ministério do Turismo, AVAPE e a Prefeitura de Socorro facilitará o acesso de pessoas com deficiência ao turismo de aventura e atividades de lazer

Reportagem: Marília Penteriche

Em matéria de acessibilidade turística, o Brasil ainda engatinha se comparado aos Estados Unidos, Canadá ou Inglaterra. Além das poucas opções de destinos e habitações realmente acessíveis, as existentes costumam ser caras. Mas o município de Socorro (SP), a 130 quilômetros de São Paulo, promete mudar este cenário. Um convênio entre o Ministério do Turismo, a Prefeitura, a AVAPE e o programa Aventura Segura criou o projeto Socorro Acessível, para tornar a cidade - um dos pólos de turismo de aventura mais importantes do interior paulista - o primeiro destino turístico do país totalmente adaptado às pessoas com deficiência.
A AVAPE iniciou a análise do diagnóstico de acessibilidade e do potencial turístico de Socorro há um ano, identificando barreiras arquitetônicas construídas numa época em que as pessoas com deficiência não saíam de suas casas para se divertir, muito menos para viajar. No levantamento, a Organização empregou arquitetos e técnicos em inclusão. 'Ao todo, serão realizadas nove ações para acessibilidade, entre elas a instalação de sinais sonoros nos semáforos e construção e adaptação de rampas de acesso em locais públicos, como ruas, praças e museus', explica a técnica em acessibilidade da AVAPE, Cristiane Ecker. Mais do que promover a inclusão por meio do turismo acessível, Socorro está se adequando ao decreto número 5.296, de 2004, que regulamenta a lei 10.098. Entre outras definições, hotéis e pousadas devem ter 5% de suas acomodações adaptadas para atender pessoas com deficiência, de acordo com a Norma Técnica 9050. Os estabelecimentos de uso público e privado precisam estar adequados até dezembro de 2008.

A adaptação física não foi o único foco da AVAPE. A Organização se preocupou também com a questão comportamental. Em fevereiro, realizou a oficina 'Colocando as Mãos na Massa', para empresários e gestores de empresas que oferecem turismo de aventura, esclarecendo dúvidas sobre como iniciar projetos de acessibilidade e atendimento às pessoas com deficiência.

Posted by rollingrains at 08:41 PM

La région Riviera Cote d'Azur (French)

La région Riviera Cote d'Azur, dont la ville de Nice est l'un des centres majeurs, peut se vanter d'être l'un des principaux sites touristiques français. Une réalité qui a sa part d'ombre !

En effet il y a une catégorie de touristes qui trouve difficilement le gîte et le couvert dans cette magnifique région, ce sont les personnes à mobilité réduite. Malgré le dynamisme de certaines régions en matière de tourisme et handicap, nous pouvons constater que cet aspect n'est pas une préoccupation des professionnels du tourisme locaux. Seulement 79 structures labellisées sur 6 départements, alors que le Languedoc Roussillon en compte 252 et la Région Centre 272. Le Comité Régional de Tourisme a décidé de réagir en mettant les professionnels face à leurs responsabilités, à l'occasion d'un colloque au cours duquel ils ont débattu de cette situation avec des personnes handicapées, des politiques, des responsables d'associations et assisté à la présentation de ce qui se fait dans ce domaine en Espagne grâce à la présentation de l'architecte Francesc Aragall, président de « Design for all » qui a mis en accessibilité de nombreux sites historiques. Dominique Charpentier, le Directeur Général du CRT Riviera Côte d'Azur, estime que la mise en accessibilité des sites d'accueil touristique est une démarche totalement rentable au vu des plus de 130 millions de personnes handicapées identifiées en Europe, qui sont autant de touristes en puissance pour les régions touristiques qui ont une image de zone accessible pour tous.

Le président de l'un des groupements hôteliers de Nice rétorquait que cette démarche est difficile à mettre en œuvre pour nombre de professionnels, coûteuse et non rentable dans la plupart des cas. Un point de vue qui a déclenché les foudres de Muriel Marland-Militello, députée des Alpes Maritimes et qui est, entre autres, vice-présidente du groupe d'étude sur l'intégration des personnes fragilisées, et de Madame Catherine Bachelier, Déléguée ministérielle à l'accessibilité depuis une dizaine d'années. Celles-ci ont su faire valoir le fait que l'investissement dans l'accessibilité était une ambition nationale irréversible dont le bénéfice ne pouvait être remis en question. Pour accompagner les professionnels qui souhaitent obtenir le label Tourisme et Handicap, le CRT anime une commission composée de spécialistes du handicap et de l'accessibilité qui, sur demande, réalisent un diagnostic de la structure et instruisent le dossier qui permet l'obtention du Label. Au vu de la détermination de l'équipe locale de labellisation, on peut espérer que les labellisations actuelles fassent boule de neige.

Source:

http://informations.handicap.fr/art-tourisme-culture-15.0.0.0-2543.php

Posted by rollingrains at 01:29 AM

May 03, 2008

Sérgio Franco, Marta Suplicy, Hotel Fazenda Campo dos Sonhos em Socorro Continuam Trabalho do Pioneiro De Turismo Inclusivo Dada Moreira

Dada Moreira com Ministra Marta Suplicy e Sérgio Franco no fundo

A Ministra do Turismo, Marta Suplicy, visitou o Hotel Fazenda Campo dos Sonhos em Socorro (SP) - o primeiro empreendimento da cidade a ser referência para a acessibilidade a pessoas com necessidades especiais (deficientes auditivos, visuais e de mobilidade)

O Parque dos Sonhos, onde está localizado o hotel, também será referência para a certificação de turismo de aventura, pois é o primeiro a adotar integralmente as normas da ABNT (Associação Brasileira de Normas Técnicas), que foram regulamentadas a partir do Projeto “Aventura Segura”, coordenado pela ABETA (Associação Brasileira das Empresas de Turismo de Aventura) em conjunto com o Ministério do Turismo.

Sérgio Franco, diretor da Adventure Sports Fair, acompanhou a visita, e pode constatar com orgulho o fato de que grande parte das iniciativas hoje implementadas tiveram início nas edições da feira, que se tornou o ponto de encontro anual entre os empresários do turismo, ONGs e Governo.

Todas essas iniciativas tiveram início durante a Adventure Sports Fair – o grande ponto de encontro entre os empresários do Turismo, Ongs e Governo.


Fonte: http://www.adventurefair.com.br/noticias/destaques1.asp?numero_noticia=208

De sitio Adventure Sports Fair:

A Adventure Sports Fair tem papel importante no mercado de turismo de aventura, para a indústria de roupas, calçados e equipamentos para os praticantes de esportes de aventura ou simplesmente para os consumidores que adotam a aventura como estilo de vida.

É também o mais importante salão de veículos 4x4, com a presença das principais marcas do mercado, oferecendo, assim, a possibilidade dos consumidores experimentarem seus lançamentos.

Além de ser uma feira de negócios, a Adventure Sports Fair aproxima os destinos e os operadores das agências de turismo que irão comercializar seus produtos.

E, para os fabricantes de roupas, calçados, equipamentos e bikes, a Adventure Sports Fair é a grande plataforma de lançamento de seus produtos, porque atrai milhares de lojistas de todo o Brasil.

Ao mesmo tempo, é uma feira voltada ao consumidor final, divulgando essa nova categoria de turismo e os novos produtos voltados à aventura para um público de alto poder aquisitivo e formadores de opinião.

Por tudo isso a Adventure Sports Fair está entre as maiores feiras do mundo na sua categoria.


Posted by rollingrains at 04:48 PM

April 23, 2008

Wellington City Council and Tourism for All

A public forum held by the Wellington City Council at Te Papa earlier this month was entitled “Tourism for All” and concentrated on a number of aspects around accessible tourism for people with disabilities (PWDs) and seniors. Wellington, New Zealand’s capital city, is probably the most proactive jurisdiction in the country when it comes to access tourism, and the forum, driven by the council’s Disability reference Group (DRG), was opened by Wellington mayor Kerry Prendergast.

Guest speaker Sandra Rhodda from Tai Poutini Polytechnic in Greymouth said that the New Zealand tourism and hospitality industry ignores the boomer, senior, and access tourism market to its peril.

She suggested that PWDs, seniors, and boomers are all part of the same equation. In spite of the fact that the world population is dominated by baby boomers (those born between 1946 and 1965 and now aged 43 to 62), in spite of the fact that this age group has the most disposable income, in spite of the fact that as these boomers age, they will swell enormously the ranks of the seniors market (25% of New Zealand’s population will be 65+ by 2040) and the ranks of PWDs, in spite of the fact that already over half of international visitors to New Zealand are over 45 (as are over 70% of cruise passengers in New Zealand), in spite of the fact that PWDs are the worlds largest minority group (e.g., 17% of New Zealanders have a disability), Rhodda pointed out that these groups are apparently rarely considered in New Zealand tourism and hospitality planning and market targeting. Unlike in countries overseas, very few New Zealand businesses or jurisdictions are gearing up to meet the demands of these groups, and there is little New Zealand research providing information on their size, spending power, habits, or needs.

A presentation by the Barrier Free New Zealand Trust (BFNZT) outlined how it plans to create a “one-stop” website of accessible venues for all people. The website will include accommodation venues, conference facilities, restaurants, bars, and cafes, and event centres. The BFNZT is a charitable trust, made up of consumers and individuals with experience and expertise in local government, the building industry and the disability sector.

Garth Stewart of NZ Bus outlined how his company will invest $40m over the next two and a half years on 90 new buses, and plans to have 95% of their fleet fully accessible by end of 2009. New customer service training and accessible bus stops are planned, together with GPS and Real Time services (up-to-date information by internet, phone, or txt).

Patrick FizGerald8360 from Squiz NZ described a plan to develop the online and print version of the “Accessible Wellington” map so that it remains up to date, interactive, and so that the visually impaired and blind would have full access to the information.

Michael Grace from Positively Wellington Tourism (the local marketing organization) made a plea for sector cooperation in increasing the accessible tourism offer in Wellington. He noted that there was currently no disability-specific accreditation scheme in New Zealand and in fact his organization depended on self-assessment by operators who listed their business on the Positively Wellington site. He discussed the various pros and cons of various international accreditation systems, and the adoption of an Independent Qualmark type rating system for disability accreditation.

The DRG reported back to the community on its work plan progress over the previous 12 months. Of particular importance was mobility parking, access to the railway station, the Kilbirnie Community Sports Centre, bus driver training with Stage Coach, input into the councils draft annual plan, and issues relating to the Footpath Management Policy. A project called the Kumutoto Open Spaces, which has reconnected the city waterfront to the CBD, was reported on. Project improvements included having ramps at a 1-in-15 gradient (as opposed to the legislated 1-in- 12), colour contrasts, and hand rails. However, a ramp to the water’s edge was not included despite the recommendations of the DRG. The DRG intends in the coming year to raise the issue of access gangways on the inter-island ferries, provide further Universal Access training, submit on the council’s Draft Annual Plan, progress issues with the council’s website in respect to accessibility, and work closely with the Greater Wellington regional Council to implement the recommendations of the Human Rights Commission Report into Accessible Land Transport.

Posted by rollingrains at 03:54 AM

April 22, 2008

Bathroom Talk

Let's face it. For those of us with spinal cord injuries and many people with mobility impairments bathrooms and bodily processes come up more often in our conversations than is the national average.




The Best Little Outhouse in Town!

An award-winning universally designed public restroom outside Bangkok, Thailand.

Posted by rollingrains at 03:04 AM

April 20, 2008

Talking Bus Stops

The e-government Awards in the UK recognize innovation. Talking bus stops in the Brighton & Hove City Council Sustainable Transport system won the award in 2007.

http://www.publictechnology.net/modules.php?op=modload&name=News&file=article&sid=15193&mode=thread&order=0&thold=0

In August 2007 Brighton & Hove became the first area in the country to introduce talking bus stops for blind and visually impaired people. Brighton and Hove City Council, in conjunction with Brighton & Hove Bus and Coach Company, have a well-established award-winning accessible bus policy.

The RNIB React system links into the city's Bus Real Time Information signs allowing blind and visually impaired people to hear announcements at bus stops which tells them which bus stop they are at, which buses are coming and when they are due to arrive, meaning they no longer need to rely on fellow passengers for help.

Brighton & Hove City Council and the Brighton & Hove Bus and Coach Company have a quality bus partnership and, between them, have won major awards for bus accessibility policies, the real time information system and for innovations which have generally helped to increase bus patronage year on year, against national trends. The RNIB React system is another step towards making the city more accessible, bringing independence and confidence for blind and visually impaired people who want to use local buses. Talking bus stops were introduced in July and launched city-wide at 20 bus stops and a further 2 bus stops in East Sussex.

A multi-disciplinary working group was been formed, including councillors, officers, system designers, users, local politicians and consultants. A partnership was formed with the Royal National Institute for Blind (RNIB) to evolve a RNIB React system from providing orientation messages to include Real Time Information. The interface to provide a text to speech link with the Siemens VDO Passenger Information Displays was created by working with SFX Technologies, whilst Atkins Consultants helped with project management. The resulting system can be replicated in other areas and interest has already been shown from London local authorities.

In Brighton and Hove 1900 people were registered blind or partially sighted in March 2006 (DoH). It is estimated by the RNIB that under-registration is running at 20%, meaning that up to 2375 people in the city (1.0% of the local population ) could benefit from using Talking bus stops. The number of people with sight impairment problems is likely to double over the next 25 years as the population ages and diseases such as diabetes (a major cause of sight loss) becomes more prevalent.

People over the age of 60 and all eligible people with disabilities can have concessionary bus travel in the city. The majority of Blind and partially sighted people (81%) are aged 65 and older so this new system helps to ensure that this section of the population who qualify for free travel can actually make good use of it!"

"Brighton & Hove's Talking Bus Stops were officially launched in August to a group of 70 users. Already one user has reported that he won't leave home without his key fob now and it has become as important to him as his mobile phone. Mick Etheridge says "I travel into Brighton quite a lot on the buses and before the signs were made audio I used to struggle as it was not always possible to find someone to ask for the next bus time.?

Alison Evans is also a regular user of the system: "I use my keyfob daily on my way to work and home from work to check when my bus is due. In the evening I have a choice of buses and it helps me to know which one is due first so I can make the decision which one to get, rather than having to get whichever one arrives first because I don't know how long it is until the next one. What is even better is that my partner and I live in Peacehaven and Brighton & Hove Council were able to work with East Sussex County Council and install 2 of the React units at bus stops we both use regularly. It really is a great system and well done Brighton & Hove for being the first council to use the React system in this manner."


Source:

http://www.publictechnology.net/modules.php?op=modload&name=News&file=article&sid=15193&mode=thread&order=0&thold=0

<1__

Award category: 11) Building a fairer society with e-Government: Targeted or localised services
Sponsored by KPMG
(Using ICT & e-Government services to improve social inclusion for specific groups of excluded or disadvantaged people).

Talking Bus Stops for the blind and visually impaired (linked to Real Time Bus Information signs)

Brighton & Hove City Council Sustainable Transport www.brighton-hove.gov.uk

- RNIB React System links into Siemens Real Time Bus Information System - Atkins Consultancy provided help with project management - SFX Technologies enabled the RNIB React system to link into the real time information system


http://www.publictechnology.net/modules.php?op=modload&name=News&file=article&sid=15193&mode=thread&order=0&thold=0
--!>

Posted by rollingrains at 02:34 PM

April 12, 2008

Progress on Inclusion at Delhi Airport

Parul Sharma in The Hindu on April 7th about improvement for travelers with disabilities using the New Delhi airport. What is not clear is whether or not these features arise from active participation by people with disabilities and their organizations (DPOs) or whether they are best guesses of the real needs of users provided by non-disabled "experts."

The responsibility lies with disabled people of India to assure that it is the former and not the latter. It is a responsibility they carry on behalf of other communities of people with disability from around the world -- and not a light burden in the face of the huge infrastructure investment being made by India on airport upgrades.

What the Indian disability community does today will be the legacy left to several generations in the future. This is the moment for it to step out on the international stage in a position of moral leadership and technical competence. Is the Indian disability community rising to the challenge?


by Parul Sharma, New Delhi, The Hindu, 07th April 2008


NEW DELHI: As the authorities attempt to make things easier for the differently-abled citizens of the Capital by providing for disabled-friendly bus shelters and low-floor Delhi Transport Corporation buses, the Indira Gandhi International Airport here has also come up with some arrangements for dealing with such passengers.

The Delhi International Airport Limited that manages the airport has made some special provisions for physically challenged persons.


Special parking

To begin with, DIAL has made provision for special parking for the physically challenged persons in the reserved parking area near the VIP gate at all the terminals of the airport.

Also, once a physically disabled person reaches the airport, wheel chairs are available for them at the airport manager’s office that can be used free of cost.

“The facility is available round the clock along with an attendant as well as a customer service staff to help such passengers with the check-in procedures. An attendant is there to take care of these passengers who come at the Arrivals terminal as well as those who are in transit. Mostly, the airlines have their staff to take care of such travellers or otherwise we too have our own attendants for the same,” said a DIAL official.

Also, provisions have been made for special wash rooms for the physical challenged people inside all the terminal buildings of the airport.

“These toilets have been specially designed keeping physically challenged persons in mind. We got the old wash rooms renovated and got contact fittings done. An attendant is present inside the toilet, though they have been created in such a way that these passengers do not even need to touch anything. We have ensured that throughout the same ground level is maintained inside the terminals so that their movement is not affected,” the official added.

Once inside the terminal, the airlines take care of the wheel chair-bound passengers, which is again a free-of-cost service.

Different carriers have also arranged for low floor coaches – similar to some of the new DTC buses -- for wheel chair passengers, while a few others provide for ambu-lift facility as well, when the passenger is simply raised to the level of an aircraft using a vehicle.

Apart from these facilities for special passengers, work is on to create a brand new domestic terminal that is likely to be ready by the end of 2008.

New runway

Along with the new runway, the new domestic terminal is expected to benefit all the travellers by reducing congestion inside the terminals. It will also allow greater number of aircraft movements, thereby considerably increasing the airport’s capacity. Designed by architect Hafeez Contractor, the upgraded terminal will include a new Departure building and an expanded and improved Arrival building.

source: http://www.thehindu.com/2008/04/07/stories/2008040756890400.htm

Posted by rollingrains at 06:08 PM

April 08, 2008

Philippines: Access 2010 - First National Conference on Accessible Transportation for Persons with Disabilities

The First National Conference on Accessible Transportation for Persons with Disabilities March 27-28, 2008 at the Great Eastern Hotel, Quezon City, Philippines. The objectives of the conference were "to promote transport accessibility as an entry point to building a non-handicapping environment for persons with disabilities."

At the end of the Conference the participants shall have:

• Developed common inter-sectoral understanding and dialogue on public transport and accessibility issues.
• Linked the call for accessible transportation to efforts on creating non-handicapping public transport facilities and physical environments.
• Identified the consideration needed for drawing an intervention plan for increasing inter-sectoral partnership for transport and accessibility issues.
• Recommended measures to address the identified gaps and issues in the public transportation system that limits the mobility of persons with disabilities resulted from the regional transport summits held in 2007.
• Drawn and formulated a National Plan of Action for an accessible public transportation system for persons with disabilities in the country.


below is the conference Delaration of Support and Commitment.


“ACCESS 2010”:

First National Conference on Accessible Transportation for Persons with Disabilities

DECLARATION OF SUPPORT AND COMMITMENT

We, the participants of the Access 2010: First National Conference on Accessible Transportation for Persons with Disabilities belonging to the government and the private sectors, declare to commit ourselves to work together in a common platform and uphold the principles of :

Respect for the dignity and rights of all persons with disabilities; and,

Empowering them to live independently and participate fully and equally in all aspects of community life especially the women with disabilities whose involvement in community activities have been undermined because of gender
biases and discriminations.

We pledge to participate actively and unfailingly in the implementation of the National Plan of Action for an Accessible Land, Rail, Air and Sea Public Transportation System for Persons with Disabilities in the country.

Further, we resolve in particular to achieve the following five-point action agenda in line with the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, BIWAKO Millennium Framework for Action Towards an Inclusive, Barrier-Free and Rights-Based Society for Persons with Disabilities and the Accessibility Law:

1. Formulate strategies that will improve attitudes and behavior towards persons
with disabilities particularly in the public transport sector;

2. Undertake comprehensive review of accessibility standards for planning of
public transport systems, as well as universal vehicular standards for
indigenous public transport;

3. Provide opportunities for the development of a strong multi-sectoral
partnership for public transport accessibility;

4. Improve existing public transport systems and ensure new and renovated public
transport systems are accessible; and,

5. Provide education and training for public transportation stakeholders on
accessibility issues facing persons with disabilities.

To achieve this five-point agenda, the participants commit to undertake the following:

Assist in the development of an effective mechanism for the implementation and monitoring of laws and policies pertaining to the accessibility of transportation services provided to the public;

Review and amend existing policies, guidelines and standards on public transport systems as well as universal vehicular standards for indigenous public transport that restricts mobility resulting in the discrimination of persons with disabilities in the transport industry;

Actively support the development of a strong multi-sectoral partnership for public transport accessibility among government organizations, non-government organizations and the sector of persons with disabilities that will result in a pro-active public transportation industry responsive to the enjoyment of persons with disabilities of their rights as Filipino citizens;

Support the development of existing transport systems to include standards in the designs of vehicles and other transportation facilities as well as ensure that new and renovated public transport systems are accessible; and,

Provide continuing capability-building activities for public transportation stakeholders on accessibility for the effective implementation of guidelines/policies/standards as well as ensure that persons with disabilities have the same access and are treated in a dignified and non-discriminatory manner.

Finally, in support of the above five-point agenda, we urge all persons with disabilities to organize themselves in all levels of the political subdivisions of our country so that with one voice they can call for government’s affirmative action in pursuit of the attainment of the objectives of this Declaration.

Signed this 28th day of March 2008 at Great Eastern Hotel, Quezon City.


Undersecretary Anneli R. Lontoc –DOTC
Asst. Secretary Elmer A. Soneja – DOTC
Director Ildefonso T. Patdu, Jr. - DOTC
Undersecretary Rosie Lovely Romulo –NCDA
Asst. Secretary Nora Salazar – NCDA
Michael P. Davies – CBM-Seapro
ies

Posted by rollingrains at 04:22 PM

April 07, 2008

Green & Inclusive: San Jose's Gish Apartments

We have been describing Universal Design as:

...an orientation to any design process that starts with a responsibility to the experience of the user. It has a parallel in the green design movement that also offers a framework for design problem solving based on the core value of environmental responsibility. Universal Design and green design are comfortably two sides of the same coin but at different evolutionary stages. Green design focuses on environmental sustainability, Universal Design on social sustainability.

San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed and First Community Housing have delivered on the green/UD link:

In San Jose, First Community Housing's 35-unit Gish Apartments earned the LEED for Homes certification. The group serves transit-oriented families as well as those with developmental disabilities.

"Green homes perform better than the average home," [LEED council spokeswoman Ashley] Katz said. "They're a healthier place to live with a smaller environmental footprint. It's like a tighter envelope."

San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed, who offered up a green vision for the city last fall, attended Monday's ceremony. Afterward, he said his staff has started counting solar roofs in San Jose, and that fewer than 500 are now in place. His goal is 100,000 solar roofs in San Jose over the next 10 years.

Sustainable and inclusive destination development works even in Silicon Valley.

Source:
http://www.mercurynews.com/green/ci_8530078

More on First Community Housing:

Web Site:
http://www.firsthousing.org/

Global Green Case Study
http://www.firsthousing.org/pdfs/GlobalGreen2.pdf

Innovation in Design
http://www.firsthousing.org/pdfs/Innovation%20part%20of%20Design%2012-14-07%20SVBJ.pdf

Wall Street Journal on Universal Design in Homes
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB120742884133292721.html?mod=googlenews_wsj

Posted by rollingrains at 04:55 PM

April 06, 2008

Life on the Beach

wheelchair landeez


Beach access for wheelchair users is an issue being addressed in in creative ways: ramps, boardwalks, Mob-Mats, and all-terrain wheelchairs. Shared Adventures of Santa Cruz, California has added a Landeez Beach Wheelchair to the collection of options available to the public in that beach town:

We often receive questions about beach wheelchairs. Locals and travelers alike would like to know where to rent one so that they can experience our majestic and famous coastline from the sand.

The city of Santa Cruz currently does have a beach chair program, but it is very limited in certain aspects and they can only be used onsite at three beaches.

In many instances, someone needs a beach wheelchair to attend a specific event (such as a wedding) or to visit an alternate site. There is no other place locally that rents them out, so we have not had anywhere to refer these many people. We are the ONLY place in Santa Cruz that offers a beach wheelchair available to rent on a daily (or weekly) basis!

Source
http://www.sharedadventures.org/beachchair.htm

Contact Information:

Shared Adventures
90 Grandview St. B101, Santa Cruz, CA 95060
Phone/Fax: 831-459-7210
Office Hours: Tues, Thurs, Fri 11-5:30
info@sharedadventures.org

Landeez
http://www.landeez.com/

Posted by rollingrains at 01:29 AM

April 02, 2008

From Tourism-Review.com

April issue cover Tourism-Reviw
A special issue of the magazine Ethical has been published on Barrier-Free Tourism. The 13 page pdf download is available here.

Articles include:

Tourism Accessible for All in Europe
0,6 Mb

For those who associate tourism only with holiday and leisure and luxury it should be mentioned that tourism is a sector of remarkable economic importance. The European tourism economy contributes to about 5 % (depending on its definition up to 11 %) to the GDP of the European Union and provides between 8 and 24 million jobs (depending on the definition of the sector). Furthermore, it should be taken into account that tourism is indispensably linked with travel...

Case Study: Economic Advantages of Accessible Tourism in Germany
0,3 Mb

In November 2002 Germany's Federal Ministry of Economics and Labour commissioned a project group, comprising the University of Münster and the consulting firms NEUMANNCONSULT and Reppel + Lorenz, to conduct a study on the economic impulses of accessible Tourism for All. For the first time reliable data and statements were brought together, which represent the customer’s potential and manner regarding accessible Tourism in Germany...

Merging Architecture and Accessibility
0,4 Mb

In the Nordic countries, improving disabled people's access to museums, art galleries and other cultural institutions has been an important consideration for a number of years. It is evident that museum buildings and the way displayed objects are presented should embrace all visitors; one of the challenges confronting museums at the turn of the twenty-first century is to ensure the greatest possible accessibility for all without compromising the architectural expression...

Providing Services in an Accessible Manner
0,4 Mb

Access is about the absence of barriers to the use of facilities. Although this is usually seen in terms of physical access or access to informa¬tion and communication, poorly trained staff can represent a serious barrier for disabled people if they are unable to provide services in an appropriate, non-discriminatory way...
Barrier-Free Asia?

Posted by rollingrains at 10:31 PM

April 01, 2008

You Don't Need to Speak the Language to Understand This Video

Posted by rollingrains at 02:02 AM

March 31, 2008

The Alternative to Universal Design - A Video

Video description:

"Quebar barreiras arquitectónicas. O grito silencioso da marreta mostra à sociedade
que a cidadania também se faz de mobilidade."

"Breaking architectural barriers. The silent scream of the sledge hammer shows to society that citizenship includes mobility."

Posted by rollingrains at 01:57 AM

March 24, 2008

New Dehli Adds New Low-Floor Busses

Since 2002 the Indian non-profit organization Samarthyam has been working to improve New Dehli's transit accessibility. On April 1, 2008 their work will see the light of day with the launch of a new Bus Rapid Transit System corridor from Ambedkar Nagar to Moolchand. Recently Anjilee Agarwal and Sanjeev Sachdeva of non-government Samarthyam demonstrated the system at a press conference.

Initiative for the better: A disabled person with reduced mobility demonstrating the use of the new Bus Rapid Transit System in New Delhi on Wednesday that makes it accessible for all on low floor bus.

NEW DELHI: The Delhi Integrated Multi-Modal Transit System, a joint venture of the Delhi Government and the Industrial Development Finance Corporation, is all set to officially roll out the new Bus Rapid Transit System corridor from Ambedkar Nagar to Moolchand on April 1

Addressing a press conference on Wednesday, Delhi Transport Corporation officials waxed eloquent about the benefits of BRTS in making the Capital's public transport disable-friendly. A demonstration of how a wheelchair user will be able to easily access the bus queue shelter and the low-floor buses on the corridor was also provided after the conference

This demonstration was carried out by Anjilee Agarwal and Sanjeev Sachdeva of non-government organisation Samarthyam, which has been associated with the project since its inception in 2002.

The new low-floor buses that would be plying on the BRT corridor would be equipped with a ramp to enable people to board and disembark conveniently. The height of the bus-queue-shelter pavement has been raised to synchronise the height of the bus chassis. These buses would also have reserved space to accommodate wheelchairs.

"These features of this corridor make it accessible not just to the disabled but also to persons with reduced mobility such as senior citizens, families with small children, women wearing high heels," said Ms. Agarwal.

The disabled-friendly features in the system include an access ramp for persons using mobility aids, Braille plates and tactile floor tiles incorporated in the bus-queue-shelter in addition to boasting of well aligned street furniture.
The bus-queue-shelters included in the corridor will be located in the middle of the road with traffic marshals employed to help regulate traffic and help bus commuters cross the road. The segregated road design in BRT corridors will allow commuters to cross only at the zebra crossings when the traffic light is red during its normal cycle. A total of six traffic lights will be installed on the 5.6 km stretch of the trail corridor with each bus-queue-shelter located every 500 metres. According to DIMTS Senior Manager (Bus Operations) A. K. Sinha, the four bus routes to ply on the corridor would be 522, 521, 419 and 423. These would be run exclusively by the DTC. Blueline buses will not be permitted to run on them. The buses will ply in the corridor from 5 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Posted by rollingrains at 08:51 PM

March 23, 2008

Indian Tourism Minister Ambika Soni on Inclusion at National Congress on Disability Studies in Secondary and Higher Education

Tourism and Culture Minister Ambika Soni today said that any proposal for inclusion of disability studies in academic discipline should be supported as it will create an awareness in society about the needs and rights of the physically challenged.

Inaugurating a three-day National Congress on Disability Studies in Secondary and Higher Education in India here, Soni said: Attitude has to be changed towards the physically challenged persons as they are challenged in a limited sense only and can do wonders in other areas of their expertise or interests.

People at work place, society and in the country as a whole must be sensitized about the needs of the physically challenged and their rights within the Constitutional framework, Soni added.

Referring to the socially and economically disadvantaged groups in the country, she said that we must work towards creating an inclusive society where every person would contribute to the growth and development of the country.

Public awareness campaign for creating such an inclusive growth is the need of the hour, she added.
She said the Union Ministry of Tourism and Culture is sensitive to the special needs of challenged people.

The Minister further added that all the world heritage sites are in the process of providing special facilities for such people.

Other important monuments will also be provided with facilities, which would improve access to these monuments to people with special needs. This would enable them to appreciate the heritage of this country in the same manner as other citizens, she said.

The Tourism Ministry is also encouraging the hotels and other tourism related infrastructure to be developed in a manner that people with special needs could also use them as effectively as others.

Source: http://www.thaindian.com/newsportal/lifestyle/people-must-sensitize-themselves-to-the-needs-of-the-physically-challenged-soni_10029132.html

Posted by rollingrains at 03:55 AM

March 19, 2008

Accessible Wellington Forum: Tourism for Disabled People and Seniors

Wellington City Council is hosting an Accessible Wellington Forum on
Tourism for disabled people and seniors
on 11 April, 2008. Dr Sandra
Rhodda
, author of “Tourism for visitors to New Zealand with mobility
problems: a West Coast perspective” April 2007
http://www.taipoutini.ac.nz/taipoutini/report.asp?id=4#item , will speak
on the economic value to New Zealand business of catering for disabled
people and seniors. The Mayor of Wellington, Kerry Prendergast and the
CEO of Wellington City Council, Gary Poole will also speak.

An exhibition of barrier free solutions, Lifetime Design, Go-bus accessible buses and Wellington City Council accessible events, parks and gardens will run at the same time as the Forum.

People are asked to RSVP to Ross Livingstone by 2 April 2008.

For more information:

Contact: Ross Livingstone, Community Advisor-Disability
Postal: Absolutely Positively Accessible, PO Box 2199, Wellington
Phone: 04 801 3134
Mobile: 027 687 6412
Fax: 04 801 3124
Email: Ross.Livingstone@wcc.govt.nz

Posted by rollingrains at 11:48 PM

March 16, 2008

La Argentina y El Plan Nacional de Accesibilidad (Spanish)

El Ciudadano del famoso destino turistico Bariloche report del Plan Nacional de Accesibilidad:

¿Qué es el plan?

Es un marco estratégico para promover y dar coherencia a las acciones que las Gestiones de Gobierno conjuntamente con otras administraciones y entidades públicas o privadas han de realizar con el objetivo común de suprimir barreras e implantar el denominado Diseño Universal.

Se entiende por Diseño Universal a la actividad por la que cualquier bien o servicio es concebido o proyectado desde su origen para ser utilizado por todas las personas, o el mayor número de ellas posible.

Es también un instrumento posible de ejecutar para poder ampliar el ámbito de la Ley Nacional Nº 24.314 de Accesibilidad de Personas con Movilidad Reducida, para que desde el Gobierno de la Nación se propicie su aplicación; es decir, para favorecer la equiparación de oportunidades de las personas con movilidad y/o comunicación reducida promoviendo a la vez una mayor calidad de vida en toda la población.

Mas

Inclusive Destination Development
http://www.suite101.com/article.cfm/travel_with_disabilities/115176

Posted by rollingrains at 10:44 PM

March 15, 2008

The Rolling Rains Report Featured Entrant in the National Geographic and Ashoka's Changemakers Geotourism Challenge

The proposal to open three Centers of Excellence in Inclusive Tourism that is being considered by Echoing Green Foundation and publicy discussed at Ashoka's Changemakers' Geotourism Challenge has generated 80 comments from around the world here:

http://www.changemakers.net/en-us/node/5952

The Rolling Rains Report Featured Entrant in the National Geographic and Ashoka's Changemakers Geotourism Challenge

Global competition will uncover most innovative projects that support better tourism

[San Jose, CA, USA] – The National Geographic Society and Ashoka’s Changemakers have introduced the first Geotourism Challenge to identify and showcase innovators in tourism development, management, and marketing.

The one-of-a-kind online collaborative competition is designed to raise awareness about how tourism can help sustain, enhance and preserve local culture and environment.

The Rolling Rains Report is a featured entrant in this initiative at - http://www.changemakers.net/en-us/node/5951. The Rolling Rains Report is an experiment in achieving social inclusion. As a daily online publication it provides research and educational material emphasizing the quality of tourist experience of a group who has historically been denied access to tourism - people with disabilities.

At the Geotourism Challenge an expanded project is proposed. The Centers of Excellence in Inclusive Tourism Project will bring to scale sustainable inclusive tourism development projects piloted in Asia and the Americas. The project goal is to make the tourism industry an authentic partner in the aspirations, rights, and culture of the disability community by establishing local collaboratives, directed by people with disabilities, to provide tourism product creation, infrastructure design, and destination development services to the tourism and hospitality industry. Matching the profit motive of industry to the pent-up demand for travel opportunities among people with disabilities will be the purpose of three Centers of Excellence in Inclusive Tourism currently under consideration for funding and launch in September 2008. People with disabilities of the USA alone spend $13.6 billion annually on travel. Tourist destinations recognize the market advantage they gain by accommodating this travel sector. One of the world’s largest industries, tourism, can create lasting social change for one of the world’s fastest growing underserved populations, people with disabilities - including aging Baby Boomers and their parents.

Discussion of the Centers of Excellence in Inclusive Tourism proposal is drawing worldwide participation at - http://www.changemakers.net/en-us/node/5952

The Geotourism Challenge is Changemakers’ 15th collaborative competition and draws on Ashoka’s 27 years of experience in identifying leading social entrepreneurs around the world. To date, the competitions have sourced more than 2,000 local innovations on various themes from more than 125 countries. The Rolling Rains Report is honored to be recognized as a leader in the global movement to create social change through the tourism sector and the foremost voice for Inclusive Tourism and Inclusive Destination Development.

Anyone can participate and comment on entries. Everyone is invited to improve all entries through online collaboration. A panel of expert judges will choose approximately a dozen finalists who demonstrate innovation, social impact and sustainability. Judges include: Keith Bellows, VP, National Geographic Society, Editor-in-Chief, NG Traveler; Susan Berresford Past President, The Ford Foundation; Leonard Cordiner, CEO, whl travel; and Nachiket Mor, President, ICICI Foundation for Inclusive Growth.

The finalists will have the opportunity to present their innovations at The Geotourism Challenge Summit this fall. Three winners will be chosen by online voting and receive $5,000 each.

###

About National Geographic Society

The National Geographic Society is one of the world’s largest nonprofit scientific and educational organizations. Founded in 1888 to “increase and diffuse geographic knowledge,” the Society works to inspire people to care about the planet. It reaches more than 300 million people worldwide each month through its official journal, National Geographic, and other magazines; National Geographic Channel; television documentaries; music; radio; films; books; DVDs; maps; school publishing programs; interactive media; and merchandise. National Geographic has funded more than 8,800 scientific research projects and supports an education program combating geographic illiteracy. For more information, visit www.nationalgeographic.com or visit the Web page for the Center for Sustainable Destinations at www.nationalgeographic.com/travel/sustainable/.

About Ashoka’s Changemakers

Changemakers is building the world's first global online “open source” community that competes to surface the best social solutions to the world’s most pressing issues. Changemakers focuses on thematic, collaborative competitions, inviting innovators from around the world to profile and collaborate with a global community of investors, thought leaders and enthusiasts. To date Changemakers has launched 14 successful collaborative competitions and attracted more than 2,000 high-impact solutions from more than 125 countries. Changemakers builds on Ashoka’s 27-year history identifying and selecting leading social entrepreneurs and its belief in “Everyone a Changemaker” global society. Get involved. Find out more about how to nominate, enter, comment and vote in our collaborative competitions at www.changemakers.net

For more information please contact:

Delyse Sylvester
Director of Communication
Ashoka's Changemakers
250-551-0570
dsylvester@ashoka.org

About Scott Rains and the Rolling Rains Report

Dr. Scott Rains writes daily on travel and issues in the tourism industry of interest to people with disabilities.
His work appears online at http://www.RollingRains.com and http://withtv.typepad.com/weblog/travel/ . Rains’ articles have also appeared in New Mobility, Emerging Horizons, Contours, Design for All India, Accessible Portugal, Audacity, Travel and Transitions, eTur Brazil, Co-Walking Korea, Turismo Polibea, Current Rehabilitation, [with]TV, and Disaboom among others. For his research on the topic of Universal Design and the travel and hospitality industry he was appointed as Resident Scholar at the Center for Cultural Studies of the University of California Santa Cruz (2004-05)

For more information please contact:

Dr. Scott Rains
Publisher, The Rolling Rains Report
srains at oco dot net

Posted by rollingrains at 10:49 PM

March 13, 2008

Recognition to Jack Sink, Susan Kovas, and the Town of Chester, South Carolina

Charles Perry writes in the HeraldOnline:

Wylie Park doesn't offer something for everyone yet, Chester leaders say.

Sure, the 48-acre city park sports a miniature golf course, a rugged, mile-long nature trail and a pool. But the park doesn't have a place where someone in a wheelchair can travel or where mothers with strollers can pace.

Outdoor accessibility was considered a luxury when we began public advocacy for ubiquitous barrier-free environments in the 1970's. Today we see that it has rightly become a cornerstone of family values.

Thank you, Chester, South Carolina and all the visionary leaders who just keep "doing the right thing" day in and day out at the local level without fanfare and for the good of the entire community.

Universal Design builds up communities!

Full article:
http://www.heraldonline.com/109/story/423039.html

Posted by rollingrains at 11:17 PM

March 08, 2008

European Regulation on Air Passengers' Rights

Brussels, 5 March 2008 – Guaranteeing full accessibility of disabled passengers to the transport system and overcoming the existing barriers in Europe remain a priority for the European disability movement, but also for the European Commissioner Jacques Barrot, as he expressed yesterday during a meeting with Yannis Vardakastanis, President of the European Disability Forum (EDF): “I can guarantee you my full commitment to advance access of disabled people the transport system’, said the Commissioner.

Referring to the recent entering into force of the European Regulation on Air Passengers’ Rights, Barrot highlighted the importance of a proper implementation of this key text: "adopting the Regulation was only the first step; we will now use all our means to make sure that it is also correctly implemented, but most important, we need disabled users’ support to do it well”.

Yannis Vardakastanis welcomed Barrot’s commitment to disability issues and stressed the important role of 50 million disabled people in the European integration process: “By securing access of disabled people to all forms of transport, the European Union is responding to the needs of citizens at the very grass root level, contributing to the improvement of their daily lives” said Vardakastanis to the Commissioner.

The discussion also focused on the forthcoming European Regulations on maritime and coach passenger rights, currently in preparation. “The Regulations will be proposed in the course of 2008; we will particularly make sure that the discrimination of passengers with disabilities will be addresses in these texts through a series of specific measures”, promised the European Commissioner. Barrot also thanked the European Disability Forum for the numerous cases of discrimination reported in the field of maritime transport and agreed on the need to simultaneously address the rights of disabled passengers and the accessibility requirements to be applied to this sector.

During the meeting, EDF President presented to the Commissioner the proposal for a comprehensive European disability Directive, tackling disabled people’s discrimination in all fields of life, including transport. Welcoming the proposal and congratulating the EDF for the success of its campaign “1million4disability” in favour of the disability Directive, Barrot recognised the specificities of the discrimination faced by disabled people, “made of prejudges and stereotyped , but also of structural barriers”

For more information on the EDF campaign “1million4disability”: www.1million4disability.eu

For more information, please contact: Helena González-Sancho Bodero, EDF Communication and Press Officer; Tel: (+32 2) 282 46 04; Mobile phone: (+ 32 ) 485 64 39 93; E-mail: communication@edf-feph.org

The European Disability Forum (EDF) is the European umbrella organisation representing the interests of 50 million disabled citizens in Europe. EDF membership includes national umbrella organisations of disabled people from all EU/EEA countries, as well as European NGOs representing the different types of disabilities, organisations and individuals committed to disability issues. The mission of the European Disability Forum is to ensure disabled people full access to fundamental and human rights through their active involvement in policy development and implementation in Europe.

Posted by rollingrains at 03:06 PM

March 07, 2008

From March 2008 Global Access News Travel E-Zine

The latest issue of Global Access News Travel E-Zine is out with this article entitled "New York City Buses" by Derek Guzman. Derek runs wheelchair accessible guided tours in Paris and New York City. I highlight this article because NYC can be rightly proud -- of doing what we did for the first time in history at home in Seattle:

As I left the bus I asked the driver about wheelchair accessibility on the city’s bus system. “Every bus in the system is accessible” he told me. Across the whole city? “All five boroughs, the whole city”. I was impressed. I thought of Seattle, which to this point operated my idea of the consummate bus system – every bus in King County Metro’s fleet is wheelchair-accessible. Indeed, Seattle’s was the nation’s first transit system to be able to make this claim. However, New York City is far bigger than Seattle, and the fact that the Metropolitan Transit Authority could also achieve 100% accessibility on its busses was doubly impressive to me.

For the full story:
http://www.globalaccessnews.com/newyorkguzman08.htm

Posted by rollingrains at 02:47 AM

March 06, 2008

Forum européen des personnes handicapées (French)

>>> Communiqué de presse

Les droits des passagers handicapés, au cœur de l’agenda européenne

Rencontre hier à Bruxelles entre Jacques Barrot, Commissaire européen au Transport, et Yannis Vardakastanis, leader du mouvement européen des personnes handicapées


Bruxelles, 5 mars 2008 – Garantir une totale accessibilité des passagers handicapées au système de transport et surmonter les barrières existantes en Europe demeurent parmi les grandes priorités du mouvement européen des personnes handicapées, mais aussi parmi celles du Commissaire européen au Transport, Jacques Barrot, tel qu’il l’a exprimé hier lors de sa réunion avec le Président du Forum européen des personnes handicapées (FEPH), Yannis Vardaksatanis : “Je peux vous garantir mon engagement total afin de faire progresser l’accès des personnes handicapées au système des transports“, a déclaré le Commissaire.


Faisant référence au Règlement européen sur les droits des passagers aériens handicapés, récemment entré en vigueur, Barrot a souligné l’importance d’une bonne application de ce texte clé: "l’adoption du règlement n’était que le premier pas; désormais nous utiliserons tous les moyens à notre disposition afin d’assurer sa correcte application, et pour bien le faire, nous avons besoin du soutien des usagers handicapés”.

Yannis Vardakastanis a favorablement accueilli l’engagement de M. Barrot envers les questions liées au handicap et a souligné l’important rôle que les 50 millions de personnes handicapées jouent dans le processus de construction européenne: “En assurant l’accès des personnes handicapées à toutes les formes de transport, l’Union européenne répond aux besoins des citoyens de base et contribue à améliorer leurs vies de manière tangible” a exprimé Vardakastanis au Commissaire.

La discussion s’est également focalisée sur les futurs règlements européens en matière des droits des passagers maritimes et des autocars, en cours de préparation. “Les règlements seront proposés au cours de 2008; en particulier nous nous assurerons de la prise en compte de la discrimination à laquelle les passagers handicapés font face et cela, à travers des mesures spécifiques”, a promis le Commissaire européen. Barrot a également remercié le Forum européen des personnes handicapées pour les nombreux cas de discrimination dont l’organisation lui a fait part dans le domaine du transport maritime. Il a par ailleurs exprimé son accord sur la nécessité de travailler simultanément dans l’amélioration des droits des passagers handicapés et les critères d’accessibilité qui devront être appliqués dans ce secteur.

Au cours de la réunion, le Président du FEPH a présenté au Commissaire la proposition de directive européenne en matière de handicap actuellement promue par le Forum, dont le but est de combattre la discrimination des personnes handicapées dans tous les domaines de la vie, y compris les transports. Barrot a favorablement accueilli cette proposition et félicité le FEPH pour le succès de sa campagne “1million4disability” en faveur de la directive, tout en reconnaissant les spécificités liées à la discrimination des personnes handicapées, “faite de préjugés et des stéréotypes, mais également, de barrières structurelles”.


Pour plus d’information sur la campagne du FEPH “1million4disability”: www.1million4disability.eu

Pour plus d’information, veuillez contacter: Helena González-Sancho Bodero, Responsable de Communication et Presse; Tel: (+32 2) 282 46 04; GSM : (+ 32 ) 485 64 39 93; Courriel: communication@edf-feph.org

Le Forum européen des personnes handicapées (FEPH) est la plateforme européenne qui représente les intérêts de 50 millions de citoyens handicapés au sein de l’Union européenne. Les organisations membres du FEPH incluent les plateformes nationales des personnes handicapées de tous les Etats membres de l’UE et de l’Espace économique européen, ainsi que les ONG européennes représentant les différents types de handicap. La mission du FEPH est de garantir le respect total des droits fondamentaux et humains des personnes handicapées par le biais d’une implication active dans le développement et application des politiques européennes.

Posted by rollingrains at 03:34 PM

March 03, 2008

CNVLD Announces Annual National Disability Awards

cnvld logo


The Cambodian National Volleyball League (Disabled) (CNVLD) has caught the spirit of the Recommendations of the Second International Conference on Accessible Tourism with its new National Disability Awards program.

As part of its ongoing commitment to promoting the Rights of Persons with a Disability, the CNVLD is proud to announce the inaugural CNVLD Annual National Disability Awards recognising commitment to accessibility and support in the Cambodian corporate sector.

After signing the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with a Disability in October 2007, the Cambodian Government recently passed its domestic disability law.

Rising investment in Cambodia has also led to rapid urban development in the capital Phnom Penh. In response to Cambodia’s changing landscape, the CNVLD National Disability Awards aim to encourage local corporate sector social responsibility in Disability Rights and Access.

The 2008 CNVLD National Disability Awards will be presented for:

• Best Access: Hotel /Hospitality
• Best Access: Retail
• Best Access: Educational Institute
• Best Access: Restaurant
• Best Employer
• Best Corporate Support for Disability Rights

The CNVLD will assess the disability friendliness of some of Cambodia’s leading businesses based on a number of criteria including accessibility (entrances, steps, ramps, lifts, helpfulness / understanding of staff, use of facilities), positive employment and support for disability issues.

The inaugural 2008 CNVLD National Disability Awards winners will be announced on 1st September 2008. Category winners will be presented their awards along with the year’s best athletes by H.E Ith Sam Heng Minister of Social Affairs, Youth and Veteran’s Rehabilitation at the 2008 National Volleyball League Finals at the Olympic Stadium at the end of September 2008.

Award winners will receive unique a Cambodian trophy produced from destroyed AK-47s by Armed Art and a framed certificate. Award winners will also be provided stickers to promote their Accessibility Friendly’ status in their premises. Each winner will also be specially profiled on the CNVLD website.


Posted by rollingrains at 11:10 PM

February 28, 2008

Por Dentro do Turismo Adaptado - Ricardo Shimosakai (Portuguese)

Desenho universal completa o desenho verde. Os dois falam da sustentabilitdade - o verde do meio ambiente o universal da sustentabilitdade social da inclusão.

Hoje o pioneiro Brasileiro de turismo adaptado, Ricardo Shimosakai, mostra a conexão e lança nova coluna no sitio Turismo Responsavel aqui.

Parabems Ricardo!

Até pouco tempo atrás, pouco se falava sobre turismo para pessoas com necessidades especiais. Porém hoje em dia, as pessoas vem prestando mais atenção em questões sociais, onde entra as pessoas com deficiência. Hoje em dia o tema está bastante em alta, mas a falta de informações ainda é grande por parte da sociedade, então muitas vezes se cria um conceito errado de como devemos lidar com esse tipo de pessoa.

Então esta coluna pretende abordar a adaptação do turismo a pessoas com deficiência, tendo bases principais a acessibilidade e a inclusão. Serão abordados temas relacionados a esses assuntos base e ao turismo de forma esclarecedora, e também publicar atualidades daquilo que acontece, envolvendo o Turismo Adaptado, no país e no mundo.

Apesar das pessoas com deficiência estarem mais diretamente ligadas à acessibilidade, essa questão serve a outros tipos de público, como terceira idade, obesos, ou mesmo pessoas com alguma dificuldade temporária.
Como todos possuem diferenças, deficiente não é a

Fonte:
http://www.ecoviagem.com.br/fique-por-dentro/colunistas/acessibilidade-no-turismo/turismo-adaptado/por-dentro-do-turismo-adaptado-7779.asp

Posted by rollingrains at 03:51 PM

Aventura Especial e o Turismo de Aventura (Portuguese)

A ONG Aventura Especial (www.aventuraespecial.org.br ) trabalha para a inclusão de mais de 24,5 milhões de pessoas com algum tipo de deficiência, só no Brasil, no fascinante mundo do ecoturismo e do turismo de aventura.

O grande passo foi dado graças à realização do projeto Aventureiros Especiais, em convênio com o Ministério do Turismo, quando foram feitos vários testes de campo reunindo pessoas com deficiências física, sensorial, mental e múltipla. Entre eles, um amputado, um paraplégico, um tetraplégico, um visual, um surdocego, um com paralisia cerebral, um atáxico e um com Síndrome de Down. Todos praticaram modalidades de atividades de aventura, como rapel, rafting, tirolesa, bóia-cross, acqua-ride e off-road, com o intuito de apurar as necessidades de adaptações e condutas a serem seguidas pelos profissionais do turismo.

Fonte: Revista Hotelaria - 19-02-08

Acompanhados por uma equipe multidisciplinar de treze profissionais, entre integrantes da ONG Aventura Especial, fisioterapeutas, médicos e voluntários, foram levantadas as adaptações necessárias para viabilizar a prática das atividades por esse imenso público até então abandonado.

Além das adaptações físicas, como o desenvolvimento de uma cadeirinha para técnicas verticais e um colete e uma cadeira para o bote de rafting (específicos para pessoas sem mobilidade no tronco), também foram criados condutas e procedimentos de comunicação alternativa para interagir com as pessoas com deficiências sensoriais, antes e durante as atividades.

A formatação desse novo produto turístico adaptado representa um estudo de campo inédito, que fará do Brasil referência internacional de turismo de aventura adaptado, acredita o jornalista e fotógrafo Dadá Moreira, fundador e presidente da ONG.

Os testes foram realizados na cidade de Socorro, a 130 km da capital paulista, que será o primeiro destino totalmente adaptado do país, servindo de modelo para que outros municípios se adaptem. Além das atividades e pontos turísticos, a estância também está adaptando sua infra-estrutura de produtos e serviços.

Com o objetivo de disseminar os conhecimentos adquiridos com todas essas experiências e implantar as adaptações em outros destinos, a Aventura Especial oferece às operadoras que queiram atender esse nicho de mercado palestras e cursos de capacitação para ensinar os procedimentos adequados para um receptivo que possa atender esse público com qualificação. Para solicitar basta enviar um e-mail para contato@aventuraespecial.org.br

Constança Carvalho
Diretora
C&M Congresses and Meetings
Rua Marques 3/101 - Humaitá
22260-240 Rio de Janeiro
tel(21) 2539-1214
constanca.carvalho@cmeventos.com.br
www.cmeventos.com.br

Posted by rollingrains at 12:40 AM

February 26, 2008

Travel Sector Websites Fail Disabled Travellers

It would be very helpful to see other nations replicate this study for their tourism industry web sites.


New research commissioned by Travolution magazine has found that major UK travel firms are failing to make their online services accessible to disabled people.

The research was carried out by digital design agency Fortune Cookie (www.fortunecookie.co.uk) which tested a number of UK travel websites for accessibility to the UK’s 10 million disabled people.

Fortune Cookie’s Accessibility Expert Rune Leth Andersen said: “There are a number of ways of testing the accessibility of a website. Run it through an automated accessibility checking tool (www.w3.org/WAI/ER/tools/complete). But beware, automated tools detect only some accessibility problems and can produce false positives. Another approach is to commission a web accessibility expert to audit the site and provide recommendations. And you can undertake user testing involving disabled people.”

Source: Press Release - 25 February 2008

Fortune Cookie analysed eight popular travel websites but found that none met basic accessibility criteria and all would be difficult for a person with a disability such as blindness to use.

Examples of sites that failed accessibility tests included Malmaison (www.malmaison.com): “a number of the images have no ‘alternative text’ description’; Travel Supermarket (www.travelsupermarket.co.uk): “relies solely on JavaScript for navigation”; Expedia (www.expedia.co.uk): “poor colour contrast that would make the text illegible to some people”; and Trip Advisor (www.expedia.co.uk): “inconsistent and confusing navigation”.

Fortune Cookie’s Director of Accessibility Julie Howell, said: “The sites we tested are all popular travel sites that disabled people would reasonably expect to be able to use. Our findings highlight typical problems across the industry.”

The full article is available on the Travolution website (www.travolution.co.uk/Articles/2008/02/12/1270/Accessibility+-+gaining+access+to+an+online+world.html).


About Fortune Cookie
Founded in 1997, Fortune Cookie is one of the UK’s top digital design agencies. Clients include Legal & General, Kuoni, Voyages Jules Verne, Arsenal FC and Amnesty International. In 2006, Fortune Cookie client projects were short-listed for major design awards a total of 11 times, and the company became fully independent when it bought back internet incubator Brainspark’s 29.4% holding in the agency in a deal that will delivered an excellent return to the investor.

Further information about Fortune Cookie is available at www.fortunecookie.co.uk or contact Julie Howell at Julie.Howell@fortunecookie.co.uk

About Travolution
Travolution is the UK's leading business magazine, website, blog and events provider for the online travel market. Covering the traditional travel market plus the new breed of online players, Travolution provides essential information and analysis for anyone in, or running an online travel business.

Further information about Travolution is available at www.travolution.co.uk

Posted by rollingrains at 08:06 PM

February 23, 2008

The Brazilian Ministry of Tourism Launches Socorro Acessível as a Project of Aventura Segura

The Brazilian Ministry of Tourism has invested $R1.3 million (Reis) in projects of the initiative Aventura Segura (safe Adventure). One portion will go to the town of Socorro top make it a destination of choice for tourists with disabilities. Minister Marta Suplicy participated in the official launch of that project known as “Socorro Acessível” (Accessible Socorro). She explained:

"The Ministry of Tourism is investing $R 447,000 in Socorro Acessível, a project which aims to make the city the first tourist destination in the country adapted to people with disabilities. Our actions aimed at mapping and diagnosis of accessibility in the municipality of Socorro, the mobilization of civil society organisations, monitoring and supervision of works, creation of accessible routes of tourism, the certification of service providers and creation of technical material. We a making here a big leap in the quality of care for people with disabilities."

Aventura Segura was created as a partnership of the Ministry of Tourism with the Brazilian Association of Business Travel Adventure and Ecotourism (Abeta) and Sebrae. Other cities participating in Aventuera Segura include: Rio de Janeiro, Fortaleza, Bonito, Chapada Diamantina, Chapada dos Veadeiros, Florianópolis, Vale Alto Ribeira, Serra do Cipó, Foz do Iguaçu, Serra Gaúcha, Brotas, Serra dos Órgãos, Manaus, Recife e Lençóis Maranhenses.

Posted by rollingrains at 12:42 PM

Ministra Marta Suplicy libera 1,3 milhões para o projeto Socorro Acessivel (Portuguese)

O Ministério do Turismo investe R$ 1,3 milhão em ações do projeto Socorro Acessível, do programa Aventura Segura e em obras de adaptação em passeios e edifícios públicos, visando oferecer acessibilidade às pessoas com deficiência, e ainda na implantação de sinalização turística. Nesta quarta-feira (20) a ministra Marta Suplicy participou do lançamento oficial das ações do projeto. Ela também assinou repasses de recursos para a Prefeitura realizar as obras e fazer a sinalização turística.

Fonte:
http://www.jornalomunicipio.com.br/

“O Ministério do Turismo investe R$ 447 mil no Socorro Acessível, um projeto que visa adequar a cidade para que se torne o primeiro destino turístico do país adaptado às pessoas com deficiência. Nossas ações visam o mapeamento e diagnóstico da acessibilidade no município de Socorro, além da mobilização da sociedade civil organizada, o acompanhamento e a supervisão de obras, a estruturação de roteiro turístico adaptado, a qualificação dos prestadores de serviços e desenvolvimento e produção de material técnico. Queremos muito dar aqui um salto de qualidade no atendimento às pessoas com deficiência”, afirmou a ministra.

O prefeito de Socorro, José Mário de Faria, elogiou a iniciativa do MTur: “A partir dessas adaptações, a natureza exuberante de Socorro poderá ser usufruída de maneira igual por todos os turistas. Nosso trabalho na Prefeitura vai continuar para atender a esse público, porque o Ministério do Turismo demonstrou confiança no que já vem sendo executado”.

Já o programa Aventura Segura tem a qualificação como principal estratégia. É desenvolvido pelo Ministério do Turismo em parceria com a Associação Brasileira de Empresas de Turismo de Aventura e Ecoturismo (Abeta) e o Sebrae, em 16 cidades do país, contando Socorro. Busca o aprimoramento do produto turístico de aventura, além do aumento da competitividade e do profissionalismo no segmento. Para este ano, a proposta é o Brasil contar com as primeiras empresas de Turismo de Aventura operando com um Certificado de Segurança, emitido por organismos certificadores acreditados pelo Inmetro (Instituto Nacional de Metrologia, Normalização e Qualidade Industrial).

“O Aventura Segura é uma ação que envolve diretamente mais de três mil pessoas nas diversas atividades que estamos promovendo nos 16 destinos, como oficinas, cursos, seminários e eventos. Até agora, mais de 260 empresas participaram das ações do programa, e 115 aderiram à implementação da gestão de segurança em suas operações. Nosso propósito é disseminar conhecimento, qualificar pessoas e serviços e certificar as empresas com Selo de Qualidade e Segurança que seja reconhecido pelo consumidor e pelo mercado”, acrescentou Marta Suplicy.

Antes da cerimônia na Prefeitura, a ministra visitou o Parque dos Sonhos e elogiou as adaptações realizadas para os turistas portadores de deficiência. “Tudo isso aqui é muito importante, porque demonstra que o setor privado está envolvido nessa missão de receber bem o turista com essas características”, ressaltou a ministra, afirmando ter ficado “muito contente” ao saber que até mesmo uma sorveteria na cidade ficará 40 dias fechada para as obras de acessibilidade.

Além de Socorro, os demais destinos trabalhados pelo Aventura Segura são: Rio de Janeiro, Fortaleza, Bonito, Chapada Diamantina, Chapada dos Veadeiros, Florianópolis, Vale Alto Ribeira, Serra do Cipó, Foz do Iguaçu, Serra Gaúcha, Brotas, Serra dos Órgãos, Manaus, Recife e Lençóis Maranhenses.

Posted by rollingrains at 02:10 AM

February 16, 2008

Turismo Polibea On Inclusive Tourism in Spaiin and Portugal

The current issue of Turismo Polibea includes several interesting articles available in either English or Spanish:

Accessible Ibiza
Badajoz & Alentejo Accessible Route
Valencia
Accessible Trails: Huesca
The Walls of Avila

Also an essay on air transport:

http://www.polibea.com/turismo/noticia6_en.htm

Posted by rollingrains at 05:31 PM

February 11, 2008

Turismo Inclusivo em Socorro (Portuguese)

O EPTV.com promove o trabalho pioneiro de Dada Moreira em Socorro:

http://eptv.globo.com/emc/live/default.asp?video=33618

Posted by rollingrains at 07:37 PM

February 04, 2008

Samarthya Centre: Accessible Delhi -- A Road Map for 2003-2008”

Samarthya Logo

Anjilee Agarwal of the Samarthya National Centre for Promotion of Barrier Free Environment for Disabled Persons Accessible Delhi -- A Road Map for 2003-2008”

NEW DELHI: Moving in the direction of making Delhi accessible to all, the Rajiv Gandhi Foundation has in collaboration with Samarthya National Centre for Promotion of Barrier Free Environment for Disabled Persons identified 20 sites and services in the Capital, including 225 Delhi Transport Corporation bus queue shelters and New Delhi railway station, for making them barrier-free under its “Accessible Delhi” project.

As part of the two-year project that seeks to develop Delhi as a “model barrier-free city”, the Foundation had come out with a plan document, “Accessible Delhi -- A Road Map for 2003-2008”. The document identified bottlenecks to draw up appropriate design concepts and lay down an action strategy for all civic and government agencies involved in these areas. The Project Officer of Accessible Delhi project, Anjilee Agarwal, said the access audit of 18 of the 20 sites and services had already been completed and the reports submitted to their respective owning agencies. Of these sites and services, six pertain to the New Delhi Municipal Council, two to DTC, two to Indian Railways, one to the Archaeological Survey of India, one to the Union Ministry of Civil Aviation and eight to the Delhi Government

End-user perspective

Ms. Agarwal said construction work on all the sites is expected to be completed by this year-end. A key feature of the project, she said, was that it would also help in procuring end-user perspective on the plans while they are being implemented to ensure that there are no mistakes and costly rectification at a later stage is not required.

Of the 20 sites and services, she said, while the plans of all but two had been finalised, work had also started on six of the projects. These include the 11 Murti tourist area on Mother Teresa Crescent and Janpath Municipal Market where the streets and the sidewalks would be aligned to provide barrier-free movement. “Likewise, the whole of Connaught Place and Palika Bazar is being made barrier-free,” Ms. Agarwal said.

The other four projects on which work has begun are the DTC bus queue shelters and the procurement of low-floor buses, and making of New Delhi railway station barrier-free along with the creation of facilities to provide for easy access to railway coaches.

The other places and services that would be made accessible to all under the project are Hanuman Mandir Complex, Talkatora Garden, Nehru Garden, the road from Ram Manohar Lohia hospital to Gole Dak Khana, Senior Secondary Govt. Girls School (No. 1), Tagore Garden, Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Hospital, Garden of Five Senses, PVR Naraina, Safdarjung Tomb, CGHS Dispensary at South Avenue, Sarai Kale Khan Bus Terminus, Indraprastha Stadium and Indian Airlines Reservation Office at Safdarjung Airport. A very important aspect of the project is that it would make all these services and places accessible in a time-bound manner.

Source:

THE HINDU, 26th January 2008
Delhi takes long strides to be barrier-free within this year
Gaurav Vivek Bhatnagar

Posted by rollingrains at 04:49 PM

January 30, 2008

Malaga - Plan de Accesibilidad (Spanish)

Desde - www.malagaes.com 29/01/2008

El Alcalde de Málaga, Francisco de la Torre, ha presentado hoy el Plan estratégico de Accesibilidad Universal de la ciudad de Málaga 2007-2011. Este documento es una propuesta integral que ofrece una solución a los problemas que las personas con discapacidad puedan tener en Málaga. En él se articulan medidas concretas que resuelven todas y cada una de las facetas de la vida privada y social, no solamente para las personas con discapacidad, sino para el resto de ciudadanos malagueños que puntualmente pueden tener reducida su movilidad.

El Ayuntamiento destinará 24 millones de euros a la aplicación del Plan, a través del un esfuerzo inversor realizado por las todas las áreas y entidades municipales. Destacan los 17,2 millones de euros que la Empresa Municipal de Transporte destinará en los próximos 4 años para que el 100% de sus autobuses sean vehículos adaptados, los más de dos millones aportados por Limasa o los 1,1 del Instituto Municipal del Taxi y del Área de Alcaldía. Tras ellos destacan el millón de euros procedente de la Gerencia Municipal de Urbanismo, o los más de 700.000 euros del Área de Participación Ciudadana.

Este documento, iniciativa del Área de Accesibilidad Universal, es el resultado de un trabajo consensuado y participativo con las asociaciones y entidades malagueñas que trabajan en el sector de las personas con discapacidad y ha contado también con aportaciones de los diferentes grupos políticos que conforman el ayuntamiento.

Han sido un total de 27 las entidades sociales que se han implicado en la redacción del Plan estratégico, a través de la Agrupación de Desarrollo “Málaga Más Accesible”. Por tanto, se recogen las propuestas y medidas que han decido las personas con discapacidad, siendo este grupo poblacional el principal redactor de un documento que hará posible un camino más corto hacia la accesibilidad universal del municipio.

Tras su aprobación se convertirá en un Plan pionero, ya que ha contado con la colaboración activa de todas las áreas municipales y abarca todos los ámbitos de actuación posibles de las personas con discapacidad, como el trasporte, el viario, la inserción social o el acceso a las nuevas tecnologías. Además, se trata de un Plan transversal que cuenta en su desarrollo con los recursos de las diferentes áreas que conforman el Ayuntamiento.

La aplicación de este documento mejorará la calidad de vida de las personas con discapacidad y de sus familias, ofreciéndoles las mismas oportunidades que al resto de los ciudadanos y resolviendo de este modo los elementos de discriminación existentes actualmente.

Este plan ha sido elaborado siguiendo principios de transversalidad, accesibilidad y diseño universal y esta justificado en el hecho de aún persisten en la sociedad desigualdades ante este importante grupo poblacional.

En Málaga existen un total de 57.215 * personas con discapacidad, lo que representa el 10,20% de la población. Pero este plan no sólo va dirigido a personas que tengan recocida legalmente una discapacidad, sino a un segmento poblacional mayor mucho mayor, ya que se beneficiarán de él aquellos ciudadanos que temporal o permanente tengan reducida su movilidad como personas mayores, mujeres embarazadas, accidentados o quienes manejen un carrito de niño.

Han sido los colectivos y asociaciones que trabajan diariamente por las personas con discapacidad los verdaderos protagonistas del Plan de Accesibilidad y el Ayuntamiento ha recogido sus propuestas en unas medidas concretas que van desde garantizar el acceso a las información municipal, a la ampliación de las plazas de aparcamientos reservados, pasando por que el 100% de los autobuses urbanos y el 5% de los taxis sean adaptados.

No se olvida a los jóvenes, a los que se ofrecerá una Caseta de la Juventud accesible, la participación de artistas con discapacidad en el festival Joven las Artes o la promoción del deporte adaptado en las Escuelas Deportivas Municipales. También las mujeres protagonizan un capítulo especial, promoviendo su participación en el tejido asociativo y su acceso al mercado laboral y dedicando un esfuerzo particular que aquellas que son víctimas de la violencia de genero.

El Empleo, la vivienda, la movilidad, el ocio y el tiempo libre, la concienciación, la formación y la investigación son el resto de ámbitos de actuación que recoge el Plan de Accesibilidad que estará en vigor hasta el año 2011.

* Marzo 2006. Delegación de Igualdad y Bienestar Social de la Junta de Andalucía


DOCUMENTACIÓN

El Plan Estratégico de Accesibilidad se concreta en una serie de medias específicas aplicables a dada uno de sus ámbitos de actuación, que abarcan todo el espectro del ámbito personal y social de las personas con discapacidad:

Información, Orientación, Asesoramiento
• Garantizar la accesibilidad del entorno Web del Ayuntamiento así como de todos los servicios y productos derivados de las nuevas tecnologías de la comunicación y la información.
• Reforzar las actividades municipales con Intérpretes Municipales de Lengua de Signos
• Garantizar un servicio de información, orientación y apoyo a personas con discapacidad
• Se promoverá la implantación de un sistema de información basado en el uso de la señalética en paneles, postes de señalización de paradas de autobús que garanticen la accesibilidad a la información en la vía pública.
• Elaborar folletos y guías de lecturas de las bibliotecas municipales en formatos accesibles
• Adquisición de fondos bibliográficos y/o audiovisuales accesibles a personas con discapacidad.
• Elaboración de audio–guías y signo–guías que faciliten la comprensión de los monumentos y museos municipales.
• Realización de una audio-guía y signo-guía sobre el Archivo Municipal
• Promover información sobre accesibilidad turística acerca de itinerarios culturales, ocio, administrativos, botánicos.
• Elaboración de Guías de itinerarios accesibles para cada distrito.
• Implantar un sistema de información acerca de los servicios que se prestan en los Centros de Servicios Sociales Municipales y Centros de Mayores basado en el uso de la señalética.
• Garantizar que los medios de comunicación municipales sean accesibles.
Sensibilización, Concienciación
• Creación de un distintivo de buenas prácticas en la promoción de los derechos y de la igualdad de oportunidades de las personas con discapacidad.
• Campañas de Concienciación Ciudadana “Convive Sin Barreras”.
• Desarrollo de Campañas de sensibilización y fomento de la participación dirigida a las personas con discapacidad de la ciudad de Málaga

Participación Social
• Creación y fomento del Consejo de Accesibilidad Universal.
• Fomento del asociacionismo de personas con discapacidad.
• Fomento de las redes de participación social con la promoción de agrupaciones de desarrollo
• Fomento del voluntariado social para la accesibilidad y el acompañamiento
• Premio a las iniciativas sociales en materia de accesibilidad
Movilidad
• Ampliación del nº de plazas de aparcamientos reservadas para personas con discapacidad.
• Promover soluciones de movilidad en el centro urbano que beneficien los desplazamientos de personas mayores y personas con discapacidad.
• Reposición paulatina del mobiliario urbano por modelos accesibles según los criterios del diseño universal.
• Rehabilitación de mercados municipales conforme a proyectos que contemplen las prescripciones en materia de accesibilidad.
• Promover espacios de ocio juvenil accesibles (caseta de la Juventud).
• Proyecto Integral de actuación en playas: dotación en todo el Litoral malagueño de puntos de playa accesibles.
• Alcanzar en los próximos años que el 5% del total de la flota de taxis sean adaptados a personas con discapacidad.
• Alcanzar en los próximos años que el 100% de la flota de autobuses urbanos sea accesible.
Cultura, Deporte, Ocio y Tiempo Libre
• Mejora de las condiciones de accesibilidad de las instalaciones y actividades culturales, de ocio y tiempo libre.
• Mejora de medios y dotación de profesionales para hacer posible la inclusión de personas con discapacidad en actividades culturales, de ocio y tiempo libre.
• Realización de programas de ocio y tiempo libre para personas con discapacidad adaptados a sus necesidades y demandas.
• Asignación de un porcentaje de plazas en programas de ocio y tiempo libre destinadas a personas con discapacidad.
• Promover la participación de jóvenes artistas con discapacidad en el festival Joven de las Artes.
• Crear un premio especial en el marco de la Muestra joven de video creación que refleje el tema de la discapacidad.
• Promoción del deporte adaptado en las Escuelas Deportivas Municipales.
Transversalidad Institucional
• Incorporar la accesibilidad en todos los programas, recursos, servicios y productos municipales y de todas aquellas empresas con participación municipal
Accesibilidad al empleo
• Establecer una reserva del 5% para personas con discapacidad en la oferta de empleo público.
• Establecimiento de Cláusulas Sociales en lo procedimientos de contratación que realiza el Ayuntamiento de Málaga para favorecer la contratación de personas con discapacidad.
• Favorecer el acceso de las personas con discapacidad a las Escuelas Taller y Talleres de Empleo.
• Promover el autoempleo entra las personas con discapacidad.
Formación, investigación
• Estudio de Necesidades de las Personas con Discapacidad en Málaga capital
Derechos
• Aprobación de unos criterios de accesibilidad en la organización de actos públicos.
• Promover la implantación de un sistema de señalización, de publicidad o de información en general que garantice su lectura, comprensión, visión, audición, etc .
• Promover ayudas económicas que faciliten la movilidad ( ayudas al transporte, adaptación funcional del hogar, ocio, etc).
• Promover medidas sancionadoras a la ocupación ilegal o exceso de ocupación de la vía publica con sillas, mesas, toldos, veladores, etc.
Vivienda
• Adaptar las viviendas a las necesidades de la persona con discapacidad adjudicataria.
• Introducir en los Pliegos de condiciones técnicas de contratación, diseños y criterios que garanticen la accesibilidad de las viviendas y su entorno
• Realizar campañas de información a Comunidades de Propietarios sobre la eliminación de barreras arquitectónicas en edificios, portales y zonas comunes, así como sobre las distintas líneas de ayuda que en esta materia pueda ofrecer la Administración Local

Igualdad de Oportunidades para mujeres

• Promoción de la participación activa de la mujer con discapacidad en el movimiento asociativo
• Promoción de la mujer con discapacidad en los órganos de decisión de las asociaciones
• Promover medidas de acción positiva en relación al empleo de mujeres con discapacidad
• Sensibilizar y formar sobre la violencia de género en mujeres con discapacidad
• Prevención de malos tratos en mujeres sordas.

Posted by rollingrains at 03:22 AM

January 26, 2008

Análise da Consulta Nacional: Especificações técnicas para fabricação de veículos para transporte coletivo de passaeiros (Portuguese)

Convidamos V.Sas. para participar da Reunião de Análise da Consulta Nacional do Projeto 00:001.64-001 - Transporte - Especificações técnicas para fabricação de veículos de características urbanas para transporte coletivo de passageiros, da ABNT/CEE-00: 001.64 - Comissão de Estudo Especial Temporária de Fabricação de Veículo Acessível, a ser realizada conforme programação a seguir:

Data: 11 e 12 de fevereiro de 2008

Horário: das 9:00 às 17:00

Local: Av. Paulista, 726 - 10º andar - São Paulo - SP


Pauta: - Projeto 00:001.64-001 - Transporte - Especificações técnicas para fabricação de veículos de características urbanas para transporte coletivo de passageiros - Análise da Consulta Nacional


SOLICITAMOS CONFIRMAR PRESENÇA COM O SR. RODRIGO CANOSA, ATRAVÉS:

- Telefone: (11) 3017-3623
- e-mail: rodrigo.canosa@abnt.org.br

Na certeza de podermos contar com a valiosa e imprescindível presença de V.Sa. ou de seu representante, subscrevemo-nos.

Atenciosamente,

Rodrigo Sansivieri F. Canosa

Gerência do Processo de Normalização

ABNT - R. Minas Gerais, 190 - Higienópolis

01244-010 - São Paulo - SP

( (11) 3017- 3623

* rodrigo.canosa@abnt.org.br

Visite nossos sites: www.abnt.org.br / www.abntnet.com.br

Posted by rollingrains at 12:31 PM

January 24, 2008

Decreto do Passeio Livre ( 45.904/05) - (Portuguese)

A nova lei, com data de 23 de janeiro, foi publicada no Diário Oficial de hoje, quinta-feira, 24.

Depois da transformação visual da nossa cidade, incentivado pelo Programa Cidade Limpa, agora são as calçadas que vão fazer a diferença. Além da estética, o mais importante é a acessibilidade. Se já é difícil circular na maioria dos passeios públicos de São Paulo, imagine para quem tem uma deficiência ou mobilidade reduzida - como idosos, mães com carrinhos de bebê, obesos ou pessoas com uma perna quebrada, por exemplo?

De autoria da vereadora Mara Gabrilli, a lei 14.675, de 23 de janeiro de 2008, vai implantar na cidade o Programa Emergencial de Calçadas - PEC. A partir de hoje, a Prefeitura de São Paulo, por meio da Secretaria de Coordenação de Subprefeituras, vai reformar as calçadas de São Paulo de modo a atender o Decreto do Passeio Livre ( 45.904/05). Por Lei, o morador é o responsável pela sua calçada e, caso não faça a adequação, pode ser multado. Mas, para incentivar as reformas, é a Prefeitura quem vai arcar com os custos das novas calçadas que estiverem dentro das rotas estratégicas determinadas pela Secretaria Municipal da Pessoa com Deficiência e Mobilidade Reduzida (SMPED).

São Paulo tem 30 milhões de metros lineares de calçadas


As rotas serão especificadas por um sistema de georeferenciamento desenvolvido pela SMPED. "Cada Rota Estratégica e de Segurança terá de dois a cinco quilômetros e vai contemplar as vias com serviços públicos e privados, como saúde, educação, esporte, cultura, correios, bancos, entre outros, e, principalmente, paradas ou estações para embarque e dsembarque de passageiros do transporte público", informa a vereadora Mara Gabrilli. "Temos, pelo menos, 31 rotas, uma em cada Subprefeitura da cidade", complementa. O cronograma de rotas e obras será determinado trimestralmente e publicadas no Portal da Prefeitura de São Paulo. "É essencial, que, além da população, o próprio Poder Público se conscientize da importância da acessibilidade para todos. O Projeto de Lei da vereadora Mara Gabrilli vai nesse sentido", comenta o secretário das Subprefeituras e Subprefeito da Sé, Andrea Matarazzo.

Como a Prefeitura será a responsável pelas reforma das calçadas, ao munícipe caberá a manutenção delas. Para se ter uma idéia, desde 2005 a Prefeitura aplicou mais de 8 mil multas aos cidadãos que não conservaram sua calçada. Para estipular um novo valor de multa - na verdade, um "incentivo" para que o munícipe cuide da nova calçada -, esta lei altera a Lei 10.508/88, que dispõe sobre limpeza de imóveis, passeios públicos e dá outras providências. Segundo a antiga legislação, o valor da multa aos munícipes era de R$ 200 reais por metro linear de calçada, corrigido anualmente pelo IPCA. A partir da aprovação do PEC, a multa será de mil reais pelo mesmo metro linear.


Mais informações

Assessoria de Imprensa

Vereadora Mara Gabrilli

Jorn.Resp.: Claudia Carletto

fones: 11 3396-4899 // 8385-3443

Posted by rollingrains at 01:07 AM

January 22, 2008

Lousã Vai Ser o Primeiro Destino "Acessível a Todos" (Portuguese)

A Câmara e a Provedoria Municipal das Pessoas com Deficiência da Lousã anunciaram ontem a apresentação, para breve, do plano de acção do projecto "Lousã: destino turístico acessível". Em causa está um projecto pioneiro em Portugal, que já mereceu rasgados elogios

Fernando Carvalho, presidente da autarquia, salientou o investimento efectuado no sector do turismo nos últimos anos, em especial na oferta de alojamento, referindo que «agora queremos agregar o turismo acessível para todos». «Pretendemos deixar de ter barreiras para aqueles com algumas dificuldades», acrescentou o autarca socialista, que anunciou para este ano alguns investimentos nesta área na apresentação do projecto.

O Plano de Actividades e Orçamento para este ano contempla verbas para a requalificação da rua que vai da igreja matriz à fábrica do Papel do Prado, no Penedo, e da praia fluvial da Senhora da Piedade (Burgo) e eventualmente a de Serpins.

"Lousã: destino turístico acessível", cujo plano de acção está em fase de conclusão, «surge como condição de integração das funções humanas do território, para o diferenciar relativamente a destinos turísticos concorrentes», de modo a acolher o mercado dos turistas portadores de incapacidade.

O estudo vai definir a oferta de estruturas e serviços turísticos acessíveis a todos e preconiza a constituição de uma estrutura de missão que crie as condições para a entidade coordenadora que assumirá o plano de acção.
A estrutura de missão deverá ser composta por entidades locais, que terão responsabilidades em termos da concretização de candidaturas específicas previstas no plano de acção.

A entidade coordenadora deve ter incumbida a tarefa de gerir o destino turístico, sendo responsável pelos investimentos, acções e iniciativas que favoreçam a acessibilização da oferta turística da Lousã como um todo.

"Lousã começa a ser exemplo"

António Fontes, da empresa que elaborou o projecto, disse que o documento foi apresentado às instâncias nacionais com responsabilidades nas áreas da reabilitação e turismo, tendo recebido elogios e manifestações de apoio.

Acrescentou ainda que, na Lousã, estão reunidas «as condições para se iniciar um projecto exemplar», assente num sistema de certificação da acessibilidade na oferta turística.

Presente na cerimónia, a directora do Instituto Nacional para a Reabilitação, Luísa Portugal, afirmou que a «Lousã começa a ser um exemplo, com um percurso muito característico e personalizado, que tem na ARCIL um instrumento muito importante».

«A verdade é que há outras instituições também interessantes e pessoas sensibilizadas noutros locais e noutras comunidades que não atingiram este nível de quase excelência», sublinhou.

«A Lousã ainda não é completamente um destino turístico acessível, mas penso que já completaram a parte mais difícil do trabalho que é sermos capazes de falar sobre o preconceito, as discriminações, perceber e valorizar que há pessoas diferentes, trabalhar para inclui-las no dia-a-dia da comunidade», acrescentou Luísa Portugal.

Foram ainda entregues na sessão 33 selos "Lousã Acessível" a entidades privadas e públicas, que certificam os estabelecimentos que recebem público e possuam condições de acessibilidade a pessoas com mobilidade condicionada.

A Provedoria Municipal das Pessoas com Deficiência da Lousã tem como missão dinamizar a criação de novas situações que favoreçam as pessoas com mobilidade reduzida e dar resposta aos portadores de deficiência para que tenham acessos mais simples e fáceis às entidades públicas e privadas.

Fonte: Diário de Coimbra
http://www.diariocoimbra.pt/17598.htm

Posted by rollingrains at 01:02 PM

January 16, 2008

Brazil Takes Leadership -- but Does it Hear "Nothing About Us Without Us?"

I am extremely pleased at recent events in Rio de Janeiro toward inclusion in the tourist sector:

* Brazil will train 200 people with disabilities in tourism and
hospitality in order to meet the demand for improved service to
travelers with disabilities.

* Rio de Janeiro has contracted with the French organization Tourisme &
Handicaps
to do infrastructure audits and upgrades. They claim to have
standardized on EU protocols.

* Brazil has also launched an inclusive Destination Development campaign
of upgrading the accessibility of public restrooms

Consultation with the Brazilian disability community and those who monitor access and audit tourist destinations does not seem to have taken place beforehand. As a result the French contractor has presented their proprietary standards as EU standards (there are 40 legitimate standards in the EU and we all work diligently toward harmonization under the leadership of ENAT) and some accessibility claims are a bit exaggerated:

Through this visit [of Tourisme et Handicap] it was possible to verify that the situation is better than we imagined. Christ the Redeemer (Corcovado) and Sugar Loaf, for example, need only small adaptations to be totally accessible. The agency left with is the European Union norms that are going to guide the work, said the sub secretary who pointed to the Hotel Sofitel in Copacabana as ideal in terms of accessibility for people with physical disabilities.

In all, the trend is positive. After consultation with the Brazilian disability community results could be excellent.

Posted by rollingrains at 03:07 PM

Announcing Easy Access Chicago

eac_logo_color

What: Please join us for a press conference announcing the release of Easy Access Chicago, the first-ever comprehensive visitor guide for travelers with disabilities.

The Easy Access Chicago guide provides detailed information about the city’s accessible offerings allowing visitors with disabilities to make informed choices about their travel experience in the Chicago Area. A copy of Easy Access Chicago is available by calling the Illinois Bureau of Tourism at 1-800-2CONNECT or by visiting www.enjoyillinois.com or easyaccesschicago.org.

Who: Eric Lipp, executive director of the Open Doors Organization, Jack Lavin, director of the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, Karen Tamley, commissioner of the Chicago Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities, and Marca Bristo, president and CEO of Access Living invite you to this historic occasion

When: Thursday, January 17, 2007, 10:00 a.m.

Where: Wrigley Gallery at the Chicago History Museum, 1601 N. Clark Street

RSVP: If you have any questions regarding the Easy Access Chicago event or to RSVP, please contact Eric Lipp at ericlipp@opendoorsnfp.org. We look forward to seeing you at this important event.

Regards,

Eric Lipp
Executive Director
Open Doors Organization

Posted by rollingrains at 01:45 AM

January 05, 2008

Parque para todos: Parque Estadual do Jaraguá (Portuguese)

As trilhas do Parque Estadual do Jaraguá, na zona oeste de São Paulo, acabaram por passar por reformas. Nesta quinta-feira, uma delas começou a receber a visita de deficientes físicos. Um trajeto de 400 metros, batizado de Trilha do Silêncio, foi especialmente adaptado a cadeirantes, deficientes visuais, pessoas com pouca mobilidade e idosos. Exemplo que diversos outros parques deveriam seguir.


Fonte:

http://arruda.rits.org.br/oeco/servlet/newstorm.ns.presentation.NavigationServlet?publicationCode=6&pageCode=69

Obrigado ao Bill Hinchberger do BrazilMax.com para as noticias. Visite o sitio.

Download file

Posted by rollingrains at 08:38 PM

January 02, 2008

Universal Design & Blindness: Creating A Barrier Free Society

As Inclusive Tourism and Inclusive Destination Development emerge further into mainstream thinking it is important the its implementation be truly "universal."

With the age inversion of populations in an increasing number of countries, the prevalence of older travelers, and the frequency of blindness as a consequence of aging the observations and guidance of those who have had long experience with blindness is a social asset of increasing value. Below is the document, Creating A Barrier Free Society, from the World Blind Union on the proposer implementation of the seven principles of Universal Design.

Creating A Barrier Free Society


Creating a barrier free society for persons who are blind and partially sighted is a goal of the World Blind Union. Over the years a great deal of attention has been given to the accessibility requirements of persons with ambulatory disabilities however the need to create a barrier free society for persons who are blind and partially sighted is equally important and not to be forgotten.

In more recent years a movement known as "Universal Design" has evolved. Universal design is based on the principle that, the built environment, communication and products should be accessible to the widest range of people possible. Universal design is different from accessible design in that accessible design creates products and environments for people with disabilities, which often tend to segregate people creating separate systems. Universal design is considered to be usable and inclusive to all, including people with disabilities.

Although the concept of universal design is well documented, the unique design needs of persons who are blind and partially sighted have not always been fully considered or incorporated into the built environment.

One very important component to consider in advocating for a barrier free society is the development of a consumer group that represents different consumer groups, organisations and individual advocates. The group is an invaluable asset to obtain ideas, and consensus and endorsement on areas of importance to person's who are blind and partially sighted. It is important to note that many countries have developed excellent laws, standards, guidelines and recommendations governing the accessibility requirements. (Please see websites and material noted at the end of this document)

The information that follows provides guidelines and recommendations on key areas related to the built environment for people who are blind and partially sighted. These areas are key in creating a built environment that is barrier free and inclusive for persons who are blind and partially sighted. You may wish to consider them in your advocacy efforts of person's who are blind and partially sighted.

Lighting

Adequate lighting is the single most important aid to vision. The lighting needs of persons who are blind or visually impaired vary according to the individual and their particular eye condition. One level of light might work well for a person with glaucoma and be to low for someone with macular degeneration.

The three principle light sources are natural light; incandescent and florescent each has their own attributes and weakness when considering lighting situations for persons who are blind or partially sighted. The key is to utilize these light sources optimally and considering the following:

* Avoid glare and reflection, which are often caused by shinny or glossy surfaces.
* Place light sources in locations to avoid creating shadows. Shadows created by natural or artificial light can create optical illusions.
* Distribute light levels evenly throughout working and walking areas as many people have difficulty adjusting to fluctuations in light levels.

* Include task and spot lighting to augment the overall lighting system.
* Use of dimmer switches allows light levels to be adjusted to suit the unique needs of users.

Colour Contrast

Colour contrast is another key component in designing spaces for persons who are partially sighted; its importance cannot be overemphasized enough. A building can be logically laid out, include proper use of signage, provide good lighting but the building can cause disorientation if there is very little use of colour contrast within the building. Colour can be used effectively for many purposes such as:

• To draw attention to signage.
• To define a route of travel.
• To define areas.

Colour contrasting items, is also a very effective means in defining spaces. A colour contrast of 70% is generally accepted in many countries as the preferred amount to define items such as:

* A dark door frames, against a light door and a light wall.

* A light floor colour with a dark perimeter against a light coloured wall.
* Hand rails that colour contrast with the surrounding wall colour.
* Stair nosing is best seen when a colour-contrasted edge is provided.

Furniture that is colour contrasted with the floor and walls assists in locating furniture. Considerations when using colour: * Colours to avoid using together include red/ black, yellow/ grey, yellow /white, red/green, black /violet and blue /green.

• Be consistent in use of colour to convey messages.

• Limit use of colour and keep colour schemes simple and avoid large-scale patterns. Keeping in mind that too many Colours used in design can create confusion.
Acoustics

Sounds can assist in providing orientation clues about a space. A person can use reflected sound to determine a room size, the presence of corridors and proximity of walls or other structural barriers.

Inappropriate use of sound can create problems such as high levels of ambient sound or high levels of reflective sound. Some things to consider when planning space are:

* Well-defined, acoustically alive spaces are easier for people who are visually impaired to negotiate safely. Position items such as escalators, fountains, and elevators to create useful sounds.
•* Carpets, acoustic tiles and furniture reduce sound reflectance. Consideration should be given to providing some reverberation so that people can obtain a feel of the space.
* Noise sources may mask sounds intended to provide directional cues, such as ventilation ducts or air-conditioning units. These sounds may be useful, however they should not obscure the sound of an elevator.
* Sound reflections are frequently a good source of auditory cues.

• Consideration should be given to the structure and texture of planned circulation routes and how they would interact with the sound created by the tapping of a cane.

Signage: Tactile Signs

Information on signs should be available for persons who are blind and visually impaired. It is commonly considered adequate for tactile signs to consist of raised characters only. However, Braille can be read so much faster and easier than raised print for those who read it. A best practice in some countries is to include raised print and Braille in signage that identify rooms or spaces such as auditoriums, cafeterias, washrooms and elevator floor numbers.

Signage should be consistently located at a height and distance from the door to which it defines. The raised tactile lettering should be colour contrasted with the background. The sign should be colour contrasted with the surrounding wall surface.

Protruding Objects

Objects that protrude into paths of travel can be hazardous to persons who are visually impaired. In many cases protruding objects consist of:
• Signs
• Canopies
• Underside of stairs
• Drinking fountains
• Items protruding from walls
• Over hanging branches
• Telephone booths

Consideration should be given to eliminating these hazards such as:

* Placing a railing or planters below the underside of stairs.

* Ensuing all overhangs are removed within a certain height range.

* Telephone booths and drinking fountains are cane detectable. This can be achieved by placing an object at floor level.

Detectable Warning Surfaces

Detectable warning surfaces have a texture that can be felt under foot or detected by a person using a long cane. The texture is usually built in or applied. The texture alerts a person who is visually impaired to a hazard.

Detectable warning surfaces should be used on unprotected platforms, around reflecting pools, top of stairs, and curb ramps.

Detectable warnings should be consistently used to identify features in the built environment.

Audible Pedestrian signals (APS)

Accessible Pedestrian Signals are common in many countries and can assist people in knowing when it is legal to cross an intersection.

Fundamentally APS's should have the following:

* Two distinct tones one to indicate a north crossing and one to indicate a south crossing.•

* APS should be standard throughout a country or region.

* APS should provide both audible and verbal tactile information so that they are usable by person's who are deafblind.

* All light controlled intersections should have APS's, so that travelers who are visually impaired will always know they are available.

* APS's should not require a user to have special equipment to use them.

* APS's should be audible to users only and should not interfere with the area.

* APS's should be pedestrian activated.

* APS' s should emit a sound during the wait phase to help people to locate the button to actuate the sound.

Bank Machines

A movement is underway to develop bank machines that are accessible to people who are blind and partially sighted. In considering the bank in machine requirements of those who are blind and partially blind. Consideration should be given to the following when designing bank machines for the blind and partially sighted:

* All banking machines in a country or region should be consistent.
* All banking machines should have an access card that identifies the orientation of the card i.e. a notch.
* All portals should have a tactile graphics that are colour contrasted with the background symbol to identify them.
* Characters and symbols on the keys should be visually contrasted with the background and as large as the area on the key permits and have a sans serif font

* Each key press should be acknowledged visually audibly and by tactile registration
* The keypad should be telephone style, have the number five with a raised dot. The function keys should be separated by at least three times the distance from the numeric keys, and the surface should be such that it minimizes glare and is placed on an angle.
* The function keys should be placed to the right of the numeric keys and be arranged vertically, top to bottom, in the following order Cancel, correction OK/Enter
* Raised tactile symbols should be used to identify the function keys, either to the right or on the key itself. Using the following symbols: cancel X- correction- raised arrow<, and OK/ enter-raised circle O. Each function key if colored should be Cancel red correction, yellow and OK/enter- green.
* The functional display keys should correspond with in screen instructions, have a surface that is minimizes glare and leader lines that contrast with their background. * There should be an audio interface that is provided. The audio interface should have a socket with a raised ridge or a telephone hand set. The audio display should provide an orientation of the bank machine. The audio communication should be in the lower frequency range.
* Information printed by the ABM should be a minimum of 14 point.
•* Screen and printed material should contrast with the background. The text should use sans serif font and be mix an upper and lower text. Decimals and commas should be larger than normally used. Known advertising should be displayed with in the instructional area.

Further information
Following is a list of Recommended Websites and Material Websites: www.access-board.gov/adaag/html/adaag.html www.ap.buffal.edu/idea/publications/udnypdf.htm www.tiresais.org/terminal.htm
www.tiresais.org/tdiff.htm
www.design.ncsu.edu:8120/cud/univ_design/princ_overview.htm
www.design.ncsu.edu/cud/
www.inclusive-enviroments.com
www.jmuaccess.org.uk
www.csa.ca

Publications

Canadian National Institute for the Blind (CNIB), Clearing our Path ISBN 0-921122-28-4 August 1998 contact CNIB 416 413 -9480

Transportation Development Centre, Going Places ISBN 0-921122-
22-5 August 1997 contact CNIB 416 413-9480.

U.S. Architectural and Transportation Barriers Compliance Board. Building a True Community Final Report Public- Rights- of Way. Access Advisory Committee.

The Canadian Institute on Barrier free Design and Betty Doing Enterprises LTD, International Best Practices In Universal Design: A comparative Study, March 2000

Canadian Standards Association, B651.1-01 Barrier Free Design for Automated Banking Machines February 2001

Products:

Armor Tile Tactile Systems

ENGINEERED PLASTICS INC.
300 International Drive Suite 100
Williamsville, NY 14221
Phone: 1-800-682-2525
http://www.armor-tile.com/detectable-warnings_info.html

Posted by rollingrains at 02:26 AM

January 01, 2008

New Year's Resolutions -- 2008

As New Year's wishes come in from around the world it occurs to me that I hid my hopes for 2008 in the Vision Statement of a paper published last month in the journal of Design for All India. It is part of the article, "Prayaville, Thailand:Becoming a Destination of Choice for Travelers with Disabilities." (For those heading for their maps right now, don't bother, "Prayaville" is a fictional location.)

May more of us live in such a place!

Vision Statement

(This Vision Statement is written in the present tense to express the ideal goals of the project as if they were already reality.)

• Prayaville is a barrier-free city with an affirmative policy of inclusion of people with disabilities (PwD) that is evident in its infrastructure as well as its business and civic cultures.

• Prayaville is a city with a community of citizens, as well as long- and short-term guests with disabilities, who actively participate in civic life through government, business, education, media, and the arts.

• Prayaville is a destination of choice for people with disabilities because it has applied Inclusive Destination Development principles of Universal Design in developing its tourist assets.

• Prayaville has differentiated itself from other tourist destinations while positioning itself within the mainstream tourist route of Thailand and of Southeast Asia.

Meanwhile, real places approach this ideal through the steadfast work of organizations like Adaptive Environments:

http://blog.groundswellcollective.com/2007/07/29/the-institute-for-human-centered-design/

Posted by rollingrains at 09:51 PM

December 26, 2007

Taking It To the Streets!: UD, Women, & Urban Planning Team Up

It's Universal Design Tsunami Round 3 and you can see it playing out in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Round 1 was the Disability Rights Movement when Ron Mace and friends invented Universal Design.

Round 2 was the institutionalization of Universal Design in legal documents representing people with disabilities and seniors. It saw the mainstreaming of Universal Design in efforts by Adaptive Environments and AARP to extend the seven principles beyond disability culture to be synonymous with "good design" and "active aging."

Round 3 is the application of Universal Design on a macro scale in movements like Liveable Communities, Senior-Friendly Cities, and Inclusive Destination Development.

PHILADELPHIA — Chunks of the sidewalk behind the 16th Police District building off Lancaster Avenue are so torn up that mothers pushing strollers and women in wheelchairs can't negotiate the jumbled concrete slabs without venturing into the street.

Many then must climb a flight of stairs to get to the front door of the old row houses in west Philadelphia. If kitchens are on the second floor, they lug groceries, canes or strollers up another flight of stairs. All along the way, they fear crime.

"There are some areas that aren't well lit at all," says Blaine Straub, 25, who lives near Lancaster Avenue and had to get around in a wheelchair after she broke her ankle in October. "That's a little intimidating."

In a neighborhood where 54% of the residents are women, 70% of the households are headed by women and 70% of the elderly are women, the broken walkway on North Sloan Street symbolizes some of the physical challenges that women in America's cities face: an unsafe urban environment that's not conducive to walking.

Says Haya El Nasser in USA Today:

Medical experts, concerned about increased rates of obesity, diabetes and hypertension, have studied how the design of cities affects health for some time. Now, they're focusing on its impact on an increasingly prominent demographic segment of the urban landscape: women.
PHILADELPHIA — Chunks of the sidewalk behind the 16th Police District building off Lancaster Avenue are so torn up that mothers pushing strollers and women in wheelchairs can't negotiate the jumbled concrete slabs without venturing into the street.

Many then must climb a flight of stairs to get to the front door of the old row houses in west Philadelphia. If kitchens are on the second floor, they lug groceries, canes or strollers up another flight of stairs. All along the way, they fear crime.

"There are some areas that aren't well lit at all," says Blaine Straub, 25, who lives near Lancaster Avenue and had to get around in a wheelchair after she broke her ankle in October. "That's a little intimidating."

In a neighborhood where 54% of the residents are women, 70% of the households are headed by women and 70% of the elderly are women, the broken walkway on North Sloan Street symbolizes some of the physical challenges that women in America's cities face: an unsafe urban environment that's not conducive to walking.

For more:

http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/2007-12-25-Designingwomen_N.htm

Posted by rollingrains at 09:48 PM

December 23, 2007

Terceira idade é alternativa para fomentar o turismo - Terceira idade tem PPD! (Portuguese)

Terceira idade é alternativa para fomentar o turismo, diz Airton Pereira

O secretário Nacional de Políticas Para o Turismo, Airton Nogueira, ministrou, no último dia 23, no Centro de Convenções do Serrano Resort, o painel “Diversidade de oferta para promover o crescimento – Crédito Consignado ao aposentado já é realidade”. Com participação especial da presidente da Abav-RS, Carmen Marun, o painel abordou os desafios para desenvolver o turismo internacional, fortalecer o mercado interno e qualificar a atividade turística.

Segundo Nogueira, focar o mercado no público de terceira idade serve de alternativa para fomentar o turismo durante o ano todo. “Temos um cenário positivo, mas com alguns desafios. A viagem não está na cesta de consumo dos brasileiros. No Chile, a população viaja três vezes mais do que no Brasil, onde a atividade turística está concentrada em apenas três meses do ano”, pondera.

Conforme o secretário, o programa Viaja Mais – Melhor Idade contabilizou oito mil pacotes com apenas dois destinos. “O público da terceira idade representa o foco do turismo porque possui disponibilidade de tempo. O programa é um movimento inicial, mas permanente. Com preços especiais, é possível fortalecer o mercado no período de ociosidade”, diz.

Para Carmen Marun, presidente da Abav – RS, a cultura do Brasil em desenvolvimento está mudando. “Hoje, as jovens avós, que antes ficavam em casa, estão cuidando de aspectos físicos, mentais e do lazer. Nosso papel é buscar especialização para atender todos os setores do turismo. Precisamos de agências especializadas ecoturismo e que ofereçam opções para terceira idade e portadores de deficiência”, observa.

Fonte: Revista Eventos

Posted by rollingrains at 10:03 AM

December 22, 2007

Santander: Un Equipo de Vigilantes (Spanish)

En Santander, pasear con una silla de ruedas, con un carrito de niños o apoyado en un bastón o muletas puede convertirse en toda un odisea, dependiendo de la zona. Con la intención de corregir este problema, el Ayuntamiento ha puesto en marcha a un grupo de observadores urbanos que tomarán nota de las posibles barreras arquitectónicas, para luego ser corregidas.

Así, el equipo de personas que, dentro del programa 'Santander diseño universal', recorrerá la ciudad para detectar problemas de accesibilidad que después serán subsanados, ya ha comenzado su trabajo a lo largo de varias calles de Santander.

Los concejales de Autonomía Personal, Roberto del Pozo, y de Barrios y Participación Ciudadana, Santiago Recio, acompañaron en su primer recorrido a estos cinco observadores, que estarán coordinados por otras dos personas, y cuyo cometido es el de detectar anomalías que ocasionan dificultades de accesibilidad, como bordillos altos, mobiliario urbano que entorpece el paso o andamios mal colocados.

Del Pozo señaló que esta iniciativa, pionera en Cantabria y de la que tampoco hay ejemplos similares en España, permitirá realizar un trabajo progresivo y continuo con el objetivo de mejorar las condiciones de accesibilidad de las calles de Santander.

Las incidencias se remitirán a la comisión de seguimiento del programa, en la que se decide cuáles son los lugares en los que es necesaria una actuación más urgente.

Después, tres operarios del servicio de mantenimiento municipal se encargan de subsanar las anomalías detectadas.


Fuente:

http://www.eldiariomontanes.es/20071212/santander/centinelas-movilidad-20071212.html

Posted by rollingrains at 01:16 PM

December 21, 2007

Accessible Tourism in Libya?

Well, not quite yet as far as our research has been able to document. That's not necessarily as bad as it may sound.

For a nation to offer a seamlessly positive tourist experience it must start with the will to do so, the cultural tradition of hospitality, and infrastructure development that implements Universal Design. Libya ranks well according to those criteria.

The International Exhibition for Libya's Infrastructure and Economic Development took place December 10 - 13, 2007 as part of Projex Libya at the Tripoli International fairgrounds. One site summarizes:

Tourism - huge potential


With nearly 2,000km of unspoilt coastline, spectacular desert and World Heritage Sites, Libya is becoming increasingly attractive and accessible for heritage, desert and resort tourism, as well as being a growing destination for the international business community. Tourism development is the first priority after the oil and infrastructure sectors and is dependent on good communications, transport and hotel facilities, all of which are featured in Libya’s infrastructure plans. Dramatic growth in hotel construction is forecast to increase the number of beds to 10,000 by 2010 as part of a US$7 billion tourist development plan.

Will that huge potential be guided by the principles of Universal Design? Only if experts in the Inclusive Destination Development network make themselves known in Libya and share their knowledge at this early design stage. We look forward to the challenge!

Posted by rollingrains at 10:54 PM

December 18, 2007

Bangalore Mirror Report: Access Denied!

"How can we create an "enabling" environment or do we continue to accept the way things are placed now?", asks Indian disability expert Mahesh Chandrasekar in the Bangalore Mirror.

"ACCESS DENIED" published in Bangalore Mirror, Dated 11 Dec 2007.

Following the International Day of Disabled Persons (3rd Dec 2007), I received a call from Bangalore Mirror to conduct a "Reality Check" to find how Bangalore City is placed in enabling persons with disabilities to lead an active/ independent life.

Can a person with disability undertake day-day-tasks such as walking on the footpath, buying grocery, selecting a book from a book store, going to a bakery, hotel, using the ATM, going by bus, selecting a favorite shirt, going to a movie etc.. freely and independently?

There are laws (Eg. 'Chapter VIII - Non-Discrimination' of Persons with Disabilities Act, 1995) and guidelines issued by the Bangalore City Corporation under the building bye-laws "No. 31. Facilities for Physically Handicapped Persons" - that is applicable to all buildings having a covered area of 300 Sq Mts - But there was hardly any evidence of these provisions being implemented.

The verdict - "Except for some of the new shopping malls the rest of the places (the common/ everyday joints) are totally out of bounds for persons with disabilities".

Posted by rollingrains at 05:34 PM

December 14, 2007

Preliminary Standards: Inclusion and Visitability for the Hospitality Industry

Gordon Rattray of Able Travel is first out of the gate in publishing a new type of resource for hoteliers. The document, Making Your Property More Inclusive: Basic Guidelines for African Safaris, is only one example of a new generation of results-oriented advice flowing from the kind of thinking evident at the Second International Conference on Accessible Tourism held at the UN campus in Bangkok, Thailand.

The core concepts are "Social Inclusion" and "Visitability."

While mere accessibility addresses usability of basic infrastructure by all, social inclusion (or simply "inclusion") refers to the availability of the activities and social interaction taking place in any space. Inclusion is the more powerful and adaptive concept. In terms of the tourism industry "accessibility" is equivalent to a building having indoor plumbing and running water -- so basic as to be a non-issue -- unless it is absent!

Visitability is a specific application of the seven principles of Universal Design to the minimum requirements for usability of the built environment by persons with mobility impairments. The concept of Visitability has been developed by Eleanor Smith and, until now, exclusively applied to private residences.

However, we know that concepts of "home" and "hominess" migrate into the hospitality industry at a rapid pace. Visitability as a hotel design trend is arising simultaneously in Europe, South America, Africa, and Asia. It will be a topic of hallway discussions at the ASEAN Tourism Forum (ATF-2008) in Bankok next month.

Gordon is writing a safari guide for Pw. If you would like to contribute, he is looking for anybody with experience of Africa or adventure travel in general for this market. See his site: http://www.able-travel.com/contact.php

Posted by rollingrains at 02:04 PM

December 13, 2007

Living With Disabilities in Pattaya, Thailand

Pattaya Expats Club logo


The Internet is wonderful -- but my sense of timing is not always what it should be to take advantage of all the resources there!

Regularly I meet extraordinary people like Pete Mills of the Pataya Expats Club through Internet research. Unfortunately, I only met him via email several days after I returned.

With all the momentum we have built toward a long-term campaign for Inclusive Tourism in Pattaya I intend to answer Pete's call for travel info for PwD tourists and expats in his article, "Living with Disabilities in Pattaya."

Thanks, Pete (Khob Khun Mak Krab, in Thai) for the support of our community!

From Pete's article:

...if I were disabled in any way, there is no place I would rather be than in Pattaya. And perhaps those of you out there, with various forms of disabilities, would like to e-mail to me your opinion on this, as your personal experiences would carry more weight than my observations.

So why do I think that Pattaya is the place to be, even though there are no laws to ensure that disabled people are able to enjoy their lives to the full?

First, it is the friendliness of the Thai people towards visitors, young and old, that attracts many of us to Thailand in the first place. Several of my disabled friends have beautiful, caring girl friends and boy friends, and their partners make sure that they enjoy the good life in Pattaya. Much fuller and more independent lives than they could possibly live in the USA or the United Kingdom for instance.

And then there is the cost of any care a disabled person may need. For approximately US$1,000 a month (less than most US Social Security retirement incomes), you can live a very comfortable life in Pattaya, and this is true whether you are disabled or not.

It is not unusual to see foreigners with a variety of disabilities, accompanied by their partners and enjoying all of the attractions of the resort – the beaches, swimming, night clubs, restaurants and all manner of sports. I have a friend who has Multiple Sclerosis, which has been getting worse over the years. However, he is able to live a very full and enjoyable life in Pattaya.

I realize that this article, at the moment, is short on specific businesses that cater to the disabled, but through the feedback from our Club, and folks like yourself, we hope to build a good database for anyone with disabilities visiting or residing in Pattaya.

Please email Pete at info@pattayaexpatsclub.com with up to date information on the businesses in Pattaya that provide good access for the disabled. Together we can perhaps raise the level of awareness for the disabled in Pattaya

In another story, Day al-Mohamed has a news bit about OPwD in Thailand in her post here:

http://www.mysinchew.com/node/4285?tid=4

And also:

Vietnamese photographer wins International Day of Disabled Persons photographic competition


http://www.ilo.org/public/english/region/asro/bangkok/public/releases/yr2007/pr07_39.htm

Posted by rollingrains at 11:24 PM

December 03, 2007

ENAT Moves Europe to Positive Action on Inclusive Tourism!

Following hot on the heels of the European Network for Accessible Tourism (ENAT)
conference, the European Parliament is registering some action on behalf of travelers with disabilities. Note in particular the emergence of an EC "Tourism for All" label at the same time we are writing the ASEAN standards in Thailand following ICAT 2007.

I was unaware how quickly the Inclusive Tourism scene would mature s I closed my presentation at UNESCAP last week with the following:

The next two years will be a surprise to those in the industry who have not yet prepared their profit-based approach to disability. Some will be asking you to help. You have an opportunity to contribute and to shape the travel industry. That may be with the rights-based emphasis through government, education, or policy. It may on the profit-based side through invention, construction, marketing, or business creation.

Whatever opportunity you choose, take your pride - and your money - on the road. Travel. Teach the industry and level the path for the ones who come after you!


For immediate release:

European Parliament Puts Accessible Tourism on EU Agenda

On 29 November 2007, European Members of Parliament passed a resolution on
a renewed EU Tourism Policy: "Towards a stronger partnership for European
Tourism", calling for Member States to make a united effort to support
Accessible Tourism.

MEPs gave their backing to Italian MEP Paola Costa, who provided a
wide-ranging report on the challenges faced by the European Tourism
sector, and a set of 22 concrete proposals for renewed action.

The keyword which runs throughout the report is "partnership" - for only
by working together, says Paolo Costa, can EU Member States tackle the
fragmented policies and practices which currently frustrate efforts in
the tourism sector.

Accessible Tourism

Actions for the future of accessible tourism in Europe are called for in
six specific paragraphs, declaring that the European Parliament:

"...Welcomes initiatives to coordinate at European level the information
on accessible tourism that would allow tourists with reduced mobility and
their families to find information about the accessibility of tourist
destinations; calls on all Member States, tourism providers and national
and local tourist organisations to join and/or to support this kind of
initiative;

- At the same time, calls on the Commission and the Member States to
consider the feasibility of drawing up a charter of the rights and
obligations of European tourists, in view of the riotous and violent
incidents caused by European tourists in European tourist destinations ,
and also a European code of conduct for tourist businesses;

- Calls on the Commission and the Member States to initialise an "Access
for all " EC label that would guarantee core accessibility facilities for
tourists with reduced mobility and would cover offers such as
accommodation, restaurants, leisure and natural sites, auditoriums,
monuments, museums, etc.;

- Stresses, furthermore, the need to protect, conserve and restore the
European cultural heritage; and calls for more stringent management of
such sites and of the conditions under which they are visited, and for
greater efforts to improve access for people with disabilities, growing
numbers of whom now travel for leisure purposes;

- Calls on the Commission to draft a Communication with an action plan on
the enhancement of such a label based on the work it has already carried
out , on experiences and best practices at national and local level and
taking stock of what has been achieved at EU level in the transport field;

- Notes that the accessibility of tourist destinations is a matter that
also has to do with the transport services provided or available; calls,
therefore, on the Commission, for the purposes of the new European tourism
policy and of developing European transport policy, to take due account of
the accessibility handicap affecting regions with specific natural or
geographical characteristics, such as the outermost regions, island and
mountain regions, and the sparsely populated northernmost regions..."

Moreover, the Parliamentary Report presents no less than twenty-two
suggestions for actions by the Members States, Regional and Local
authorities, including the need to:

"... protect, preserve and restore European cultural heritage assets and
[calls for] more rigorous management of cultural sites and their visiting
arrangements, as well as for greater efforts to improve access for
disabled people, an increasing number of whom are travelling for tourist
purposes..."

Responding to the Tourism Report on the European Day of People with
Disabilities, ENAT Coordinator Ivor Ambrose stated: "We welcome this firm
and forward-looking resolution by the Members of the European Parliament,
as it gives a timely and much-needed message for public authorities and
the tourism industry.

"All parties must work together across national and regional borders to
make accessible tourism a reality, both for European consumers and
international visitors. ENAT's members are ready to play their part in
fulfilling the ambitions that are contained in this resolution."


--

Ivor Ambrose, Coordinator
European Network for Accessible Tourism
c/o EWORX S.A.,
Rodou St., 22
GR-15122 Marousi, Athens
Greece.
Tel. 0030 210 614 8380
Fax. 0030 210 614 8381
E-mail: enat@accessibletourism.org
Web: http://www.accessibletourism.org
SKYPE name: ambroiv

ENAT: The European Network for Accessible Tourism is
a voluntary association of organisations and individuals
from the private, public and NGO sectors. Our mission is
to make European tourism destinations, products and
services accessible to all visitors.
>From December 2007 ENAT will be established as an
international NGO with its head office in Brussels.


Posted by rollingrains at 01:48 PM

December 02, 2007

JAL Brings Universal Design to its Narita Airport Remodel

Narita Airport Remodel Map

On December 18, 2007, JAL will open up new passenger check-in counters at Narita Airport Terminal 2 - the airline’s main international hub – as part of its overall aim of reducing average passenger waiting times by approximately 50% during peak hours. The airline will completely renovate both existing First Class and Executive Class counters. New counters will be established exclusively for the use of the airline’s frequent flyers who are either JAL Global Club (JGC) or JMB Sapphire members. JAL will also unveil brand new Support Counters dedicated to servicing the needs of priority guests, such as passengers with disabilities, passengers traveling with babies or expectant mothers. The improvements will enable JAL to provide its passengers with a more convenient, user-friendly, stress free check-in experience at the airport.

First Class Counters

Using a combination of glass and timber for a warmer, more welcoming atmosphere, JAL’s new First Class counters will be conveniently located in the center of the terminal’s 3rd floor just a short distance from the airline’s Fast Security Lane. Established in June 2006, JAL Fast Security Lane is a security check fastrack lane for only First Class passengers and frequent flyers. The first ever such facility at any of Japan's airports handling international flights.

JGC Counters

JAL will open new JGC Counters exclusively for the use of frequent flyers who are JAL Global Club (JGC) and JMB Sapphire members. The new area will be fitted with 8 Self Check-in Machines (SCM) to help speed up the check-in process. The JAL Fast Security Lane is also within easy reach of the JGC counters.

Executive Class Counters

In addition to the complete renovation of JAL’s Executive Class check-in counters, 12 additional Self Check-in Machines will also be installed.

Support Counters

Support Counters will be established dedicated to servicing the needs of priority guests such as passengers with disabilities, passengers traveling with babies, and expectant mothers.

Based on the principle of Universal Design, counters will be lower, low chairs will be provided, and handrails and walking stick holders will be incorporated to make the new check-in area as user-friendly as possible. Universal Design is an approach to the design of products, services and environments to be usable by as many people as possible regardless of age, ability or situation.

Furthermore, at the counters, passengers will be tended to by specially trained staff, and will also be able to rent baby cars and wheelchairs for use inside the airport.

Improvements to the check-in counters form just one part of JAL’s efforts to strengthen customer service at Narita Airport Terminal 2. On July 19 2007, JAL unveiled two completely revamped JAL First Class and JAL Sakura lounges at the terminal’s main building, both featuring a buffet-style hot meal service, stylish bar-counters, resident professional masseuses, and shower rooms. To reduce customer waiting times at check-in areas, JAL also plans to increase the number of check-in counters from 91 to about 140 later this year; increase the number of Self Check-in Machines (SCM) from 23 to about 70 by spring 2008, and in the future renew all economy class counters and establish e-style check-in areas fitted only with Self Check-in Machines (SCM).

Source: Japan Airlines

For a useful practical guide on air travel see Accessible Air Travel by United Spinal

Posted by rollingrains at 04:33 PM

November 21, 2007

Inclusive Tourism Conference - Italian Style!

Jill Paradis is busy setting up an inclusive tourism operation in northern Italy. She forwarded this report form the INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE TURISMO PER TUTTI IN PIEDMONT. For the document in Word 2007 format Download file

INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE TURISMO PER TUTTI IN PIEDMONT
Palace of Venaria Reale – 15 October 2007
CONFERENCE PROCEEDINGS

OFFICIAL WELCOME

Paolo Osiride Ferrero, Chairman of Consulta per le Persone in Difficoltà, opened the conference, saying

Today is a special day. I would like to thank the Mr Pernice for this opportunity of holding the conference here today.

Addresses of guest speakers then followed, in the order below.

FRANCESCO PERNICE
Superintendent for the Artistic, Architectural, and Naturalistic Heritage of Piedmont

Today we find ourselves in the Restoration Centre, which is part of the greater complex that is the Palace of Venaria, whose reopening was recently inaugurated. This conference room was once the stables, as can be seen from the sloping floor, which was designed to help clear away the excrement of the horses. In restoring the stables, we decided to conserve the original sloping floor as it was, which shows how even the most extensive restoration project can still respect original historical features. The Palace of Venaria is the only building of its kind in Italy where barriers have been removed without disturbing the original architectural and historical features. In fact, we removed three steps from the entrance to the Church of Saint Hubertus so as to enable wheelchair access. Even the Sacra di San Michele has been made accessible thanks to its new lifts. In this way, what we saw was that with carefully studied action, barriers can be removed.
Today, tourism means visiting monuments and churches, which means they have to be adapted. Everybody has to be able to reach the destinations they desire without effort, also because the population is getting older and older. Today, I can guarantee that 70% of all our monumental buildings have been rendered accessible. Glaring errors can often be made though, such as building a lift then leaving steps at the entrance. This happens when things are first built, and then corrected afterwards in an effort to fix the faults. What is needed is a different approach and greater awareness. Yet even at our Faculty of Architecture, there is no specific course focused on architectural barriers.

GIULIO CAPOZZOLO
Welfare Councillor – Town Council of Venaria

I welcome you all on behalf of the Mayor. After last Friday’s inauguration of the Palace, here we are again for another important event for Venaria, as we are pleased to host the first-ever international conference on accessible tourism. We would like to thank the organisers of Turismabile for this honour. The twenty-five itineraries proposed demonstrate the commitment and effort that has been dedicated in recent years to tourism and mobility. Nevertheless, a long-term investment programme is needed; our hope is that all institutions, from local government upwards, will realize this.

ANNA MARIA PATISSO
Representative of the Provincial Secretary for Sport & Tourism, Patrizia Bugnano – Province of Turin

The Province is strongly committed to promoting accessible tourism initiatives, as can be seen in provincial projects such as “Walks without Barriers” in Ivrea, the “Playing with the Senses” initiative in Ceresole Reale, the project “A Mountain for Everybody,” and last but not least, the provincial government’s fully accessible website. Generally speaking, much has been done, but there is still much left to do.

TIZIANA NASI
President of the Piedmont Section of the Italian Paralympic Committee

I would like to thank the CPD and Regione Piemonte for all that they are doing. The great leaps forward that have been made in accessible tourism can be seen in the sheer number of disabled athletes that we have hosted and continue to host. Just a few days ago it was Paralympic Day, which was celebrated with the participation of some five thousand school pupils. It is always wonderful sight to see non-disabled children helping their disabled companions while playing sport together. Many other sporting events have also been scheduled for disabled athletes; shortly, in fact, we will be hosting the European Ice Sledge Hockey championships.
If I call a hotel in Turin today, they tell me that all their rooms are accessible. This Royal Palace, which is accessible to all people, is another example of all that Piedmont is doing and intends to keep on doing.

GIULIANA MANICA
Regional Secretary for Tourism – Regione Piemonte

I welcome you all here on behalf the Regional President Ms Bresso, the regional government and the regional assembly. The Olympics and Paralympics launched Turin onto the national and international tourist stage. While before we only had business tourism, tied to trade conferences and fairs, today we also have recreational tourism. Before, Piedmont was considered little more than an industrial region, with little appeal. Today, all this has changed thanks to the investment that has been made into the Residences of the Royal House of Savoy. The Region is also outlining a strategic plan for tourism, with the assistance of Professor Martin Brackenbury of the University of Cambridge.
Today, Piedmont has become not only glamorous, but also friendly to all. The promotion of the local territory and the message we send to Italian and international visitors has increasingly been targeted at all people without distinction, as regards both short breaks and longer events.
In the field of equal opportunities, Melting Box will be launched in forthcoming days, representing the most important event this year for Italy. Our goal here is for this conference and fair to become a regular event, held every two years.
When it comes to the topics and fields that I have mentioned, Piedmont can truly be considered an authentic laboratory and test bed for social innovation. What we also want to affirm though is the wealth of tourist opportunities that abounds in our region, a wealth that is open to everybody. Hence the task that lies ahead of us is not just a social one but also a question of marketing. Working towards fully accessible tourism is an investment of strategic value. Our goal is to raise the tourism sector in Piedmont from its current 2% of regional GDP to 4%.

SESSION I: FROM AN INSTITUTIONAL POINT OF VIEW

PAOLA CASAGRANDE
Director General – Sector for the Co-ordination & Promotion of Tourism – Regione Piemonte

The project Turismabile, involving many people and organisations, is an emblematic example of regional policy, aimed at boosting the quality and excellence of the tourism sector and innovation. Piedmont must open its doors up wide to all visitors, and become fully accessible to everybody.
From the point of view of innovation, the project is innovative because it opens up a whole new approach, promoting itineraries and hence the creation of tourist packages that can be worked on and sold. Potential travellers with special needs represent a potential boost for regional GDP, as considering that many elderly people are disabled, we are talking about a potential additional turnover of 165 billion euros, and an extra 260 million people on the move each year. With the Olympics we saw that Turin really was up to the task of accommodating everybody. Now, with these twenty-five itineraries, we have a new occasion and opportunity to show the world that Piedmont’s masterpieces really are open to all people. This is also one of the objectives identified by the strategic regional plan for tourism.
What we have seen today is a first step. The intention of the regional secretary, Ms Manica, is to establish a standing committee on accessible tourism. For this to become a reality though, ongoing financial backing is needed, along with legislative changes. New ideas are needed, and barriers have to be broken down. We also need to invest in raising awareness of the limits of physical efficiency, which is what often brings accessibility and usability to be neglected. We intend to educate and train engineers and architects in this way.

DANIELA BAS
Journalist and Expert in Fundamental Human Rights

I would first like to thank those who have spoken so far, because they did not speak too quickly, as Italians so often do. This greatly helped the interpreters here from ENS, which is battling to have sign language recognised as the second official national language.
Paola Casagrande and Giuliana Manica both expressed my own thoughts, and that is, that this project is not about social welfare but about tourism – and tourism is an industry.
Today’s event is innovative compared to many others I have taken part in.
Invalid, normal, disabled and handicapped are all terms of common currency, however the United Nations and the European Union are pushing to change the language we use, so as to stress first and foremost the “person”, and only then his/her being “disabled.”
Many are the people around us with disabilities – not only those in wheelchairs, as there are visible and invisible disabilities (such as for people who are heart patients or in need of dialysis). Reduced mobility may even be a temporary phenomenon, as if I break a leg whilst skiing, I have to be given the opportunity to continue my holiday if I so wish. Along with tourists whose mobility is permanently impaired though, we also have coeliacs, senior citizens, the obese, and allergy sufferers. The concept of accessible is very different to usable; I might very well be able to enter a museum, but I also have to be able to make use of what is in there. The twenty-five Turismabile itineraries are not just accessible, but also usable down to every last detail.

FRANCO VITALE
Director General – Ministry for Economic Development

We need to stop seeing people with disabilities as “a problem.” For years now in other countries, awareness of the disabled is taken for granted.
In the past once, I tried to have a fund established to address issues relating to accessible tourism, though without success. It would seem that the times were still not ripe back then.
In this field though, the availability of ready, easy-to-understand information is indispensable. It is also one of the fundamental principles of the “Tourists’ Charter of Rights,” which I also worked on.
The problem is not about making adaptations afterwards, but suitably designing to guarantee accessibility in the first place. This obviously does not count for buildings such as the Coliseum or the Palace of Venaria, which simply have to be adapted.
An accessible and usable building need not necessarily be ugly. Usability is about good living – and tourism is a part of life. What is most important is a change in approach; education then comes later. First we need to make architects change their mentality and start designing buildings that are accessible and usable right from the very start.

ROBERT LANGELA
Director General – Belgian Ministry for Tourism

I am a founding member of an association that since 1983 has been committed to promoting accessible tourism in German-speaking communities in Belgium, which number some 70,000 people. At a certain point, we decided – together with the Flemish community – to develop a rating system for accessible tourism, to be used for hotels and other tourist facilities. In this way we wanted to provide precise and pertinent information, as well as a tool to help promote the sector.
And so we began by drawing up a road map. In 2001 national and international debate got underway to discuss and develop the rating system. The principles identified were that the rating system had to be recognisable throughout Belgium and abroad; and that the rating system had to give immediate primary information, indicating how a person could move about, with and without assistance. Any additional information desired could then be found in a database – talking about databases, between 2003 and 2004, seven different databases existed, though we have since unified them all. Before approving the final rating system, we decided to compare it to the system in use in Switzerland, where accessibility is rated over three levels. In this way, we arrived at the following rating system:
1) Grade A+ = usable without the need for assistance
2) Grade A = usable only with assistance
3) Grade I = not usable, book elsewhere
A fundamental criterion for every hotel is that there is direct access to the building via a ramp. Furthermore, the reception counter should not be too high. For all this to be possible though, it is indispensable that there is general acceptance of a barrier-free environment. In Belgium this began back at the beginning of the eighties. For us, a barrier-free environment is considered just as important as having an efficient fire alarm system. Of course, this does not mean that when you are staying in a hotel you want to feel like you are in a hospital.
Turning our sights from Belgium to Europe, at the time the Maastricht Treaty was signed, there was little interest in promoting accessible tourism. Later though, the advisory committee that I belong to was created. It was the European Commission that decided to create a working group on sustainable tourism, made up of 24 members, though it should be added that the group is not a centralised one, as the initiative did not come from Brussels but from the Committee of the Regions.
The first initiative of the Group was the Eden Project, which identifies tourist destinations of excellence to be promoted and published on the project’s web site. Localities wishing to be featured on the web site have to have met accessibility standards for at least two years. I do not know if Turin is already a part of this European circuit, though from today onwards it certainly will be.
Accessible tourism means opening the doors to everybody without distinction – something which will be important for our children, and our children’s children.

CARMEN DUARTE
Vice-president EASPD – European Association of Service Providers for Persons with Disability

The EASPD provides services for people with disabilities, so as to ensure that assistance is distributed equally. Our mission is to provide information and build a network at the European level, though also to conduct research and studies into related issues. The organisation consists of four standing committees – on employment, education, enlargement, and policy impact.
Our objective is to achieve high-quality service levels and the suitable integration of people with disabilities into society.
Of the standing committees I mentioned before, the policy impact group is of particular importance as it seeks to give a greater political voice to people with disabilities at the European level (especially within the Council of Europe).
We also work to promote legislative change in favour of people with disabilities, by building direct, profitable relationships with European institutions, such as the Social Affairs Committee and all the committee bureaux of the European Union.
As regards communication campaigns, we regularly inform the public of the EASPD’s work by e-mail, Internet and through workshops. The latest development in the organisation has been the creation of a “Mental Health and Disability” committee. In addition to this, we have begun working with Handicap International to involve the Balkan nations in our projects.
We also organise many conferences, with the next event scheduled for 7th December, 2007, to mark and celebrate the EASPD’s seventh anniversary.
The EASPD has been busy in this European Year of Equal Opportunities for All, also because the United Nations and the European Union have approved important new documents concerning the rights of disabled people and their full inclusion in society.
As service providers we want to see the right to tourism and recreation extended to all people. This aspect of life was once largely neglected, and only work and education were spoken of.
In the past, only people of means could afford to travel; then this right was slowly extended to people who were less well-off, and finally today, also to people with special needs.
This conference today is a good practice to be followed, and a sign that the seeds that have been sown have begun to bear their fruit.

SESSION II – CONCRETE EXAMPLES OF ACCESSIBLE TOURISM & TURISMO PER TUTTI

ANGELO D’ALBANO
UIC – Unione Italiana Ciechi e Ipovedenti Onlus

When we speak of accessible tourism, we need to keep in mind sensorial and perceptive barriers, and not just architectural impediments.

REMO EDER
Vice-chairman of Federalberghi

Federalberghi is strongly committed to seeing accessible tourism develop to its full potential throughout the nation. Hence it was with great enthusiasm that we accepted the invitation to speak at this conference today. Usability cannot be achieved through one-off initiatives, but only through ongoing commitment. As a citizen, I would like to see greater space given to the participation of all people; as a hotelier, I see myself as a representative of a hospitality culture, and as such would like to see hotels open their doors to all people, so that everyone can feel at ease wherever they are. Much has been done in recent years, though we are still striving to improve and offer increasingly diversified services for different customer segments. The preparedness of hoteliers has also improved considerably.
The hospitality industry has a long tradition here in Italy. It may not be not easy to render old hotels in city centres accessible and usable, but it has to be done, in accordance with traditional Italian hospitality. New hotels are all compliant with standards; it is only a specific segment of our hotels which represent a problem.
That said, the financial and bureaucratic burden tied to breaking down architectural barriers also needs to be lightened. Some buildings cannot be touched because they are subject to heritage restrictions, but even in these cases, alternative solutions need to be found. Removing barriers is a sign of civilisation, and Italy, as a civilised nation, certainly cannot exclude itself from this.
Nevertheless, breaking down architectural barriers in itself is not enough; we also need to break down social and cultural barriers and promote a hospitality culture, as hospitality also means solidarity.

CARLO BORTOTT
FIAVET Chairman for Piedmont and the Aosta Valley – Federazione Italiana Associazioni Imprese di Viaggi e Turismo

I welcome you all on behalf of Fiavet. I would like to go straight to the heart of the problem and say that to make tourism truly accessible to all people, we need to raise the quality of the industry. The problem is that handicapped travellers are seen as too specific a sector. The same error can often be seen in tourism for the elderly – guides and assistants have not been trained for customers with special, age-related needs.
When it comes to transport the problem becomes even more serious, especially on transport means that are designed to move huge numbers of tourists. This sort of “natural selection” then ends up conditioning tour operators, who do not know how to cater for their disabled customers. Institutions higher up the ladder need to promote better education, while tour operators will have to get used to the idea of selling tourist packages designed for all people.
I too agree in saying that usability is of great importance – I have seen situations in which people could enter a museum, but then had to wait in the foyer until the others had finished their tours. The Internet is a powerful instrument, though at the same time it overloads us with information. This is why tour operators exist – to act as intermediaries and guarantee the quality of tourist packages.
Turin has a lot to offer, but it needs to learn to communicate and promote itself better. Though it must be said that good results were achieved with the Olympics.

ROBERTO VITALI
Chairman of Si Può Viaggiare

Si Può Viaggiare is a non-profit organisation which decided to work in the tourist sector because the tourist sector is renowned for being much more attentive to what the customer wants. The tourist industry was also the first sector to recognise disabled people as customers.
So what is the tourist market all about? Shopping and sight-seeing, though now the gourmet tourism sector has also become an important niche market.
In reality, there is no difference between people with special needs and people without – even tourists with special needs appreciate fine food, museums, natural wonders, and enjoy shopping.
Disabled people do not travel around looking for hotels with ramps. What they seek is cordiality and a willingness to help meet needs. A ramp is just a tool.
Exactly 80.9% of disabled tourists are in wheelchairs. Though if we look a little closer, a person in a wheelchair really has the same needs as a family with young children in strollers. Hence we need to learn to focus more on individual needs, as only in this way can we create an environment to accommodate all people, and open up the potential of a much wider market. For all this to happen though, a much more efficient education programme is needed.
Of the words disability, accessibility, and tourism, the most important is tourism. We need to take a Toyota–style “total quality” approach, where overall customer satisfaction is more important than the exact measurements of the bathroom. A bathroom for the disabled is not the answer to everything. In fact often the approach is much too hospital-like – just look at the toilet bowl; why does it have to be so big?
It is much better not to turn to consultants interested only in respecting the law to the letter and little else, and who ignore the importance of hospitality. We also need to stop talking about accessible tourism and instead talk about quality tourism, which expertly meets the needs of everyone. Our goal must go beyond attaining the National Health Service’s stamp of approval, and aim to build a new world which is truly open to all people. From today onwards, whenever somebody tells me that it is impossible, I will reply “Go and visit the Sacra di San Michele,” which positively struck me on yesterday’s tour.
Another thing is that we need to stop asking for funding for the removal of architectural barriers. When ordinary maintenance work needs to be done (such as repairs to the pavement), it should automatically be seen as an opportunity to remove the step that was previously there.
Disabled people are to all effects and purposes customers with rights and responsibilities. The best thing about the project Turismabile is that it is backed by a whole system, made up of the local territory, institutions, partner associations, and usable venues and facilities.
A last point that I would like to make, which is of no lesser importance, is that places that can host disabled people also have the facilities to employ disabled people.

MICHELE D’INNELLA
Editorial Director of Touring Club Italiano

I recently was the editor for our new guide to “Tourism without Barriers.” I second everything that was said by Roberto Vitali, and would add that there also exist other types of special needs, such as when travelling with pets.
Every guidebook ought to include a section on accessibility, so as to truly make publications “for all people.”
Even Ventaglio, Italy’s leading tour operator in the organisation of travel packages for all people, has published a special catalogue for its disabled customers.
The guidebook on accessible tourism is on sale alongside every other guidebook we publish, which is a way of saying that it was not an act of charity, but rather that we see it as a fully-fledged market on par with all the others.
I have seen remarkable improvements made in the tourist industry, even though many problems still remain unresolved. It would be nice to think that in the future, information on accessibility might be given on every individual sight and monument. The problem today is that the tourist industry still does not consider customers with special needs as real customers.

AVRIL ACCOLLA
Vice-president of European Institute for Design and Disability

George Bernard Shaw once said that “The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore, all progress depends on the unreasonable man.” To this I would add that “Good design enables, bad design disables.”
The design process can produce results which are creative and functional, if a multidisciplinary, synergetic approach is taken which consults the user every step of the way.
Every person has his/her specificity and this must be respected. By accommodating for the highest number of people possible, not only are you doing a good thing, but you also obtain more money and more votes.
It must be remembered though that accessibility must already be taken into account in the design brief, that is to say, from the very start of the project. When Giugiaro was asked why he designed a non-accessible underground for Milan, he replied “Because nobody asked me to.”
Even an aid can be attractive. Laws governing accessibility requirements can also be a good help. By the year 2000 all of London’s taxis had to be accessible; the same will apply for taxis throughout the entire United Kingdom by 2012. Looking at a photo of such a taxi though, you will notice that London’s accessible taxis are exactly the same as all their other taxis!
There is another problem though, which I call “functionally accessible discrimination.” I have come across cinemas, for example, which were accessible but which placed disabled people on special “platforms” away from the rest of the audience. In this way, disabled people in the cinema were forced to remain separated from their friends and “ghettoized.” A cinema of this kind was without a doubt designed by an architect who considered disabled people a “problem,” “a pain in the neck.” The platforms were therefore a convenient solution to satisfy regulations and obtain a license to open. This way of thinking needs to be progressively phased out. People with special needs must no longer be considered an inconvenience, but rather an opportunity for creative new solutions to be found.
When Copenhagen’s underground was designed, a survey was then conducted asking people if they liked the new trains. The majority of passengers replied that they did, though a problem was highlighted with the central turning points of the carriages – as the floors were all grey, when the train turned and the central turning point moved, passengers risked falling over because they did not realise the floor was moving. To draw attention to the turning points, Giugiaro had a darker-coloured cross painted on the floors.
The underlying concept is that you always need to “respond” to whatever need is expressed. An example of this principle is again provided by Copenhagen’s underground. Windows were inserted into the ceilings of the carriages, so that when the train passed under open-air shafts, natural light would flood in from street level. This helped people who suffer from claustrophobia, who otherwise would not take the underground.
Making a city accessible means making it more attractive. In Barcelona, after a city redevelopment plan was implemented to remove its numerous architectural barriers, and a “Bars and Restaurants for All” guide was released, the number of visitors to the city rose by 22%.

After the address of Avril Accolla, Daniela Bas and Paolo Osiride Ferrero added the following comments.
Daniela Bas – Ms Accolla has shown us how tourist numbers inevitably grow when accessible facilities and transport are available, as there is greater usability for all people.
Paolo Osiride Ferrero - Turin’s accessible underground railway is very similar to Copenhagen’s, though there is still the problem that the button panels are too high. As concerns cinemas, here in Turin I have seen seating reserved for the disabled right up underneath the screen, though the situation is beginning to change.


SESSION III – PRESENTATION OF TURISMO PER TUTTI ITINERARIES IN PIEDMONT

DANIELA BAS
Journalist and Expert in Fundamental Human Rights

The 25 Turismabile itineraries in Piedmont constitute a complete tourism project. Each itinerary focuses on different sensations; what we are hoping to do is hold workshops in the future on the different itineraries together with tour operators.
In this conference today, we have talked about living life to the full, not about health assistance. We hope that marketable tourist packages can be built from the itineraries. Another idea is to launch a Turismo per Tutti trade fair within two years.

After the presentation of the itineraries, various tour operators and representatives of European associations spoke to tell about their experiences in the sector.

WOLFGANG GRABOWSKI
Grabo Tours Reisen - Germany

In 1978 we organised our first trip to Italy for the disabled, to San Felice Circeo. Back then, there was still little awareness of the issue, and Italy was rightly considered a “country of stairs.” We nevertheless managed to cope.
Right from the very start for us, people with disabilities were not seen as such, but rather as customers like everybody else, with the right to make certain demands for the money they spent.
On this occasion, I feel it is necessary to stress to travel agencies and their staff that the disabled are customers!
Grabo Tours Reisen has forty-eight travel packages designed specially for tourists with disabilities. This year we even organised a pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela. It really is a profitable market.
Turismabile is an important project. In the past, due to all the stairs, wheelchairs had to take the back entrance or otherwise be carried by hand. Luckily today there are ramps and specially adapted rooms.
We try to satisfy all the requests made of us. Next year, for example, one of our customers will be turning 85 and wants to go to Tibet! We then hope to organise many more trips to China after the Paralympics in 2008.
I have been coming to Italy for thirty years now, but this is my first trip to Turin. I will definitely be coming back to Piedmont with a group next year.

TONY BOVE
APF (Association Paralysées France) - France

APF is the second-largest association in Europe, after the Red Cross. We have been working in the sector since 1937, organising trips for all people, and giving many disabled people the chance to have fun and enjoy themselves, whereas once they were shut up in institutions and treated like sick people. Our target goes from the age of six to sixty. We organise trips from June to September to sixty different destinations. For every tour, we have three levels of speed and difficulty, to accommodate for all travellers.
We also offer “integration stays,” where one or two disabled people are placed in groups with non-disabled people, on language or sporting stays.
We at the APF were the first in France to introduce medical vacations for people with serious handicaps, where people are accompanied by nurses and doctors. We also introduced special trips for people with mental health problems.
Today, some 1500 people in France and a further 400 people abroad turn to us for help in organising their holidays. Furthermore, APF is a decentralised organisation, thanks to which we are present in every department throughout France. We also take care of our tour operators by arranging special winter trips for them.
As a more open mentality to accessible tourism has progressively spread, we came to realise that an increasing number of people with slight handicaps can easily travel on their own. For this reason, for some time now, we have chosen to dedicate our services to people with more serious forms of disabilities. We use a 1x1 formula for all out trips, which means one helper to every patient.
In 2007 we visited Venice and northern Italy’s lakes. In 2008 we plan to take tourist groups to Sardinia and probably to Piedmont. All we ask is suitable solutions for air travel, double rooms to accommodate helpers, and skilled guides.
Tours are open to a maximum of sixteen people per trip, while the trip itself lasts between 8 and 15 days.

DENISE HITCHEN
Heroes Project – United Kingdom

My organisation provides services which are renowned not only in Great Britain. Inclusion means satisfying the needs of people with physical and learning difficulties. I would very much like to bring “family groups” to Turin, by charter plane. The idea would be to bring three or four families, so twenty people in all, with children with special needs.

AMAR LATIF
Traveleyes – United Kingdom

People often ask me what it is like to be blind. I always respond that being blind is better than being bald or Asian.
Jokes aside, in 2005 we crossed the Central American jungle with a group of eleven people, including people without arms or legs, deaf people, blind people and people in wheelchairs. We were accompanied by a television crew who filmed the trip, which was then shown in Britain on BBC 2 and Discovery Channel.
This year we visited Florence, but soon we will be back here in Turin, because the city is fantastic.
We normally travel with mixed groups of visually-impaired and non-visually-impaired people, so the non-visually-impaired can explain to the others what they see. The problem is the language though. Our groups only speak English, but we would like to have speakers of other languages with us as well.

Paolo Osiride Ferrero closed the conference saying:

I would like to thank you all. We have heard some very good speakers today. It has been a long haul, though I truly hope that this conference will give a fresh impulse to the “accessible” in all fields, and in particular to accessible tourism. We need to stop thinking of the disabled as a weight to be borne. It has been shown, in fact, that disabled people working in the NHS are twice as productive... but let’s stop talking about the disabled and start talk about tourism instead.


Posted by rollingrains at 01:12 AM

November 20, 2007

Lesotho - Traditional & Socio-Political Disability paradigms

There is an interplay between progress on social inclusion for citizens and Inclusive Destination development. As the general level of accessibility for people with disabilities increases so can the desirability of a location as a destination of choice for the disability community. The influx of tourism dollars can provide for the continued improvement of barrier-free infrastructure.

Below is a paper written by Mojalefa Zacharia Ntlatlapa on the evolving scene in Lesotho in regard to the infrastructure of basic services for people with disabilities there.

INDEPENDENT LIVING CENTRE – LESOTHO AND TRADITIONAL DISABILITY PARADIGMS

By Mojalefa Zacharia Ntlatlapa (B.Phil; B.S.Th; MDisSt.)

Abstract

The Independent Living Centre - Lesotho (ILC Lesotho) is a leader in the application of the socio-political approach to disability services in Lesotho. The philosophical foundation for ILC Lesotho’s very first strategic plan 2007-2011, “Facilitating Independence” is based on consumer choice and control, independence, personal autonomy, self-direction, barrier-free environments, non-dependency services, and consumer leadership.

This article serves to highlight the difference between the Independent Living Centre approach and the previously existing disability services in Lesotho by demonstrating the contrast in approach between its consumer-driven, socio-political paradigm and the medical, charity and/or vocational rehabilitation traditional approaches that have hitherto been used within the Lesotho disability sector.

Guided by the “Draft National Policy on the Inclusion of People with Disabilities into Society”, ILC Lesotho recognises that there are limited allied health services available to people living with disabilities. As consequence among its future development areas, ILC will strive to work with the disability sector to: improve the range and quality of assistive technology available to the Lesotho community of PWDs; develop an outreach service to the rural communities of Lesotho; source out local and overseas opportunities for ILC staff and for the Lesotho disability sector as a whole; as well as to establish a research demonstration, dissemination, and utilisation centre, in order to promote access to information for PWDs, DPOs, other independent living related service providers.


Table of contents

Abstract 1
Introduction 3
Background 3
ILC Lesotho Programmes 4
The Options Coordination Service 4
The Client Therapy Service (CTS) 6
The Independent Living Equipment Programme (ILEP) 7
Respite Services 8
Paradigms/Models of Disability 9
The Socio-political (Independent Living) and Traditional Paradigms 10
Independent Living and the National Policy 11
Future Directions for the Independent Living Centre - Lesotho 14
Development Areas 16
Conclusion 16
Values 17
We value our clients 17
We value our staff 17
We value our relationships and partnerships 17
We value prudent management 17

Introduction
The concept of the Independent Living Centre – Lesotho (ILC Lesotho) has been in existence since 2006 and has been incubating at its current location at the Maseru Industrial Area since then. ILC Lesotho was legally registered under the Societies Act of 1966, in March 2007, as a non-profit making, non-governmental organisation whose ultimate end is to build a vibrant and responsible community that takes care of marginalised severely disabled individuals and families of People with severe and/or multiple disabilities including those who are either infected or affected by the HIV/AIDS pandemic within their communities of origin throughout the Kingdom of Lesotho.

The ultimate vision of ILC Lesotho is to provide equipment, home modifications, client therapy and respite services for people with disabilities who are eligible under the Options Coordination Programme, as well as information for the general community. As a registered organisation, the ILC Lesotho has a constitution and is governed by a Board of Directors made up of people with a wide range of professional skills and backgrounds.

The Independent Living Centre is a leader in the national Independent Living services in Lesotho. The ILC Lesotho will assist with database development and facilitate the development of the IL website. The ILC Lesotho website will run a home page for IL information and advice service, research demonstration, dissemination, and utilisation centre, and collate detailed information about the equipment and aids available in Lesotho and the neighbouring cities of South Africa. The ILC intends to work with the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare to implement its strategic agenda (2007-2011) for Families and Communities. The “Draft National Policy on the Inclusion of People with Disabilities into Society” has also guided the development of this organisation.
Background
The Independent Living Centre – Lesotho is a vibrant, client focused organisation that intends to assist people living with disabilities, including the frail age, to achieve greater independence. Our strongest knowledge base is assistive technology – aids and equipment - which assist people living with disabilities and their carers to remain safe and independent in the community. Our staff will be composed of a multidisciplinary team, consisting of Occupational Therapists, Physiotherapists, Registered Nurses, Speech Pathologists, Special Needs Educators, Social workers and other Therapy Aids.

We intend to build up a flexible and responsive administrative team and a Management Group who work with the Board, staff, clients and stakeholders to achieve positive organisational outcomes. Our aim is to pride ourselves on our productivity which will be achieved through the effective use of technology, staff using their time efficiently and managers, staff and stakeholders working together to identify innovative approaches.

The philosophical foundation for our very first strategic plan 2007-2011, “Facilitating Independence” is based on consumer choice and control, independence, personal autonomy, self-direction, barrier-free environments, non-dependency services, and consumer leadership. In conformity with these philosophical principles, the Board of the Independent Living Centre strives to work with the Management and potential service users to implement this plan. There have been several discussions with other stakeholders to ensure that this plan fits with other developments and changes occurring within the disability sector and other health sectors in Lesotho.
ILC Lesotho Programmes
The centre plans to kick-start its services with the establishment of four programmes. These will include:
• The Options Coordination Service,
• the Client Therapy Service (CTS),
• the Independent Living Equipment Programme (ILEP) and
• Respite Services
The Options Coordination Service
This programme will coordinate the allied health assessments for Clients with Physical, Neurological, Sensory, Intellectual disabilities and Traumatic Brain Injuries. The Options Coordination Service will contribute to planning and to the development of community-based services and informal support networks to ensure that individuals with disability are able to achieve their full potential and attain a quality lifestyle within the community of their choice.

The Options Coordination Service will to provide specialist knowledge and expertise through the following programmes:
• Options Coordination - for children who have physical and neurological disability or brain injury
• Options Coordination - for adults who have a physical and/or neurological disability
• Options Coordination - for adults who have acquired brain injury
• Options Coordination – for people who have intellectual disability and/or autism.
• Sensory Directions - for people who have sensory disability such as hearing and vision impairments

We believe that access to information assists people to make an informed choice in relation to their specific needs. Information is collected on all aspects of living with a disability and shared with anybody who asks. The Options coordination service will contribute to the planning, provision and evaluation of direct services to people with disability and their families inter alia by:
• Providing information
o Printed information will be available for all visitors to the Centre including product description, product suppliers and approximate cost;
o An extensive database will be maintained on availability of equipment, manufacturers and suppliers within Lesotho and South Africa;
o A directory of organisations and services offering assistance to people with disabilities;
o Details on design and access and the relevant Australian Standards.
• Displaying equipment
o A large range of aids and equipment is on display. Items can be demonstrated or visitors can try out products to determine which equipment best suits their needs.
The Client Therapy Service (CTS)
CTS will provide therapy, training and equipment prescription for, and together with, persons with disabilities in the community. CTS may provide services in the client’s home, work or educational environment, day service and/or at the ILC. Assessments for equipment such as wheelchairs may need to take place at the CTS office. CTS Occupational therapists will be highly trained in the assessment, prescription and training for accessing systems, which will enable people with disabilities to undertake daily tasks with greater independence. Under the CTS therapists will provide particular services for people with different types of impairments. These will include:
1. Communication
Here Speech Pathologists can provide:
• Communication, speech and language assessment and therapy programs,
• Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) system prescription, support and training, for those with little or no verbal communication.
• Training for parents, care-givers, community staff, teachers and relevant others within the community to help support those with communication difficulties.
2. Mealtimes
Speech Pathologists can provide:
• Assessment and management recommendations for swallowing and mealtime difficulties
• Written documentation (mealtime guidelines) and training for carers, outlining how to safely assist clients with swallowing.
3. Mobility
CTS therapists will be able to:
• Prescribe suitable wheelchairs, seating and modifications to mobility equipment, and advise on and prescribe standing or walking frames
• Develop chest care and hydrotherapy programs.
4. Manual Handling
CTS therapists are able to:
• Provide manual handling plans for carers to assist with safely transferring clients
• Provide advice and suggestions for manual handling equipment.
• Provide training to care-givers on lifting and handling methods for individual clients.
5. Activities of Daily living
ATS Occupational Therapists will provide expert advice, assessment and training in supporting clients with disabilities to undertake day-to-day activities. These may include:
• Advice and suggestions on home modifications, including bathroom equipment
• Splints, wheelchair trays and customised beds
• Mechanical and electrically operated hoists.
• Wheelchair driver training.
The Independent Living Equipment Programme (ILEP)
ILEP will cater for people who have permanent disabilities and are clients of Options Coordination. The role of the ILEP is to assist people with disabilities to remain living safely and independently within their homes and the community by providing them with assistive technological equipment.

ILEP will provide the more complex types of equipment designed for use by people with disabilities. The types of equipment available from ILEP will include (Please refer to the ILEP policy for full details):
• Bedding: Electric Beds, Pressure Management Overlay Communication Devices
• Home Modifications: Ramps, Bathrooms, Kitchens, Doorways
• Mobility Devices: Specialised Footwear, Children?s Walking Frames, Adult walking frames, Manual Wheelchairs, Powered Scooters, Powered wheelchairs, Children?s Buggy Pusher, Children?s Manual Tricycle, Children?s Manual Castor Cart, Children?s Powered Castor Cart
• Orthosis and Prosthetics: Orthosis, Mammary Prosthesis, Wig
• Bathing and Toileting: Mobile commode chair, Static shower chair: customised, Static toilet chair: customised, Change Table, Children’s Toilet Chair, Children’s Bath Insert and Continence Aids (reusable only)
• Seating: Adult Postural Chairs, Children’s Postural Equipment, Electric Recliner Chairs
• Manual Wheelchair Transport: Portable ramps for wheelchair transport, Tow bar mounted manual wheelchair carrier,
• Hoists: Mobile Hoist, Ceiling Hoist, Portable Bath Hoist, Car hoist for a person, Roof mounted manual wheelchair hoist.
Respite Services
Respite Services will lead in developing a countrywide, comprehensive, and integrated home and community-based service system that supports dignity, diversity, and choice for persons with disabilities, their caregivers, and families.

Providing full-time care for someone with severe or multiple disabilities that involve health problems such as HIV/AIDS, in our case, can be fulfilling, but it can also be hard work and leave a carer feeling exhausted and isolated. This is where respite services come in. Taking a break from the pressure of supporting someone who depends on someone's care, can prevent the care-giver from becoming over-tired, stressed, resentful or depressed.

Respite care will help both carers and the people they support to gain confidence and independence, and build new relationships. Using respite services on a regular basis – however happy the caregiver is to be a carer – can re-energise him/her and enable him/her to look after the person they care for more effectively. The key goals of ILC Lesotho's respite services are:
• Public policy will reflect the priorities of ILC's respite services and its advocacy partners;
• All members of ILC's respite services will have access to the information, resources, and peer support necessary to fulfil their leadership role;
• The organisation will have the financial resources to attain its Mission;
• The organisation will have successful working relationships with all partners in the home and community-based services network; and
• Educate and enlist the support of the public in furthering the priorities of ILC's respite services and its advocacy partners.

Our services will provide support in the home to give the caregiver regular, planned breaks. A Community Support Worker (usually the same person every time) will visit each week and look after the person who needs support, freeing the caregiver to do other things and have some time to herself/himself. We will offer:
• someone to talk to about the caregiver’s caring routines and responsibilities who can offer practical advice and support
• care that the client's caregiver can be confident in – we will engage professionals who have both disability and mental health expertise, and our staff will respect both the needs of the caregiver and those of the person s/he supports
• information on how to deal with things like social benefits
• a plan of support – drawn up with the agreement of both of the caregiver and the client – so that they can make the most of our services
• flexibility – we aim to give service users the support they need when they most want it, and can also help with emergency, illness or holiday cover
• Consistency – we aim to make sure that service users are supported by the same person week to week, so that they can build a relationship with them.

Most respite-care services provide support for as long as it is needed. The maximum amount of time each person can get will vary between about four and ten hours a week. The amount of support the service user will receive will be reviewed regularly.

The service can be withdrawn if our Community Support Worker experiences mistreatment such as insulting or discriminatory behaviour, threats or physical violence from either the carer or the person being cared for.
Paradigms/Models of Disability
Prior to 1970's disability policies revolved around a "Segregation Model". This involved:
• legally sanctioned segregation and exclusion based on widespread fears, myths and stereotypes
• segregated schools
• Institutions without options for integration often referred to a "special"
• why 'special' is not a popular word among disability advocates
• 'Special' often connotes unequal and separate!

In the 1970's Rehabilitation/Charity/Medical Models emerged. According to these models, the burden of dealing with consequences of disability rested with person. Attempts were made to medically and vocationally rehabilitate people with disabilities but society had no responsibility to remove barriers. For example:
• For a wheelchair user: no accessible parking spaces – hence a disabled person would have negotiate long distances to get to work site from his/her vehicle;
• At a work-site, he/she would have to negotiate two sets of steps, to get to job on third floor of a non-elevator building;
• A person using braces and crutches, who is forced to laboriously make way up steps, takes 20 minutes to get to worksite instead of two.

As a result of the awareness about the impact of institutional barriers imposed by society on people with disabilities, gradually disability policy models began to move to a Socio-political rather than the traditional Rehabilitation/charity/medical models.
The Socio-political (Independent Living) and Traditional Paradigms
The Independent Living Centre – Lesotho (ILC Lesotho) advocates the socio-political paradigm or approach to disability. The chart below compares traditional paradigms such as the medical, vocational rehabilitation and charity models with the consumer-driven, socio-political paradigm.
MEDICAL, CHARITY &
REHABILITATION
PARADIGMS INDEPENDENT LIVING OR SOCIO-POLITICAL PARADIGM
Definition of problem Physical or mental impairment; lack of vocational skill (in the VR system); lack of abilities to think, walk, see or hear (Medical system); lack of ability for independent living skills (charity system). Dependence upon professionals, family members & others is rooted in social attitudes & environments that are hostile. These are the elements that need to be fixed not the person with a disability.
Locus of problem The problem is perceived to rest in the individual who is seen to be sick or incapacitated and needs to be "fixed" in order to become normal. Disability is a common part of the human condition. Some people are born with disabilities while many others acquire disabilities due to common mishaps in real life.
In the medical/charity and/or rehabilitation processes disability is treated as if it is not a strange human factor.
Solution to the problem Professional intervention; treatment (fixing). 1. civil rights & advocacy
2. barrier removal
3. self-help
4. peer role models & peer support
5. consumer control over options & services
Social role The individual with a disability is a "patient" or "client". He/she becomes the object of pity. The individual with a disability is a "consumer," "customer" or "user" of services and products.
Who controls Professionals in Medicine, welfare officers or vocational trainers choose the best intention mechanisms for their helpless patients or clients. The consumer or individual with a disability is the main stakeholder with a right to choose the most appropriate service.
Desired outcomes Palliative care or activities of daily living (in medical system);
Gainful employment (in VR system) or
Hand outs/ disability grand (in charity system). Independent Living through control over ACCEPTABLE options for every day living in an integrated community and/or personal support depending on gravity of the impairment.
Independent Living and the National Policy
Around the globe disabled persons started organising themselves to engage society on the question of their fundamental human rights and basic freedoms. The United Nations has in turn issued a number of documents to this effect. These include:
• The Declaration on the Rights of Mentally Retarded Persons (1971),
• The Declaration on the Rights of Disabled Persons (1975),
• The World Programme of Action Concerning Disabled Persons (1982),
• The United Nations Decade of Disabled Persons (1983-1992),
• The United Nations Standard Rules for the Equalisation of Opportunities for Persons with Disabilities (1993), and
• The Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities (2006).

Lesotho as a member of the United Nations system and other international and sub-regional bodies, such as the Southern African Development Community (SADC), has acceded to several international and sub-regional agreements, declarations, protocols and instruments that commit it to implement and follow certain actions and norms for promoting and respecting the rights of persons with disabilities in the country. United Nations (UN) has put in place the principles of participation, integration and equalisation of opportunities in the World Programme of Action Concerning Disabled Persons. It also set the UN Standard Rules for the Equalisation of Opportunities for Persons with Disabilities.

In addition, Article 2 of the ILO Convention No. 159 on the Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment of Disabled Persons states that “each member shall in accordance with national conditions, practice and possibilities, formulate, implement and periodically review a national policy on vocational rehabilitation and employment of disabled persons.” The UN Standard Rules that recognize the necessity of addressing both the individual needs of persons with disabilities and the shortcomings of society provided a very useful tool in the development of the Kingdom of Lesotho’s up-coming “National Policy on the Inclusion of People with disabilities into Society”.

This policy has been inspired by the Constitution of Lesotho and other national policies, such as, Vision 2020 and the Poverty Reduction Strategy (PRS). The constitution provides for support to persons with disabilities as a principle of national policy through, Part II and Part III of the Constitution of Lesotho 1993 that provide for the Protection of Fundamental Human Rights and Principles of State Policy respectively. These documents call for extensive changes in the environment to accommodate the diverse needs of disabled persons in society. The emphasis is on a fundamental shift from the unfortunate situation that has imposed environmental, institutional, attitudinal and economic barriers between people with disabilities and the mainstream society.

Prior to the drafting of this policy, other national legal instruments that enhance the protection of a person with a disability had already been in existence though without much enforcements mechanisms. These include the following promulgated laws:
• Section 19 (1) and (2) of the Building Control Act 1995 which provides for the Identification of draughtsman of plans, specifications, documents and diagrams to the extent that “plans… shall provide for the physical access to the proposed building to persons of different categories of disabilities.”
• Section 3 of the Education Act 1995 provides for Access to education of children with disabilities;
• Section 5(1) and (2) of the Local Government Act of 1997 which for Powers of the Local Authority;
• Criminal Procedure and Evidence (Amendment) Act 2000 has some protection clauses under non-bailable offences;
• Section 3 of the National Assembly (Amendment) Act 2001 provides for Disability, gender and Youth, in that PWDs should participate in politics for development;
• Section 15(1) and (2) of the Sexual Offences Act 2003 provides for sexual offences against disabled persons;
• Clause 12 of the Children’s Protection and Welfare Bill 2005 provides for the protection of children with Disabilities.

These documents generally prohibit discrimination in areas such as:
• Employment opportunities;
• Public accommodations (museums, theatres, malls, grocery stores, doctors offices, schools, hotels, restaurants, etc.);
• Social activities at both central and local government;
• Transportation;
• Telecommunications and so on.

With the advancement of the Socio-political model for the first time, national and international legal structures recognized that people with disabilities are also worthy citizens, regardless of which disability they have. The model acknowledges that everyone citizen has equal rights in society and no one deserves to experience discrimination based on biological impairments. This attitude is a predisposition to a major shift in public policy regarding the promotion and protection of the rights of people with disabilities. The discrimination based on biological or medically diagnosed impairment was recognized as root cause for the isolation, segregation and second-class citizenship of PWDs. The shift marked a significant shift in the way the society looks at biological impairments. The burden of impairment shifted from the individual to the society. Referring back to those steps, mentioned above, the model recognises, inter alia, that people with disabilities have as a civil right, the right to enter a building, to work, and do not deserve to be discriminated against by environmental barriers.
Future Directions for the Independent Living Centre - Lesotho
The current situation analysis shows that there are a number of stakeholders trying to address disability issues in Lesotho. Their efforts are aimed at ensuring that persons with disabilities can lead decent lives. These stakeholders face various challenges. The institutional arrangements for dealing with issues of disability need to be examined to ensure capacity building and effective utilisation of the scarce resources.

One of the weaknesses of the country’s institutional set-up has for a long time been the absence of a national policy that clearly sets up the vision for provision of services within and outside the disability sector. This has resulted in the lack of sound direction for all stakeholders. Thus, the development of the up-coming National Policy referred to above, is a milestone in government’s efforts to mainstream disability issues. An Act of Parliament to provide the legal basis for this Policy would be significant in effectively addressing the issues and problems that affect persons with disabilities.

The situation analysis of the status of persons with disabilities that lead to the formulation of this policy helped to identify challenges and key policy areas to be followed up by appropriate programmes. The identified policy areas include disability prevention, early identification and intervention; rehabilitation; accessibility (which includes access to physical environment, transport, information and communication); Capacity building (which includes: education and training and economic empowerment); quality and essential healthcare (including HIV/AIDS); social protection (including social welfare and Housing); self representation and participation; sports, recreation and entertainment; research and appropriate technology; and legal protection of PWDs. The need for capacity building and wide public education is also highlighted. The policy has developed objectives and strategies for each of these areas.

As a follow-up to the policy formulation process, the Independent Living Centre has been established in order to enhance the quality of access to information and advice on services for PWDs in the country. During the life of its current strategic plan (2007-2011) there will be particular emphasis on providing services to the rural communities. ILC Lesotho intends to establish a mobile service that will continue to visit all districts of the country at least once a year and the ILEP and CTS teams will coordinate with the Options Coordination Services to improve the access of rural community clients to ILC services.

The staff of the Independent Living Centre will be given more opportunities to expand their skills and expertise with a more systematic staff development program, included as part of staff meetings. A whole of agency staff development plan, which will be based on the outcomes of the staff performance management system, will be developed. Staff will be linked to overseas opportunities, by being encouraged to register as volunteers with Business Volunteers Abroad. ILC Lesotho is ensuring there is greater understanding of the Disability Services as well as the training opportunities that may be available for Lesotho organisations in overseas countries.

The Independent Living Equipment Program (ILEP) has been streamlined so that the path for clients is simpler and the relative priority of need can be ascertained. The Independent Living Centre believes that the new system works very well but requires more recurrent funding to match the growing needs of the community. ILC Lesotho recognises that there are limited allied health services available to people living with disabilities. The Centre will work collaboratively with other agencies in the disability sector to ensure adequate availability of allied health services.

The ILC Lesotho Board of Directors will continue to monitor and improve its own performance and the performance of the Executive Director so that the Independent Living Centre remains a highly successful, dynamic and client focussed organisation, in accordance with the philosophical foundation of consumer choice and control, independence, personal autonomy, self-direction, barrier-free environments, non-dependency services, and consumer leadership.
Development Areas
• Seeking adequate recurrent funding for the ILEP program
• Providing a broader range and more coordinated training and development programs for individuals and outside organisations
• Collaborating with other disability and health agencies to expand the availability and coordination of allied therapy services
• Working with the disability sector to improve the range and quality of assistive technology available to the Lesotho community
• developing an outreach service to the rural communities of Lesotho
• Developing local and overseas opportunities for ILC staff and for the Lesotho disability sector as a whole
• Establishing a research demonstration, dissemination, and utilisation centre, the Technology & Research Information Centre (TRIC)

Conclusion

The mission of ILC Lesotho is, henceforth, to enhance the power of people with disabilities and/or their families especially those who are either infected or affected by the HIV/AIDS pandemic, to be independent and safe, to make their own informed choices, through increasing access to information, therapy services and to life opportunities. ILC Lesotho’s ultimate vision, therefore, is to ensure that people with disabilities have access to information, advice and provision of appropriate therapy, technology and design to enhance daily living.

Values
We value our clients
• by ensuring easy and equitable access to information and services
• by providing effective and responsive services
• by respecting our clients’ dignity, valuing their opinions and participation
• by developing flexible systems to support clients, carers and their safety
We value our staff
• by ensuring their safety
• by providing excellence in leadership and management
• by facilitating their growth and professional development
• by respecting their individual and family responsibilities
• by providing flexible work arrangements
We value our relationships and partnerships
• by committing ourselves to developing collaborative relationships with other agencies and groups
• by communicating information and concerns
We value prudent management
• by maximising the potential of our available resources

Posted by rollingrains at 03:31 PM

November 15, 2007

Christina Li on City Design for Usability

As ENAT's Accessible Tourism Conference in Spain winds down and the Second Annual Conference on Accessible Tourism reaches its finale in Bangkok, Christina Li, founder of UIGarden will speak in Beijing at User Friendly 2007.

An expert on digital design Ms. Li, will address the gathering on the topic, "Designing an Enjoyable Living for Your Residents." Her talk will include Universal Design considerations.

In this talk, we will be looking at factors affect city residents' living experience. The talk will answer you the following questions: What are their aspirations living in the city? What will have effects on people's living experience? How we could improve it? Both good and bad examples will be given to help understanding the rules.


Source:

http://www.upachina.org/userfriendly2007/pwcontent/p_christina_en.html

Posted by rollingrains at 11:07 PM

November 10, 2007

Australia Launches Transport Infoline

Transport Infoline logo


Press release:

Parents with prams and people in wheelchairs will now be able to plan their trip from the comfort of their homes by searching for easy access trains, buses and ferries before they travel.

A website set up by the State Government allows travellers to identify accessible services, such as low-floor buses and train stations with lifts.

Commuters wanting to pre-plan their trip can now do so by logging on to www.131500.com.au.

"In the past, planning a trip based around easy access public transport could be an onerous task,'' said Transport Minister John Watkins.

Posted by rollingrains at 10:40 PM

November 07, 2007

Accessible London - and a Few Other Places

It's a sign that Inclusive Tourism has caught on when Spain's premiere disability & travel e-zine, Polibea Turismo, features a story on accessibility in London. You can read about Artsline in the latest issue. Artsline's CEO, Alan Kerr, writes tha the organization was was founded in 1981 and now has an online database with information on over 1,400 accessible arts and entertainment venues in London.

Next door, Accessible Portugal, writes about BritRail, Eurail and new EU-wide air transportation regulations for people with disabilities. Somewhere on the ocean DeafMom writes about the first all deaf cruise - the Deaf Freedom Cruise. Across the pond, Global Access News has a story about wheelchair travel in Outer Mongolia! And, if you have been reading your subscription to Candy Harrington's Emerging Horizons, you would know that "New Orleans is Open for Business."

From all the press one might guess that we're a community on the move!

Posted by rollingrains at 05:35 PM

November 05, 2007

Beautiful Universal Design by Cynthia Leibrock and James Evan Terry

Beautiful Universal Design by Cynthia Leibrock and James Evan Terry contains a wealth of information on doing UD right:

In the design of airports, courthouses, and correctional facilities, there is constant tension between the security and accessibility requirements. In historic properties, there is also a tension between the need to preserve and the need to change for access. Hospitality design must balance commercial and residential universal design needs.

In other occupancies, conveniences become requirements. A covered entrance must be installed in health care facilities while an assistive listening system is mandated in most assembly areas. Line-of-sight is required for seated customers in stadiums, and a bench must be added to each stadium dressing room. The ticket counter must be planned at heights tall, average, and short users as well as people in wheelchairs and children. These details often make the difference between empowerment and disability by design.

For more see Case Studies

Posted by rollingrains at 08:12 PM

November 03, 2007

Accessible Mexico: Updated Web Site

Adriana Ramirez Gonzalez is a pioneer in making Puerto Vallarta, Mexico a destination of choice for travelers with disabilities. She has just written to announce the expansion of her web site. See it at: http://www.accesiblemexico.com/

Mexico Accessible


Posted by rollingrains at 07:17 PM

October 28, 2007

Making Your Way Home to Malaysia: Preparing the Welcome

Recently, someone asked me, “How do we attract more of the growing market of travelers with disabilities to Malaysia?” The answer? “Build first on your existing success in marketing Malaysia – and then brag about it!

In 2006, 8,700 people had successfully applied for the “Malaysia My Second Home Programme” (MM2H). Travelers with disabilities rely heavily on the word-of-mouth endorsements of others with disabilities. Attracting the financial, social, and cultural resources of this underserved market requires strategically recruiting it members. Their firsthand endorsements from within the disability community will have an impact beyond what any marketing campaign can achieve.

To win this group's loyalty here are some practical steps:

1) Make a governmental commitment to this market

2) Review MM2H policy to remove barriers for people with disabilities (i.e. in the medical screening, etc.)

3) Review Malaysian building policy, practices, and local availability of materials to facilitate national dissemination and adoption of Universal Design best practices

4) Facilitate the construction of a series of uniquely Malaysian Universal Design model homes in key tourist areas

5) Research and prepare resources on travel to, and life in Malaysia, that address the specific concerns of travelers with disabilities, including seniors, interested in short stays as well as the long term opportunities available through MM2H

6) Promote a national curriculum of training on this market for the Malaysian hospitality industry

7) Sponsor a familiarization tour (fam) of Malaysia for key disability travel suppliers, journalists, and policy makers

8) Launch an international campaign of invitation and welcome to Malaysia and brag to the world!

Posted by rollingrains at 02:53 PM

October 22, 2007

The News Goes Public: Red Carpets Roll Out on Copacabana Beach!

copacabana beach wheelchair mat


After several years of persistent advocacy - and some recent public tests of alternative products - the beaches in Rio de Janeiro are to become accessible to wheelchair riders. In Portuguese that's "cadeirantes."

Hit the beaches of Rio thanks to the cumulative efforts of the Rio City Project, Designing for the 21st Century III, the Pan American Games of 2007, and the continuous work of Cariocas (residents of Rio de Janeiro) with disabilities and their allies. The winning design, typical of good design, is also sustainable and green. Access will be provided using bamboo mats prototyped by professor José Luis Ripper of PUC-Rio. Parabems, prof!

Below is a story from O Gobo newspaper in Portuguese.

Copacabana terá rua modelo para deficientes

bambu sobre plastico

Instalar sinais sonoros nos cruzamentos, proibir a ocupação das calçadas por mesas de bares e remanejar o mobiliário urbano. Essas são algumas medidas previstas pelo projeto da prefeitura "Copacabana Mobilidade", que terá uma versão piloto na Rua Rodolfo Dantas, com a adaptação da via para a circulação de deficientes físicos, visuais e auditivos.

A intenção da Secretaria municipal da Pessoa com Deficiência é facilitar o deslocamento pela Rodolfo Dantas desde a saída da estação do metrô Cardeal Arcoverde até a água do mar na Praia de Copacabana, na Zona Sul do Rio.

A rua modelo terá piso nivelado para o uso de cadeira de rodas. "As calçadas de pedras portuguesas, agora tão criticadas, serão mantidas, mas precisam estar uniformes para o cadeirante", avalia a secretária Leda de Azevedo.

O projeto piloto, elaborado em conjunto pela Rio Urbe e pelo Instituto Pereira Passos, prevê, ainda, a instalação de rampas, sinalização especial e de um piso tátil – recurso voltado para os deficientes visuais que indica o caminho com saliências no piso. Os três sinais sonoros devem ser instalados nas esquinas da Rua Rodolfo Dantas com a Rua Barata Ribeiro, da Avenida Nossa Senhora de Copacabana e da Avenida Atlântica.

Removendo obstáculos

A retirada de equipamentos urbanos de áreas centrais das calçadas pretende ampliar a área de circulação e impedir colisões dos cadeirantes. Com isso, será criada uma "faixa de serviço", que leva o mobiliário urbano para o trecho junto ao meio-fio.

A Secretaria informou que, em breve, a comunidade receberá orientações sobre as mudanças. O objetivo é tentar envolver a população no projeto.

"Algumas medidas podem não parecer simpáticas de início. Queremos mostrar que o benefício é para todos. A Rodolfo Dantas será a primeira rua modelo do Rio. Mas sabemos que donos de bares, por exemplo, podem se incomodar com as restrições ao uso da calçada. Os comerciantes só têm a ganhar com uma melhor circulação na via", avaliou o assessor da Secretaria, Amarildo Gomes.

Para chegar ao mar, esteira de bambu

Para viabilizar a chegada de usuários de cadeira de rodas até a água do mar, a prefeitura encomendou ao escritório modelo de Arquitetura e Design da PUC-Rio dois protótipos de esteira, uma de plástico, outra de bambu.

O teste na praia, realizado pela prefeitura no dia 20 de setembro com deficientes físicos e mães com carrinho de bebê, apontou o bambu como a opção ideal. Além de não agredir o visual, a esteira de bambu se acomoda melhor na areia, avaliou a secretária. O protótipo foi desenvolvido pelo professor de design, José Luis Ripper.

"Essa iniciativa vai transformar a vida de muitas pessoas. No dia do teste da esteira, uma senhora de 60 anos comemorou ter chegado sozinha até a água do mar. Ela contou que é cadeirante desde criança e sempre precisou ser carregada para chegar à praia", relatou a secretária.

O edital de licitação do projeto sairá na semana do dia 21 de outubro. A previsão da secretaria é de que as obras durem seis meses e impliquem em gastos de cerca de R$ 750 mil.

A Secretaria planeja expandir o projeto a outros pontos da cidade, mas decidiu começar por Copacabana, já que o bairro tem alta concentração de idosos, que costumam ter dificuldade de locomoção, e muitas ruas com problemas de circulação. Se a idéia da rua modelo se espalhar pelo bairro, Copacabana pode ficar ainda mais atraente para a terceira idade.

Source:
http://g1.globo.com/Noticias/Rio/0,,MUL153306-5606,00-COPACABANA+TERA+RUA+MODELO+PARA+DEFICIENTES.html

***********
Board Holds Public Hearings on Guidelines for Federal Outdoor Sites

In September the Board held public hearings on guidelines it has proposed for Federal parks and recreation areas. Held in Washington, D.C. on September 6 and Indianapolis on September 26, the hearings provided an opportunity for the public to provide feedback on the guidelines directly to the Board. These guidelines, which cover trails, beach access routes, and picnic and camping areas, are intended to clarify how, and to what extent, access can be achieved in developing or altering Federal outdoor sites.

The Board received input from various industry and consumer organizations, among them the National Recreation and Park Association, the American Shore and Beach Preservation Association, the Paralyzed Veterans of America, the American Council of the Blind, and the Appalachian Trail Conservancy. Federal land management agencies, including the U.S. Forest Service and the Department of Interior, also weighed in on the guidelines, as did representatives from assorted organizations, such as the National Center on Accessibility and the International Code Council. Trail designers, park operators, product manufacturers, independent living centers, and others also provided testimony.

Many commenters generally endorsed the guidelines, including their overall approach, and urged the Board to complete action promptly and to follow-up with guidelines for non-Federal sites due to the long standing confusion that exists on providing access to outdoor environments. The U.S. Forest Service highlighted considerations and provided recommendations based on its experience applying similar accessibility criteria to sites and trails under its jurisdiction.

Most comments addressed trails and outdoor access routes. Trail operators and designers provided information on the results of their efforts to improve access and flagged topics of inquiry, such as alternative methods for measuring surface firmness and stability. Recommendations were received on trail signage and map systems and other subjects in response to questions posed by the Board in its published proposal. Participants also addressed beach access, including proposed criteria for access routes, compliance and maintenance concerns, boardwalks, and available mat systems for routes. In addition, comments were received that highlighted subjects that should be further clarified or explored, including the guidelines' scope of coverage and applicability to certain types of sites and documentation of compliance. Speakers also stressed the need for supplementary guidance materials and training once the guidelines are completed.

Testimony received at the hearings, including an earlier one held in Denver, is posted on the Board’s website along with other comments submitted by mail and email. The comment period closed October 18. The Board will revise the proposed guidelines based on this input. For further information, visit the Board’s website at www.access-board.gov/outdoor/ or contact Bill Botten at botten@access-board.gov, (202) 272-0014 (v), or (202) 272-0082 (TTY).

More on access to parks & recreation:

Theme Parks, Imaginary Worlds, and Real Access
http://www.suite101.com/article.cfm/18423/112537

Posted by rollingrains at 09:56 PM

October 05, 2007

Brasil: Portadores de Deficiências e Esportes de Natureza

Aventura-logo

Last week the Brazilian nonprofit Aventura Especial selected Serra da Canastra National Park as the location for a model project demonstrating best practices in outdoor accessibility. A press release has not yet been issued.

O ONG Aventura Especial elegeu a semana pasada o Parque Nacional da Serra da Canastra para um projeto modelo das boas práticas de acesso. Ainda não saiu noticias para a midia.

A ONG Aventura Especial (www.aventuraespecial.org.br) trabalha para a inclusão de mais de 24,5 milhões de pessoas com algum tipo de deficiência, só no Brasil, no fascinante mundo do ecoturismo e dos esportes de natureza.

O primeiro passo foi dado graças à realização do projeto Aventureiros Especiais, em parceria com o Ministério do Turismo, quando foram feitos vários testes de campo reunindo pessoas com deficiências físicas, sensoriais, mentais e múltiplos. Entre eles, um amputado, um paraplégico, um tetraplégico, um deficiente visual, um surdo-cego, um com paralisia cerebral e um com síndrome de dowm. Todos praticaram modalidades de esportes de aventura, como rapel, rafting, tirolesa, bóia-cross, acqua-ride e off-road, com o intuito de apurar as necessidades de adaptações e condutas a serem seguidas pelos profissionais do turismo.

Acompanhados por uma equipe multidisciplinar de treze profissionais, entre integrantes da ONG Aventura Especial, fisioterapeutas, médicos e voluntários, foram levantadas as adaptações necessárias para viabilizar a prática das atividades por este público.

Além das adaptações físicas, como o desenvolvimento de uma cadeirinha para técnicas verticais e um colete e uma cadeira para o bote de rafting (específicos para pessoas sem mobilidade no tronco) também foram criadas condutas e procedimentos de comunicação alternativa, para interagir com as pessoas com deficiência sensoriais antes e durante as atividades.

A formatação desse novo produto turístico adaptado representa um estudo de campo inédito, que fará do Brasil referência internacional de turismo de aventura adaptado, acredita o jornalista e fotógrafo Dadá Moreira, fundador e presidente da ONG.

Os testes foram realizados na cidade de Socorro, a 130km da capital, que será o primeiro destino totalmente adaptado do país, servindo de modelo para que outros municípios venham as ser adaptados. Além das atividades e pontos turísticos, a estância também está adaptando sua infra-estrutura de produtos e serviços.

Com o objetivo de disseminar os conhecimentos adquiridos com todas estas experiências e implantar as adaptações em outros destinos, a Aventura Especial oferece palestras e cursos de capacitação.
Contato para entrevista com Dadá Moreira Cel 11 99462593 ou dadamoreira@aventuraespecial.org.br
Mais informações
Vanessa Rodrigues – (11)9856-2049 aventura_vanessa@aventuraespecial.org.br
Aventura Especial www.aventuraespecial.org.br

Posted by rollingrains at 06:25 PM

October 03, 2007

Released: Global Age-friendly Cities - A Guide

Age-Friendly Guide

The WHO book on active aging for has now been released. It is available from WHO Press here.

Population ageing and urbanization are two global trends that together comprise major forces shaping the 21st century. At the same time as cities are growing, their share of residents aged 60 years and more is increasing. Older people are a resource for their families, communities and economies in supportive and enabling living environments. WHO regards active ageing as a lifelong process shaped by several factors that, alone and acting together, favour health, participation and security in older adult life. Informed by WHO's approach to active ageing, the purpose of this Guide is to engage cities to become more age-friendly so as to tap the potential that older people represent for humanity.

By working with groups in 33 cities in all WHO regions, WHO has asked older people in focus groups to describe the advantages and barriers they experience in eight areas of city living. In most cities, the reports from older people were complemented by evidence from focus groups of caregivers and service providers in the public, voluntary and private sectors. The results from the focus groups led to the development of a set of age-friendly city checklists presented in this guide.

With an estimated one million people worldwide turning 60 every month, global cities face the daunting challenge of redesigning their services and facilities to cater to the needs of the aged and the ageing. A checklist of views from elderly people in many cities worldwide has been compiled into a new guidebook that could prove of extensive help for hotels, airports, airlines and others catering to this growing market.

According to United Nations estimates, the number of older persons (60+) will double from the current 600 million to 1.2 billion by 2025, and again, to 2 billion by 2050. The vast majority of older people live in their homes and communities, but in environments that have not been designed with their needs and capacities in mind.

To support Governments in developing and strengthening health and social policies in an ageing world, the World Health Organization (WHO) released a Policy Framework on Active Ageing in 2002. Active ageing policy is defined as “optimizing opportunities for health, participation and security in order to enhance quality of life as people age.” The active ageing approach is grounded in the UN-recognized principles of independence, participation, dignity, care and self-fulfilment. It acknowledges the importance of gender, earlier life experiences, and culture on how individuals age. It takes into account the biological, psychological, behavioural, economic, social and environmental factors that operate over the course of a person’s life to determine health and well-being in later years.

Active ageing age-friendly community

Participation

* Positive images of older persons
* Accessible and useful information
* Accessible public and private transportation
* Inclusive opportunities for civic, cultural, educational and voluntary engagement
* Barrier-free and enabling interior and exterior spaces

Health

* Places and programs for active leisure and socialization
* Activities, programs and information to promote health, social and spiritual well-being
* Social support and outreach
* Accessible and appropriate health services
* Good air/water quality

Security and independence

* Appropriate, accessible, affordable housing
* Accessible home-safety designs and products
* Hazard-free streets and buildings
* Safe roadways and signage for drivers and pedestrians
* Safe, accessible and affordable public transportation
* Services to assist with household chores and home maintenance
* Supports for caregivers
* Accessible stores, banks and professional services
* Supportive neighbourhoods
* Safety from abuse and criminal victimization
* Public information and appropriate training
* Emergency plans and disaster recovery
* Appropriate and accessible employment opportunities
* Flexible work practices

Compiled from various sources.

More on Active Aging and Age-Friendly Cities:

CARP Endorsement
http://www.carp.ca/display.cfm?DocumentID=2038&cabinetID=263&libraryID=70

Neighborhoods Fit for People
http://www.adaptiveenvironments.org/index.php?option=Project&Itemid=36

Age-friendly primary health care
http://www.who.int/ageing/projects/age_friendly_standards/en/index.html

Saanich, BC Contribution
http://www2.news.gov.bc.ca/news_releases_2005-2009/2007HEALTH0111-001220.htm

Making Communities More Age-Friendly
http://myuminfo.umanitoba.ca/index.asp?sec=7&too=100&dat=3/21/2007&sta=2&wee=4&eve=8&npa=12470

Posted by rollingrains at 05:50 PM

September 28, 2007

Guia IBDD do Rio Acessível

Guia IBDD Rio Acessivel

O nosso segredo ja não é segredo:

Estimativa da Febraban mostra que o mercado de pessoas com deficiência movimenta cerca de R$ 100 bilhões por ano.

A guia IBDD e bom para pesquisar onde gastar nosso dineiro:

A idéia de um guia de acessibilidade para o Rio de Janeiro não é nova no meio das pessoas com deficiência e muito menos no IBDD. O que torna esta iniciativa de agora diferente é que idealizamos uma publicação para prestar um serviço da maneira mais direta possível, sem academicismos. Além disso, atribuindo-lhe total objetividade e, ao mesmo tempo, valorizando o que esteja de acordo com as normas de acessibilidade, só entrou no guia o que é acessível. O que não é acessível, obviamente não interessa às pessoas com deficiência.
Outra obviedade que caracteriza este guia é que não procuramos “reinventar a roda” e assumimos os modelos de texto consagrados por guias de turismo e páginas de programação cultural e de lazer dos jornais e revistas. Acreditamos que isso facilitará a assimilação das informações da nossa publicação. A estes padrões acrescentamos apenas informações pertinentes às pessoas com deficiência e o uso do símbolo internacional de acessibilidade, à semelhança das estrelas usadas para categorizar hotéis.

Guia IBDD do Rio Acessível em PDF:

Página 1
Página 2
Página 3
Páginas 4 e 5
Página 6
Página 7
Página 8

Posted by rollingrains at 03:21 AM

September 27, 2007

The Global Reach of InclusiveTourism: IATC 2005 Keynote Address

We will discuss Inclusive Tourism within a rights-based framework at Asia's second international conference promoting Inclusive Tourism in Bangkok November 21-24, 2007. The following was the Opening Keynote for the 2005 International Conference on Accessible Tourism in Taipei, Taiwan.

Below is the text of my opening keynote presentation at the 2005 International Conference on Accessible Tourism in Taipei, Taiwan.


In March of this year Steve Fossett made history when he took off from Salina, Kansas in the USA and flew his airplane, the GlobalFlyer, for 67 hours nonstop in a solo around-the-world flight. I have only one half hour to take you all the way around the world and tell you about accessible tourism. Fasten your seatbelts. This will be a very quick flight!

The story of accessible tourism as a growing part of the tourism industry could begin at many different points. Soon the first history of accessible tourism will be published in the Review of Disability Studies. The authors Laurel van Horn and Jose Isola explain how improvements in medicine have allowed disabled people to live longer; improvements in equipment such as wheelchairs, hearing aids, or computers that speak for us allow us to be more active; entrepreneurs and other risk-takers with disabilities have started travel agencies, sports leagues, and outdoor expeditions expanding our imaginations and challenging us to ever larger goals.

And always, there is the fact that year-by-year the Baby Boomers � who love to travel � become older and more become disabled. They will become the main characters in the next chapter of the history of accessible travel. Even before that, even now, this story about how we got to where we are today is full of enough heroes and villains for me to entertain you for a long time.

But we are taking the quick tour. I will let you read the article for yourselves when we publish it.

For today, let's start this tour of accessible tourism by looking a moment more at commercial aviation.

The airline industry now has mature airplane technology, well-tested airport design and a very large and growing customer base. It was not always that way.

Taiwan has two international airports served by numerous airlines and receiving thousands of passengers annually. Air links to the world are essential to Taiwan's economic health. For many people, air travel has become as common as travel by bus, subway, or taxi. This is because the transition from propeller to jet engine airplanes made it possible for these large numbers of people to move across great distances rapidly and in comfort. Comfort may include pressurized cabins with oxygenated air for someone with compromised lungs, attendants to assist with boarding for those unstable on their legs, and space for equipment like a wheelchair or a companion animal for someone who is blind. Unfortunately, sometimes, the airlines are tempted to define comfort so that it serves only the few.

How does an industry innovate to survive once it becomes as large and taken for granted as the airlines? It looks ways to increase income from its current customers and looks to attract new ones.

When businesses realized that they must compete for our business or lose us - that is when the story got interesting to me.

I believe that the travel industry, not governments or social entrepreneurial agencies will make the next revolutionary contribution to the rights of people with disabilities.

The travel industry will become promoters of our human rights because we have spent more than 30 years tirelessly forcing governments to treat us as real human beings and have created social and non-profit agencies to work for us. These laws and educational resources make it possible for something new to happen. The travel industry will find partners in government because tourism by people with disabilities can partially pay for the infrastructure changes needed to treat disabled citizens justly - and meet the coming challenge of our aging populations. The travel industry will do this - and is already doing this - because it can profit from us.

As air travel expanded in the last 15 - 20 years there were also strong movements for the rights of people with disabilities around the world. You probably have all heard of the Americans with Disabilities Act, the ADA. It protects the civil rights of people with disabilities in the USA and allows them to participate freely in society. In the air however it is the Air Carrier Access Act, the ACAA, that regulates the industry and makes accessible tourism possible. In the airport and in hotels it is the ADA Accessibility Guidelines for Buildings and Facilities (ADAAG). These regulations are made concrete through the work of designers like Coco Raynes and researchers like Kate Hunter-Zaworski who evaluates airline seating or Harry Wolfe who advises airport managers on the needs of older travelers. These pioneers use a design philosophy called Universal Design that seeks to include people with the broadest range of capacities and abilities in everything that it built.

So, what history teaches us when we start the story of accessible tourism from the airline industry, is that at a certain point the industry needed new customers. It was pressured by law to allow people with disabilities to become customers and it found technically competent individuals who understood the physical needs of people with disabilities. These technically competent individuals used Universal Design to make human rights real in our day-to-day life. They opened up new parts of the world to travelers with disabilities. Finally, we became treated as customers not patients or obstacles.

Today excellent studies exist on the tourism potential of people with disabilities. Some studies were done by the United Nations UNESCAP, by Keroul of Canada, and by the European Union but it was pioneers like Simon Darcy in Australia and Eric Lipp in the USA who gave tourism professionals the business tools they could use to act - and to make money.

I encourage you to read "From Anxiety to Access" by Simon and the "Travel Behavior Surveys" by Eric. In fact, I would even suggest that someone here today take on the task of translating them into Chinese. I say this, not only because they are historic documents that launched the current phase of accessible tourism, but because we would all like to see similar studies on Taiwan shape the future of accessible travel in the Asia Pacific region.

Eric's study found that:

The 42 million disabled travelers in the USA take 31.7 million trips per year, and spend $13.6 billion annually. Major areas of spending include $3.3 billion on airfare, $4.2 billion on hotel accommodations, and $2.7 billion on food and beverage. In addition, adults with disabilities patronize restaurants about once a week, and they account for $35 billion in annual revenue for restaurants.

Simon's study found that:

On average 80-90% of all travel by people with a physical disability is with a partner/caregiver, family or friends who do not have a disability. Of those who undertook travel with other people with a disability most traveled with 1-2 other people with a disability.

That is a lot of people with a lot of money to spend - and those are only consumer numbers from the USA.

It was the ocean cruise ship industry, not the airlines, who first learned how to turn those words into profit. When they created their successful business models they made accessible tourism sustainable. Part of their success came from understanding a simple concept that people with mobility difficulties know as "the path of travel."

Cruise ships are compact universes. If you can conveniently locate a tourist's necessities - and guarantee that the tourist can get to them with minimal effort - then you have a formula for success. In other words, do not just make a table in a restaurant accessible. Make a destination, like a restaurant, accessible from every possible starting point in the ship, or resort, or city. Create an accessible "path of travel" to an accessible destination and then you have an accessible product not just one special accessible item. You have a reason for tourists not only to pass through but to stay.

Today, whole regions, states, and countries are learning these simple facts. I want to tell you about some on our quick trip around the world. I hope that you will tell me about many more while we are together here.

To the south of us, Australia takes accessible tourism quite seriously for both domestic and international tourists. The Convention Bureau there in Perth, Western Australia has a program called "Beyond Accessibility." It requires the hotels to use from 10% to 15% of the profit they make from the conventions brought to them by the Convention Bureau for upgrading the hotel's accerssibility.

In Australia's state of Tasmania, the Devil's Playground does something unique in the entire world with the concept of "paths of travel." Kerry & Jane Winberg have purchased several properties throughout the seven tourist regions of the island. Each location is fully wheelchair accessible. In addition, they have purchased their own bus with a lift. Thus, any place in the entire state can be visited in a comfortable day trip. As a result, the entire island is open to travelers with disabilities. I traveled around Tasmania as one of their first guests last September. We taught shopkeepers and tourist site managers about the potential of this market and what they could do to improve their appeal to travelers with disabilities. Now, my colleague Neil Robinson is doing an economic feasibility study to see if this model can be applied in Western Australia.

In the Atlantic Ocean, one of the Canary Islands known as Tenerife lies sixty miles off the coast of North Africa. There lives one of the pioneers of the European Tourism for All movement, Jose Ignacio Delgado. His work has strengthened the legal rights of Europeans with disabilities. He has promoted the civil rights and improved access to services for Canary Island residents with disabilities. He consults with the tourism industry and his accessibility directory for Tenerife is a model sophisticated online resource offering tourism information for travelers with disabilities.

Farther north in the Atlantic, the United Kingdom is developing accessible tourism very rapidly since their anti- discrimination act has come into force. One especially well-done project is the online travel agency and accessible destination datable known as the "Good Access Guide" by Richard Thompson. Richard is one of the 92 colleagues from around the world who I asked to help me research this talk and who have contributed to the online discussions we have going in Brazil, Canada, and the United States on the five themes we will discuss in our Breakout Sessions at this conference.

Also at this conference, we will learn about Japan's leadership in accessible travel. Takayama city is only one example of the way Japan is teaching the rest of the world how to live with a spirit of inclusion. Their unique contribution is to recognize that older citizens benefit from the accessibility that makes a place livable and attractive to tourists with disabilities.

Architects, and their students, from the Rhode Island School of Design take a different approach. They are linking environmentally sensitive -"green" - construction methods and building materials with accessibility. They are creating an accessible eco-lodge at St. John's in the US Virgin Islands This resort, known as Concordia Estates, allows people with disabilities close access to unspoiled nature.

The tourist hotels in Hawai'i have gone beyond simple compliance with the American with Disabilities Act. They can provide guests with comfortable accessible rooms, advise them on accessible places for food and entertainment, or arrange for things such as a specialized beach wheelchair to rent that will set mobility disabled visitors loose on the beach.

All these tourist destinations have learned the cruise ship secret of success. Disabled tourists will come when they find variety, value, service, and accessibility woven together seamlessly. They are learning to include people with disabilities as free and equal participants in leisure activities.

Now, notice something about these examples. Hawai'i, St. John's, Japan, te United Kingdom, Tenerife, and Tasmania are all islands. It seems that innovation in accessible tourism, at this point in history, is flourishing in places that are manageably small and administratively unified. Is it possible that an island like Taiwan will become a world-class example of accessible tourism? The fact that we are all gathered here for this conference makes me think that Taiwan plans to become just such a leader.

We have a name for the model that is developing in the areas that I just mentioned. We call it "Inclusive Destination Development." The phrase combines two other phrases "Inclusive Development" from economic development practice and "Destination Development" from the tourism industry.

The World Bank promotes "Inclusive Development" as economic and regional development that allows for full social participation of people with disabilities.

"Destination Development" is the phrase used by the tourism industry to describe the strategic application of planning, development, and marketing resources to enhance a location as a desired destination for travelers. Inclusive Destination Development uses the word "Inclusive", in the sense it is used by the World Bank, to mean "allowing for the full social participation of people with disabilities."

Thus, Inclusive Destination Development is "the systematic and strategic application of resources to make a location become a destination of choice for persons with disabilities."

The goal of Inclusive Tourism is to accommodate the broadest range of tourists possible without stigma or the need for special accommodation. Inclusive Destination Development is the primary means of establishing Inclusive, or as we will be calling it at this conference, "Accessible" Tourism.

Inclusive Tourism is one important means through which persons with disabilities participate in society at a distance from their homes. At the same time, the presence of these tourists provides a model - and source of funding - for the inclusive practices and infrastructure necessary for these human rights to be extended to local residents. Inclusive Tourism partially funds Inclusive Destination Development. Inclusive Tourism is an example of democratization and the dissemination of human rights through a market-driven mechanism.

Earlier I mentioned the concept "path of travel." When we design places so that people with disabilities can enter, participate in, and leave freely we also allow access for economic resources and the very concept of freedom.

At this conference we commit ourselves to building the Asian portion of this path. I look forward to building it with you. So do the millions of people around the world who will also come here to travel it.

This presentation also appeared as an article at Suiote 101.

Posted by rollingrains at 02:55 AM

September 17, 2007

Desde "El Fantastico Mundo de Metrovias"

Este video, "Siete años más tarde, andén inaccesible" bien conta de la vida cotidiana de quien usa transporte publica y silla de ruedas. En este caso estamos en Buenos Aires donde - despues de siete años -- todavia no hay accesso al Metrovias.

¿Puede ser mejor cambiar la prioridad del Programa de Acción Cultural El Subte Vive del Metrovias de murales, filmes, fotografia, y escultura inaccesibles para un programa que reconoce la cultura de nosotros? ¿Como el árbol que cae en el bosque y nadie lo oye, que vale arte en lugar inaccesible? ¿Que significa del nivel de conocimiento de nuestra cultura dentro del Metrovias cuando la infraestructura no refleje el genio de nuestros arquitectos como Ron Mace, Taide Buenfils, o Marcelo Pinto Guimarães porque no comprende sus Siete Principios del Diseño Universal?

¿Porque no levanta Fundación Rumbos su proprio Concurso de Fotografia Contemporanea Argentina exponiendo la vision de una convivencia en el subte con personas con discapacidad?

Este seria -- por fin -- un "Subte Vive!"

Posted by rollingrains at 02:48 PM

September 07, 2007

Indian Aviation Norms for Disabled Passengers Revised


Ananth Krishnan
of the Hindu reports on positive developments for air travelers in and to India as theoretical distinctions made by disability scholars find their way into public and governmental discourse.

In the ongoing controversy over civil air regulations in India the definition of disability has been somewhat clarified. Distinguishing between permanent disability and illness, the regulations begin to extricate themselves from the Medical Model of Disability. In so doing they provide clarity for air transport providers while capturing distinctions in passenger functionality relevant to air travel.

Such campaigns for human rights as C. Mahesh, Rajiv Raman, the Community-Based Rehabilitation Forum and Vidyasagar are an ongoing necessity. Often they attract censure when they appear to raise the level of conflict beyond "polite" levels of acquiescence. Unjust regulations, inadequate infrastructure, preemptory expulsion from aircraft, or forced sedation will simply never be tolerated by the community of persons with disabilities.

However, the worldwide disability community now hopes that, with an inkling of the positive social benefit available in adopting the Social Model of Disability as a basis for policy, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation will affirmatively pursue policy that enables the airline industry to profit from the untapped financial resources of travelers with disabilities to the mutual benefit of that community and the tourism industry.

CHENNAI: Following objections from disabled rights groups, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has revised the civil aviation requirements for disabled passengers that were put into effect on August 15.

Disabled rights organisations had voiced their protest against the implementation of the guidelines stating that they were not clear enough in their definition of disability. The requirements also made it necessary for disabled passengers to be accompanied by escorts. The disabled rights groups claimed this was discriminatory.

The revised requirements define a disabled person or a person with reduced disability as "any person whose mobility when using transport is reduced due to physical disability (sensory or locomotor, permanent or temporary), intellectual disability or impairment, or any other cause of disability, or age, and whose situation needs appropriate attention."

The requirements also state that airlines "shall not insist for the presence of an escort," acknowledging that "many persons with disabilities do not require constant assistance for their activities." If a passenger declares "independence in feeding, communication with reasonable accommodation, toileting and personal needs," he or she will not have to travel with an escort.

"Welcome relief"

"The revised guideline is a welcome relief," C. Mahesh, advocacy coordinator of the Community-Based Rehabilitation Forum told The Hindu on Thursday. "The earlier version was draconian and would have greatly hampered independent air travel for persons with disabilities."

Mr. Mahesh said that the earlier requirements had not made a distinction between disabled passengers and those with a medical condition.

"Thankfully, this has been done away with," he said. "This distinction is very important because not all disabled persons have a medical condition. Disability is not an illness but a condition that is more or less permanent in nature."
Mr. Mahesh added that the DGCA had written to the disabled rights groups for feedback on the revisions. The revised requirements will come into effect on October 1.

The issue of aviation requirements for disabled passengers has come under the spotlight following the prevention of Rajiv Rajan, a cerebral palsy patient, from boarding an Air Sahara flight in Chennai on June 18 for failing to produce a medical certificate. Mr. Rajan was also forced to take a sedative pill before boarding a Jet Airways flight from Mumbai to Chennai two years ago.

According to the new requirements, airlines will no longer have the authority to take such steps.
Disabled passengers who require assistance only in embarking or disembarking, or needing "reasonable accommodation" in flights, cannot be asked by airlines to produce medical certificates.

Right to travel

For the disabled rights groups, the revisions are a welcome measure. Mr. Rajan, also an activist with the disabled rights non-governmental organisation Vidyasagar, told The Hindu that the earlier requirements, in particular the
demand for escorts, infringed on a disabled person's right to travel.

"If the August 15 draft were to come into effect, it would affect my right to movement," he said.
"I travel at least three times a month, so it is very difficult for me to find an escort on my own. It is a violation of my right to be independent."

Source:
http://www.hindu.com/2007/09/07/stories/2007090761741500.htm


Further Readings on Disability Studies and Inclusive Tourism:

Defining the Market of Travelers with Disabilities
http://www.suite101.com/article.cfm/travel_with_disabilities/110781

Inclusive Tourism: Some Definitions
http://www.suite101.com/article.cfm/travel_with_disabilities/114773

"Specialness" & Scarcity: The Paternalism Syndrome
http://www.rollingrains.com/archives/001674.html

ahistoricality: Progressive Engagement With Disability
http://ahistoricality.blogspot.com/2007/09/progressive-engagement-with-disability.html

Getting the Design Right: Inclusive Destination Development
http://www.suite101.com/article.cfm/travel_with_disabilities/115176

Posted by rollingrains at 11:45 PM

September 06, 2007

Consulta Pública: Regulamentos Técnicos da Qualidade Referentes à Acessibilidade no Transporte Rodoviário e Aquaviário

Os Regulamentos Técnicos da Qualidade referentes à acessibilidade no transporte rodoviário e aquaviário encontram-se em consulta pública por 60 dias, tendo os mesmos sido publicados hoje (04/09) no DO - Diário Oficial.

Estes podem ser acessados na íntegra, na página do Inmetro, no seguinte endereço: http://www.inmetro.gov.br , na margem direita da página, no item Produtos e serviços - consultas públicas ou da link:

http://www.inmetro.gov.br/rtac/resultado_pesquisa.asp?seq_classe=1&sel_categoria=21

Abaixo segue um extrato do título das Portarias que publicam os dois RTQs.

Portaria INMETRO / MDIC número 339 de 31/08/2007
Regulamento Técnico da Qualidade para Inspeção da Adaptação de Acessibilidade em Embarcações Utilizadas no Transporte Coletivo de Passageiros.

Portaria INMETRO / MDIC número 340 de 31/08/2007
Regulamento Técnico da Qualidade para Inspeção da Adaptação de Acessibilidade em Veículos de Características Rodoviárias para o Transporte Colet ivo de Passageiros

Posted by rollingrains at 08:09 PM

August 30, 2007

Katrina +2: Leadership on Post-Disaster Reconstruction

Miguel Urtecho

One year after Katrina there is evidence that the lesson has been learned that post-disaster reconstruction must incorporate best practices in Universal Design and Livable Community planning. It is encouraging to hear the clear voice of leadership. Ironically it is not from any US official but from Wilson Michael Urtecho of Peru speaking of the reconstruction of Pisco, Ica, Cañete y Huancavelica after the August 15 earthquake.

"Es indispensable que las nuevas obras que se diseñen, planifiquen y construyan se realicen de manera accesible para discapacitados. Eso quiere decir que los planos y proyectos que se usen para la reconstrucción se adecuen a todas las normas técnicas de accesibilidad para favorecer a las personas con discapacidad."

"It is absolutely necessary that the new projects that they design, plan, and construct be implemented in a way that is accessible to people with disabilities. That is to say that the plans and projects used in reconstruction meet all accessible building codes for the benefit of people with disabilities."

Lima, ago. 28 (ANDINA).- El congresista de Renovación, Wilson Michael Urtecho, planteó hoy la necesidad de que el gobierno considere las normas técnicas de accesibilidad que están vigentes, al momento de reconstruir las viviendas de Pisco, Ica, Cañete y Huancavelica, que resultaron afectadas por el terremoto del pasado 15 de agosto.

"Es indispensable que las nuevas obras que se diseñen, planifiquen y construyan se realicen de manera accesible para discapacitados. Eso quiere decir que los planos y proyectos que se usen para la reconstrucción se adecuen a todas las normas técnicas de accesibilidad para favorecer a las personas con discapacidad", dijo.

Urtecho, quien preside la Subcomisión de Discapacidad del Parlamento, recomendó que la Presidencia del Consejo de Ministros, así como el Ministerio de Vivienda y Construcción, emitan una directiva o norma que haga este tema de cumplimiento obligatorio.

Asimismo, instó a ambos sectores del gobierno a ejercer más control en los proyectos generales de tal manera que éstos sean revisados por expertos en diseño accesible.

También pidió que se convoque a las propias personas con discapacidad y a sus Organizaciones a fin que puedan realizar tareas de supervisión. "Ya que en cuestiones de accesibilidad y seguridad se ha demostrado que la mirada del usuario con discapacidad siempre supera a la frialdad y la exactitud matemática de las normas", consideró.

Más adelante sostuvo que el Ministerio de Educación, en coordinación con la Oficina de Infraestructura Educativa debería emitir una directiva específica, de tal manera que el tema del diseño universal y accesible, sea de cumplimiento obligatorio para proyectistas, arquitectos y constructoras que operan en el campo de la infraestructura educativa. "Ello en el marco de la Década de la Educación

Inclusiva 2003-2012 dispuesta por el Decreto Supremo 026-2003-ED", enfatizó.

Urtecho indicó que sería una pena que los recursos que se destinen a la reconstrucción del sur sirvan para construir nuevas barreras arquitectónicas que solo excluyen a los educandos y profesores con discapacidad.

"Es indispensable reconocer, como lo ha manifestado el Banco Mundial en diversos estudios, que la diferencia entre construir barreras arquitectónicas y construir de manera accesible no cuesta adicionalmente más del 1% del costo original. Lo que sí cuesta bastante y a veces una fortuna, es modificar lo que fue construido como inaccesible y más por ignorancia, descuido o apresuramiento, cosas que deberíamos evitar", concluyó.

Posted by rollingrains at 02:58 PM

August 28, 2007

Hostels & Inclusive Travel

Some of the most innovative Inclusive Destination development that I have encountered in my travels, Devil's Playground in Tasmania, depends on the world-girdling nomadic "backpackers' economy." Grandparent of that niche is the hostels movement.

This September I plan to dip into that terrestrial jet stream of cultural diversity along the California coast. Take a look at Point Montara Lighthouse Hostel and Pigeon Point Lighthouse Hostel. They form end caps on the trek along California's spectacular Bug Sur Coast.

Further reading:

Hostelling International

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hostelling_International
http://www.hihostels.com/

Posted by rollingrains at 04:29 PM

Champion of Inclusive Tourism: Brazilian Senator Eduardo Azeredo (Portuguese)

Brazilian Senator Eduardo Azeredo exerts leadership for people with disabilities as president the Brazilian Senate's Subcommission on Social issues for People with Disabilities. This week he held hearings on Inclusive Tourism in Brazil giving further mindshare to Brazil as a destination of choice for travelers with disabilities.

SENADORES DEBATEM TURISMO PARA PESSOAS COM DEFICIÊNCIA

Para Eduardo Azeredo, setor ainda precisa de ações para promover tratamento de igualdade

A Subcomissão de Assuntos Sociais da Pessoa com Deficiência (Casdef) e a Comissão de Desenvolvimento Regional e Turismo (CDR) do Senado realizaram audiência pública, nesta terça-feira (28), para debater as propostas destinadas a desenvolver o turismo para cidadãos com necessidades especiais. "Já existem algumas ações muito importantes nesse sentido, mas precisamos discutir quais providências são necessárias para um tratamento de igualdade", disse o Senador Eduardo Azeredo (PSDB-MG), presidente da Casdef. Ele ressaltou como exemplo a exigência de instalações adaptadas como requisito para a liberação de financiamentos federais para a construção de hotéis.

Participaram da audiência a representante do Ministério do Turismo, Jurema Monteiro; do Ministério das Cidades, Carlos Morales; do Ministério dos Transportes, Marcos Cordeiro; da Coordenadoria da Pessoa com Deficiência (Corde), Isabel Maior; do Conselho Nacional dos Direitos da Pessoa com Deficiência (Conade), Maria Madalena Nobre; e da Associação Brasileira de Hotéis, Patrícia Ferraz.

ENTIDADES ESTUDAM AÇÕES DE INCLUSÃO

Na audiência pública desta terça-feira (28), Maria Madalena Nobre, membro do Conade, ressaltou que o turismo para pessoas com deficiência é uma questão em discussão no mundo todo. Segundo ela, algumas iniciativas no sentido da acessibilidade serão importantes nesse sentido. "Podemos adequar os equipamentos turísticos, como as redes hoteleiras, e também promover a qualificação profissional para atendimento às pessoas com deficiência", destacou. O representante do Ministério dos Transportes, Marcos Cordeiro, também defendeu o treinamento de funcionários para que possam entender as necessidades dos deficientes.
Jurema Monteiro afirmou que o Ministério do Turismo tem dado prioridade ao turismo social, sob a perspectiva da inclusão. Para Isabel Maior, da Corde, essas ações estão apenas começando e ainda serão necessários mais debates e providências. "Esperamos voltar várias vezes ao Senado para aprimorar essa discussão", concluiu. O Brasil tem 25 milhões de pessoas com deficiência

Posted by rollingrains at 01:33 AM

August 25, 2007

Universal Design & Signage

Barbara Knecht has posted a few times at Planetizen I liked the lead to her latest post:

“I have always thought that design can be a form of social activism,” says Don Meeker, environmental graphic designer and co-creator of “Clearview” typeface. This small but radical quotation was buried in an article from the 8.12.07 NY Times Sunday magazine on the redesign of highway sign typeface. Meeker, James Montalbano, and a team of collaborators understood that it was the design of highway signage that was contributing to highway fatalities. They applied an understanding of human psychology and function to the solution of a “civic issue.”

Radical idea. It’s called Universal Design. Or social activism.

For the full article see: http://www.planetizen.com/node/26507

For a discussion on Clearview see: http://typographica.org/000931.php

Posted by rollingrains at 02:44 PM

August 21, 2007

Inclusive Design for Malaysia

Malaysia has an informed and articulate Universal Design and disability rights community. Unfortunately some of the conversation escapes English-only speakers around the world. That is one reason why the blog by Naziaty Yaacob (Nazy) Inclusive Design for Malaysia is so important.

The other reason is simply because it is a well-done and thoughtful blog!

One example - humor & advocacy in My Office is Not Accessible.

Another example - engaging the international dialog on Inclusive Heritage Tourism


Still another - a thoughtful essay on contextualizing disability simulation exercises to Malaysian reality:

With regards to Training on Disability, I would like to give my opinion on the use of “Simulation Exercises” as a tool or method, which is a disability awareness training module that requires the participant to experience a ‘temporary state of disability’ by having them simulate, ie using a wheelchair, blind-folded etc., which is meant for them to understand barriers.

Simulation exercises should be used in conjunction of a specific context. Let me explain a bit more. In countries such as Japan, USA and the UK, they already have (i) disability discrimination laws; (ii) the disabled people had started their campaign way back in the 70s and 80s, and also, (iii) the architects and professionals would find it unacceptable where there are legal recourse (extensive laws) if they do not plan, design and managed the built environment and public transportation according to the discrimination acts and so on. They would be deem to be unprofessional if they did not include disabled people’s needs.

Simulation exercises in Malaysia and in many other UNESCAP countries MUST be used in conjunction with an ‘activist approach’ to solving the problems at the same time.It must never be a stand-alone exercise. You need to design it with a LEARNING COMPONENT, where the participant would understand the difference between an ‘impairment’ and a ‘disabling environment’ (two different concepts) and the ‘disabling environment’ is created by society and the participants themselves. This works particularly well with engineers, architects, planners, building managers, facilities managers and the CEO of an establishment.

Continue reading her argument at http://inclusivedesign.wordpress.com/2007/08/19/debate-on-simulation-exercises/

Posted by rollingrains at 06:26 PM

August 12, 2007

Hotshot Wheelchairs on the Beach!

Formula-Carangeijo


Inclusive Destination Development is the systematic use of Universal Design in the creation or modification of a tourist destination. The City of Imperial Beach has taken one of its foremost tourism assets and made it a place of inclusion through the purchase of two beach wheelchairs from Hotshot Products of Torrance, California. Field testing the single passenger model here was an experience in speed. These things are zippy!

imperial beach banner.jpg



The City of Imperial Beach and the San Diego Unified Port District, in conjunction with the State of California Coastal Conservancy, has developed a motorized beach wheelchair program for increasing accessibility and enjoyment for disabled citizens to enjoy truly independent access to the Imperial Beach beachfront.

The City provides in-kind services, storage facilities for the wheelchairs, and Lifeguard personnel to oversee the program. The Port District provides funding for long-term maintenance for the wheelchairs through an annual maintenance contract to be managed by the City. The Port District will assess the Imperial Beach project to determine the nature of additional access projects to enhance beach access for the mobility-impaired within its five (5)-city tidelands jurisdiction. One such project was dedicated in August 2001 in the City of San Diego.

The Power Beach Chairs, manufactured by Hotshot Products in Torrance, CA, improves access on the City’s beach for people with impaired mobility by making available motorized "balloon tire" wheelchairs that are designed to traverse uneven and unstable ground, such s a sandy beach. The City has purchased two (2) chairs initially through funding assistance by the Port District and Coastal Conservancy for a total of $22,000.00. The Port District, as the trustee of the City’s beachfront tidelands, matched the Conservancy’s $11,000 grant to the City, and will assist in maintaining the wheelchairs and publicizing the project. The program has been developed in response to disabled advocates for the mobility-impaired community who stress the importance of a self-propelled beach wheelchair program. In San Diego and Imperial Beach, Accessible San Diego (ASD), a local non-profit disabled resource organization, was instrumental in advocating the need to provide motorized wheelchairs because of the free access that they provide to disabled users. The City of Imperial Beach will publicize the availability of the beach chairs through the ASD’s Access Gold Program.

The power beach chairs are stored in a locker at the City of Imperial Beach Lifeguard Headquarters at Dempsey Holder Safety Center, convenient to the City’s beach front plaza, parking and pier. Lifeguards will check out chairs to users by reservation and at no charge to users.

In 1999, the Coastal Conservancy previously provided barrier-free access projects for the disabled in Los Angles County by providing nine (9) beachfront wheelchairs that required an assistant for the user in soft sand areas or considerable strength for independent use. Motorized wheelchairs are deigned to eliminate the dependence of self-propelled wheelchairs by the independence that they provide to the user.


Source:

City of Imperial Beach site

Posted by rollingrains at 10:45 PM

August 10, 2007

Rafting the River Jacarepepira, Brazil

In this film clip by Aventura Especial we follow founder Dada Moreira as he accompanies a trip down the level 3-4 rapids of Jacarepepira River near Brotas in the state of Sao Paulo, Brazil.

The captioning track does not seem to be working. Roughly Dada explains that Brotas is a watersports haven offering a wide variety of eco-adventure possibilities for people with disabilities. In this clip we follow a rafting trip.

After a warmup exercise and seated in the Zodiak he comments on his sitting stance as an adaptation to his disability. The guide comments how fulfilling it was for himself and last week's group of blind rafters to make the adaptations necessary to enjoy this sport.

With a team building shout, "1-2-3 Aventura especial", they are off down the river.

At the end Dada interviews one rafter who enthusiastically plans to bring her deaf sister next time. He closes with a comment that disability should not deter anyone from enjoying the thrill of being out in the natural environment.

More Reading:

http://www.brotasbrasil.com.br/

Posted by rollingrains at 07:01 PM

July 30, 2007

Airport Innovation

From the Sun-Times News Group Wire:

The Chicago Department of Aviation says Chicago’s airports are on their way to becoming more accessible for disabled travelers.

“Accessible kiosks” are coming to O’Hare International Airport as well as Midway Airport in 2008, according to a release from the CDA on Wednesday. The kiosks are wired with videophones, allowing deaf or hearing impaired travelers to communicate using sign language.

Source:

Airports Become More Accessible For Disabled

http://cbs2chicago.com/local/local_story_210213230.html

Posted by rollingrains at 04:29 AM

July 29, 2007

Senior Travel in Brazil

On Friday I mentioned Brazil's new Viaja Mais - Melhor Idade (Travel More! - the Best Age). So far I have seen nothing official in English so here's a preview until the site gets going at www.viajamais.com.br.

The project is a nationwide campaign involving 15 cities chosen by the Ministry of Tourism. The target population is travelers 60 and over but early signs are that planners are Boomer savvy. Domestic as well as international travelers are expected to benefit. In an innovative bid for the domestic market the Banco do Brasil and Caixa Econômica Federal offer credit allowing payment plans to encourage travel.

Typical of mainstream marketing practice accessibility for people with disabilities is not highlighted. One can only hope that, with Brazil's pool of accomplished and innovative marketing professionals, they will invent new best practices for subtly portraying us in advertisement, provide the types of travel information that we need in formats that are fully accessible, and provide training for the travel industry service sector.

But it is not necessary to simply hope that we will be represented. Madalena Nobre has been contracted as one of the project trainers. With her long experience in Brazilian disability issues, policy, and the tourism sector she has the knowledge -- and the professional network of colleagues -- necessary to move Brazil into a world-class inclusive destination.

Brazilian Alexandre Kalache, formerly of the World Health Organization, has retired after launching WHO's Global Age-Friendly Cities Program. Rumor has it that his retirement plans include establishing a foundation in Brazil to continue Inclusive Destination development type work.

It is not a rumor, but rather a fact flying below the media radar, that Instituto Inter-Americano sobre Deficiência & Desenvolvimento Inclusivo is planning an international conference on Inclusive Travel in Brazil for 2008 - but we'll let that continue to germinate quietly until we - er, they - also get the web site up.

Further reading on Viaja Mais (Note: site not live yet as of this posting):

www.viajamais.com.br

Posted by rollingrains at 03:26 AM

July 28, 2007

Desenho Universal & a Qualidade dos Serviços Turísticos para a Melhor Idade (Portuguese)

Tem ouvido ja da programa Viaja Mais - Melhor Idade?

O Projeto Viaja Mais - Melhor Idade, a ser lançado no próximo mês de agosto, oferecerá pacotes de viajem aéreo ou rodoviário, com produtos customizados de nível turístico superior e luxo.

O pagamento pode ser efetuado através de cheque, dinheiro, cartão de crédito e/ou débito, além de crédito consignado via Banco do Brasil e Caixa Econômica Federal para viagens no valor de até 3 mil reais, que podem ser parceladas em até 12 vezes com juros de 1% ao mês.

A programa vai estimular a adotacao do Inclusive Tourism com Desenho Universal tambem:


Entre outros benefícios, o programa contribui para o fortalecimento do mercado turístico interno, estimula a atividade em períodos de baixa ocupação, eleva a qualidade dos equipamentos e serviços turísticos, estrutura os destinos e diversifica a oferta turística brasileira, e promove o desenvolvimento da pequena e média empresa, que são a maioria na atividade turística nacional.

Como sabe a industria:

Os “avós de antigamente” já não são mais os mesmos. Com espírito jovem e muita animação eles resolveram que depois de ter trabalhado a vida toda, não há nada melhor do que tirar férias merecidas e duradouras e ocupar seu tempo viajando.

E como ja disse, cumplido com o meu contrato com SeniorNet estou pronto voltar pelo Brasil escrever para o mercado norteamericano do roteiro Viaja Mais - Melhor Idade!

Recursos:

Balneário Camboriú

Ceará

Maceió

Manaus

Para

"Renovando Sempre"

Articulo de 2004 analizando acontecimentos em Santos para a "melhor idade"

Posted by rollingrains at 01:12 AM

July 27, 2007

Accessible Sailing & Good Design in Boston are Good for Tourism

Tom McCarthy photo from http://bygonebureau.com/

For the past week it has been my privilege to host several out of town visitors. Playing host is always a valuable exercise in seeing the familiarly local with new eyes. On the return from an excursion into Big Basin redwood park Brazilian tourism student Mariana Coelho and I discussed a new video that we previewed together by the Brazilian inclusive adventure and eco-tourism tourism activists at Aventura Especial. The question we chewed on most of the way home was how to measure success - how to know when "first stage" pioneering efforts in Inclusive Tourism have matured into sustainable "second stage" initiatives or passed into a ubiquitous "third stage" where inclusion is no longer a conceptual or design challenge but a commonsense assumption.

Let me introduce you to The Bygone Bureau with an engagingly written look at accessible sailing in Boston. I see in Boston's program innovation at that second stage where a strong international inclusive sailing community devotes significant talent and financial resource to improving their sport -- and in the process enhancing the appeal of Boston as a destination of choice for travelers with disabilities. Kevin Nguyen's Smart Design chronicles a sailing adventure with Tom McCarthy in an experimental craft. Nguyen observes:

The Accessible Sailing Program is a great example of user-centered design, a philosophy that boils down to multi-step problem solving. The Community Boating team adjusted the make of the boat to accommodate, not accept, each limitation of its driver. Most admirably, no part of the universal sailing experience is diminished.

In a world where people are constantly struggling with clumsy design—poor user interfaces, products made for form rather than function—it’s refreshing to see that there are some folks out there with enough heart to make something that really works the way it should. Time and effort seem to be the key.

By the way, if you are not familiar with The Bygone Bureau you an keep an eye on it here in their Travel section. Anybody with the writing talent they demonstrate and the self-effacing bravado of a start-up publication deserves to be on your RSS list:

We’ve been playing with the idea of starting an online publication for a while now. Even in its conceptual stages (a euphemism for drunken brainstorming), I knew there’d be a few hitches––dealing with limited contact between writers through e-mail, finding a simple hosting plan, coding a solid site design, et cetera. I never imagined that the project’s biggest snag would be giving it a name.

Seriously. It took forever.

Realizing that just about every domain name had already been registered and parked, Nick and I were forced to throw around names for two or three weeks. Some were quirky (Deep Sea Life), some were sophisticated (The Emperor), and some were just plain stupid (Higgledy-Piggledy).

And so the fruits of our labor yielded the Bygone Bureau. It’s a pretty snappy name for what I can only guess will become the world’s most popular publication.


Related reading:

Access Dinghies & Universal Design
http://www.rollingrains.com/archives/001043.html

Posted by rollingrains at 05:41 PM

July 25, 2007

Travel to Turkey: The Spinal Cord Paralytics Society of Turkey

TOFD Banner

The Spinal Cord Paralytics Society of Turkey held a unique travel opportunity for children with disabilities in Istanbul during April 2007. From their web site:

Our prior purpose of founding this organization is to help handicapped children to socialize with the other kids and to protect the future of our children in this changing world in the frame work 23 April National Children’s Day which the great leader Ataturk has given as a gift to the kids of the whole world. Our children are our future and to protect their rights is our duty.

The disabled children coming from various countries of the world to will be hosted for a whole week in Istanbul, one of the most beautiful cities of the world, so that they will live unforgettable moments in Istanbul through experiencing the Turkish culture, Turkish hospitality, Istanbul’s natural and historical richness.

From Istanbul to the whole world, all disabled and non disabled children will give the message of a world where all the obstacles to peace and brotherhood has been demolished.

http://www.gulencocuk.org/eng/index.htm

Initiatives such as this become fertile ground for growing a movement for Inclusive Tourism and Inclusive Destination Development. Note also the emergence of Access Centres Turkey as a hotelier determined to be world-class in service to people with disabilities.

I wonder. Have the seven principles of Universal Design been translated into Turkish yet? If so, they would be a great addition here - and a boon to the efforts underway in Turkey.

Posted by rollingrains at 06:12 PM

July 24, 2007

Tourism : An Endless Opportunity

Mariana at Day on the Beach in Santa-Cruz


I want to share something Scott told us when we were having dinner in Santa Cruz with other people that participated at the Day on the Beach. When Scott was younger he became a ski instructor, and not so long after he was paralyzed. And instead of being depressed because he wouldn’t be a instructor anymore, he said something like “A part of me still wants to live, and what is half of infinite opportunities that I have? It is still infinite, right?”


Let me tell you something about my experience in Santa Clara County. My name is Mariana Coelho, I’m from Brazil and I’m a senior university student in tourism back home.

A couple of years ago, I decided that Accessible Tourism would be an interesting theme for my final thesis. Since then, I’ve been developing my ideas and I also started paying more attention to accessible places and people with disabilities. One question that has always been in my mind is why I’m used to seeing so few people with disabilities outdoors in Brazil. What I am discovering is that, compared to California, we do not provide enough accessible infrastructure nor do we have a reliable healthcare system.

One reason that I am in the US is because the professor I’ve chosen to advise me in my final thesis encouraged me to come here and experience a different society to learn more about accessibility, tourism, universal design, inclusion and so on. That’s how I learned about Scott Rains’ work. We’ve been talking ever since. He told me about the Day on the Beach event, in Santa Cruz.

Basically, what first interested me in this area was the Day on the Beach, because I really wanted to experience it firsthand. One of the things I realized when I met Accessible Tourism expert Simon Darcy in Las Vegas, in June 2007 is that if I really want to help people with disabilities I have to at least try to understand their world and culture. And this is something that I believe that anyone should do when you want to develop anything: try to know and understand it.

Anyway, observing and being part of Scott’s life this weekend has already opened my eyes and my mind to a lot of details. It begun when I met him at San Jose’s bus station and started to learn how to set up a wheelchair (I’m starting to do a better job by now). Then I saw how hard it is to transfer and put a chair in your car on your own. What was also really nice to see an attractive accessible house.

Well, I could name many things I’ve noticed and places I’ve gone so far, but my point is that it is important for everyone to be able to go outdoors, have fun and experience the world, even if some special elements are required. I mean, who doesn’t need some special requirements to live and be happy? Everyone does. And that’s why I believe so much in tourism as an activity that deals with happiness, joy and fulfilling our lives.

Posted by rollingrains at 04:53 AM

July 23, 2007

New San Francisco Access Guide Published

access san francisco

Berkeley, CA July 23, 2007 --San Francisco's newest access guide, Access San Francisco is now available from the San Francisco Convention and Visitors Bureau (SFCVB). Compiled by Access Northern California (ANC), this free resource includes access details on over 100 San Francisco-area attractions, restaurants and hotels; plus information on accessible transportation, local disability organizations, wheelchair rentals and medical supply dealers.


All properties in Access San Francisco were personally inspected by Access Northern California
, a one-stop accessible travel information and consultation service for travelers with disabilities and the hospitality industry.

Says ANC founder, Bonnie Lewkowicz, "Accurate access information is hard to find, so I'm very proud of the fact that ANC visited every property included in this access guide. Seeing is believing as far as access is concerned."

Now in its fourth edition, Access San Francisco was made possible with help from the SFCVB, the San Francisco Mayor's Office on Disability and the Christopher Reeve Paralysis Foundation.

Says Lewkowicz, "Access San Francisco is easy to use, yet it contains all the access information travelers need. For example, we included the hotel and restaurant information in tables, but we also listed the access features that could not be depicted by icons in the notes section."

Access San Francisco is available free from the SFCVB at (415) 391-2000 or (415) 392-0328 TTY. Large print and audio versions of the guide will be available in August from the Mayor's Office on Disability at (510) 554-6789 or (415) 554-6799 TTY. Updated access information about San Francisco can be found on the ANC website at AccessNCA.com.

Posted by rollingrains at 09:03 PM

Access Santa Cruz

To locate accessible holiday resources in Santa Cruz, California try the guide by Shared Adventures, Santa Cruz County Access Guide.

Posted by rollingrains at 01:12 AM

July 22, 2007

The Story Behind the Photo

Monterey-Bay-Aquarium.jpg

The project I have been doing for SeniorNet ended several weeks early. The coming week at the Rolling Rains Report will be a Bay Area travelogue with Day on the Beach today, a Korean research team in tow exploring activities for seniors, and the delightful Mariana Coelho visiting from Brazil. With luck Mariana will share her impressions here also as she collects data and approaches for her senior thesis in Tourism with the Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais..

The fun started with an event planned by Steve Lyons at Accessible Adventures and carried out by Jim Covel of the Monterey Bay Aquarium. The photo is a not-so-candid shot donated by professional photographer Randy Wilder

For those who read below -- and between the lines -- the fact that my time is freed up from a major project means that I am again available for speaking, research, consulting on inclusive travel.

Posted by rollingrains at 02:46 AM

July 20, 2007

Accessible Taxis

Moving More People, Making Less Impact

The greening of the world's mass transit systems calls for
innovative thinking, public regulation and private funding

by Douglas MacMillan

The venerable yellow cab, once a symbol of cosmopolitan
efficiency, has come to represent all that is wrong with transit
in congested urban centers like New York City. "We can't afford to
have 13,000 gas guzzlers," says Deborah Marton, executive director
of the Design Trust for Public Space, a nonprofit taking strides
to bring sustainability and accessibility to taxi design in New
York and abroad (see BusinessWeek.com, 10/28/05, "A Taxi for the
Next Hundred Years").


The Design Trust's Taxi '07 exhibit at this year's New York
International Auto Show gave visitors the chance to see taxis they
might hail in the not-too-distant future. Participating companies
displayed taxi prototypes addressing at least 5 out of 10 design
challenges, such as incorporating hybrid or alternate-fuel
engines, wheelchair accessibility, a driver partition, a skylight,
and integral child seats.

While some entrants put a new spin on an existing vehicle such as
Chrysler's (DCX) PT Cruiser with a lithium battery and Kia's
(KIMTF) Rondo with enhanced safety lightinglesser-known Troy
(Mich.)-based Vehicle Production Group fielded its Standard Taxi,
a boxy vehicle measuring more than six feet in height.

It allows for wheelchair access, seats up to four passengers, and
has a smaller footprint than most cabs along with an engine that
gets as much as 20 miles per gallon.
The cab will cost about
$25,000, nearly the same as the old standby for cabs, Ford's (F)
Crown Victoria.

The Standard Taxi goes into production in 2008, and the company
expects to sell as many as 5,000 in the U.S. and in Canada in the
first year alone.

...

To read the entire article, go to:
http://www.aapd.com/News/transportation/070530bw.htm

Posted by rollingrains at 04:33 AM

July 19, 2007

AirAsia Discrimination Not Tolerated in Malaysia

From Peter Tan in Malaysia:

The Barrier-Free Environment and Accessible Transport Group (BEAT) in Malaysia carried out a protest at the Low Cost carrier, Air Asia, Terminal at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport. There were about 50 of us who carried placards denouncing the discriminatory measures taken by our country's budget airline Air Asia for refusing to take us if we cannot walk up the steps to the plane.

Links to newspaper reports and response from the Ministry of Transport Malaysia can be
found in the following:

http://www.petertan.com/blog/category/disability-issues/air-asia/

A statement from BEAT (via the blog Present Point Power )

DATE : 15TH JULY, 2007, SUNDAY, 11 AM AT LCCT

PRESS STATEMENTS ON AIRASIA’S REFUSAL TO TAKE PASSENGERS WHO REQUIRE SPECIAL ASSISTANCE TO BOARD AIRCRAFT.

We, members of Barrier-free Environment and Accessible Transport Group ( BEAT), are gathered here this morning, to express our outrage and disappointment with AirAsia, for its refusal to take passengers who require special assistance to board the aircraft.

In AirAsia’s Terms and Conditions, it states :-

1. AirAsia is unable to accept passengers who are completely immobile
2. As access to our aircraft is by the boarding stairs, the carriage of persons with limited mobility is subject to whether they are able to climb the boarding stairs unaided or aided.
3. A passenger who is able to walk up the boarding steps unaided may travel without a carer.
4. If the passenger is unable to climb the boarding stairs without any assistance, then AirAsia will request that the passenger travels with a carer.

We find AirAsia’s terms and conditions blatantly discriminating, unfair and unacceptable !! A check with AirAsia Call Centre confirms that only those who DO NOT require special assistance to climb the boarding stairs are allowed to travel in AirAsia. These terms and conditions have denied disabled passengers and persons with limited mobility, their right to fly like everyone else !! These terms and conditions imposed by AirAsia has caused further inconvenience and hardship to them.

The freedom to fly should be applicable to EVERYONE including passengers who are immobile and persons with limited mobility who may travel unaccompanied but require assistance to go onboard the aircraft.

AirAsia, Asia’s leading and largest low fare airline, has failed to live up to its slogan “Now Everyone Can Fly”. It is obvious that “ Now Not Everyone Can Fly” and “ Now Not Everyone Is Allowed To Fly in AirAsia”.

AirAsia has failed in its responsibility and obligation to provide facilities and services without discrimination, harrassment and vilification of its passengers.

We are here to reaffirm our commitment to fight any form of discrimination against disabled persons !! Discrimination against any person on the basis of one’s physical condition is a violation of the inherent dignity and worth of the human person.

We are here to demand that AirAsia reviews its policies and takes reasonable steps to ensure that the facilities and services provided and the terms on which they are provided are non discriminatory !!

The provision of such facilities not only benefit disabled passengers but also senior citizens and international tourists who are wheelchair users and their family members who may choose Malaysia as their holiday destination. Besides this, it also further enhance the corporate image of AirAsia and tourism industry of Malaysia.

We also call on Malaysia Airports Berhad to make sure that all new and old airports be equipped with facilities to improve accessibility to disabled passengers.

We are deeply concerned that despite assurances from relevant authorities and Ministers, disabled persons continue to face barriers and discrimination in their everyday life.

Come this 31st August, Malaysians from all walks of life will be celebrating our country’s 50th year of independence. But disabled persons here are still struggling to understand and experience the meaning of independence.

We have internationally well known mega development projects called Southern Corridors, Northern Corridors, Eastern Corridors, etc, etc, but disabled persons are still struggling to get out of their house corridors !!

We have RapidKL which has launched 1200 new buses on the roads but none of these are accessible buses. Despite our appeals, Prasarana, a 100% government owned company, continues to purchase and launch non-accessible buses ! We have newly launched taxis which cannot take wheelchair passengers due to limited booth space filled with gas tank !

We have light rail transit system called STAR Line or Ampang Line and Monorail but are completely inaccessible ! Now, we have AirAsia, which has done the nation proud by being the fastest growing and largest low fare airline in the region, refusing to take passengers who are immobile requiring assistance to go onboard !

We call upon YAB Dato Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, as Prime Minister of Malaysia, to hear our cries and consider our pleas for full inclusion in the overall Masterplan and Masterpolicy of the country. We ask to be treated with the same dignity and respect as equal members of society and full citizens of the country.

We also urge our Prime Minister to review the proposed Disabled Persons Act and to endorse the “ UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities” to protect and guarantee disabled persons the same rights as other persons and to eliminate all forms of discrimination against them.

Thank you.

Christine Lee
BEAT Coordinator

V. Murugeswaran
BEAT Assistant Coordinator

Peter Tan
BEAT Assistant Coordinator

Barrier-Free Environment and Accessible Transport Group (BEAT) comprises 18 Organisations as listed below :-

• Persatuan Damai Orang-Orang Kurang Upaya Selangor & W.P
• Malaysian Spinal Injuries Association
• Persatuan Mobiliti Selangor & Kuala Lumpur
• Persatuan Orang-Orang Cacat Anggota Malaysia
• Society of the Blind in Malaysia
• Malaysian Association for the Blind
• Society of the Chinese Disabled Persons Malaysia
• Persatuan Kristian Shuang Fu untuk orang Kurang Upaya Kuala Lumpur
• Beautiful Gate Foundation for The Disabled
• Persatuan Pemulihan Orang Cacat Selangor & Wilayah Persekutuan
• Selangor Cheshire Home
• Malaysian Information Network on Disabilities
• Dignity & Services
• United Voice (Self-Advocacy Society of Persons with Learning Disabilities Selangor & Kuala Lumpur)
• Selangor Council for Welfare and Social Development
• Majlis Paralimpik Malaysia
• Malaysian Council For Rehabilitation
• Lovely Home-

More at

Malaysia Hotel News:
Order to Malaysia Airports and AirAsia: Ease movement of the disabled
http://malaysiahotelnews.blogspot.com/2007/07/order-to-malaysia-airports-and-airasia.html#links

Corporate Social responsibility Asia:
Protests against AirAsia
http://www.csr-asia.com/index.php?p=10320

Daily Express
AirAsia, MAB told to ensure disabled are not deprived
http://www.dailyexpress.com.my/news.cfm?NewsID=51400

Posted by rollingrains at 01:51 PM

July 18, 2007

Mercado Modelo (BA) & Casa da Cultura (PE) (Portuguese)

Como foi aqeula musica por Daniela Mercury, "I don't want to stay here. I want to go back to Bahia!"


Mercado Modelo em Salvador


O mercado Modelo, em Salvador (BA), é uma espécie de máquina de baianidade. Funciona assim: você entra por uma porta turista paulista --ou mineiro, ou alemão-- e sai pela outra porta meio baiano.

É que, pelos corredores desse mercado, o visitante entra em contato com todos os clichês baianos de uma vez só. Então, ao sair de lá, palavras como dendê, iansã, berimbau e tudo o mais que forma o léxico do turismo em Salvador parecem tão familiares como pai e mãe, cachorro e casa. Todos os dias, 2.000 turistas passam por esse processo de baianização.

(Mais: http://www1.folha.uol.com.br/folha/turismo/noticias/ult338u309714.shtml

Pois e. E quantos sao cadeiristas com nos -- o novo setor brotando no turismo?

O mercado baiano pasara por renovacoes. Sera acessivel?


Lampiao em Recife

Em Recife a Casa da Cultura, un mercado semelhante, e espetacular. Passei o meu ultimo dia em Pernambuco curtindo o velhao carcel

Da porta quase-acessivel genta ve o Lampiao marcando o grande nao-passa-cadeirista do premeiro andar. Nao preciso ninguem proteger a santidade do segundo andar -- a Casa falta elevador. E dize que a minha casa esta cheio dos tesouros turisticos do primeiro andar.

Posted by rollingrains at 09:44 PM

July 17, 2007

"Specialness" & Scarcity: The Paternalism Syndrome

New civil rights legislation is having its positive effect in the lives of individual citizens with disabilities in many countries. The UN Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilties will continue the momentum.

There is a built-in limiting factor that will increasingly hamper such efforts. To their surprise those who are most likely to be the obstacle are those who have been involved in implementing the concrete changes mandated by the legislation.

Below is an article on accessibility features that have been added to Egmore railroad station in Chennai, India. In all retrofit situations such attempts at inclusion are marked out as "special" (stigamatized) if simply through the fact that they are obviously not part of the original design -- that the original design did not apply the seven principles of Universal Design.

What then often happens is a mentality of "protecting" the scarce resource (in ths case a ramp) from interlopers (in this case motorcyclists.

Instead of correctly seeing the widespread use of the human-centered correction to the previous poor design as a sign of success the paternal attitude of reserving a scarce resource for "those people" sets it. Rather than design for all resulting in full social participation by all what results is "special protection for the few." Note the comment by the engineer below who states:

There is also a special washroom with railings and low level sinks and commodes that is open to disabled people on request. "We do not want others to use it. The sad thing is that even the ramps are being used more by motorcyclists," said an official.

Who is this "we" that will not share what is good -- what is clearly better, in fact -- with citizens simply because they are not disabled? Yes, there are a limited number of ramps but the right question to ask is not "How do we protect the scarcity of proper accommodation?" but how do we eliminate the scarcity of proper accmmodation?

Who is the "we" that decides that inaccessibility will remain the norm so that "special" - and therefore scarce - accommodation needs a social caste who derives its sense of wellbeing from protecting that scarcity and "thise people" who depend on it? Cartainly, regardless of their disability status, they are not persons who uderstand the core values of disability culture: inclusion and interdependence.

CHENNAI, Jun 21: The Egmore railway station is in the process of becoming more disabled–friendly with the construction of a series of new ramps with supporting railings. "Earlier the ramps would be in some corner. Now we are putting them at every entrance," said a senior railway official.

Less than a year after the Madras High Court issued guidelines for the railways to ensure an accessible environment for the disabled, the station is working towards this end. According to Southern Railway officials, additional funds were sanctioned in the 2007–08 railway budget.

"Last year we started work with our own funds. This year we can spend up to Rs. 1 lakh for each work; for example just for the ramps. There are no longer any constraints on funds and the Chennai Division can spend Rs. 22 crore for passenger amenities alone," the official said.

Within the last three months, two new ramps at each entrance, a separate parking lot and a separate counter for the physically challenged have been set up at Egmore. There is also a special washroom with railings and low level sinks and commodes that is open to disabled people on request. "We do not want others to use it. The sad thing is that even the ramps are being used more by motorcyclists," said an official.

"Just putting in ramps is not enough," pointed out Meenakshi. B, assistant coordinator of the Disability Legislation Unit of Vidhya Sagar, a non–profit organisation committed to the rights of disabled persons. "Disabled persons continue to face several hardships when using public transport," she said.

Vidhya Sagar was at the forefront of bringing about the guidelines following a PIL filed by the coordinator of the Disability Legislation Unit, Rajeev Rajan.

Source: www.hindu.com/2007/06/21/stories/2007062157330100.htm

Posted by rollingrains at 05:20 AM

July 12, 2007

Environmental Travel Companions and More!

As I bring in delegations from Korea, South America, and around the US to participate in this year's Santa Cruz California Day on the Beach I find myself contacting local travel suppliers and arranging meetups. Below is contact information on some of the notable Inclusive Travel resources in the San Francisco Bay Area for the benefit of inbound travel agents, tourism researchers, and travelers with disabilities. Enjoy!

Environmental Travel Companions

Environmental Travel Companions
http://www.etctrips.org/website/about.html

Environmental Traveling Companions (ETC) opens the beauty and challenge of outdoor adventures to people with special needs. Every year over 2,000 people of all abilities join us to raft whitewater rivers, ski across alpine meadows, sea kayak the waters of the Golden Gate and sleep beneath the open sky.

30th_anniversary Logo

Bay Area Outreach and Recreation Program
http://www.borp.org/

Bay Area Outreach & Recreation Program (BORP) is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization working to improve the health, independence and social integration of people with physical disabilities through sports, fitness and recreation programs. BORP was founded in 1976, by people with disabilities to create access to the outdoors, to fitness, to sports and to recreation for a population that had been left out. In the 1970's, there simply were no recreation programs in the state specifically for people with disabilities.


Bay Area Association of Disabled Sailors (BAADS)

No Web site

PO Box 103730
San Francisco, CA 94119

415.282.0212 Phone - messages only

A non-profit organization that teaches sailing and offers outings on the San Francisco bay to people with disabilities. Every Sunday during most of the year they offer a sailing class. With enough advance notice it may be possible to arrange an individualized sailing.

Posted by rollingrains at 05:25 PM

July 11, 2007

Reportagem de Qualidade e Extensão Historico na Folha de Sao Paulo (Portuguese)

Parabems a Verena Fornetti, Mauricio Paroni, Rafael Targino, e os outros autores responsaveis por a reportagem na Folha de San Paulo dia 5 de julho 2007!

Turismo

Posted by rollingrains at 08:23 PM

Inclusao no Turismo (Portuguese)

Ta falado, Dadá!

"Se não tem banheiro adaptado, a pessoa pode fazer pára-quedismo, mas não vai ao banheiro"

Limitação não impede esportes radicais

Pode-se fazer surfe, rafting e pára-quedismo; procura por esse tipo de turismo, no entanto, ainda é fraca

RAFAEL TARGINO
VERENA FORNETTI
Colaboração para a Folha

O tetraplégico Ricardo Shimosakai faz rafting e pára-quedismo. A publicitária argentina Nélida Barbeito, que tem uma deficiência que compromete o equilíbrio, esquiou no Colorado, nos EUA. E Silvio Batagini, que teve uma das pernas amputada, pratica escalada.

Tanto quanto com o próprio entusiasmo, esses viajantes tiveram que contar com pacotes turísticos e com destinos ajustados às suas limitações.

"Se não tem banheiro adaptado, a pessoa pode fazer pára-quedismo, mas não vai ao banheiro", exemplifica Dadá Moreira, 41, sobre a infra-estrutura para a prática de esportes radicais pelos deficientes. Moreira tem ataxia, a incapacidade de coordenação dos movimentos musculares voluntários.

Os esportes radicais e o ecoturismo não têm regulamentação específica para atender os portadores de deficiência física, mas algumas agências de turismo começam a se adequar às necessidades desse público.

A procura ainda é pequena. A agência paulistana Freeway lançou pacotes especiais para atender os interessados em 2004. Até agora, apenas 30 pessoas procuraram o serviço. A título de comparação, nas viagens sem adaptações, a agência atende, em média, 500 pessoas por mês. Edgar Werblowsky, proprietário da Freeway, atribui o baixo movimento à falta de divulgação e afirma que algumas famílias têm medo de viajar porque não acreditam que os lugares estejam preparados para recebê-las.

A agência oferece pacotes para Ilha Anchieta (SP), Itacaré (BA), Maraú (BA), Bonito (MS), Pantanal (MS), Fernando de Noronha (PE) e Lençóis Maranhenses (MA).

Em Brotas, a 245 km de São Paulo, a agência Alaya Expedições (www.alaya.com.br) começou a treinar os monitores de esportes de aventura com equipe de fisioterapeutas e profissionais de educação física. A empresa já atendeu pessoas com deficiência visual e dificuldade de mobilidade. O objetivo é preparar todas as modalidades esportivas para atender esse público.

Em atividades como asa-delta, mergulho e rafting, dependendo das características do turista, não é preciso modificar as técnicas. Já esportes como esqui e surfe são adaptados.

A estação do Colorado em que Nélida Barbeito esquiou pela primeira vez foi a de Breckenridge Outdoor Education Center. "Cheguei com medo, mas tudo foi excepcional. Não fiz o percurso todo, mas esquiei desde o primeiro minuto", conta. Ela esquiou com protetores especiais de segurança.

Nélida também fez rafting na Patagônia, no Parque Nacional Nahuel Huapi. "Foi algo maravilhoso, a melhor oportunidade de percorrer 18 km sem andar", entusiasma-se.

O próximo destino da publicitária será Maresias, no litoral paulista, onde fará surfe adaptado .

Depois do acidente que atingiu sua perna, Silvio Batagini, 35, teve dificuldade para voltar a confiar no próprio corpo. Na primeira vez que viu uma escada rolante, teve medo de enfrentá-la. O esporte renovou sua confiança. "Fui vencendo meus medos e meus próprios preconceitos", conta.

Para Ricardo Shimosakai, 39, "às vezes, só é necessário ter boa vontade para que o deficiente pratique esportes".
Paulo Guilherme Rocha, 35, que tem distrofia dos membros superiores, cita outra vantagem das atividades: a independência. Ele foi incentivado desde pequeno a manter uma vida autônoma. "Meus pais decidiram me matricular em um colégio normal. Foi o primeiro passo para minha total independência. O segundo foi quando eu quis aprender a andar de bicicleta", afirma.

"Quando era pequeno, minha mãe dizia que eu não deveria ir longe. A primeira vez que consegui dar uma volta no quarteirão, senti uma liberdade... Foi marcante." Rocha já praticou trekking, fez mergulho e voou de asa-delta.

Lugares raramente são 100% adaptados

Posted by rollingrains at 01:56 AM

July 10, 2007

Ecuador: Turismo para Todos (Spanish)

ecuador

Havia una revolucion en Ecuador. Brotó en la ciudade de Baños. Segue la fórmula que notamos en la presentacion al primero International Accessible Tourism Conference en mayo de 2005, "El Alcance Global del Turismo para Todos" (inglés ; http://www.suite101.com/article.cfm/travel_with_disabilities/115976 y se aproxima la filosofia que apresentamos en "La Declaracion de Rio: Diseno Universal para un Desarrollo Inclusive y Sostenible"


Segundo un reportaje en el sitio del MinTur:


El Programa Económico del Gobierno Constitucional del Presidente Rafael Correa, tiene un horizonte con objetivos de corto, mediano y largo plazo, y plantea combinar la estabilidad macroeconómica con el desarrollo social, ambos factores indispensables para fundamentar la gobernabilidad democrática, condición que abre la posibilidad de acelerar un desarrollo sostenible (económico, social y ambiental).

En este contexto, la Política de Turismo del Gobierno del Presidente Correa, bajo el liderazgo de su principal, María Isabel Salvador, tiene algunos ejes prioritarios que corresponden a la política nacional: erradicar la pobreza a través del turismo como herramienta productiva sostenible, fomentar el turismo interno, apoyar los proyectos de microempresas turísticas, y fomentar el turismo sostenible en todo el Ecuador.

Las estrategias para que entre en acción el Programa Turismo Para Todos son: conformación de mesas de trabajo y concertación con los actores que intervienen en las cadenas productivas vinculadas a las Microempresas Turísticas: implementación de programas de capacitación acordes a la realidad de la Microempresa Turística en cada región; brindar asistencia técnica para la creación de proyectos y el acceso a créditos; coordinación con entidades financieras que otorguen líneas de crédito a los microempresarios turísticos; y coordinación con organismos de cooperación técnica multilateral y bilateral que apoyen al programa de microempresas.

La sostenibilidad de este programa se garantizará con la activa participación de los actores, y además de la fase de capacitación tendrá una fase de asistencia técnica y habilitación de los créditos. Otras fases complementarias que potenciarán el Programa son: fomento del turismo social, es decir, el uso adecuado del tiempo libre de jubilados, personas con discapacidades; turismo para jóvenes, especialmente estudiantes y microempresarios; y el fomento del turismo comunitario y vivencial.

http://www.turismo.gov.ec/ministerio/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=290&Itemid=2

Posted by rollingrains at 01:27 AM

July 08, 2007

India's Right to Information Campaign for PwD

The following is courtesy of Mahesh Chandrasekar:

Sakshi Trust

I am very happy to share with you a guide developed by Sakshi Trust and ActionAid India on the use of RTI to get information related to the issues faced by persons with disabilities.

This guide can also be downloaded from the following link http://www.actionaidindia.org/RTI_guide_Disability_Issues.htm

I am very happy to share with you a guide developed by Sakshi Trust and ActionAid India on the use of RTI to get information related to the issues faced by persons with disabilities

Some of the current issues such as:

* Getting a Disability Certificate
* Getting an allocation in Poverty Alleviation Schemes
* Ensuring barrier free access in Public spaces and offices
* Access to education and related services for PWDs
* Employment opportunities for the disabled
* Getting Assistive Devices
* Ensuring complaint are heard by the Commisioner for PWDs.

For each of these issues model RTI applications have been developed in this guide that can help you solve the problem

We kindly request you to circulate the information widely and use the guide extensive

This guide can also be downloaded from the following link http://www.actionaidindia.org/RTI_guide_Disability_Issues.htm

Kind regards

C. Mahesh
Advocacy Coordinator

CBR Forum
14, CK Garden
Wheeler Road Extension
Bangalore - 560 084

Tel - 080- 2549 7387 or 2549 7388

advocacy.cbrforum@gmail.com

cbrforum@blr.vsnl.net.in

cbrforum@gmail.com

Posted by rollingrains at 05:11 PM

Just Flew in with the Latest Edition of Global Access Travel E-zine

Kudos to the Bird Watcher’s’ Digest for including a state-by-state list of places a wheelchair user can utilize in the U.S.

http://www.birdwatchersdigest.com/site/backyard_birds/travel/wheelchair.aspx

Source:

Global Acces E-zine

Missed a Travel E-Zine? Catch up on a previous issue by visiting their E-Zine Archive at http://www.globalaccessnews.com/travel_ezine_archive.htm

Posted by rollingrains at 01:13 AM

July 07, 2007

Caminhadores: Ecoturismo Acessível Para Todos (Portuguese)

Solidaridade

De uma olhada nos eventos do ONG Caminhadores e veja os fotos do evento "Ecoturismo Acessível Para Todos aqui.

A nossa, Ong Caminhadores, realizou mais uma etapa do projeto Turismo na Redenção, onde pessoas em cadeira de rodas puderam conhecer os pontos históricos do mais famoso parque de Porto Alegre, usando a cadeira de trilha com uma só roda.

Nessa 5ª edição contamos com mais de 40 parceiros, todos mostrando o que cada instituição faz.

Vários convidados andaram na nossa cadeira de trilha e no dia 10 de junho estaremos realizando mais uma etapa do projeto "Ecoturismo Acessível Para Todos", no parque natural do Morro do Osso.

O sucesso deste evento, aconteceu graças ao belo trabalho voluntário do comitê gestor do Dia da Solidariedade, e de todas as instituições que participaram e apostam nesse grande evento.

Posted by rollingrains at 10:09 PM

UK: Aviation Becomes Accessible to All

Press release:

DEPARTMENT FOR TRANSPORT News Release (077) issued by The Government News Network on 5 July 2007

Aviation Minister Jim Fitzpatrick today outlined measures coming in later
this month to give disabled people new rights when travelling by air in Europe.

From 26 July 2007 it will be illegal for an airline, travel agent or tour
operator to refuse a booking on the grounds of disability or to refuse to
embark a disabled person who has a valid ticket and reservation.


The law also covers persons with reduced mobility, including people who would not normally be classed as disabled, such as those with a temporary mobility problem.

The new rules will mean that anyone who has been refused boarding on the
grounds of disability or reduced mobility will be able to complain to the
Disability Rights Commission (DRC). The Commission will advise them on their
rights and could refer the matter to the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA)
which will have power to prosecute. If found guilty, an airline could face
an unlimited fine.

Mr Fitzpatrick said:

"The new measure coming into force later this month is only the first step
in ensuring that disabled people and those with reduced mobility have the
same access to air travel as others.

"The second stage, which will come into force next year, will bring further
significant benefits to disabled travellers. When all these measures are in
place disabled passengers will be assured that they can expect a consistent
and seamless level of service from airports and airlines."

Background Notes:

1. EC Regulation 1107/2006 imposes new legal obligations on airport operators,
air carriers, their agents or tour operators. The Regulation was largely
progressed under the UK's Presidency of the European Union in 2005.

2. The Regulation comes into force in two stages. The first stage (prohibiting
refusal of booking or embarkation) comes into force on 26 July 2007. In very
occasional circumstances these rights may not apply - for example, where there
are legitimate safety or technical reasons why a disabled person cannot board
an aircraft. The rest of the Regulation will apply from 26 July 2008. From
this date, airport managing bodies will be required to organise the provision
of the services necessary to enable disabled/reduced mobility passengers to
board, disembark and transit between flights, with costs recovered through
a charge on airlines proportionate to the total number of passengers they
carry to and from the airport.

3. The two stage approach gives the industry time to make changes to
contractual arrangements for provision of ground-handling assistance.

4. In the UK, the Civil Aviation Authority has been designated to enforce
the Regulation. The Disability Rights Commission has been designated to
handle complaints from passengers (along with the Consumer Council for
Northern Ireland).

5. The Government has worked with the UK aviation industry to produce a
voluntary code of practice (published in 2003) which aims to improve access
to air travel for disabled people. We intend to revise this code by 2008 to
reflect the new European Regulation and ensure the spread of good practice.

Press Enquires: 020 7944 3118
E-mail: press@dft.gov.uk
Out of Hours: 020 7944 4292
Public Enquiries: 020 7944 8300
Department for Transport Website: http://www.dft.gov.uk


Source:
http://media.netpr.pl/notatka_80677.html

Posted by rollingrains at 08:53 PM

July 06, 2007

Access Centres Turkey

access centres Turkey

Access Centres Turkey is filling a niche in that country that has long gone unmet. With Europeans retiring to Turkey the government and local investors have been looking for technical advice on Universal Design for several years. Let's hope that Inclusive Destination development takes hold in Turkey.


http://www.accesscentres.com/en_resorts.php

One wonders what other major architectural mistakes were made if the PR photo of the lobby includes stairs as the main path of travel.

access centeres turkey lobby with stairs

Posted by rollingrains at 07:43 PM

July 05, 2007

The UK's Mobility Roadshow -- July 19, 20, & 21

Mobility Roadshow

This year’s Mobility Roadshow that takes place on 19, 20 and 21 July at Kemble Airfield near CirencesteK, UK. So, if you are not in the neighborhood for the 13th annual Day on the Beach in Santa Cruz, California then the Mobility Roadshow is the only other place to be that weekend!

Over 30 accessible hotel, cruise, travel and holiday operators from around the world are attending the show. Prestigious names include InterContinental Hotels, which is launching a new ceiling track hoist facility, Royal Caribbean Cruises, P&O Cruises and Virgin Holidays join operators from Egypt, Cyprus, Holland, Majorca, Slovenia, Spain, South Africa, Turkey and of course the United Kingdom.

The annual Mobility Roadshow is the world’s largest event of its kind. As well as adapted vehicles to test drive, from around 200 exhibitors there will be scooters, trikes and wheelchairs, mobility aids for indoor and outdoor living and recreation, plus a large number of information and charity organisations offering information and impartial advice. This year also sees a new Sports Arena and Flying Zone with opportunities to take part.

Source:
Easier Travel
http://www.easier.com/view/Travel/Holidays/article-125883.html

Posted by rollingrains at 07:13 PM

July 03, 2007

Good Work Carlson Hotels!

cis_logo

I have always had good experience with the Country Inn & Suites by Calson in Naperville, Illinois either as a guest or when referring guests. I was pleased to learn today that they are taking a leadership position - and receiving credit for it.

Kudos for Carlsons' foray into Universal Design thinking and their work to accommodate people of short stature!

Country Inns and Suites in Naperville is one of 950 Carlson Hotels where Sandra Wolf is the manager.

"Carlson Hotels believes in diversity and inclusiveness, and through that, they take it beyond the realms of ethnicity and they always try to accommodate all kinds of guests," Wolf said.

She says the idea of providing accommodations to people of short stature came from Matt Roloff, the star of TLC's reality show "Little People, Big World".

http://abclocal.go.com/wls/story?section=community&id=5430953

And congratulations to Sandra Wolf. If she really does manage 950 Carlson Hotels as ABC7 Chicago.com reports she must be someone extraordinary!

Posted by rollingrains at 07:57 PM

July 01, 2007

News From Pakistan at Rethinking Disability


Naveed alerts us to a public service in Islamabad - Internet Cafe & Software for the Blind

Posted by rollingrains at 10:12 PM

June 28, 2007

Congresso de Turismo Inclusivo em Portugal (Portuguese)

Um evento que perdi foi sobre turismo inclusivo -- congresso organizado pela Escola Superior de Educação de Coimbra, no Mélia Palácio da Lousã.


Source:

http://esec-tv.blogspot.com/2007/05/turismo-acessvel-na-esec.html

Congresso Acessivel Flyer


Apresentacoes do Congresso:

Andre Leman
Download .pdf file

Eduardo Abeu
Download .pdf file

Eugénia Lima Devile
Download .pdf file

Fátima Alves
Download .pdf file

Javier Melgosa
Download file

Joana Prates
Download .pdf file

Manuela Fialho
Download .pdf file

Ricardo Espirito Santo
Download file

Do sitio:

A temática de Turismo Acessível ou Turismo para Todos tem merecido pouca atenção, quer por parte da indústria turística quer por parte dos académicos e do sector público em geral, ao contrário do que se passa noutros domínios da actividade turística, amplamente discutidos. O grupo de pessoas com mobilidade reduzida é muito diversificado e inclui pessoas portadoras de deficiência, idosos, pessoas que transportam carrinhos de bebé, pessoas que transportam bagagem pesada, ou com outros problemas de mobilidade. Neste sentido, o mercado de Turismo Acessível é muito superior ao que se poderia esperar e tem também um efeito multiplicador na economia, dado que as condições acessíveis significam maior nível de qualidade dos serviços e conforto para todos os potenciais utilizadores, o que resultará numa maior procura. No entanto, a acessibilidade dos bens e serviços turísticos para pessoas com mobilidade reduzida continua a ser precária, apesar de se assistir a uma mudança gradual e de se terem feito alguns esforços, não só a nível regulamentar, mas também pelo surgimento de algumas iniciativas que promovem o Turismo para Todos.. A realização deste Congresso de Turismo Acessível pretende reflectir sobre esta problemática, associando um conjunto de entidades que têm responsabilidade acrescida incluindo o mundo académico, representado pelo Curso de Turismo da Escola Superior de Educação de Coimbra, que constitui um factor primordial na mudança de atitudes e na formação de futuros técnicos de Turismo. Por outro lado, o conceito de Região Solidária, cujo promotor é a Dueceira, no âmbito do território abrangido pelo Programa LEADER+ELOZ de Entre Lousã e Zêzere, perspectiva um conjunto de acções tendo por base a definição de novas abordagens ao conceito de solidariedade, cidadania, participação activa e educação cívica das populações, quer seja a nível social, económico, ambiental ou patrimonial. Neste contexto, a associação de desenvolvimento Dueceira, ao apoiar a realização deste Congresso, avança num processo articulado de intervenção que perspectiva assumir o Turismo Adaptado enquanto factor de diferenciação e identidade territorial. Assim, a organização deste Congresso contempla objectivos de vária ordem que no seu conjunto, permitirão chamar a atenção para a importância da remoção de barreiras e do desenvolvimento de actividades turísticas acessíveis, de modo a contribuir para o desenvolvimento de um Turismo para Todos. São objectivos específicos deste evento:

* Promover o debate sobre as questões subjacentes ao desenvolvimento de um turismo para todos
* Informar os diferentes actores para as necessidades específicas das pessoas com mobilidade reduzida
* Discutir o papel dos diferentes actores na promoção de um turismo livre de barreiras
* Reflectir sobre os desafios e oportunidades económicas que se colocam à indústria turística neste domínio.
* Apresentar casos de boas práticas

Reflectir como tornar a região competitiva de um ponto de vista social e económico, diferenciando-a enquanto alavanca de um processo de transformação de mentalidades e de realidades físicas assume-se como o macro-objectivo inerente a esta proposta de Congresso. Pretendemos deste modo, alargar o âmbito do Programa Região Solidária, assumindo este conceito como mote de todas as intervenções futuras.
De realçar ainda, que no decorrer do Congresso, serão apresentados iniciativas e casos de boas práticas que se possam vir a assumir enquanto acções-piloto, a desenvolver nesta região e que poderão estimular iniciativas mais vastas a nível nacional. A criação de uma rota turística adaptada que envolva uma rede de agentes públicos e privados; a concepção de um selo de acessibilidade, entre outras possíveis intervenções, podem constituir-se exemplos de acções que se integrem no projecto Região Solidária.

Posted by rollingrains at 12:41 AM

June 25, 2007

Resources for Training Travel Industry Professionals in Inclusion

Sincere apologies are followed by acts of reconcilliation. Effective reconcilliation requires accurate knowledge of the aggrieved party.

To facilitate the effectiveness of Air Sahara's public apology the following list of training resources is offered. To delive them I recommend my capable Indian colleagues:

EuForMe Project
http://www.euforme.net/

EuForme Document Links
http://www.euforme.net/documents

Diada
http://apintech.com/diada/

Diada Documents
http://apintech.com/diada/public.html

Diada Portal (Accessible Tourism Learning Hub)
http://accessibletourism.learnhub.net/

Posted by rollingrains at 01:52 AM

June 23, 2007

Heather Holman's Hotels of the Rich and Famous

Heather Holman wrote from Hotels of the Rich and Famous. She point out several hotels that she features who have paid attention to Universal Design. (Although there is nothing to indicate that fact on her site yet.)

Gr8! Now we can all get in -- let's work on becoming rich and famous!

Arizona Biltmore Resort and Spa
http://www.hotelsoftherichandfamous.com/hotels/arizona-biltmore-resort-and-spa/arizona-biltmore-resort-and-spa.cfm

Grand Floridian Resort and Spa
http://www.hotelsoftherichandfamous.com/hotels/grand-floridian-resort-and-spa/grand-floridian-resort-and-spa.cfm

The College Hotel
http://www.hotelsoftherichandfamous.com/hotels/the-college-hotel/the-college-hotel.cfm

The Clarence
http://www.hotelsoftherichandfamous.com/hotels/the-clarence/the-clarence.cfm

The Homestead
http://www.hotelsoftherichandfamous.com/hotels/the-homestead/the-homestead.cfm

the homestead

Posted by rollingrains at 07:37 PM

June 21, 2007

Arona en Tenerife

arona

Posted by rollingrains at 03:51 AM

June 20, 2007

Post-Katrina: US Access Board to Name Advisory Panel on Emergency Transportable Housing

The Access Board will determine guidelines on emergency housing in the wake of disasters such as Katrina.

The only real question: Will all FEMA-funded manufactured housing units be Visitable?

Board to Name Advisory Panel on Emergency Transportable Housing

The devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina exposed a number of shortcomings in the government’s ability to respond to large-scale disasters, among them access to emergency housing. Working with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), and other agencies, the Board has examined the accessibility of trailers procured by the government to house those displaced by natural disasters. Access issues and constraints have been identified and explored in consultation with these agencies as well as disability groups and manufacturers.

The Board has determined the need to supplement its facility guidelines to tailor and clarify coverage of emergency transportable housing and plans to organize an advisory committee to assist in this effort. To ensure a balanced cross-section of interests, the committee will include representation from disability groups (including the Coalition for Citizens with Disabilities, the National Council on Independent Living, and the United Spinal Association), industry and code groups (such as the Recreation Park Trailer Industry Association, the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association, the Manufactured Housing Institute, and the National Fire Protection Association), and government agencies (among them FEMA, HUD, and the Department of Justice). The Board will soon publish a notice on the formation of this committee and its proposed membership which will be posted on the Board’s website. For more information, contact Marsha Mazz at mazz@access-board.gov, (202) 272-0020 (v), or (202) 272-0081 (TTY).

Posted by rollingrains at 01:41 AM

June 17, 2007

The Devil Wears Prada -- and Drives an Amigo?

We could have a lot of fun with this if I could find a satisfacory comment system plug-in for the Rolling Rains Report! This article, received through the generosity of reader Scott Seale, ought to provoke some thought. Let me lead in by reiterating my refrain that conflicts over scarce resources -- scarcity itself as a "fact" of life for people with disabilities -- is primarily a policy decision. It is the decision not to implement Universal Design.

Michelle Bailey, a 22 year old TAB is handicapped by her four inch heels. Solution? She rents a mobility aid:

Michelle Bailey, a 22-year-old Texan, takes a break in Las Vegas on her scooter. She says four-inch heels are why she uses it.

In increasing numbers, Las Vegas tourists exhausted by the four miles of gluttony laid out before them are getting around on electric mobility scooters.

These aren't trendy Vespa motorbikes. They are more like updated wheelchairs.

Forking over about $40 a day, healthy tourists are cruising around Las Vegas casinos in transportation intended for the infirm (sic).

Tom Flynn, meeting the demands placed on his business, Universal Mobility, looks for guidance in the vapidity of the Medical Model of Disability (with its built-in method of limiting access and enforcing scarcity - prescriptions):

"You can't really discriminate against anybody," said Tom Flynn, owner of Universal Mobility. "We don't require a prescription or an explanation of why they need it."

But how does all this impact the disability community? The elimination of stigmatization of disability and, by extension, adaptive equipment, is a good thing, right? It is something we have worked at tirelessly for decades.

So what to make of those who are not inculturated into disability values but appear to be disabled and generate ill-will toward our community. For example:

"It was all the walking," 27-year-old Simon Lezama said on his red Merits Pioneer 3. Mr. Lezama, a fit-looking restaurant manager from Odessa rented it on day three of his five-day vacation, "and now I can drink and drive, be responsible and save my feet."

And, once again, as in the current situation with the Service Employees Union Internationa (SEIU)l, it is the lowest-paid, customer service staff who bear the brunt of the failure of leadership to adopt Universal Design:

"Several hotel bell desk workers, who handle most rental requests from tourists, said they try to discourage people who do not appear to need the scooters. But refusing the self-indulgent is not a viable option."

Watch for this story to permute and repeat itself around the world wherever Inclusive Destination Development is not adopted and as Boomers age into "the travel years."

Source:
http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcontent/dws/fea/travel/unitedstates/stories/DN-vegaslazy_0610tra.ART.State.Edition1.4452a90.html

Posted by rollingrains at 11:37 PM

June 16, 2007

Media Informasi Yang Aksesibel: KetikaTuna Rungu Membaca Dunia (Indonesian)

For the complete post with photos see: Stories of Journeys

Mereka bisa melihat dengan jelas isi dunia, mereka bisa berjalan menjelajahi isi dunia, tapi apa yang mereka bisa ketahui tentang indahnya kicau burung, tangisan seorang aktris di layar televisi atau bunyi alarm tanda kebakaran?

Tuna rungu dalam deskripsi yang dikeluarkan oleh WHO adalah mereka yang kehilangan keseluruhan kemampuan untuk mendengar baik dari salah satu atau kedua telinganya. Data WHO tahun 2005 menunjukkan bahwa 278 juta penduduk dunia mengalamai kehilangan pendengaran di kedua telinganya dari tingkatan sedang hingga berat. Secara fisik, teman-teman dari tuna rungu memang tidak terlihat mengalamai hambatan, namun tanpa kita sadari kelompok ini termasuk yang sangat sulit mengakses lingkungannya. Karakter mereka yang -pada umumnya- juga mengalami kesulitan dalam berkomunikasi secara oral, dan bahkan pada banyak penderita tuna rungu sangat mempengaruhi kemampuan mereka memahami kalimat, menyebabkan mereka sulit untuk dapat beradaptasi dengan lingkungan yang -mau tidak mau harus kita sadari -dibangun sebagai lingkungan dengan budaya lisan.

Dari karakter tuna rungu tersebut, kita dapat memahami bahwa apa yang hingga ini sulit mereka dapatkan adalah akses terhadap informasi. Pertanyaannya kemudian adalah apa yang dapat kita lakukan untuk merubah kondisi tersebut menjadi lebih baik? Beberapa contoh dalam berbagai bidang berikut ini barangkali dapat menjadi sebuah wawasan maupun pemicu kreatifitas dalam menciptakan aksesibilitas informasi untuk semua tanpa terkecuali bagi tuna rungu.

English abstract:

http://myrhythm.wordpress.com/2007/06/15/towards-accessible-tourism-through-creating-accesible-signage/

Complete Indonesian posting:

http://myrhythm.wordpress.com/2007/06/08/media-informasi-yang-aksesibelketika-tuna-rungu-membaca-dunia/

Posted by rollingrains at 06:23 PM

June 15, 2007

Greetings from Accessible Tempe!

Access Tempe Logo

From Nancy Black at the Tempe Convention & Visitors Bureau:

Greetings from Accessible Tempe!

I have exciting news! Our Access Tempe Guide is available on line and it is accessible to those who use screen readers. Now information about Tempe’s accessible features and services is just a click away. You may view the Access Tempe Guide by following this link: http://tempecvb.com/Access.asp.

For more information contact:

Nancy Black
Tourism Development Manager
Tempe Convention & Visitors Bureau
51 W. Third Street, Suite 105
Tempe, AZ 85281

nancy@tempecvb.com

480-894-8158/800-283-6734
www.tempecvb.com

Posted by rollingrains at 03:09 AM

June 14, 2007

Educational Travel: Accessible Hostel at Indraprastha College for Women

This news note on the internationalization of Universal Design best practices in higher education is courtesy of of Disabiity News India (DNI):

New Delhi: The Indraprastha College for Women is all set to have a new hostel from next academic year. The new hostel will be disabled–friendly and equipped with amphitheatre, bank and a studio for mass communication.

Indraprastha College Prayer


''We want to make our girls comfortable in the hostel and give them the comfort of home. Moreover, we want to make this complex a small students activity centre where they can spend evenings after the classes,'' said Manasvini M Yogi, media co–ordinator of the college. The new hostel will have 140 rooms with 200 seats and will have s special accommodation facility for the guests of residents. ''Being associated with a large number of foreign universities, international students and faculty members keep visiting us. The new hostel will also have rooms for these guests,''

said Yogi.

The amphitheatre will have a big stage performances. It will also have seating arrangements. ''This will give enough space to our students to showcase their creative skills and practice a variety of co–curricular activities. We will also have a bank facility in the complex,'' said Yogi. Meanwhile, the college has built ramps all over the premises to facilitate movement of the physically disabled students from class rooms to library to canteen. They have recently developed a section of dictionaries and books in Braille for the visually impaired .

Source:
Times of India via DNI

Posted by rollingrains at 04:10 PM

June 11, 2007

Hamilton Ontario Works to Make Parks Inclusive

"Hamilton recently adopted a barrier-free design policy that will be used when the city constructs facilities," reports Kevin Werner in a June 8 article in Mountain News. It sounds as if the community has rallied to make itself inviting to Visitors as well as the Home Team:

Before last weekend there was no park within the borders of the city of Hamilton that was accessible to the developmentally challenged.

"When I found that out, it was a shock," said Ward 7 councillor Scott Duvall, shaking his head.

The first term councillor earlier this year was confronted with that stark reality when desperate representatives of the non-profit organization Hamilton Challenger Baseball Association asked for help in seeking a park to allow their developmentally challenged members play baseball.

Full story:
http://www.hamiltonmountainnews.com/hmn/news/news_806944.html

Thanks to Aqeel Qureshi for submitting this sory.

Posted by rollingrains at 12:32 PM

June 10, 2007

Allahabad Museum Moves Toward Accessibility

GALLERIES OF the Allahabad Museum, specifically the ones on the upper floor, will now be made accessible to the senior citizens as well as physically disabled people.

The task will be accomplished with the help of construction of a lift in the museum building, the proposal for which is awaiting the approval of the Allahabad High Court.

According to the chairman of the museum Prof RK Verma, the renovation of the museum building will definitely attract more visitors to the spot and thus it is extremely necessary to add a lift to the museum so that the senior citizens and physically disabled people are not devoid of the opportunity to visit the galleries of the first floor. However, the sources have disagreed to the new project and describe it is as waste of money.

Source: Disability News India
http://www.disabilityindia.com/html/newsmay.html#Museum

Originally published by by Bilal Zuberi at http://pakistaniat.com/2007/02/27/pakistan-internet-cafe-computer-software-for-the-blind-disabled/

Posted by rollingrains at 03:03 AM

June 03, 2007

Le premier Territoire rural de tourisme adapté (French)

Rhône-Alpes_map

Resources are available for developing inclusive Tourism in the Communauté d'agglomération Pays Voironnais region of the Rhone-Alps. For the article in French see here.

Resources:

Service Tourisme Pays Voironnais
http://paysvoironnais.info/OT/


Paysvoironnais.com
http://www.paysvoironnais.eu/

Wikipedia
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Communaut%C3%A9_d'agglom%C3%A9ration_Pays_Voironnais

Posted by rollingrains at 07:39 PM

May 29, 2007

India Leading the Way on Accessibility to World Heritage Sites?

It would certainly be a precedent-setting development if India were to successfully follow through on the proposal of the Archeological Survey of India (ASI) proposal below brought to our attention today by C. Mahesh. Success will be defined as third-party verification that they have designed solutions retaining the historical integrity of the sites through application of the seven principles of Universal Design - not a minimalist commitment to simply not violating building accessibility codes.

We look forward to photos from Mahesh:


ASI plans more ramps at monuments
27 May, 2007 ISTlTIMES NEWS NETWORK

NEW DELHI: In a bid to make Capital's heritage more disabled-friendly, the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) has started implementation of a plan to build more ramps and wheelchair space for visitors with disabilities.

The plan - which has already started off at the Qutab Minar complex and nearing completion - will soon follow at other monuments too.

Archaeological Survey of India director-general C Babu Rajeev said: "We have already started working on implementing our plan to make the Qutab complex more accessible for disabled visitors. After this, we will follow up on other ticketed monuments also."

The planks used at the Qutab complex are based on a list of recommendations made by Non Government Organisation, Svayam.

These planks will be made of wood and not steel as was considered earlier.

"We decided not to go with planks made of steel as those would get very hot in the summer and would also prove slippery for visitors on a wheelchair,"said an Archaeological Survey of India official.

NGO Svayam - an initiative of Sminu Jindal Charitable Trust - has also made recommendations like making more space between metallic rails to maintain queues, construct instructional signages to international standards and in Braille, chisel the uneven edges of the stone flooring to increase mobility of visitors on a wheelchair etc.

Some monuments like Purana Qila already have facilities to help disabled visitors. Humayun's Tomb, which is also partially friendly for the disabled, is also on the ASI's list to be upgraded in the coming weeks.

Source:
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Cities/ASI_plans_more_ramps_at_monuments/rssarticleshow/2076959.cms

Readings on Indian heritage preservation legislation:
http://asi.nic.in/asi_legislations.asp

Posted by rollingrains at 04:31 PM

May 28, 2007

Sydney Film Festival Models Inclusion

sydneyfilmfestivallogo


Universal Design includes places and products but it also encompasses policies and services. Sandra Vassallo, editor of e-bility.com highlights this example of inclusion in the latest News Udate:

Sydney Film Festival in partnership with Accessible Arts have revealed an enticing and moving Accessible Cinema program as part of the upcoming festival next month.

The Accessible Cinema festival program has two goals. The first is providing access and making films more accessible for people with a disability. This includes initiatives such as hearing loops, Auslan interpretations, wheelchair access, audio descriptions and closed captioning. In addition, the Festival wanted to take it one step further and offer a strand in the program that screened films made by or about people with disability.

Working with Accessible Arts, Sydney Film Festival is thrilled to be screening a powerful program of films about people with disability, for all film-goers.

Highlights include:

* Autism Every Day: moving film about the life of eight families with children who have Autism
* Blindsight: the awe-inspiring journey of blind Tibetan teens who climb Mount Everest. Hear and Now: winner of the 2007 Sundance Film Festival Audience Award for Documentary, follows a couple's decision to undergo cochlear implant surgery after 65 years. Their journey is documented by their filmmaker daughter
* Braindamajd'd … Take II: follows filmmaker Paul Nadler's amazing take on Traumatic Brain Injury

For the entire article see http://www.e-bility.com/disability-news/accessible-cinema.php

Posted by rollingrains at 09:59 PM

May 16, 2007

Mainstream African Travel Conference Promotes Accessible Travel

Inclusive Destination development is one of the topic in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia at the 32nd congress of the African Travel Association.

The five-day program addresses topics such as "Emerging Growth Markets for Africa Tourism Entrepreneurs," which explores new travel marketing opportunities for education, volunteer and student travel, the Asia market, cultural and faith-based tourism, African Diaspora travel, and accessible travel.

Source:
http://allafrica.com/stories/200705090246.html

Posted by rollingrains at 02:59 AM

May 15, 2007

IKEA Models Universal Design in Singapore

IKEA thinks that Universal Design reflects family values - and drives sales. The Building & Construction Authority, Singapore Institute of Architects, and the Handicaps Welfare Association agree.


Going beyond barrier-free access to be more inclusive and pro-family – that is what Swedish furniture giant IKEA has done at its Tampines outlet.

And this has helped it clinch top honours at the first-ever Building & Construction Authority (BCA) Universal Design Awards for the Built Environment in Singapore.

The authorities say going beyond barrier-free access to be more inclusive benefits not only the consumer.

"The wider cross section of the population would be able to visit the buildings. That, in turn, would bring about higher turnover, in terms of sales and services ... provided by the building owner and the tenants within the building," says Wong Wai Ching, Director, BCA.

Congratulations to a forward-thinking retailer for winning this first annual award. Bring this design with you arond the world!

Source:

http://www.channelnewsasia.com/stories/singaporelocalnews/view/274993/1/.html

Posted by rollingrains at 12:49 PM

May 10, 2007

GOJO - Get on the Bus!

GOJO

Get out and use public transit!

That's the message of the GOJO Campaign run by the UK's Disability Rights Commission (DRC),

At the centre of the campaign is the GOJO website - at www.mygojo.co.uk - which will provide practical tips to increase young people's confidence travelling on public transport and information on special leisure deals and how to travel there. The site will also include information on rights and how to make a complaint if young disabled people feel they may have been discriminated against under the DDA.

To drive young people to the site, comedians from Abnormally Funny People are performing 'stand up' comedy gigs on buses in five cities across the country with clips from the films posted on the internet.

In an effort to reach young people, the DRC is promoting the campaign online including postings on social networking websites and the production of downloadable website content including viral video clips.

Young people, their friends and families are being encouraged to take trips on public transport from now until the longest weekend in June - from the Summer Solstice on Thursday June 21, to Sunday June 24. Figures show that in the 5 cities where the campaign is being launched (Newcastle, Sheffield, Nottingham, Manchester and Exeter) there are over 32,000 young disabled people aged 16-25 years old. They are being encouraged to consider the benefits of public transport and feed back their experiences on the GOJO website.

Sir Bert Massie Chairman of the DRC said:

"GOJO is all about supporting young people who may think public transport isn't for them.

"The improvements which have made it easier to use buses and trains, should make it easier for young people to be independent and in control.

Posted by rollingrains at 02:50 AM

May 07, 2007

Global Access Travel E-zine: Accessible Paris Database Updated

The April 2007 issue of Global Access Travel E-zine is out with announcement of updates to the already impressive work of travelers Howard and Michele Chabner on Paris. From this issue:

Howard and Michele Chabner, who have made several visits to the “City of Lights” over the years, have thoughtfully (and generously) taken the time to organize their extensive accommodation research into a clear, concise Paris Hotel Survey. Their efforts provide readers with the type of hotel access data that is so often challenging to find.. Whether you’re planning your first trip to Paris or tenth, you’re sure to find that their research will help pave a smoother path for you in Paris. Discover a hotel that suits your needs at http://www.globalaccessnews.com/parishotelsurvey07.htm

http://www.globalaccessnews.com/parishotelsurvey07.htm

For more see:

http://www.globalaccessnews.com/

Global Access News welcomes travel reports, tips and comments at clearpath@cox.net

Posted by rollingrains at 04:55 PM

May 05, 2007

Releasing Pent Up Demand for Travel Products

ravello overlook


Those who followed my travelogue through Italy last Spring and have a sense of where Ravenna sits (high on a precipice above Furore, Positano, and the Amalfi Coast) will scratch their heads over this one at first - purely for the geographic puzzle.

We assume that Neatech is not really claiming that their all-terrain wheelchair, Joy on the Beach (JOB), is the luge of choice for 1,200 people up in the plaza in Ravenna dropping a couple hundred meters to the Mediterranean below. Remember that whole towns in that region have summer and winter sites and then read on.

What I find extraordinary in the following press release are the numbers and what they demonstrate about pent up demand for Inclusive Tourism:

A similar response was experienced by the international tour operator Ventaglio, when it introduced 80 jobs--branded with the company name and logo on the back--into 15 of its resorts. According to Monica Corbellini, director of accessible travel programs for Ventalio, bookings of disabled vacationers increased by 13,000 in the resorts utilizing JOB.

Can we get this message to hoteliers in Beijing? There is a market out there for tourists with disabilities -- and we're coming for the Olympics!!

Wilmington, DE (PRWEB) May 3, 2007 -- Neatech, the Italian manufacturer of wheelchairs and vehicles for disabled travelers, announced today that it has introduced its top-selling beach-pool-snow chair, JOB (Joy On the Beach), into the American market.

"JOB, with its light-weight design and rugged, over-sized wheels, is the all-terrain vehicle for the disabled," says marketing director, Joseph Grosso. "It rolls across sand, can be used as a beach lounge chair, can be pushed into open the water for easy swimming access and can be used to easily lower and lift disabled individuals from pools. During the winter it becomes the perfect snow vehicle."

JOB, with its light-weight design and rugged, over-sized wheels, is the all-terrain vehicle for the disabled
In fact, because of the vehicle's ability to function in snow, water, and sand, the JOB is currently being adapted for the 2008 Sahara Marathon, where athletes will push a disabled team member along the sandy course.

During the past five years the JOB has been introduced throughout European beaches and resorts with incredible success. The Italian city of Ravenna, for example, provided 50 chairs to the beaches along their Mediterranean coast. City spokeswoman, Lisa Dradi, says that "during the first month of use, 1200 citizens and tourist used the beach chair to access the sea and relaxation on the beach."

A similar response was experienced by the international tour operator Ventaglio, when it introduced 80 jobs--branded with the company name and logo on the back--into 15 of its resorts. According to Monica Corbellini, director of accessible travel programs for Ventalio, bookings of disabled vacationers increased by 13,000 in the resorts utilizing JOB.

For more information, visit the Neatech website at www.neacare.com or email msedge @ thesedgegroup.com.

Posted by rollingrains at 01:23 AM

April 18, 2007

Malcolm Noden Speaks Out

Malcolm A. Noden is a retired faculty member from the School of Hotel Administration at Cornell University.

With a well-deserved tip of his hat to Candy Harrington's Emerging Horizons magazine he writes:

What does all of this mean for our community? First, we should be very grateful to those who have reviewed and facilitated general accessibility for our community and visitors alike. We should also congratulate those who were responsible for the creation and maintenance of the beach access easements that are located at frequent intervals along the oceanfront roads on the island. Many other oceanside communities are struggling with trying to arrange such access, and in many cases, even when they succeed with limited access, it is not handicapped accessible.
Second, we all need to be careful about our assumptions. Simply because someone "looks OK" does not mean that they may not have some form of unobservable disability. Certainly anyone in the business that caters to the general public needs to review the accessibility conditions of their establishment with an eye towards both ADA compliance and general customer convenience and comfort. It is also important to review with, and train employees to be observant about, any existing facility conditions that might contribute to, or precipitate an emergency.

Finally, the optimal position is for the local Tourist Development Council to ensure that we are well represented in the various media forums where the handicapped can learn of the many additional attractions that are available in our community. Such an outreach program lies well within the scope of their responsibility, and given their sizable, bed-tax funded annual budget, we should surely expect that they pay close attention to this very lucrative market segment.

Source:
http://www.fbnewsleader.com/articles/2007/04/12/opinion/00aeditnoden.txt

Posted by rollingrains at 11:51 PM

April 07, 2007

Wheelchair Accessible Taxis in Western Australia

Intermodal transportation integration. Look up the phrase. You are going to be hearing more about it as airport access feeds into airplane access driving demand for hand-controlled auto rentals, wheelchair accessible hotel courtesy vans, seamless accessible public transit from airport to train, ferry, or bus stations.

In other words, "intermodal transportation integration" is related to what wheelchair users are familiar with at the personal level as "paths of travel." The difference is one of scale -- and social responsibiliy. With ratification of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Disabled you will see gaps in these paths of travel intentionally and sytematically targetted as unacceptable.

And that's a boon to travelers!

So is this development in Western Australia - the corner of the world that brought us the concept "Guestability":

An $8 million, four-year State Government funding package will encourage more wheelchair accessible taxis and better services for customers with disabilities.

Planning and Infrastructure Minister Alannah MacTiernan said the Government was committed to improving access to taxi services for people with disabilities.

"While many of the 115,000 wheelchair taxi jobs each year are booked directly with a driver, response times for calls to dispatch services need to be improved," Ms MacTiernan said.

"We want at least 85 per cent of bookings for MPTs to be serviced within five minutes of the booked time: currently less than 60 per cent of jobs meet this standard.

"We would also like to see 90 per cent of ASAP jobs serviced within 20 minutes, compared with about 50 per cent currently.

"To achieve this, we will need to attract more operators and drivers to provide this important service."

The Minister said the package, to commence April 1 this year, would reduce costs for MPT operators and drivers, with initiatives including:

* doubling from $5 to $10 the lifting-fee subsidy to MPT operators for Taxi User Subsidy Scheme wheelchair jobs allocated by taxi dispatch services;
* a 40 per cent increase to $7 for Taxi User Subsidy Scheme wheelchair jobs under private arrangements;
* increasing the existing Vehicle Modification Grant from $8,500 to $15,000 to help meet the cost of modifying a vehicle to be wheelchair accessible;
* offering a new $700 Vehicle Equipment Grant to pay for installation of an additional taxi meter which could be read by passengers in wheelchairs;
* introducing a six-month, 50 per cent discount lease period for new entrants (worth $1,300 per lease);
* continuing the existing Cadetship Scheme, which provides new MPT drivers with up to $1,500 for training and other industry entry costs; and
* establishing a mentoring program to offer support from experienced MPT operators to new entrants.

"This is a decision for the future," Ms MacTiernan said.

"The incentives will attract new entrants and encourage operators and drivers to provide better service for people in wheelchairs.

"MPT lease plates at $100 per week are already heavily discounted, compared with the $250 per week charged for conventional taxi lease plates. "In return for these incentives, we expect MPT operators to honour lease plate conditions, such as giving priority to passengers travelling in wheelchairs and completing 60 wheelchair jobs per month.

"Many dedicated MPT operators easily exceed their monthly quota, but if all operators met their obligations, disabled passengers would rarely experience unreasonable waiting times.

"We will now also expect Perth's two taxi dispatch services to direct MPT drivers to service wheelchair jobs and will change their licence conditions to reflect this obligation."

The Minister said the incentive package funding would be sourced from taxi plate lease fees.

Taxi lease plate operators whose applications had been received after January 1 would be offered the increased vehicle modification grant retrospectively.

The State Government currently contributes more than $6 million a year in taxi travel subsidies for Western Australians with disabilities.

Source:
http://www.wabusinessnews.com.au/en-story/1/50531/MacTiernan-allocates-8-million-for-wheelchair-accessible-taxis

Posted by rollingrains at 09:48 PM

April 03, 2007

Age-Friendly Cities

The United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities speaks to a subset of the aing population. Disability increases with age.

So the World Health Organization's Age-Friendly Cites Project has a natural ally in the bloc of countries that have endorsed the UNCRPD. I will be reporting more on the Age Friendly Cities Project after hearing Dr. Alexandre Kalache's presentation on it at the Active Aging Conference in Korea next month. As cities design consciouslly for seniors they become more accessible to all -- and that's good for tourism:

The Age-Friendly Cities Project has two main objectives:

For WHO: to identify concrete indicators of an age-friendly city and produce a practical guide to stimulate and guide advocacy, community development and policy change to make urban communities age-friendly.

For participating cities: to increase awareness of local needs, gaps and good ideas for improvement in order to stimulate development of more age-friendly urban settings.

1.2 Core definitions and parameters

The project rests on the premise that an age-friendly city promotes active ageing.

Active ageing is "the process of optimizing opportunities for optimizing opportunities for health, participation and security in order to enhance quality of life as people age" (Active Ageing: A Policy Framework, WHO, 2002).

An age-friendly city:

recognizes the great diversity among older persons
promotes their inclusion and contribution in all areas of community life
respects their decisions and lifestyle choices, and
anticipates and responds flexibly to aging-related needs and preferences.

In an age-friendly community, there is a culture of inclusion shared by persons of all ages and ability levels.
Policies, services and structures related to the physical and social environment are designed to support and enable older people to "age actively", that is, to live in security, enjoy good health and continue to participate fully in society.

Focus on Cities

Cities are the hub of human activity and progress. In the developed world, three-quarters of older persons live in cities already. In developing countries, the convergence of rapid demographic ageing and rapid urbanization makes it critical to design cities to support and enable the massive increase of older residents.

Making cities age-friendly is one of the most effective policy approaches for responding to demographic ageing. Major urban centres have the human, economic and social resources to make innovative age-friendly changes. Cities also are poles of attraction and trend-setters for their countries, and sometimes for the world.

Focus on Specific Neighbourhoods or Districts within Cities

Within larger urban agglomerations, residents typically live, contribute, socialize, play, and obtain goods and services in smaller and often very distinct neighbourhoods or districts which are commonly known, if not administratively defined. The project will be take place in a clearly identified neighbourhood or district within large cities: for example, the project in Rio de Janeiro will be undertaken in Copacabana.

Projects in smaller cities and towns may encompass the whole community if this is more appropriate.

The reports to WHO from Project Leaders will include a description of the urban district or neighbourhood where the project is undertaken. (see Focus Group Methodology)

Posted by rollingrains at 12:45 PM

April 01, 2007

Inclusive Travel Takes Root in Turkey

Several years ago word came my way about widespread interest in Universal Design in Turkey to accommodate tourism and retirees from around Europe. Then there was a long hiatus of silence until this article in Today's Zaman:


Turkey targets disabled tourists, despite barriers

Tourism is already a vital part of the Turkish economy, and now Turkey wants to increase its share in revenue from disabled tourists, opening Turkish tourism to a global market worth 80 billion euros.

While the Ministry of Culture and Tourism is asking tourist sites to better organize their facilities to accommodate disabled visitors, a booklet titled "Barrier Free İstanbul for All" has been prepared in English and Turkish with the assistance of the Turkish Association of Travel Agents (TURSAB).

Published with the support of the İstanbul Governorship, the booklet gives information about İstanbul's transportation, museums, towers, palaces, bazaars, mosques, churches, squares, cultural centers, sport organizations and shopping centers, as well as some of its hotels and restaurants, from the perspective of facilities catering for the disabled, from wheelchair users to the visually or hearing impaired.

However, as the booklet itself admits, it remains difficult to be a disabled tourist in İstanbul.

Having set up a special Barrier Free Tourism for All committee, TURSAB is participating in international fairs and workshops organized for disabled persons, at which it distributed copies of the "Barrier Free İstanbul for All" booklet. TURSAB Chairman Başaran Ulusoy pointed out in a statement from the union, "These efforts to open up Turkish tourism for disabled persons will not only reach a huge market, but will also fulfill Turkey's social responsibility toward disabled persons."

The Ministry of Culture and Tourism and the Interior Ministry sent out warning notices in January drawing attention to recent legislation ruling that all facilities, sidewalks and social and cultural infrastructure must comply with the needs of the disabled persons within seven years.

In Europe alone there are 46 million disabled persons, a figure that reaches 130 billion if pregnant women, because of their condition's impairment of their mobility, and senior citizens are included. According to data provided by TURSAB, 70 percent of this population usually travels with one or two companions, a practice which increases the number of potential tourists.

The barriers of İstanbul

But as "Barrier Free İstanbul for All" points out, there are a multitude of problems facing disabled persons in İstanbul. The booklet evaluates places according to criteria like whether or they are suitable for unaccompanied or accompanied wheelchair users, the hearing impaired, the visually impaired or the elderly.

According to these classifications, while airline transportation has 100 percent compatibility for easy use and access by disabled persons, major bus stations have some shortcomings, like a lack of written signs for the hearing impaired. As for the railways, the booklet underlines that although traveling by rail is comfortable and offers discounts for the disabled or elderly, there might be problems boarding and disembarking trains.

The booklet states that the most suitable museums for disabled visitors are the Rahmi Koç Industry Museum, İstanbul Modern Art Museum and Pera Museum, which are fully accessible by wheelchair users and even have the Braille alphabet in use in their elevators. The booklet strongly advises against disabled tourists visiting the Yerebatan Cistern. Nor are İstanbul's palaces well suited for the disabled; Topkapı and Dolmabahçe have limited accessibility and facilities, while a visit to Beylerbeyi Palace is ruled out by the booklet's advisors. Because of the stairs, the Blue Mosque cannot accommodate those in wheelchairs, even with a companion. A similar problem is true of some of İstanbul's bazaars, though there is limited access.

29.03.2007
AYŞE KARABAT ANKARA

Posted by rollingrains at 05:30 AM

March 30, 2007

Braztoa, Marta Suplicy, Aventura Especial e Turismo Inclusivo


BRAZTOA

Ontem, na Braztoa,
a nova ministra
Marta Suplicy

MartaSuplicy


fez questão de receber a Dadá Moreira da Ong Aventura Especial, e anunciou á imprensa, que o ministério terá desde agora uma ênfase especial nos temas de acessibilidade no turismo.

Obrigado ao Mauro Brucoli, da Aventura Especial e Turismo para Todos, para as noticias.

Posted by rollingrains at 11:05 PM

March 28, 2007

Accessibility in Adirondack Park in New York State

Darcy Norfolk writes on accessibility at Adirondack Park:

The Adirondack Park in New York state is no longer inaccessible to the mobility impaired. With the John Dillon Park and a number of other state run campgrounds, the heart of the wilderness can now be experienced by everyone.

The John Dillon Park is cutting edge as far as wilderness parks are concerned. The park is the first wilderness area with facilities specifically designed to accommodate people with disabilities. The park provides disabled access and facilities for camping, fishing and enjoying nature along three miles of trails built to the standards of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Other innovations that the park displays are wheelchair accessible lean-tos and solar panels on the welcome center for power to charge electric wheelchair batteries. For information and images of these amenities, go to: http://www.johndillonpark.org/photos.htm.

There are additional campgrounds in the Adirondacks that have accessible camp sites. Camping sites have a smooth surface area, all with accessible tables; picnic tables have extended tops and seats at wheelchair level; showers have lowered heads, controls and grab bars.

The Adirondack region prides itself on bringing the wilderness and beauty to everyone. In addition to campgrounds, more and more attractions are becoming handicapped accessible, everything from the High Falls Gorge, three waterfalls plunging 700 ft., to the Garnet Mines, the world’s largest deposit of garnet.

The Adirondack Regional Tourism Council (ARTC) Web site can be found at www.adk.com. Additional information on “Opening the Outdoors to People with Disabilities” can be found at the following DEC Web site: http://www.dec.state.ny.us/.

Posted by rollingrains at 04:25 PM

March 27, 2007

Accessible Beach Project (Portuguese)

Rota Acessivel


Inclusive Destination Development includes beaches. For over 15 years Day on the Beach in Santa Cruz, California has been transforming the beach into an accessible maritime playground for a day.

For those who can read the Portuguese, or just want to enjoy ("curtir") the photos, take a look at Rota Acessivel:

http://www.jornalcirculando.com.br/rotaacessivel/

Posted by rollingrains at 05:23 AM

March 19, 2007

Green Universal Design -- The Core of Inclusive Destination Development

The seed is here at Adaptive Environments:

Universal Design is also called Inclusive Design, Design-for-All and Lifespan Design. It is not a design style but an orientation to any design process that starts with a responsibility to the experience of the user. It has a parallel in the green design movement that also offers a framework for design problem solving based on the core value of environmental responsibility. Universal Design and green design are comfortably two sides of the same coin but at different evolutionary stages. Green design focuses on environmental sustainability, Universal Design on social sustainability.

Two expressions, growing out of Designing for the 21st Century in Rio de Janeiro, are the documents, The Rio Charter on Universal Design for Sustainable and Inclusive Development and 2004 Rio Declaration on Sustainable Social Development, Disability & Ageing.

Now it appears that the American public might almost be ready to hear the message. Living on Earth interviewed Professor Daniel Esty, director of the Yale Center for Environmental Law and Policy. A study undertaken by his center finds that, "A new survey shows that 63 percent of Americans are as concerned about climate change as they are about terrorism."

Some resources on the topic here at Rolling Rains:

The Rio Charter on Universal Design for Sustainable and Inclusive Development
http://www.rollingrains.com/archives/000313.html

2004 Rio Declaration on Sustainable Social Development, Disability & Ageing
http://www.rollingrains.com/archives/000285.html


A Major Endorsement of Visitability in US Housing
http://www.rollingrains.com/archives/001457.html


A Major Endorsement of Universal Design in US Housing
http://www.rollingrains.com/archives/001456.html


A Barrier-Free Resort: Inclusive Design at Work in the Virgin Islands
http://www.rollingrains.com/archives/001517.html

The Universal Design "Twofer"
http://www.rollingrains.com/archives/001380.html


What is Sustainable in Destination Development?
http://www.rollingrains.com/archives/000654.html


Reflections on Universal Design & Justice

http://www.rollingrains.com/archives/000769.html

International Best Practices in Universal Design: A Global Review
http://www.rollingrains.com/archives/001511.html

Posted by rollingrains at 01:06 PM

March 14, 2007

Accessibility in US National Parks: A Vision for 2016

The US National Park Service is taking input on park accessibility through April 2, 2007 here.

The National Park Service (NPS) is interested in knowing how to make its parks more accessible. Although most of us won't be able to attend the listening session hosted in San Francisco next week, we do have the ability to make our voices heard by submitting written comments to the NPS by April 22. This is a great opportunity to reflect on previous vacations and accompanying barriers you or a loved one may have encountered during your journeys and to offer thoughtful suggestions for greater accessibility to some of our country's most beautiful preserved spaces. ________________________________________________________________

National Parks -- Comments on Access Needed by April 22

* Have you ever visited a national park?
* Would you like to do so?
* Would you like to assure that the parks are accessible to you,
AND your great grandchildren?

Then take a few minutes to provide feedback to the NPS, so they
know how to make the parks more accessible to you...

The National Park Service will celebrate its' centennial in 2016,
and is initiating a nation-wide campaign to listen to the public
about the future of the parks. See http://www.nps.gov/2016/

It is imperative that persons with hearing, visual, cognitive, and
mobility disabilities express their concerns and ideas about
programmatic and physical access at National Park Service areas.

A session is scheduled in San Francisco, next Thursday, March 22,
2007.

5:30 PM - 7:30 PM
Presidio Officers Club
50 Moraga Avenue
San Francisco, California
305-242-7714

National Park Centennial Initiative Listening Session

Description: You can help to shape the future of America's
national parks! Please come to this listening session to share
your ideas.

Meeting Directions: For directions, please visit:
www.presidio.gov/event/rental/officersclub/

The agenda of the San Fransisco meeting has been set, and
apparently it will be the same format as used in all other
meetings:

The principal department representative will make some welcoming
remarks and then participants will be asked to circulate to
various
workstations where their comments and suggestions will be
recorded. Such a format eliminates the opportunity for individuals
to grandstand on their pet issues and is also less intimidating to
many individuals. Unfortunately, it is unlikely that the format
for the meetings will be announced in advance as it has been for
San Francisco. In other words, you may arrive with a two-minute
statement prepared only to find out that the format is
workstations.

Attendees will apparently be asked three questions:
1. Think of your children and grandchildren enjoying national
parks in 2016 and beyond. How do you imagine their visit? What
are your hopes and expectations?

2. What role do you think national parks should play in the lives
of Americans and visitors from around the world?

3. What are the signature projects and programs that you think
should be highlighted for completion over the next 10 years?

To comment on the National Park Centennial Initiative via the
Internet, use the form on the following web page.

http://parkplanning.nps.gov/commentForm.cfm?parkID=442&projectID=17892&documentId=18372

However, they must be received in Washington by April 22, 2007,
11:59 p.m.
--------

Source: California SILC,

Posted by rollingrains at 12:21 AM

March 13, 2007

The Inter-American Institute on Disability & Inclusive Development

Today, in Buenos Aires, a meeting culminates the paradigm-shifting work that Rosangela Berman-Bieler has quietly accomplished during the past four weeks of shuttle-diplomacy in Argentina, Brazil, and Uruguay. Watch for updates as Turismo para Todos reshapes tourism in the Southern Cone of South America. Parabems, Rosangela!

Here are some notes on Rosangela's organization, the Inter-American Institute on Disability and Inclusion (IID).

Some characteristics that differentiate the IID from other existing entities in the Region and demonstrate a real and concrete need for its existence are:

* network linking individuals and grassroots organizations, providing direct and indirect services to people with disabilities;

* access to governments, universities, technical area, public politics;

* IID will provide a bridge between the actual demands of the disabled community, knowledge and resources, public and private initiatives;

* Based in the production and dissemination of information: Latin culture normally does not exercise the habit to withhold information or even to document its experiences;

* Promotion of empowerment: e.g., the concept of citizenship in the countries is not yet developed due to historical and political reasons;

* Cultural approach: cultural sensitivity for project development and management;

* Establishment of micro-credit programs for people with disabilities in the region.

Slide Show:
http://siteresources.worldbank.org/DISABILITY/Resources/News---Events/463933-1163109717105/RBB_WCCD.pdf\

History of IID:
http://www.independentliving.org/docs6/berman-bieler.html


Posted by rollingrains at 06:18 PM

March 10, 2007

A Barrier-Free Resort: Inclusive Design at Work in the Virgin Islands

Multi: Design for People does excellent work. They are defining the field of sustainable Inclusive Destination Development.

Here's one more affirmation of that through their presentation posted at Slideshare.net


Posted by rollingrains at 09:51 PM

March 06, 2007

TurismoPara Todos en Peru: Despierta Tus Seis Sentidos

peru

Somebody did a great job developing the "Visit Peru" campaign. Combine the tagline "Despierta tus seis sentidos" ("Awaken your six senses") with a shot of Macchu Picchu and you have a compelling dream to sell.

Launch a Turismo Para Todos (Inclusive Tourism) campaign on top of it and you have something for Rolling Rains Report readers. For more click here (in Spanish.)

Posted by rollingrains at 02:30 AM

March 04, 2007

CasaDomo: El Portal del Hogar Digital

accessibility collage


Desde CasaDomo.com, Introducción Hogar Digital Accesible:

Las nuevas tecnologías asociados al hogar digital, como la domótica, la seguridad, las telecomunicaciones, los electrodomésticos inteligentes, el ocio y el entretenimiento digital, han mejorado la calidad de vida de todos en los últimos años. Pero el desarrollo tecnológico puede también suponer una amenaza para las personas discapacitadas, aumentando la distancia social y cultural entre las personas que pueden acceder (física-, intelectual- e económicamente) a dicha tecnología y las que no. Sin embargo, si este desarrollo se realice con criterios de accesibilidad y diseño universal, las nuevas tecnologías del hogar digital pueden ofrecer enormes oportunidades para personas con discapacidades tanto físicas como intelectuales.

Mas

Posted by rollingrains at 05:04 AM

March 02, 2007

Encuentro Internacional Sobre Accesibilidad: Guatemala

Antigua (Guatemala) acoge un encuentro internacional sobre Accesilidad y Ayudas Técnicas en urbanismo y edificación
guatemala_flag


La ciudad de Antigua fue sede durante cuatro días del 'Encuentro Internacional Sobre Accesibilidad y Ayudas Técnicas para Todos España-Guatemala' dirigido a los sectores del urbanismo y la edificación y que estuvo organizado por el Real Patronato sobre Discapacidad, junto a la Agencia Española de Cooperación Internacional (AECI), la Fundación ACS y el Consejo Nacional para la Atención de las Personas con Discapacidad (CONADI).

El curso estuvo destinado a expertos, arquitectos, ingenieros, responsables municipales, estudiantes de arquitectura y representantes de áreas gubernamentales en las cuales la accesibilidad es una prioridad y sus objetivos fueron varios.

Entre ellos se encontraba aportar conocimientos acerca de la accesibilidad desde la perspectiva del Diseño Universal, posibilitar el conocimiento técnico y estrategias de actuación sobre la accesibilidad y el diseño para todos en el urbanismo y difundir la evolución, últimos desarrollos y políticas en el ámbito del transporte, tanto público como privado.

Asimismo, trató de dar a conocer la panorámica general de las Ayudas Técnicas y de las Nuevas Tecnologías de la información y la comunicación, promover un foro de intercambio y debate sobre los programas, intervenciones y proyectos que se están desarrollando en los diversos países participantes del Encuentro, posibilitar el conocimiento y discusión de programas, aplicaciones y adelantos tecnológicos en el ámbito de la dependencia y de las personas mayores, y analizar las posibilidades de la cooperación técnica internacional en materia de accesibilidad.

Durante el Encuentro se habló en profundidad sobre la accesibilidad en la edificación, en las vías públicas, en el transporte, etc, y se trató el tema de la domótica y las nuevas tecnologías, insistiendo en la importancia de la formación.

Al acto de clausura acudió en Guatemala la secretaria de Estado de Asuntos Sociales, Familias y Discapacidad española, Amparo Valcarce, que destacó en su discurso la importancia que tiene que la recientemente aprobada Convención sobre los Derechos de las Personas con Discapacidad haga referencia en sus objetivos a la accesibilidad como 'algo fundamental para acabar con la discriminación que sufren estas personas en el acceso al empleo, la educación, la salud, la justicia, la cultura, el deporte, el ocio o cualquier otro ámbito'.

En este sentido, mencionó que las mejoras realizadas en accesibilidad benefician 'no sólo a las personas con discapacidad, sino a todas las persona', y destacó el esfuerzo del Gobierno español por realizar mejoras en este campo 'que sirvan para avanzar hacia la plena igualdad de oportunidades'.

Otros Recursos:
http://lanic.utexas.edu/la/region/disability/indexesp.html

Posted by rollingrains at 05:27 AM

February 26, 2007

Turismo Para Todos: Argentina, Brasil, Uruguay

The Instituto Interamericano sobre Deficiência e Desenvolvimento Inclusivo (IID) has taken leadership to initiate an Inclusive Tourism project. The project brings together as partner countries Brazil, Uruguay, and Argentina.

Rede de Turismo para Todos

Desenvolvimento Responsável, Sustentável e Inclusivo
em Destinos Turísticos


Apresentação

Este projeto foi elaborado pelo Instituto Interamericano sobre Deficiência e Desenvolvimento Inclusivo – IIDI e seus parceiros, para oferecer respostas à enorme demanda reprimida de turistas, especialmente dos EUA, Europa e Ásia, que buscam os cruzeiros marítimos por sua pretensa vantagem em relação às questões da acessibilidade.

Referimo-nos, principalmente, às pessoas aposentadas e de idade avançada, que possuem tempo, dinheiro e querem viajar, mas se encontram em situação de mobilidade reduzida, geralmente por limitações físicas, visuais e auditivas, entre outras. Esta população tem aumentado sua expectativa de vida, garantindo um mercado certo, crescente e a longo prazo.

O projeto se baseia no respeito à diversidade humana como meio para alcançar o desenvolvimento econômico e social, principalmente das populações locais excluídas e de baixa renda.


Visão

Aplicar os princípios de sustentabilidade e de inclusão social em destinos turísticos de forma integrada, visando à promoção de transformações infra-estruturais, socioeconômicas e culturais que elevem a qualidade de vida e o bem-estar daqueles que visitam ou residem.


Objetivo

Criar uma rede de destinos turísticos, estruturada com planos integrados de gestão ambiental, de acessibilidade e de atendimento inclusivo a turistas com distintos níveis de capacidade funcional, entre eles, pessoas idosas e pessoas com deficiência.

Objetivos Específicos

Aperfeiçoar os serviços oferecidos aos turistas;
Preservar o meio ambiente;
Valorizar a cultura local.
Minimizar a discriminação, o preconceito e a exclusão e promover a inclusão social;
Combater a pobreza e gerar maiores condições de distribuição de renda;
Sensibilizar a indústria do turismo, a população e aos gestores públicos para valores como a sustentabilidade ambiental, a inclusão social e o turismo responsável;
Conscientizar a população e os gestores públicos sobre os benefícios sociais e econômicos gerados por práticas de sustentabilidade ambiental, de inclusão e de turismo responsável;


Justificativa

Anualmente, os adultos norte-americanos com deficiências/mobilidade reduzida gastam, em média, USD$ 13.6 bilhões em turismo. Em 2002, estas pessoas fizeram 32 milhões de viagens e, desse montante, gastaram: USD $4.2 bilhões em hotéis; USD $3.3 bilhões em passagens aéreas; USD $2.7 bilhões em alimentos e bebidas; e USD $3.4 bilhões no comércio, no transporte e em outras atividades. Os mais populares destinos internacionais para este segmento turístico, por ordem de preferência, são: (1) Canadá; (2) México; (3) Europa; (4) Caribe.

De um total de 21 milhões de pessoas, 69% viajaram ao menos uma vez nos últimos 2 anos, incluindo: 3.9 milhões de viagens de negócio; 20 milhões de viagens de turismo; 4.4 milhões de viagens de negócios/turismo. Nos últimos 2 anos, de um total de 2 milhões de adultos com deficiências/mobilidade reduzida, 7% gastaram mais de USD$ 1.600 fora dos EUA continentais. Além disso, 20% viajaram ao menos 6 vezes a cada 2 anos.

Um estudo da Open Doors Organization estimou, em 2003, que pessoas com deficiências /mobilidade reduzida gastariam US$ 35 bilhões em restaurantes naquele ano. O mesmo estudo revelou que mais de 75% dessas pessoas freqüentam restaurantes pelo menos uma vez por semana. O Ministério de trabalho dos EUA informou que o grande e crescente mercado de norte-americanos com deficiências /mobilidade reduzida possui US$ 175 bilhões em poder de compra/consumo.

No Reino Unido, o Employers Forum on Disability estimou que houvesse 10 milhões de adultos com deficiências/mobilidade reduzida no Reino Unido, com um poder de compra anual de 80 bilhões de Libras Britânicas. No Canadá, a Conference Board do Canadá relatou que, em 2001, a renda descartável anual combinada de canadenses com deficiências/mobilidade reduzida, em idade economicamente ativa, era de CAN$25 bilhões.

Estes números tendem a multiplicarem-se pela demanda atualmente reprimida, se os destinos – ao contrário do que acontece hoje – passarem a oferecer acesso e ambientes inclusivos para todos. Vemos esse fato como uma grande oportunidade de fomentar o turismo internacional e nacional nos países da América do Sul, enquanto geramos possibilidades para a educação cidadã, a redução da pobreza e o desenvolvimento socioeconômico local.

No caso do Uruguai e da Argentina, temos acompanhado o desenvolvimento de iniciativas pontuais para a promoção do Turismo para Todos, principalmente levando em conta o grande potencial de desenvolvimento do turismo social no Cone Sul. Iniciativas nessa linha já seriam de grande utilidade e estímulo a milhares de novos viajantes.

Só no porto do Rio de Janeiro são cerca de 30 mil pessoas por ano que deixaram de descer pela falta de acesso. Se investirmos na acessibilidade dos portos, mercados, espaços culturais e infra-estrutura de transporte, hoteleira e restaurante, certamente atrairemos o setor de cruzeiros, que hoje não oferece nenhuma opção para os turistas com mobilidade reduzida. Estes poderão então passar a desembarcar nas cidades destinos de seus cruzeiros e deixar divisas no país.


Escopo do projeto

A estratégia central do projeto é tirar proveito de um grande e inexplorado mercado já existente na área de turismo e gerar comunidades mais responsáveis social e ecologicamente, mais equilibradas economicamente e mais inclusivas para todos – dentro de um critério de desenvolvimento sustentável.

A proposta consiste na identificação de áreas de forte apelo turístico, em portos-chave a serem selecionados no litoral do Cone Sul, entre aqueles que atendem a cruzeiros marítmos nacionais e internacionais. A idéia então é levantar os recursos e oportunidades existentes tomando em conta a vocação natural do local e buscar apoio para a instalação de uma abordagem inclusiva a tudo o que já está sendo feito ali. O escopo de atuação engloba políticas, serviços e obras públicas e ações da iniciativa privada e do Terceiro Setor/Cooperação.

Prevê-se também a criação de módulos experimentais diferenciados, de acordo com as características próprias de cada localidade, que possam funcionar como “laboratório” para o aprimoramento de abordagens e capacidades que possam ser multiplicadas por toda a Região.


Eixos centrais de trabalho

O projeto visa à criação de uma rede de destinos turísticos piloto, onde se estabeleçam planos de gestão que envolvam a toda a comunidade, principalmente dirigidos a atacar alguns problemas pontuais:

Acesso à infra-estrutura, aplicando as normas básicas de acessibilidade e desenho universal aos ambientes e espaços construídos, incluindo portos, mercados públicos, estabelecimentos turísticos, meios de transporte, diferentes atrativos histórico-culturais e naturais, etc.; a comunicação e informação; e aos serviços oferecidos pelo setor de turismo.
Turismo para Todos, capacitando recursos humanos e adequando equipamentos e tecnologia, na busca de soluções que viabilizem o acesso e a plena participação de turistas com diferentes níveis de capacidade funcional incluindo idosos e pessoas cm deficiência.
Gestão Ambiental, principalmente atacando o problema dos resíduos, mediante programas de sensibilização e educação ambiental para moradores, empresários, gestores públicos e turistas; e manipulação e destinação final dos resíduos, capacitando as atuais comunidades de catadores e capacitando novas pessoas que possam ser integradas a uma cadeia de valor associada ao uso dos resíduos como matéria prima para a fabricação e comercialização de produtos voltados ao mercado turístico.
Transformação atitudinal e cultural, baseada nos princípios de sociedade inclusiva, através de programas educacionais e da capacitação de jovens como agentes de combate à violência, de promoção da saúde e de inclusão social.

Como cada localidade possui sua vocação e interesses próprios, qualquer área ou projeto que esteja em sintonia com a abordagem de desenvolvimento inclusivo e sustentável que se afinar com a proposta, poderá integrar-se a qualquer tempo. Atividades como Comércio solidário e responsável (Fair Trade), micro crédito, atenção à diversidade, são esperadas e bem-vindas.

Sendo um dos eixos principais do projeto, combate à pobreza e à desigualdade, e em sintonia com os Objetivos de Desenvolvimento do Milênio, a proposta prevê a implementação de programas sociais e de desenvolvimento socioeconômico com a população local menos favorecida, através de parcerias com ONGs, com agências das Nações Unidas (como OMT, PNUD, UNICEF, UNESCO, OIT, FAO), com redes de empreendedorismo social, como Ashoka e Avina, e com a cooperação internacional em geral.


Destinos a serem selecionados

A rede de Destinos de Turismo Para Todos será composta de destinos chave em diferentes paises, buscando desta forma, identificar critérios, diretrizes e standards de qualidade comuns, e que sirvam para atender uma futura aplicação global, independentemente das particularidades que possam ser achadas nas diferentes culturas locais.

Se utilizará como eixo do projeto, a transformação de destinos internacionais que sejam parte da rota Sul Americana de cruzeiros. Esta estratégia garante não somente gerar demanda automática, com a conseqüente possibilidade de medições para correções e para levantamento de estatísticas de mercado, quanto ao monitoramento e a avaliação dos resultados do projeto, tendo em conta que as pessoas com deficiência e idosos são um dos principais segmentos atendidos pelos cruzeiros.


Financiamento e Sustentabilidade

Como a iniciativa se propõe a trabalhar com estruturas e programas existentes, evita duplicar ou criar subprojetos especiais e pontuais, ou mesmo gerar custos desnecessários, a idéia é que cada parceiro que se incorpore à Rede, se comprometa com uma abordagem inclusiva a ser adotada dentro de seu espaço de atuação, utilizando seus recursos próprios ou buscando financiamento para atender as eventuais necessidades de sua área especifica, se houver alguma. Por exemplo:

Se um município em questão está executando obras na sua infra-estrutura urbana, passará a incorporar elementos de acessibilidade e desenho universal no projeto, utilizando sua dotação orçamentária disponível. Hoje há dados que demonstram que a construção de espaços acessíveis, não agrega custos significativos à obra (máximo 1%);
Se uma ONG está trabalhando com crianças e adolescentes, em projetos relacionados à educação para a cidadania; ou com mulheres, em projetos de geração de renda, ou outros, estes já possuem financiamento dedicado e terão somente que adotar abordagens inclusivas e, se possível, também voltadas para o mercado turístico, caso ainda não o façam;
Se a rede hoteleira local mantém programas regulares de capacitação de recursos humanos, já previstos em seu planejamento de custos/investimentos, estes passarão a incluir treinamento em atenção à diversidade, dentro do programa usual.

Em termos de custo para a viabilização do projeto como um todo, ao contrário do que possa sugerir seu “macro-alcance”, fica pendente somente a questão de assistência técnica disponível para responder às necessidades de cada setor. Hoje o Brasil e a Região possuem estes recursos e suficiente capacidade instalada para atender à demanda em praticamente todas as áreas. Os custos podem ser absorvidos pelos mesmos projetos e ações que solicitem o apoio.

O que representa os maiores desafios a essa proposta é, de fato, a manutenção – a longo prazo - do compromisso com a abordagem de desenvolvimento inclusivo. Para que o projeto seja sustentável, é fundamental investir no cambio de cultura e no seu apoderamento (ownership) pela comunidade local. E para isso, é necessário que se mantenha um permanente processo de apoio, monitoramento e avaliação; e que cada setor passe a absorver as responsabilidades e os custos inerentes a esse investimento.


Os Consórcios

Para a formação de consórcios multisetoriais e interdisciplinares que deverão gerir o projeto em cada localidade onde este será implantado, é fundamental a parceria com os governos nacionais, estadual e municipal e com o setor privado, como as cooperativas de táxi, as redes de restaurantes e hotéis, os mercados, o cais do porto e as principais operadoras de cruzeiros marítimos da região, entre outros. Estes serão os primeiros beneficiários da iniciativa, pois ganharão acesso a um mercado em ascensão, antes não aproveitado por falta de oferta de serviços adequados a ele. Este mercado já existe e cresce, hoje dormente ou reprimido, esperando oportunidade para expandir-se exponencialmente.

Agencias bi e multilaterais, ONGs e representantes da sociedade civil, organismos de defesa de direitos e redes de apoio ao desenvolvimento também deverão estar incorporados, como atores/apoiadores diretos ou indiretos nestes consórcios.

Além dos consórcios locais, para supervisionar as ações da Rede de Turismo Para Todos, deverá ser considerada também a criação de Consórcios Nacionais, por país envolvido no projeto, e um Comitê Regional/Internacional que tenha função consultiva, além de reguladora e fiscalizadora.


Alcance e Impacto

As atividades permitirão traçar uma linha de base, monitorar, avaliar e medir permanentemente o impacto e os resultados concretos, tanto na evolução do mercado, quanto no desenvolvimento socioeconômico e ambiental local, através dos programas realizados com o setor de turismo e com as comunidades envolvidas. Atividades de certificação, desenvolvimento e/ou implementação de normas técnicas, o cumprimento de legislação local e a criação de centros de referência em desenvolvimento inclusivo, serão parte permanente e servirão de apoio às ações do projeto.
Toda a iniciativa servirá como laboratório e apoio para a implementação, nos países envolvidos, da Convenção Internacional Ampla e Integral para Promover e Proteger os Direitos e a Dignidade das Pessoas com Deficiência, firmada pela Assembléia Geral das Nações Unidas, em 13 de dezembro de 2006. A região também celebra o começo da Década das Américas para os Direitos e a Dignidade das Pessoas com Deficiência (OEA 2006-2016).

Esta iniciativa, em sua abordagem inovadora, vem gerando muito interesse em distintos setores e níveis e pretente extender suas alianças e parcerias a entidades como:
Organização Mundial de Turismo;
Ministério e Secretarias de Turismo, agências e entidades representativas e reguladoras da área, no Brasil, Uruguai e Argentina;
Governo dos Estados e Municípios interessados em integrar-se a Rede;
ONGs internacionais e nacionais da área social, operadoras e agentes de turismo de aventura, turismo social, eventos, sustentabilidade e questões ambientais;
Escolas de Turismo e Academia;
Agências de Desenvolvimento como o BNDES, o BID e o Banco Mundial
Mercosul, entre outros.

Durante o último Fórum Mundial de Turismo - DestiNations 2006 em Porto Alegre, RS (29Nov- 02Dez 06) algumas destas alianças foram estabelecidas e outras estão em construção.


Plano de ação: Eixo da Rede de Destinos de Turismo Para todos

O primeiro passo será articular a seleção das primeiras localidades a receberem o projeto, fazer um levantamento da situação de acesso do porto e demais áreas turísticas, tipos de serviços disponíveis e propor medidas, a curto, médio e longo prazos e de baixo, médio e alto custos, a serem consideradas pelas autoridades locais. Ao mesmo tempo em que se inicia o processo de acessibilizar a infra-estrutura e os serviços, se identificam e articulam os parceiros para conformar os consórcios locais, nacionais e o Comitê Regional.

Com isso, podemos começar a armar a Rede e lançar concretamente a idéia, gerando mobilização através do contato direto e do trabalho em rede, que viabilize a articulação de parcerias entre todos os setores acima mencionados. Durante a fase de negociação para a criação desta estrutura, deverão realizar-se levantamentos da situação atual nos destinos participantes e desenvolverem-se planos de ação em diferentes níveis de complexidade, tempo de execução e custo.

A partir de conversações exploratórias já iniciadas, deverão incorporar-se à Rede nessa etapa de criação, as cidades abaixo, que estão na rota dos principais cruzeiros maritmos: Brasil (Salvador, Búzios, Rio de Janeiro, Angra dos Reis, Santos e Florianópolis); Uruguai (Montevideo e Punta del Este); Argentina (Buenos Aires; Puerto Madryn e Ushuaia).

Para esta etapa inicial, preve-se um prazo de 18 a 24 meses.

Para mais informação, favor entrar em contato com:
Rosangela Berman Bieler – E-mail: RBBieler@aol.com ou IIDIsab@aol.com

Posted by rollingrains at 12:41 PM

February 18, 2007

Accessible Heathrow?

GoTravel Insurance ran this story entitled "Air Travel Needs to Be Accessible for Disabled People ."

Can I get an "Amen?"

Posted by rollingrains at 10:37 PM

Basic Access for Travelers: Public Toilets

D.N.I.S. News Network – Unhappy over the non-compliance of its earlier orders to make public toilets disabled-friendly, the Delhi High Court has directed Delhi Chief Secretary to convene a meting of M.C.D. and N.D.M.C. top officials immediately.

Taking strong exception to the lackadaisical attitude of M.C.D. officials, the Division Bench headed by Justice Swatanter Kumar said, “We hope that our orders are complied with and a situation does not arise where the court has to resort to coercive measures like issuing a contempt notice.”

On 21 December 2006, the High Court had demanded an explanation from M.C.D. for not having taken action to build more such facilities since 1998. The orders have come on a P.I.L. seeking High Court directions to M.C.D. to make public toilets disabled-friendly.

News item thanks to DPI-Asia Pacific Region

Posted by rollingrains at 05:16 PM

February 13, 2007

A Major Endorsement of Visitability in US Housing

The U.S. Green Building Council has taken a major step in changing the face of the built residential market in the US with the "Universal Accessibility" designation for residential communities seeking LEED certification. Major, but still leaving an 80% inaccessible remainder for developers who take the minimalist approach.

LEED, a project of the U.S. Green Building Council, has achieved widespread success certifying commercial buildings as environmentally friendly when they meet specified requirements. Now LEED, with its new pilot program LEED-ND, has moved beyond commercial buildings to whole neighborhoods.

Notably for people in the home access movement, LEED-ND awards a point
for developments that build single-family homes with basic access.

(Single family homes are the main building type still built by the
hundreds of thousands with no access features, continuing the age-old
barriers that impose drudgery and social isolation.) It is
encouraging that people are beginning to see that Visitability is
connected to green building practices
. Basic access at the time of
construction decreases the waste of energy and materials necessitated
by retrofits, and makes neighborhoods more sustainable by enabling
social interaction, "aging in place," and disability inclusion.

To receive the "Universal Accessibility" point, the builder includes,
in at least 20% of the single-family homes, the features required
by federal law in apartment buildings—
--a zero step entrance on an
accessible route, wide interior doors, maneuvering space in bathrooms
and kitchens, blocking in bathroom walls to allow future grab bars,
reachable electrical controls, and a step-free path of travel through
the first floor of the home.

The application document reads in part:

Intent

Enable the widest spectrum of people, regardless of age or ability, to
more easily participate in their community life by increasing the
proportion of areas that are usable by people of diverse abilities.

Requirements

For projects with residential components:

For each residential unit type developed, design 20% (and not less than
one) of each type to comply with the accessible design provisions of
the Fair Housing Amendments Act (FHAA) and Section 504 of the
Rehabilitation Act (Rehabilitation Act), as applicable. Separate
residential unit types include: single-family, duplex, triplex,
multi-unit row or townhouses, and mixed-use buildings that include
residential units. (Compliance for multi-family buildings of 4 or more
units is already a regulatory requirement.)
---------------------------------------------------
Eleanor Smith of Concrete Change and Ed Steinfeld of the IDEA
Center at SUNY, Buffalo, were among those working on the committee to
bring this about. Not all their recommendations were followed, but
they welcome this early recognition that basic access is green.

The LEED-ND initiative is a joint venture of the Congress for the New
Urbanism, the US Green Building Council, and the Natural Resources
Defense Council. To read the LEED-ND document, go to
http://www.usgbc.org/ShowFile.aspx?DocumentID=2310
To read about the point awarded for houses with basic access, go to
page 83.


Posted by rollingrains at 07:28 PM

February 11, 2007

Travel Resources: Disabled Persons Transport Committee (DPTAC).

dptac logo

The UK's Disabled Persons Transport Committee (DPTAC). publishes a densely informative resource on Inclusive travel at: http://www.dptac.gov.uk/door-to-door/ Originally developed by Tripcope, the site includes a means of user input for updating.

Another step along the path of Inclusive Destination Development.

Posted by rollingrains at 01:16 PM

February 08, 2007

Getting Around Greater Bristol

Bristol Logo

Bristol took an import step along the path of Inclusive Destination Development with the launch today, Thursday 8th February, of Getting Around Greater Bristol. The city's new travel information and advice website is here - www.gettingaboutgreaterbristol.org -.

Although the Disability Discrimination Act and other pressures are bringing about improvements to the transport system, the new website will be the only online resource that brings together details about what suitable transport exists for disabled people wanting to travel around an area encompassing Weston-Super-Mare, Bristol, Thornbury, Bath and Radstock. It provides local information about travelling using many different forms of transport.

Particularly aimed at disabled people and less mobile people, the website is designed to be completely accessible to all users. The clear layout means that it is easy to navigate. The font size and colours have been carefully chosen so that visually impaired people and people who use a screen reader can understand the text. Updated every month, the information is unlikely to become out-of-date.

The website was established by Bristol, South Gloucestershire, North Somerset and Bath and North East Somerset councils working with Bristol Physical Access Chain and an independent consultant. It will help fill the gap left by Tripscope, a well-used and popular information and advice line that finished at the end of March 2006. The new website links to the webpages of the Disabled Persons Transport Advisory Committee (DPTAC), who advise the UK Government on access for disabled people to transport. The site will significantly improve upon the only area specific information currently circulating - the 'Getting About' booklet last published by Avon County Council in 1997.

Cllr Sir Elgar Jenkins from Bath & North East Somerset Council, Cllr Dennis Brown from Bristol City Counci, Cllr John Crockford-Hawley from North Somerset Council and Cllr Pat Hockey from South Gloucestershire Council said in a joint statement, "If you are a disabled person wanting to travel into and around Greater Bristol, our joint work showed that there was no up-to-date, reliable resource that you could consult to find out what transport was accessible. This new website delivers information such as which rail stations are step free or have ramps, what bus services are wheelchair-accessible, and what community transport is available. This website should help disabled and less mobile people plan their trip from start to finish.

"Please use this website and then, if necessary, tell us how we can make it even better."

Algy Seymour, Chairperson of Bristol Physical Access Chain, added, "The new website promises to be a well designed and very accessible resource. The details and advice found on the website at the moment are a great start, and we hope that users and other travel organisations will be in contact with additional information to help build it up."

Further travel information and advice that may be of use to website users, as well as requests for further information about the website, can be submitted to the contacts detailed on the website itself.

Source:
Corporate Communications (Lynda Wookey), Bristol City Council. tel. 0117 922 2650
lynda.wookey@bristol.gov.uk

www.bristol.gov.uk

Posted by rollingrains at 02:42 AM

February 07, 2007

Rural Accessible Tourism: Mark Your Calendars

actur 07 logo.gif


Encuentro Iberoamericano Sobre Turismo Rural Accesible - ACTUR 07
LUGAR: Centro "Costa Salguero" Ciudad de Buenos Aires - Argentina
FECHA: 26 al 29 de mayo 2007

Look for the Accessible Rural Tourism Conference at the Centro "Costa Salguero" Buenos Aires - Argentina May 26 - 29.

Conference site:
http://www.actur.com.ar/expo/inicio.html

Defintions of accessible agrotourism (Spanish):
http://www.actur.com.ar/fundamentos.html

From the web site:

* JORNADAS EMPRESARIALES Y PROFESIONALES

Las Jornadas ACTUR ´07 tendrán lugar en el Auditorio Salas 1 y 2.
Tienen como objetivo, formar y capacitar al sector turístico sobre la mejora de la competitividad y la accesibilidad al turismo rural.
Participarán en las Jornadas disertantes argentinos y extranjeros expertos en la temática del turismo rural y la accesibilidad.

* Sábado 26 - Auditorio Centro Costa Salguero - Ciudad de Buenos Aires
* Domingo 27- Auditorio Centro Costa Salguero - Ciudad de Buenos Aires
* Lunes 28 - Estancia El Silencio - Ciudad de Cañuelas - Provincia de Buenos Aires
* Martes 29 – Ciudad de Tandil - Provincia de Buenos Aires

Las jornadas tiene como un atractivo para los participantes inscriptos la incorporación de la degustación de la Gastronomía Regional Argentina

En la inauguración el 26 de mayo de 2007 se disfrutará de un desayuno argentino, con la presencia de más de 200 productores los cuales presentarán sus delicias.

Durante todo el evento habrá: Degustación y cata de vinos.

ACTUR 07 Virtual

Este evento reviste un carácter profesional y de difusión destinado al acercamiento entre personas con intereses y motivaciones afines que no pueden participar presencialmente del I ENCUENTRO IBEROAMERICANO SOBRE TURISMO RURAL ACCESIBLE -ACTUR ´07-


Contacts:

# JORNADAS / Turismo Accesible
FUNDACIÓN TURISMO PARA TODOS
Luis Grünewald
E-mail: actur07@actur.com.ar

# HOTELES / PAQUETES - TURISMO
DownUnder Travel
Maipú 812 Piso 7 "D" (1006) Buenos Aires
TE +54 11 4115 0115
Silvina Rios - Jorge Carlos Salatino
E-mail: silvinarios@downunder.com.ar
E-mail: jorge.salatino@downunder.com.ar

Posted by rollingrains at 07:02 PM

February 06, 2007

Handix: Quiero Ir! Quiero Ir!

adapted skiing - foto by Pablo Fausto

Gracias a Pablo Fausto y un foto en el Travel With a Disability al Flikr aprendimos del Handix - esQuela de esqui adaptado y guias de montana.

Handix ( o Handixtreme) es otro ejemplo del la surgencia del deporte adaptado. Tambien crea otra razán para viajar y el nuevo mercado de turismo inclusivo. Del sitio:

Objetivo principal

Acercar a todas las personas con discapacidad y a sus familias a la gran cantidad de actividades deportivas que en el medio natural se pueden realizar, teniendo el esquí alpino como actividad principal.

Dar a conocer a este colectivo de personas las posibilidades que el medio natural les ofrece para el desarrollo de actividad física y deportiva.

La pagina principal:
http://www.telefonica.net/web2/handixtreme/principal.html

Posted by rollingrains at 02:47 PM

February 05, 2007

Accessible Seoul

Seoul Korea Building with exit ramp

This photo (courtesy of Dennis Gane and Roxanne Ulanicki) was taken when Roxanne played for the Canadian Women’s National Basketball Team in the 1988 Paralympics in Seoul. The criss-cross design on the facade is not earthquake stabalization. It is an external wheelchair ramp as an emergency exit.

I didn't ask what sort of new "extreme sport" the crazy Canucks invented to entertain themselves in this unique environment: a hybrid between rock climbing and hockey-on-an-incline perhaps? I can see the headlines, "Ulanicki, knocked over the boards, rappels to victory with a hat trick on the 39th floor!"

Posted by rollingrains at 07:55 PM

January 30, 2007

New Zealand on Wheels

Simon O'Keefe

Simon O'Keefe is out to put New Zealand on the map - our map - the map that that tells us destinations and attractions that have earned our business by going out of the way to be accessible; to be inclusive.

The blog New Zealand on Wheels documents Inclusive Destination Development. Get to know this part of the world. At the blog read the new post by Sandra Rhodda. She is a researcher at Tai Poutini Polytechnic in Greymouth on the West Coast undertaking an audit and catalog of the accessibility of businesses in New Zealand - especially the West Coast of the South Island.

Been to NZ? help her out with your firsthand experience. Here's mine.

From New Zealand on Wheels:

NZ On Wheels started after a trip to Rotorua in September 2006. We were told over the phone that one of the main geothermal parks was fully accessible. On arrival we were given a map that indicated “limited” wheelchair access to at least half the park - but no explanation about what “limited” meant. This was illustrated by the international access sign with a cross through it… limited access, no access, or what? By this point we had already paid $25 each to enter the park so thought we’d investigate!

It turned out that the access was pretty good for a power chair - there were only a few tracks that we couldn’t get to. For a manual chair though, it would have been tough to see as much of the park without assistance as the tracks were gravel and there were some steep hills.

New Zealand is an amazing country and everyone deserves to see it. We decided that if good information wasn’t available, we would provide it…the NZ On Wheels website began a week later!

Source:
http://nzonwheels.co.nz/home/?page_id=25

Here's another tool for the traveler to New Zealand: Accessible Walks.

Posted by rollingrains at 04:23 AM

January 26, 2007

Anthony Thanasayan: Advocating Inclusive Tourism in Malaysia

"While Malaysia promotes itself as a tourist destination, it should also provide amenities for disabled tourists," writes Malaysia's Anthony Thanasayan in today's The Star Online piece "Consider Disabled Tourists."

Thanasayan is a well-known disability self-advocate and journalist in Malaysia. He has done both the Malaysian tourism industry and foreign visitors a service with this piece calling for an Incusive Tourism during Visit Malasia Year.

Posted by rollingrains at 06:20 AM

January 21, 2007

Resources on Accessible Japan

Here is a link to a muli-year project documenting the accessibility of Tokyo, Kyoto, and Kamakura, Japan.

Posted by rollingrains at 06:49 PM

January 05, 2007

"Lifetime Homes" as Universal Design

Back in October 2006 the Times Online reported that the Tories Plan Housing Revolution to Cater for Elderly Population. And here's some of that revolutionary rhetoric of Universal Design:

FEWER small flats and more bungalows and houses with gardens should be built to make it easier for elderly people to avoid going into care, the Conservatives said yesterday.

David Cameron, the party leader, told an Age Concern conference that houses should be designed to be suitable for every stage of life. “We must think in a new way about housing design and urban planning. Housing in Britain never seems to be built with a whole lifetime in mind,” he said.

New homes tend to be either small flats, which are not suitable when people have children, or tall houses, which aren’t suitable when people become old and less mobile. Although only a quarter of people say they want to live in flats, more than half of all new properties are flats.


Source:

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,2-2418319,00.html

Posted by rollingrains at 05:07 AM

January 04, 2007

Michael Chenail: Designing Inclusion into Destinations

Whether you know it or not, Michael Chenail is out there working for you.

michael chenail


Michael Chenail's professional mission is also a personal calling.

Chenail wants to make businesses and other public facilities more accessible to people with disabilities. The firm he founded in 2003, Compliance Alliance, provides consulting to businesses to help them achieve that.

"It's a unique kind of business," said Chenail, who is based in Midlothian and works locally and in the Southeast. "It's not something that the average businessperson would consider or realize is out there."

Posted by rollingrains at 04:58 AM

January 01, 2007

Age Friedly Cities Initiative by WHO

The World Health Organization is piloting a worldwide Liveable Communities program -- Age Friendly Cities. More information here: http://www.who.int/ageing/projects/age_friendly_cities/en/index.html

Posted by rollingrains at 04:21 PM

Selling Cyprus on Inclusive Destination Development

Alexia Saoulli quotes Dimitris Lambrianides, president of the Cyprus Paraplegics’ Organisation:

“Access to buildings, pavements, main shopping and entertainment areas are all vital in enticing disabled tourists to Cyprus. Hotels should also been given incentives to make the necessary changes to make them more accessible, beaches should be accessible by way of building wheelchair friendly passageways, and a public transport network or at the very least a private transportation service equipped to cater to people with disabilities is needed.”

Lambrianides said another area which needed much improvement were the disabled services at local airports.

“They should be there to meet them when the planes park, not keep them waiting,” he told the Cyprus Mail.

Source:
http://www.cyprus-mail.com/news/main.php?id=26359&cat_id=1

Posted by rollingrains at 04:01 AM

December 29, 2006

Valencia Continues Progress on Universal Design (Spanish)

El Ayuntamiento [de Valencia] se ha comprometido a mejorar la accesibilidad de las calles de la ciudad para facilitar la movilidad de las personas con minusvalía.
“El equipo de Gobierno está comprometido en mejorar la accesibilidad en toda la ciudad. Estamos trabajando desde hace años con el objetivo irrenunciable de garantizar un diseño universal, haciendo una ciudad más habitable”, señaló la alcaldesa Rita Barberá.

El compromiso municipal surgió durante los actos de celebración de la festividad de Santa Lucía, patrona de los invidentes. Acompañada de la concejala de Bienestar Social, Barberá acudió al almuerzo organizado por la ONCE, al que acudieron casi 900 personas. Entre las medidas adoptadas por el equipo de Gobierno, destaca la ordenanza de accesibilidad en el medio urbano, ya aprobada en el pleno.



Source:

http://www.lasprovincias.es/valencia/prensa/20061214/valencia/ayuntamiento-mejorara-accesibilidad-calles_20061214.html

Posted by rollingrains at 11:35 PM

December 27, 2006

Inclusive Destination Development: Ontario-Style

Ontario, Canada is practicing Inclusive Destination Development through its EnAbling Change business/government partnership:


Improving accessibility for people with disabilities in employment,
customer service and universal design is the driving force behind the projects
funded under the Ontario government's EnAbling Change partnership program.

The Canadian Standards Association (CSA) developed a customer service
standard for people with disabilities with the help of a grant under the
EnAbling Change partnership program. The standard was voluntary, and was
accompanied by tools and resources to help businesses of all sizes improve
customer service to people with disabilities.

McGuinty Government Builds Better Access for People with Disabilities

Partnership Project Promotes the Shaw Festival to More Tourists and
Theatre-goers

NIAGARA-ON-THE-LAKE, ON, May 30 /CNW/ - The Ontario government, Shaw
Festival and the Canadian Standards Association are changing the way patrons
with disabilities are being served when they go to the theatre.

Ontario Minister of Community and Social Services and Minister
Responsible for Ontarians with Disabilities, Madeleine Meilleur, today joined
Shaw Festival Executive Director Colleen Blake to celebrate the results of the
Shaw Festival's participation in the Building Champions program. Through this
program, the Canadian Standards Association worked with seven "champion"
businesses and organizations to develop and test new customer service training
for businesses to use when serving customers with disabilities.

"Better accessibility can mean more customers, a larger pool of potential
employees and long-term growth for Ontario businesses," said Meilleur. "Our
goal is to make Ontario an accessible province by 2025, but businesses like
the Shaw Festival are showing us that improved accessibility is something we
can achieve right now."

The "champion" companies tested customer service training for people with
disabilities with support from the Canadian Standards Association and the
Province. The goal was to demonstrate how this form of customer service
training would work in their sector and the gains businesses could make
through improved accessibility for their customers.

"The Shaw prides itself on providing the best experience possible for our
patrons from the time they order their tickets to the moment they applaud a
stunning production. The Building Champions program ensures our patrons that
their entire experience is comfortable, respectful and enjoyable," said Blake.

As part of the Canadian Standards Association's Building Champions
program, the Shaw Festival trained employees on how to better serve customers
with a disability. The training included such diverse elements as how to guide
a person with a visual impairment, simple ways to make the premises more
accessible for people with physical disabilities and how to provide service to
someone with a mental health illness.

The Building Champions initiative is one of the innovative projects
funded by the Ontario government under the EnAbling Change partnership
program. It is just one of the ways in which the McGuinty government is
working to break down barriers to help people with disabilities participate
more fully in Ontario's communities. Since 2003, the government has:

<<
- Provided $28.2 million to help universities and colleges provide
services for students with disabilities to help them succeed.
- Improved the Disabled Parking Permit program - now called the
Accessible Parking Permit program
- Committed nearly $276 million in new funding to strengthen community
supports for adults with a developmental disability.
>>

"We're on the side of Ontarians with disabilities. That's why we're
supporting businesses, whether big or small, to improve access for their
patrons with disabilities," Meilleur said. "This is part of our plan to build
a more prosperous Ontario that benefits from the contributions of all our
citizens."

<<
Disponible en français

www.mcss.gov.on.ca/accessibility/index.html

Backgrounder
-------------------------------------------------------------------------

BUILDING ACCESSIBILITY CHAMPIONS
>>

Improving accessibility for people with disabilities in employment,
customer service and universal design is the driving force behind the projects
funded under the Ontario government's EnAbling Change partnership program.

The Canadian Standards Association (CSA) developed a customer service
standard for people with disabilities with the help of a grant under the
EnAbling Change partnership program. The standard was voluntary, and was
accompanied by tools and resources to help businesses of all sizes improve
customer service to people with disabilities.

CSA has recently finished piloting customer service training for serving
customers with disabilities with seven business "champions" through its
Building Champions program. The inaugural "champions" include small, medium
and large businesses that collectively serve hundreds of thousands of
Ontarians every day and share a commitment to improving customer service and
access for people with disabilities. They include:

<<
- The Shaw Festival
- Eatertainment (including Toronto's Panorama Restaurant and
Bloor Street Diner)
- Delta Chelsea Hotel, Toronto
- Cineplex Galaxy Theatres
- Sears Canada
- Wal-Mart
- Wendy's Restaurants Canada
>>

EnAbling Change

The EnAbling Change partnership program provides funding for strategic
projects that will make a significant impact on improving accessibility for
people with disabilities throughout an industry or sector, or across several
sectors.
EnAbling Change partnerships are selected based on their capacity to
promote change and the extent to which they improve access for people with
disabilities. Projects have a broad range of benefits that will positively
impact people and organizations beyond the immediate project participants.
The Ontario government invests $500,000 annually in EnAbling Change
projects and targets partners who have the expertise to be catalysts for
change.
The focus of EnAbling Change is to improve accessibility for people with
disabilities in three core areas:

<<
- Employment: To improve access to employment for people with
disabilities by increasing the awareness of employers of the benefits
of hiring and retaining employees with disabilities
- Customer Service: To develop and promote voluntary codes of practice
or voluntary standards to improve access to customer oriented
services for people with disabilities
- Universal Design: To promote the benefits of applying new design
principles to create universally accessible products, designs and
environments that everyone can use and enjoy.


Disponible en français

www.mcss.gov.on.ca/accessibility/index.html
>>

For further information: Carole Drouin, Minister's Office, (416)
325-5219; Paul Doig, Communications and Marketing Branch, Ministry of
Community and Social Services, (416) 325-5187

Source:

http://www.newswire.ca/en/releases/archive/May2006/30/c8447.html

Posted by rollingrains at 03:34 AM

December 23, 2006

Coach Firm Wins Disabled Vote in UK

A Coventry bus and coach operator has won a national award for making travel easier for disabled people.

Travel de Courcey beat off competition from firms all over the UK to win the accessible coach operator of the year title at the operator excellence awards 2006, run by industry magazine Route One.


Judges were impressed by Travel de Courcey's fleet of accessible buses, including its range of LIFT coaches which include an access lift suitable for wheelchairs.

The company's drivers also go to care homes to find the best way of helping elderly and infirm customers to travel.

Travel de Courcey has also invested more than £½million in tripling the amount of wheelchair accessible coaches in its fleet.

Source:

Coventry Telegraph

Dec 14 2006

By Stephen Hallmark


Posted by rollingrains at 11:06 PM

December 22, 2006

Good Bytes is One Good Reason to Visit San Antonio

GoodBytes

Goodwill is wired in San Antonio at the Good Bytes Internet Cafe.

Here Universal Design and IT work together here according to the blog at Life Done Right. It looks like a place worth checking out - and checking your email at. Check out the menu here.

Posted by rollingrains at 04:59 AM

December 18, 2006

Tocando as Rodas by Beto Sporkens

A new documentary, Tocando as Rodas (literally: Touching the Wheels), is making a debut in Brazil thanks to Movimento SuperAção.

The film follows the radio personaily, Luka, around São Paulo for a week as he experiences life as a wheelchair user (cadeirante.) The producers note the irony of the prevalence of laws supporting those with disabilities and the absence of follow through in Brazil.

Beto Sporkens dirige documentário sobre cadeirantes


As calçadas desniveladas, esburacadas e a falta de rampas e elevadores em São Paulo revelaram a controvérsia de estarmos em um país onde há mais leis que defendem o direito da pessoa com deficiência, mas que ironicamente, é também o país que menos as cumpre. Foi assim, com uma única câmera mini DV, que o cineasta e documentarista Beto Sporkens registrou as dificuldades e surpresas que um cadeirante enfrenta no seu dia-a-dia.

Durante uma semana, a radialista Luka, locutora da Rádio 89FM, andou pela cidade de São Paulo como cadeirante. Lugares como Avenida Paulista, Bernardino de Campos, Brigadeiro Luiz Antônio, Inácio Pereira da Rocha (Vila Madalena), algumas ruas do Jabaquara, Vila Boim, estádio do Pacaembu, Hopi Hari, Shopping Paulista, estações do metrô (Paraíso, Sé e República), estações de metrô (Paraíso, Sé e República) e caixas eletrônicos foram palco para a constatação de que vivemos numa cidade despreparada para oferecer o direito básico de qualquer cidadão - o direito de ir e vir.

A experiência documentada gerou o curta-metragem Tocando as Rodas, de 20 minutos, e teve como objetivo foi chamar a atenção das autoridades sobre o problema da acessibilidade de pessoas com mobilidade reduzida e que utilizam a cadeira de rodas para se locomover por toda a cidade.


Super_Ação - Por uma cidade acessível a todos

O documentário Tocando as Rodas é uma das ações que fazem parte do Movimento Super_Ação, encabeçado por jovens portadores de deficiência, profissionais de comunicação e militantes de ONGs.

O objetivo é exigir a continuidade dos ganhos conquistados até hoje com a implantação de uma política pública para garantir acessibilidade em toda a cidade. Um dos caminhos para isso é a discussão social e o intercâmbio de idéias.

Fonte: Pauta Social

http://www.institutocrescer.org.br/noticias.asp?idNoticia=7

Posted by rollingrains at 08:10 PM

December 16, 2006

Accessible Canal Tours: The Willow Trust, UK

Over at Travel With a Disability photographer who contributes as Lumpen Heap has shared a find:

WillowTrustLogof


The Willow Trust is a charity that offers freedom for the disabled on the water by providing days out for children and adults with learning and physical disabilities and those who are seriously ill.

The Trust has two boats based at Saul Junction, and guests can enjoy the excitement of adventure and the therapy of tranquility in beautiful surroundings - all travelling totally free of charge.

For more on the Willow Trust see:


http://www.gloucesterdocks.me.uk/studies/willowtrust.htm

Posted by rollingrains at 01:21 AM

December 14, 2006

Gaylord, Michigan: Universal Design and a Master Plan

Gaylord, Michigan asked the question, "What makes a community elder-friendly?" In the process they discovered Universal Design.

According to the Michigan "Community for a Lifetime" program these 10 categories of assets play a role in creating elder-friendly communities:

· Walkability
· Supportive community systems
· Access to healthcare
· Safety and Security
· Housing: Availability and Affordability
· Housing: Modification and Maintenance
· Transportation
· Commerce
· Enrichment
· Inclusion

Source:
http://www.gaylordheraldtimes.com/articles/2006/11/28/news/local_news/local_news01.txt

Posted by rollingrains at 12:15 AM

December 08, 2006

Korea and Bangalore: Tracking the Diffusion of Universal Design

For years now Tom Rickert of Access Exchange International in San Francisco has been the driving force behind the adoption of inclusive transportation systems worldwide. He is an incarnated point of diffusion for the seven principles of Universal Design. Reading the article about Bangalore deciding to mimic new Dehli Metro is just the tip of the iceberg revelation of all that you an discover firsthand by reading the newsletter of Access Exchange International.

While Universal Design makes its impact on public transportation in South Asia it continues to spread in the Asia Pacific region. Recently we see it merging with the "Korean Wave" as in this article, New Designs Focus on Easy Use, in Digital Chosunibo.

Note the factual error attributed to Lim Young-mo, senior researcher with Samsung Economic Research Institute that Universal Design is a "concept that first appeared in the U.S in the early nineties." They say it takes a good 20 to 30 years for an idea or tecnnology to diffuse. Here we see the diffusion and miscommunicatiion process operating hand-in-hand. On themore positive side, during the early years the fact that Ron Mace and others with disabilities were so strongly associated with their concept, Universal Design, meant that it was stigmatized and shunted to the margins in the same manner as the community which brought this transformative tool to the world.

Disabled people of Bangalore have indicated the city's metro system and other services connected to it should be easy for them to access.

Over the years they have been complaining that government buildings are not easily accessible to them.

For example ramps meant for disabled people are not designed for access by wheelchair.

"In house we will transmit whatever we have learnt to our engineers and consultants who are in the process of designing our subways, our elevated rail systems as well as elevated platforms," said Jitender Nag, the chief of corporate communications for Bangalore Metro.

Programme Manager for Actionaid John Cordeira said, "universal design simply means that whatever u produce, manufacture, or design should be in a way that all people can use it so the objective of this training is to make the environment barrier free".

The aim is to ensure that Bangalore Metro systems are friendly for the disabled like the Metro in Delhi.

Source:
http://www.ndtv.com/morenews/showmorestory.asp?category=National&slug=Disabled-friendly+Metro+for+Bangalore&id=97299


Posted by rollingrains at 10:54 PM

December 04, 2006

The Impact of Ageing on Aviation

harry wolfe
Professional colleague and personal friend Harry Wolfe presented at the Airneth Conference, The Impact of Ageing on Aviation, held at the Hague, Netherlands on November 23.

Presentations are downloadable here.


Meeting the Needs of Older and Disabled Air Travellers

by Anne Frye
http://www.airneth.nl/documents/AnnFryefinal.pdf

Ageing and Air Transportation

by Harry Wolfe
http://www.airneth.nl/documents/HarryWolfefinal.pdf

Ageing and Travel Behaviour in the 21st Century
by Ton van Egmond
http://www.airneth.nl/documents/VanEgmondfinal.pdf

Ageing at Work in the Netherlands
by Rob Gründemann
http://www.airneth.nl/documents/Grundemann.pdf


Upcoming Airneth event:

Optimal Use of Airport Capacity: April 11-13, 2007
http://www.airneth.nl/activity.php?page=24

Posted by rollingrains at 02:25 AM

December 02, 2006

Phuket, Thailand: Beautiful Sand Resort

Phuket is a popular vacation destination. Fortunately, inclusion has made progress there. Read about Beautiful Sand Resort.

Accessible Hotels - It's Not Rocket Science!


Phuket, Thailand, 1st December 2006 - A British man has swapped his job as a designer of rocket and satellite systems to concentrate on more down-to-earth challenges - building a hotel on the paradise island of Phuket which is fully accessible for wheelchair users.

Simon Luttrell, who emigrated to Thailand several years ago, spent most of his previous career within the ultraclean environments of satellite assembly laboratories. But a downturn in demand for 'rocket scientists' encouraged him to seek new opportunities in Asia.

'Unfortunately, there were no vacancies for rocket scientists in Thailand either' quipped Luttrell, 'but I enjoyed the climate and relaxed lifestyle so much that it was hard to return to the UK.'

Unlike many expat men in Thailand, who spend their declining years drinking excessively and frequenting the gogo bars of Patpong and Pattaya, Luttrell sought out new business opportunities.

A chance incident in a Bangkok hotel set him on his new career path. 'I watched a chap in a wheelchair trying to negotiate the steps leading up to the hotel. It was an impossible task and he had to be physically lifted by the staff. Having finally accomplished this, it then became clear that the entrance door leading to the toilets was simply too narrow for his wheelchair. The man was obviously upset and left soon afterwards'.

Luttrell immediately recognised a business opportunity in building an accessible hotel for both able-bodied and wheelchair guests. 'It struck me that wheelchair users were being denied the opportunity to visit this beautiful country, simply because they were unable to find suitable accomodation.'

Although Thailand has leglislation requiring hotels to provide accessible accomodation, these rules are not enforced. Major hotel chains do provide accessible rooms, but complete access to all hotel facilities is rare, if not unknown.

In Spring of 2006, Luttrell and his Thai wife acquired a suitable building plot, adjacent to Phuket International Airport. 'We needed a site that was absolutely flat, and near to the airport and beaches' Luttrell commented. 'No-one enjoys long transfers from airport to hotel, least of all wheelchair users.'

To ensure that the new hotel met international accessibility regulations, Luttrell followed the reccomendations of the American Disability Association (ADA). Their comprehensive guidelines covered all aspects of hotel construction, from specifying maximum step heights through to specific layouts and dimensions for accessible bathrooms.

'Initially, the large number of regulations that we had to comply with seemed rather daunting, but once we started the actual building construction, these regulations just seemed like commonsense.'

Luttrell personally supervised the local Thai labourers, explaining to them in fluent Thai why it was not allowed, for example, to use steps outside of the guest rooms to stop monsoon rainwater flooding the bedrooms. 'The monsoon rain problem was a challenge in itself' says Luttrell, 'but we overcame it by incorporating a slight slope on the external sandwash footpaths and using sunken flowerbeds to funnel the water away from the rooms.'

After 8 months of hard work, the Beautiful Sand Resort opened just in time for the Phuket high season. Wheelchair guests are able to use all of the hotel rooms and facilities. Luttrell tested accessibility using a friend's wheelchair. 'I trundled from my bathroom, through the bedroom and out onto my sandwash terrace. Then I scooted around the accessible swimming pool and into the restaurant. After a quick drink at the bar, (where includes a low-height section for wheelchair users), I wheeled myself out of the hotel and down to the nearby beach.'

Luttrell is understandably proud of his achievement, but his rapid success in building an accessible hotel begs the question 'why don't all hotels consider wheelchair users at the construction stage?'

ABOUT Simon Luttrell

Simon Luttrell graduated from University College London in 1986 with a Master's degree in Microwaves & Modern Optics. He worked as a senior consultant for companies such as Marconi, Alcatel, British Telecom, Cable & Wireless and several others. In 1998, he established Fonedata - an SMS text messaging company which he later sold to Psion plc. Simon emigrated to Thailand in 2002 and now lives and works on the island of Phuket.

Source:

Beautiful Sands Resort press release

Posted by rollingrains at 03:04 PM

November 29, 2006

Dear Santa: Can I Have Universal Design, Please?

Over at Wheelie Catholic somebody is asking the right question. When will Visitability ("Universal Hiousing" in Australia) bring joy to the holiday season?

Every holiday, I receive invitations to go to parties at friends and families' homes. The bottom line is that I can't get into these events because no one's home is accessible. It isn't a matter of just getting in the front door, although that can be daunting in itself - I'm getting flashbacks here of using pieces of plywood to roll up eight concrete steps - but once inside, the hallways may not be passable and of course, the bathroom may not be accessible.

My friends with disabilities have accessible housing by necessity so I can always be with them, but they live many miles away. It is discouraging as a person who works toward inclusion to discover that the friends I have who are not disabled might as well be living in a castle with a moat with alligators in it!

Read more:
http://wheeliecatholic.blogspot.com/2006/11/dear-santa-can-i-have-universal-design.html

Posted by rollingrains at 04:37 AM

November 28, 2006

Explore Southern Brazil by Wheelchair

Caminhadores


The Brazilian non profit Caminadores is part of the vibrant national market for inclusive leisure and adventure travel. Activites include trail walks, orienteering, rappelling, as well as infrastructure building and marketibng projects such as tourist maps and accessibility audits of tourism venues.

Posted by rollingrains at 12:13 AM

London: Getting Around Underground

youreable logo

Youreable.com
reports:

London Underground, in partnership with Direct Enquiries, has commenced assessments of all of their 274 stations, as part of a commitment to improve access for customers.

The assessments, conducted by Direct Enquiries (the Nationwide Access Register), are the first step in a campaign to make access details of London Underground more accurate, timely and widely available. This follows on from work to determine where actual improvements to access could and should be made.

The assessments will provide London Underground with detailed reports on all public areas of the network, allowing them to understand the access routes and facilities available to people who have specific requirements. This includes disabled people, older and younger people, parents with pushchairs and people with luggage.

Once the assessments have been completed, the information will be made available to the public through www.directenquiries.com, the TfL journey planner and paper-based customer information products.


Source:
http://www.youreable.com/TwoShare/getPage/01News/01Current/Nov2006/Underground%20Stations%20to%20be%20assessed

Posted by rollingrains at 12:07 AM

November 20, 2006

Castilla y León Implements Universal Design in the Parque Natural del Lago

Sanabria

Sanbria Lake in the Parque Natural del Lago de Sanabria y alrededores is about to become more visitable through the application of the principles of Universal Design.

163.000 Euros approved to improve access to Parque Natural del Lago

The objective is to permit the use and enjjoyment of the space by persons with disabilities

The government of Castilla and Leon, through the Foundation Natural Patrimony of Castilla and Leon, approved an investment of 163,162.27 euros yesterday, for the improvement of the accessibility of the Sanabria Lake and its environs. The use and enjoyment of the Natural Spaces consistent with the conservation of the surroundings is one of the main goals of the Natural Spaces of Castilla and Leon.

Nevertheless, actually the people with disabilities still find multiple physical, psychological and communication barriers to access and enjoyment of these spaces. This project tries to improve accessibility in the Natural Space of Iruelas, allowing its use and enjoyment for all type of visitors. In this project retrofit design solutions for the existing facilities and project will be based on criteria of Universal Design.


******************************************************************************************************************
Aprobados 163.000 euros para mejorar el acceso al Parque Natural del Lago
El objetivo es permitir el uso y el disfrute del espacio a personas con discapacidad


La Junta de Castilla y León, a través de la Fundación Patrimonio Natural de Castilla y León, aprobó ayer una inversión de 163.162,27 euros para la mejora de la accesibilidad del Lago de Sanabria y sus alrededores.

El uso y disfrute de los Espacios Naturales compatible con la conservación del entorno es uno de los objetivos fundamentales de los Espacios Naturales de Castilla y León. Sin embargo, en la práctica las personas con discapacidad encuentran múltiples barreras físicas, psíquicas y de la comunicación para poder acceder y disfrutar de estos espacios.

Este proyecto pretende mejorar la situación de la accesibilidad en el Espacio Natural de Iruelas, permitiendo el uso y disfrute de los mismos a todo tipo de visitantes. Para ello, las propuestas de intervención en las instalaciones existentes y en proyecto se fundamentarán en criterios de Diseño Universal.

Source:

http://213.0.95.34/secciones/noticia.jsp?pNumEjemplar=1707&pIdSeccion=5&pIdNoticia=177253&rand=1163135760580

Posted by rollingrains at 04:04 AM

November 17, 2006

Lugo in Galicia Receives Universal Design Award

Map.gif

Inclusive Destination Development is being fostered by Spain's premio Reina Sofía de Accesibilidad (Queen Sofia Accessibility Award.) The latest recipient is the town of Lugo.

El premio Reina Sofía de Accesibilidad, que le acaba de ser concedido a Lugo en la modalidad de poblaciones de entre 50.000 habitantes y 100.000, fue muy bien acogido por las asociaciones de discapacitados, algunas de las cuales estuvieron representadas en la tertulia celebrada ayer en el programa Voces de Lugo , de Radio Voz. Manuel Piñeiro, coordinador de Auxilia Lugo; Mónica Álvarez, secretaria de Cogami, y Juan Leirós, director provincial de la ONCE, se mostraron muy satisfechos por la consecución de esta distinción y ratificaron los grandes cambios experimentados desde hace años, pero incidieron en que los avances tienen que continuar, porque todavía quedan muchos sitios que no son accesibles para todas las personas.

Juan Leirós dijo en el programa radiofónico que recibieron la noticia con gran alegría porque estos premios se conceden con gran rigurosidad y no resulta fácil conseguirlos. Considera que «la progresión que ha ido experimentando Lugo en estos años se palpa». Señaló como ejemplos los trabajos de rugosidad de las aceras en los pasos de peatones, los rebajes de los bordillos, los semáforos acústicos o las plazas de aparcamiento. «Queda mucho por hacer, pero los avances están ahí», concluyó.

Mónica Álvarez consideró acertada la decisión del organismo local de trabajar en permanente contacto con las asociaciones de discapacitados. Señaló que la eliminación de barreras proporciona a estas personas una mayor autonomía y facilidad para poder acceder al entorno urbano «e disfrutar do que hai na sociedade en igualdade de condicións, porque temos os mesmos dereitos ao traballo e ao ocio», derechos que podrán ejercer mejor en la medida que exista un diseño universal de supresión de barreras.

Manuel Piñeiro felicitó a la ciudad de Lugo en general, y al Concello en particular porque, según destacó, está prestando atención a este problema desde hace bastantes años, cuando las asociaciones comenzaron a reivindicar mejoras para la movilidad de los discapacitados.

Los representantes de estas agrupaciones incidieron en que antes para muchas personas era una aventura salir de casa simplemente a comprar el pan. Tras recordar que en algún momento «todos somos discapacitados» instaron a seguir trabajando porque aún queda

Source:

http://www.lavozdegalicia.es/ed_lugo/noticia.jsp?CAT=118&TEXTO=5290135

Posted by rollingrains at 04:53 PM

November 15, 2006

Dehli: Accessible Public Transit

India eNews reports:

The Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) has decided to introduce buses convenient for the elderly and handicapped as well as revamp bus shelters to make the capital's public transport system more commuter-friendly.
'We are making the route plates in Braille for the visually handicapped,' said DTC board secretary Swatantra Dua. The facility, already provided at two bus stops, will soon be extended to the remaining bus shelters.

There are over 2,500 bus stops on the 750 bus routes. The 225 bus stops that
DTC plans to set up would have this facility too, Dua said.

'We are trying for a complete makeover of the transport system before the
Commonwealth Games begin so that Delhi can be transformed into a world city
by 2010,' she said.

'We have decided to place an order for 625 low-floor buses so that
handicapped people and elderly citizens would not have any difficulty in
getting on to the bus.'

The footrest of the bus would be the same height as the bus stop. 'It is
being done for easy access for commuters and people in wheelchairs,' she
added.

'We have taken the help of a foreign company to design and build these bus
stops,' Dua said.
She added that a portion of the bus shelter would be reserved for
wheelchairs to provide a preferential seating chair for the handicapped.

'The new bus stop design will have better seats and be designed in a way to
accommodate more people,' added Dua.

The floor of the bus shelter would be of a tactile design so that the
visually challenged can guess their footing on the bus stop.

The DTC was also considering proposals to set up phone booths, drinking
water facilities and Internet at stops so that people could make use of them
while waiting for their bus.

However, she added, 'We have not reached a decision on these proposals yet.'

Source:
http://www.indiaenews.com/business/20061105/27555.htm

Posted by rollingrains at 04:10 PM

November 14, 2006

Ahoy! - Disabled Divers Welcome

Dive Pirates Logo

On the flight to Washington, DC yesterday there were swashbuckling pirates galore in the in-flight movie "Pirates of the Carribean III". The movie reminded me that even pirates -- Dive Pirates to be precise -- are adopting Universal Design and expanding the number of vacation destinations and leisure activites that are accessible to a broad range of people.

As the only resort to dive two of the three Cayman Islands, Brac Reef Beach Resort has added adaptive diver training to its repertoire.

Brac Reef Beach Resort has teamed up with Dive Pirates Foundation-an adaptive dive club and charity for divers with disabilities - to offer the underwater world of the renowned Cayman Islands.

Source:

http://www.langleytimes.com/portals-code/list.cgi?paper=47&cat=46&id=770217&more=

"Adaptive divers are a class of divers who may not be completely able to use their limbs, sight or hearing," said Sophie Wimberley, co-founder of Dive Pirates and adaptive dive instructor.

If they have general mobility and just need a bit of assistance getting in and out of the water, they're adaptive and dive with a specially trained adaptive dive buddy. If they need a lot of help, if they are a quadriplegic or someone who's completely blind, they are considered escorted divers and need three other people to dive with them in a team."

Brac Reef Beach Resort is a wheelchair accessible property that offers valet dive service, professional dive staff and calm waters with little-to-no current, making it worth considering for divers with disabilities.

With 120 dive sites to choose from on two of the islands - including renowned Bloody Bay Wall - the locale is one of the finest in the Caribbean.

In April 2005, Brac Reef Beach Resort and its on-site dive shop, Reef Divers II, hosted the first annual visit for Dive Pirates, based out of Houston, Texas.

Barbara Thompson and Wimberley, dive instructors from SCUBA Houston in Texas, are regular guests of Brac Reef Beach Resort. They began to seriously develop their idea for a recreational dive club, Dive Pirates, while on a trip in March 2003.

Back in Houston, both became certified adaptive dive instructors and realized the club would be a great way to raise money for divers with disabilities. Two years and over $15,000 in fundraising later, this first trip to the Caymans to certify adaptive divers and their adaptive dive buddies became a reality.

"The Brac Reef dive boats are very well set up for divers with disabilities, and the staff is incredibly professional, helpful, fun and open to anyone who wants to come diving," said Thompson, co-founder of Dive Pirates and adaptive dive instructor. "We're doing all the same dive sites we would be doing with able-bodied divers."

The mission of the organization Dive Pirates is to support, train, equip and provide dive travel to individuals with disabilities through adaptive SCUBA diving while diving within the mainstream SCUBA world.

TO GO:

First, you'll have to join Dive Pirates by pulling a practical joke and donating money for adaptive SCUBA training and travel. Any donation is appreciated, but new Pirates donating $50 or more receive free T-shirts or do-rags. Contact Barbara or Sophie at wwdgd@sbcglobal.net to send your donation, photo and story of your practical joke.

The next Brac Reef Beach Resort excursion is May 19-26, 2007 and cost is to be announced. For information on Dive Pirates, call 832-212-1967, visit www.divepirates.org. For details on the esort, call 1-800-594-0843 or visit www.bracreef.com.

Posted by rollingrains at 12:59 AM

November 10, 2006

Amory Park del Sol: Tucson

armoryparklogo

The Rio Declaration on Universal Design as Sustainable Development endorses the alignment of Universal Design and energy efficiency that is exemplified by Tucson's Amory Park del Sol. Read about their approach to to access & visitability. Projects such as this can significantly contribute to the next step -- Inclusive Destination Development.

Energy Value Housing Award


All the homes here incorporate “universal design”, an idea conceived by the late architect Ron Mace who founded and directed The Center for Universal Design at North Carolina State University (www.design.ncsu.edu/cud). In this concept, elements are chosen which, while esthetically pleasing, function for the greatest variety of people. For instance, round doorknobs are useless to a person with limited hand strength, but everyone can use lever handles.

Some of the design features discreetly built into every home at Armory Park del Sol include:

o Step free entryways
o Extra wide hallways
o Three foot wide door openings
o Hard Surface Flooring, Concrete, Wood or Tile
o Bathroom grab bars
o Roll- in and walk-in showers
o Dual Shower Heads with Slide bar
o 6 foot wide sidewalks
o Extra wide patio access gates

These elements ensure that every home is “visitable” by everyone regardless of physical limitations. Moreover, they increase the safety and comfort of all the occupants. From the day you move in – when the movers maneuver your precious belongings without banging into wall and doorways – you will appreciate the sense of openness. Strollers, shopping carts, and luggage roll in with ease. Bathroom injuries are reduced for all users. And as we age, you won’t need to make expensive modifications. They’re already here.

It’s a home for life!

Source:

http://www.armoryparkdelsol.com/accessibility.htmlA

Posted by rollingrains at 03:10 PM

November 08, 2006

Dinning Out in Sydney

eatability_logo Genghis_khan_restaurant

Eatability Sydney, Australia has a special promotion going on. Restaurants listed at Eatability are accessible. A site with such high production values at Eatability can only be a positive impetus to consciousness of inclusion in the local dining market.

Win a Night Out at Genghis Khan Mongolian BBQ Restaurant! How would you like to win one of 20 dinners for two at Genghis Khan Mongolian BBQ Restaurant - King Street Wharf or Chatswood - valued at $75 each?
Posted by rollingrains at 03:13 PM

November 05, 2006

Visitability

Concrete Change is the flagship promoter of the concept "Visitability."

Ragged Edge magazine has also developed a valuable online resource at www.visitability.org. So has SUNY-Buffalo's Center for Inclusive Design and the Australian Network for Universal Housing Design. The Center for Universal Design at the University of North Carolina keeps a listing of Visitability-related events here.

Note that the Australian Network for Universal Housing Design is holding its first national event on November 8, 2006 at the Avillion Hotel, 389 Pitt Street, Sydney.

Posted by rollingrains at 08:03 PM

November 04, 2006

Ski France! (in French)

handica logo

Doing anything special this Christmas Season? Handica.com has an idea for you:

Symconcept - Handi-skiez à Noël : Vacances de rêve en Haute-Savoie ! SYMCONCEPT (SYMCONCEPT) Résumé : Au coeur de la montagne, dans un village typiquement savoyard, en hôtel ou en appartement , SYMconcept vous garanti un accueil chaleureux et convivial.
Etabli dans 4 Hôtels, et 9 Appartements SYMconcept vous propose une qualité d'hébergement exceptionnelle. Accessibilité et aménagement pour des personnes ayant un handicap.

Au coeur de la montagne, dans un village typiquement savoyard, en hôtel ou en appartement , SYMconcept vous garanti un accueil chaleureux et convivial.

Formule SYMconcept :

- Une semaine de cours (2 Heures/jour ) HANDI-SKI avec un moniteur diplômé d'Etat Spécialisé Handisport.
- Un forfait Remontées Mécaniques d'une semaine sur MORZINE / LES GETS pour la personne handicapée.
- Un hébergement (hôtel ou appartement) pour toute la famille.

Pour toutes personnes accompagnatrices, SYMconcept vous propose, avec votre collaboration, de programmer également vos vacances.

More information:
http://www.handica.com/produits_services/produit.php?cat=&prd=1575

Posted by rollingrains at 08:14 PM

October 31, 2006

Get Around Guide

Darren Hillock produces a blog, Get Around Guide, that I read to stay up-to-date. A recent post covers the globalization of Universal Design in the backpackers travel niche.

You saw it in Kerry & Jane Winberg's revolutionary Tasmanian circuit of accessible backpacker accommomdations. Starting with their flagship venue in Launceston, Tasmania I had the pleasure of visiting their porperties two years ago. Fast forward to October 2006 and read about Northwest Portland International Hostel in Portland, Oregon.

Posted by rollingrains at 05:41 AM

Turismo Brasil: Postos de informações empregam portadores de necessidades especiais

A partir de quinta-feira (02/11), 22 jovens portadores de necessidades especiais começam a trabalhar nos postos de informações turísticas da Bahiatursa espalhados por Salvador. Eles fazem parte do Projeto Adolescente Aprendiz, apoiado pelo governo estadual, que está aproveitando-os no atendimento ao turista e em muitos outros serviços.

O projeto acompanha e insere adolescentes no mercado de trabalho com idade entre 14 e 24 anos, e auxilia, principalmente, jovens com renda familiar de até 50% do salário mínimo, portadores de algum tipo de deficiência, órfãos residentes em casas de assistência. A iniciativa possui 7 anos de existência e durante esse período inseriu cerca de 700 adolescentes no mercado de trabalho, dos quais 90% negros.

Coordenado pelo Padre Alfredo Dórea e a pedagoga Iraildes Andrade, o projeto prepara os jovens para o atendimento ao turista, além de despertar neles o interesse sobre assuntos como cidadania, consciência e habilidade em informática. Além da Bahiatursa, a iniciativa envolve mais 40 empresas de grande porte com atuação no Estado, a exemplo do Banco do Brasil e Coelba.


DECOM – Bahiatursa


Juliana Galindo
decom@bahiatursa.ba.gov.br
(71) 3117-3081
31/10/2006

VISITE O PORTAL
www.bahia.com.br

Posted by rollingrains at 01:13 AM

October 30, 2006

Blind Travelers and Valencia, Spain

Valencia, Spain initiated a project for travelers with visual impairments.

Posted by rollingrains at 08:16 AM

Pansonic Mashes Up Green & Universal Design

Panasonic's prototype of a green home, the Eco & UD model home (Eco stands for ecological; UD stands for universal design) sports a host of energy-conserving appliances and could be built by 2010. CNET News.com's Michael Kanellos took a look during a recent trip to Tokyo. Read the story here:

http://news.com.com/2300-1008_3-6129155-1.html

Posted by rollingrains at 04:04 AM

October 29, 2006

Big Bear Countree

The outdoors present some challenges for travelers with mobility impairments. Darrel Von has a vision for meeting the challenges -- and having a good time! The culmination of his dream is Big Bear Countree in Carlton, Oregon.

Browse his site for Darrel's history, stories, and links with a focus on outdoor adventure.



I have retired from the family logging business, married my beautiful, loving wife, Mary and have started my life-long dream of Big Bear Countree, Inc. This company and Website will help provide the means for many to get around in the great outdoors via four track, Argo, trackster, rafts, wave runners, boat, bike, flying and much more. It will allow me to teach and learn from others who strive to make a better and more enjoyable life in this challenging world. Tours, lessons, safety courses, and pooling resources from others will be our main goals for this venture. We look forward to meeting you!

Darrel & Mary

Telephone: 503.852.7926
Fax: 503.852.0152
Mailing Address: 17415 Panther Creek Rd.
Carlton, OR 97111

Source:

http://www.bigbearcountree.com/

Posted by rollingrains at 01:13 AM

October 28, 2006

Free Publicity for Hilton Hotels

bath

When the Head Concierge himself asks me to post about an oversight in accessibility here at Rolling Rains I am ready to take a closer look at the values of his hotel.

It happened as I was checking into the Arlington Hilton last week for the SeniorNet 20th Anniversary Conference. Henry, the night concierge, was there to assist me from the moment the taxi pulled up. Showing me to my room (which, for some reason - perhaps a case of mistake identity - was on the exclusive Club Floor.) In the process of getting settled he pointed out to me that, in spite of his repreated requests to the management over the year, the bathroom counter in the accessible room 726 was too low and I would hit my knees on it.

Sure enough, I did. Several times!


Everything else about the hotel was superb. That prompted me to book with Hilton here in Anaheim where I will speak at AARP's Life@50+ Conference.

door.jpg

towels


Service again is commendable.

This time the room - bathroom and all - is very comfortable and wheelchair accessible. There are low towel racks on the inside of the bathroom door. The handheld shower is installed properly so that it is reachable even when extended to its highest point. Grab bars are ubiquitous in the bathroom but at the same time blend with the color scheme. These are fine points often overlooked in a "compliance to ADA is sufficient" hotel - and they make all the difference in the world when I am decided who gets my business.
.

Someone at Hilton understands the difference between stylish and sterile!
Since I seem to be in this area frequently for conferences I found a place that is almost as comfortable as home.

Posted by rollingrains at 04:46 AM

October 27, 2006

The Accessible City (A Resource in Spanish)

sin_barerras logo

The site La Ciudad sin Barreras gathers online information to serve a Spanish audience with disabilities:

Este espacio pretende facilitar el acceso a la información existente en Internet en relación con las necesidades de los discapacitados españoles, así como facilitar su integración social y difundir aspectos relacionados con la prevención de las minusvalías.

More:

http://sinbarreras.aut.org/oferta.html


http://sinbarreras.aut.org/Plano?36,33

Posted by rollingrains at 03:34 AM

Segway Synergies

Alan Rice offers a unique mode of travel to tourists in Hawaii. He is " the only official Segway dealer in Hawaii, he's already sold units to the Honolulu Police Department and the U.S. military, and hopes that more people will consider purchasing the device.

"You can go outside, get on the city bus ... roll out and do your business, roll back in and go back home," he said. "So many physically challenged people are using these and getting out of wheelchairs, and it makes them feel alive."

Source:

http://starbulletin.com/2006/10/01/features/story01.html

Posted by rollingrains at 03:06 AM

October 22, 2006

Singapore Welcomes Universal Design

Singapore's Building and Construction Authority is poised to enact an important affirmation of Universal Design in March 2007.

SINGAPORE: Architects, building owners and property agents have welcomed the move to make the streets and buildings of Singapore more user-friendly.

They also believe the move, which they say is long overdue, will help establish Singapore as a gracious nation.

50-year-old architect Michael Ngu fully understands and endorses the need to make all buildings accessible to all - after all, he has to rely on crutches to get around.

" It's a milestone that we have reached today. Personally, I think it's a good thing that we're doing for society. Something that we need to buy into very quickly. As an architects, we need to respond to this very well. What is important is really the overriding policy to change mindset of people around us. If professionals like myself design buildings that comply with the Barrier Free Accessibility and the universal design, then it can be accepted upstream much more easier," said Mr Ngu.

The Building and Construction Authority had announced it is going to make it a must, from March 2007, for all new buildings to be user-friendly, especially to the elderly and physically handicapped, and all new residential developments should have bathrooms that wheelchairs can easily get into.

It is hoped the code on barrier-free accessibility in buildings, which is currently under review, will help sort things out.

"In a tight spaced development like Singapore, we are going to be very, very efficient in planning. The code (in time to come) which we may adopt, will start to impose quite a bit of rethinking and redesigning presumably and quite possibly use a lot of space than we would have otherwise in the current code," said Mr Ngu.

Industry players agree cost should not be the main factor when implementing these changes (especially when they have to address the concerns of the ageing society and the physically challenged),

"I don't think it will be a very big impact. I say this because developers today are already considering this. You see them putting wheelchair ramps in the lobby area, to access to the elevator and the elevator to the houses. But now more importantly they need to consider not just that building itself but building to building," said Chris Koh, Director, Dennis Wee Properties.

Responding, the Real Estate Developers' Association says it also supports the initiative.

Source:

http://www.channelnewsasia.com/stories/singaporelocalnews/view/233441/1/.html

Posted by rollingrains at 03:20 AM

October 19, 2006

Poland Receives the Franklin Delano Roosevelt International Disability Award,

The Republic of Poland was at the United Nations with the presentation of Franklin Delano Roosevelt International Disability Award, an honour bestowed on a country that has promoted and protected the rights of their disabled population. The award was presented to Poland’s President Lech Kaczynski by Anna Eleanor Roosevelt, granddaughter of the late president, Franklin D. Roosevelt, at a ceremony held at United Nations Headquarters in New York, New York.

More here.

NEW YORK, September 18, 2006 - The Republic of Poland today was honoured at the United Nations with the presentation of Franklin Delano Roosevelt International Disability Award, an honour bestowed on a country that has promoted and protected the rights of their disabled population. The award was presented to Poland’s President Lech Kaczynski by Anna Eleanor Roosevelt, granddaughter of the late president, Franklin D. Roosevelt, at a ceremony held at the United Nations.

Poland has undergone dramatic political, social and economic changes in the past 17 years since the fall of the Iron Curtain. During this time, they have made phenomenal progress in disability inclusion. Their constitution, drawn in 1997, guarantees the full participation of people with disabilities in all facets of life, particularly in employment. This constitutional commitment has been translated into reality in the daily lives of people with disabilities.

The FDR Award consists of a bust of FDR, and a $50,000 cash prize which, this year, will be given to The Association for the Welfare of the Deaf and Blind, a Polish non-government organization that specializes in providing assistance to persons with hearing and vision impairments. Among the services are: rehabilitation and communication training; assistance with employment, purchase of rehabilitation aids, and organization of artistic workshops and events to help integrate deaf and blind persons into society.

“Poland is at the dawn of becoming an economic and social force in Eastern Europe. They are working diligently to ensure that their people with disabilities are included in the prosperity the country is now experiencing,” said The Hon. Michael R. Deland, chairman of the World Committee on Disability, a co-sponsor of the award.

The award was established in 1995 by the World Committee and the Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt Institute, and named after President Franklin Roosevelt who contracted polio at the age of 21, and was elected president of the United States four times.

Anna Roosevelt said, “My grandfather set an incredible example by showing a physical disability does not hinder the heights a person can achieve. I am sure my grandfather would be delighted to witness the accomplishments of the Republic of Poland in assisting their citizens with disabilities.” Poland is the ninth UN member nation to be honored with this award. Previous winners include: Jordan, Italy, Ecuador, Thailand, Hungary, Ireland, Canada, and the Republic of Korea.

Ambassador William vanden Heuvel said, "We are delighted that Poland is receiving this distinguished Award and it is wonderful to see how the FDR International Disability Award has inspired governments to bring people with disabilities into the mainstream of life."

For more information on the award, visit www.worldcommitteeondisability.org or www.feri.org. Information on The Association for the Welfare of the Deaf and Blind may be accessed at www.tpg.org.pl (Polish only).

The Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt Institute is a nonprofit organization headquartered at the FDR Presidential Library in Hyde Park, New York. Its mission is to inform new generations of the ideals and achievements of Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt, to inspire the application of their spirit of optimism and innovation to the solution of current problems and to provide financial and program support to the FDR Library.

The World Committee on Disability is the international arm of the National Organization on Disability, a U.S. non-profit organization based in Washington, D.C. N.O.D. founded the World Committee in 1985 to reinforce and strengthen the work of the United Nations in implementing worldwide the U.N. World Programme of Action Concerning Disabled Persons.

The Franklin & Eleanor Roosevelt Institute and the World Committee on Disability thank the following sponsors for their generous support of the FDR International Disability Award program: American International Group, Inc., The Coca-Cola Company, and Frederick and Peggy Furth.

For more information, contact Mary Dolan at (202) 955-6313 or (202) 368-1083 on September 18. You can also contact Carolyn Myles at (703) 525-6017 (land) or (703) 505-6818 (mobile).

The web cast of the FDR International Award Ceremony can be viewed on the United Nations web site at www.un.org/webcast.

Posted by rollingrains at 05:52 AM

October 16, 2006

Accessible America Awards: Call for Entries

N.O.D.is calling on America’s mayors and chief elected officials to enter their communities in the sixth annual Accessible America awards competition, open to all U.S. cities and towns. Entries must be postmarked no later than October 31, 2006.

Thanks to sponsors UPS and Wal-Mart, communities will compete for $35,000 in cash prizes. Entrants will showcase how their citizens with disabilities are participating in and contributing to local community life. Cambridge, MA, West Hollywood, CA and Austin, TX were the 2005 winners, surpassing dozens of outstanding entries from diverse communities nationwide.

WASHINGTON, D.C., August 21, 2006—The National Organization on Disability (N.O.D.) is calling on America’s mayors and chief elected officials to enter their communities in the sixth annual Accessible America awards competition, open to all U.S. cities and towns. Thanks to sponsors UPS (United Parcel Service) and Wal-Mart, communities will compete for $35,000 in cash prizes. Entrants will showcase how their citizens with disabilities are participating in and contributing to local community life. Cambridge, MA, West Hollywood, CA and Austin, TX were the 2005 winners, surpassing dozens of outstanding entries from diverse communities nationwide.

The winning cities or towns designated in the Accessible America 2006 competition will be places where citizens with disabilities have opportunities for full and equal participation in the life of their community, including access to education, jobs, voting, transportation, housing, religious worship, and a full range of social, recreational, cultural, and sports activities. Another area that N.O.D. is giving special focus to is emergency preparedness for people with disabilities. The competition highlights community-wide progress and inspires replication of best practices programs and ideas.

To enter the competition, communities will submit an official Accessible America application signed by their mayor or chief elected official describing how their city or town (or county representing unincorporated communities within its borders) provides opportunities for citizens with disabilities to participate fully in community life. Entries must be postmarked no later than October 31, 2006.

“People who have disabilities are part of every community, and deserve to feel not only welcomed but also safe in our cities and towns,” said N.O.D. president Michael R. Deland. “As the American dream becomes realistic for everyone, including those of us with disabilities, the country as a whole will benefit,” he continued.

“Accessible America communities are committed to opportunities that encourage people with disabilities to participate and contribute just like everyone else,” said Nancy Starnes, N.O.D. Vice President. “Best practices ideas from Accessible America winners are the result of a clear message sent by local leaders that people with disabilities are influential members of their city or town,” she added. Ms. Starnes is a wheelchair user and former mayor of Sparta, N.J.

The 2004 N.O.D./Harris Survey of Americans with Disabilities identified ten key gap areas where people with disabilities were documented to be at a significant disadvantage in comparison to other Americans. One of the gap areas is community involvement, and others, including employment, education, access to housing and transportation, and involvement in religious and political life, also directly reflect whether people are receiving the welcome and support they need in their communities.

To learn more about the Accessible America 2006 competition – as well as the numerous benefits N.O.D.’s Community Partnership Program offers to member communities – visit N.O.D.’s web site, www.nod.org, or call Ms. Starnes at 202/293-5960. Membership in the Community Partnership Program is not a prerequisite for entering the Accessible America competition.

The National Organization on Disability promotes the full and equal participation and contribution of America’s 54 million men, women and children with disabilities in all aspects of life. For more information about N.O.D.’s programs, visit www.nod.org.

More information here.

Posted by rollingrains at 05:55 AM

October 15, 2006

Five Inclusive US Cities

One good reaon to pick up this month's New Mobility magazine is the article Five Inclusive Cities by Roxanne Furlong

This year, the National Organization on Disability awarded its $25,000 Accessible America first place prize to Cambridge, Mass. West Hollywood, Calif., won second prize -- $20,000 -- and Austin, Texas, won the third prize of $10,000. What does it take for these cities to win these awards? With an eye towards inclusion, New Mobility tracked down the main reasons these communities were winners, plus we threw into the mix two larger cities that we felt stacked up to the top two winners.
Posted by rollingrains at 05:45 AM

October 11, 2006

Valencia Tourism on the Rise

Not only is Valencia, Spain making progess on public accessibility it is enjoying increased tourism. Cause & effect? To soon to prove but I'd bet money on it anyway.

The Ministry of Tourism has presented the results of the study IMPACTUR (on the Economic Impact of Tourism) carried out in collaboration with Exceltur. One of the conclusions of the study is that the contribution of tourism to the GDP of the Community of Valencia has gone from 12.9% in 2003 to 13.8% in 2005, almost one point more in only two years.

Source: TravelTurisme

Posted by rollingrains at 06:04 AM

October 08, 2006

Spanish Committee of Representatives of People with Disabilities (CERMI)

Accessibility to cultural venues, tourism and leisure services for people with disabilities is still very limited, according to the Spanish Committee of Representatives of People with Disabilities (CERMI). CERMI states that “Guaranties of accessibility should not be considered as a matter of sensitivity or of an agent’s good faith, but more as a matter of fundamental rights which should be guaranteed by the Government through a binding and effective law”.
Their proposals to improve accessibility are very concise: they extend from establishing the necessary legal framework in order to regulate accessibility to audiovisual media (subtitling or broadcasting into Sign Language the program for deaf people, audiodescription of a specific program for blind people) to the elaboration of a National Plan for the development of an Accessible Tourism.

Although the main Spanish museums have already been modified for people with disabilities (the Reina Sofía Museum, the Museo del Prado, the Guggenheim Museum of Bilbao, the Dali Museum at Figueras, the Picasso Museum at Barcelona and the IVAM Valencia Institute of Modern Art, among others) the cultural heritage of Spain, in general, frequently presents difficult obstacles to overcome. Access to monuments, installations or cultural activities for people with disabilities is not always taken into consideration.

Even though some initiatives have been made to compile information on accessible hotels, beaches, rural tourism, trekking and tourism services for people with disabilities, the truth is that there is still little specific professional preparation, and more rarely do agencies and tour operators offer travels that don’t entail an obstacle course full of disappointments for the 3.5 million Spaniards who suffer from some kind of disability, and for their families, altogether, 10 million people. According to CERMI’s sources, there is a market with an important potential demand.

Source:
http://www.cermi.es/
http://www.canalsolidario.org/

Posted by rollingrains at 06:06 PM

October 05, 2006

Accommodation in Newburyport, Massachusetts

Jessica Reaves has found an accessible place to stay that has a bit of character in Newburyport, Masschusetts in Sunny Rooms in Scenic Massachusetts Port

Nestled on a leafy side street in one of the most scenic seaports and about 38 miles northeast of Boston, the Essex Street Inn fits right in with Newburyport's history. Settled in the 1630s, Newburyport quickly became one of New England's most profitable and important maritime trading ports. The town suffered an economic downswing in the early part of the 20th Century, but, thanks to community activists, has once again become a picturesque and popular residential and vacation hotspot.

The Essex Inn was built in 1880 in "Eclectic Victorian" style, its pale yellow clapboard exterior offset by black shutters. The 27 guest rooms, all recently renovated, are furnished with antique reproductions and freshly painted in a sunny color palette. Some of the pricier rooms boast gas fireplaces, canopy or four-poster beds and a Jacuzzi tub...

You can easily walk to any location in town--including bustling State Street where shops are alternately touristy and tasteful. The Newburyport waterfront is just a few blocks away, and area beaches are easily reachable by car or bicycle.

Source:
http://www.chicagotribune.com/travel/chi-0609230020sep24,1,3531728.story?coll=chi-travel-hed&ctrack=1&cset=true

Posted by rollingrains at 11:30 PM

September 29, 2006

Japan: General Principles of Universal Design Policy

Japan is implementing Universal Design with innovative projects and comprehensive planning at the highest levels:

The entire Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport will develop more advanced measures based on the concept of universal design and introduce the successful results nationwide by effectively supporting efficient and pioneering efforts by project and by region based on the characteristics of problems encountered according to conditions in each region in order to encourage such pioneering efforts that contribute to the widespread introduction of universal design.

Source:
http://www.mlit.go.jp/english/2006/a_policy_bureau/01_udpolicy/03_10.html

(Specific cases)

[Redevelopment of new towns]
In residential districts such as Tama New Town or Senri New Town that were developed between 30 and 40 years ago, facilities have deteriorated and declined, the population has aged, and the period of overall redevelopment is approaching. Therefore, this situation is taken as the opportunity to redevelop multi-function cities based on the concept of universal design as places where diverse people can live, work, and relax.

[Realization of airports that anyone can use easily]
Taking the Sendai Airport that will be accessible by rail beginning in 2007 as a model, the Universal Design Promotion Committee was established to undertake comprehensive measures including gathering opinions from a wide range of people including airport users, taking steps to achieve continuous barrier free state between the railway station and the airport terminal, completing information provision systems, and establishing a personnel training system. Efforts will be made to introduce the results at other airports nationwide.

[Smoothing transfers at large scale terminals]
By forming consultative committees of railway and bus service operators and facility managers (regional governments etc.) and at the same time by providing concentrated support in cooperation with related business such as contractors that perform station improvement work or that construct bus terminals or pedestrian decks in front of railway stations at large-scale terminals where passengers transfer between many busses and trains, measures such as providing integrated easily understood transfer guidance and improving transfer routes are undertaken to smooth the use of public transportation systems at transfer points (beginning this year, at Sannomiya (City of Kobe), studies will begin to form a concrete consensus).

[Tourist regions]
Several locations in Japan have been selected for a study of the needs of tourist regions based on the concept of universal design-the construction of a basic concept, the provision of uniform guide signs, standardized equipping of toilets for handicapped people, deploying volunteers, and so on-in order to create tourist regions that elderly and handicapped people can tour safety and comfortably.

[Roads]
The establishment of Daily Life Street Zones (in Matsuyama City in Ehime Prefecture for example) is promoted to create high quality living environments by prioritizing the safe and convenient use by pedestrians over use by automobiles by preventing through traffic and at the same time, planting trees along roads linked to the road side vegetation, removing power poles etc.

[Parks]
At the Showa Kinen Park and similar parks, physical measures such as providing pathways and playgrounds and removing barriers from toilets are accompanied by non-physical measures such as training volunteers to assist handicapped people and preparing barrier free maps to create urban parks that anyone can enjoy without anxiety.

Posted by rollingrains at 03:41 AM

September 28, 2006

Philadelphia by Ear: Podcast Tourism

While it does not appear to have been motivated by an intention to enhance Inclusive Tourism the consequence of Philadelpia's SoundAboutPhilly is just as beneficial.

Part Google mash up, part iTunes podcast, part RSS feed this project puts Web 2.0 technology on the tourism industry map.

More info:

SoundAboutPhilly
http://www.gophila.com/soundabout/

Press Release

http://sev.prnewswire.com/travel/20060921/PHTH02021092006-1.html

Posted by rollingrains at 06:53 AM

September 23, 2006

Guatemala,Transmetro, y Diseño Universal

Desde el momento en que se anunció la construcción del Transmetro, las organizaciones de personas con discapacidad presentaron a la Municipalidad Capitalina propuestas concretas para que Guatemala se convierta en un país que toma en cuenta los derechos de personas con discapacidad y con movilidad limitada;
... sin embargo, se han topado con la falta de voluntad política del Concejo Municipal, la incapacidad de escuchar, de comprender y la falta de solidaridad humana del alcalde Arzú para atender sus peticiones y necesidades más urgentes en una ciudad donde el transporte, las calles, los mercados y diversas instituciones han sido construidas para la movilidad de unos y excluyente para la población que tiene serias dificultadas para hacerlo. La mayoría de las pasarelas ya construidas son ejemplo de ello y así serán las que construirán en pasos especiales del Transmetro.

El martes 19 de septiembre se realizó una Vista Pública en la Sala 3ra. de Apelaciones en la cual los afectados plantearon sus argumentos legales establecidos en la Constitución Política de la República, pues según ellos, la puesta en marcha del Transmetro, tal y como está diseñado en la actualidad, es una clara violación al derecho de libre locomoción, de igualdad de oportunidades, y un acto discriminatorio y excluyente en contra de este sector de la población y demandan que los servicios públicos sean incluyentes y diseñados bajo los principios del diseño universal.

Las personas con discapacidad no están pidiendo nada del otro mundo, sino ser tratados como seres humanos dignos y sujetos de derechos y merecen que los proyectos, planes y políticas les incluyan de manera integral. Ellos y ellas no quieren seguir siendo considerados como objetos de beneficencia y de un “tratamiento especial”. El transporte público es un derecho inherente al ser humano y debe ser garantizado y respetado.

Ojalá y las argumentaciones legales y justas planteadas por las organizaciones de personas con discapacidad, sean escuchadas por los honorables Magistrados de la Sala Tercera de Apelaciones, pues talvez eso permite al señor alcalde descender del pedestal y escuchar el clamor de un sector de la población que es marginado y excluido. Las grandes obras se reflejan en el beneficio a todos los sectores y no en el servicio al sector exclusivo al que pertenece el Alcalde o quienes tienen vehículos y hasta pilotos para movilizarse de un lado a otro.

Source

Posted by rollingrains at 03:35 AM

September 22, 2006

Lime Taxis -- Another Reason to Visit Sydney

Do Sydney in style! Lime Taxis says:

Australia has never before seen a taxi fleet to rival Lime.

Everything about Lime, from its fleet of luxurious Mercedes-Benz Vito vehicles, to its service quality, operating principles, back up and support systems, has been purposely built to exceed expectations. The business principle that underpins all this is as simple as it is effective: find out what passengers want and give it to them.

For the disabled community, this will mean a design previously undreamt of in standards of access and comfort. For the corporate world, it will mean delivering on all the touch points of customer service - on time, every time.

http://www.limetaxis.com.au/

http://www.limetaxis.com.au/passengers/passengers.htm#community_spirit

http://www.limetaxis.com.au/corporate/about_us.htm

Posted by rollingrains at 05:19 PM

September 20, 2006

Back to the Roots: Tourism for All - UK

The Belfast Telegraph recounts the history of Inclusive Travel in the UK. After an early lead in promotion the UK is still striving to achieve quantifiable data on the travel behavior and purchasing power of travelers with disabilities. Such data is essential to providnig travel and hospitality professionals with the tools they need to bring travelers with disabilties and seniors from the margins to the core of their market:

Government statistics estimate there are around 10 million people registered as disabled in the UK, of which Visit Britain estimates roughly 2.5 million are regular travellers. "In terms of spending power the figures we have are quite general," says Mr Seaman, "but as a market sector we're talking billions of pounds."
Source: http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/lifestyle/travel/story.jsp?story=707009
Travellers with disabilities still face challenges, 30 years after the first attempt to meet their needs, says Mark MacKenzie 19 September 2006

This year sees the 30th anniversary of a report which, when published, represented arguably the first serious attempt in this country to address the needs of tourists with disabilities. When it first appeared in 1976, Tourism - the Social Need found an industry so poorly equipped for the task that four years later it led to the creation of the Holiday Care Service, a charity whose sole objective was to tackle the problem.

Two years ago that organisation changed it's name to Tourism for All, and today it is at the forefront of the long-running campaign to ensure Britain's tourist attractions are genuinely open to everybody.

"The idea [of the original report] was to plug an information gap," says Brian Seaman of Tourism for All. "Too often, people would travel to their accommodation and then not be able to get into the bathroom. In the days before the internet they had to rely on the information in a brochure being accurate." Invariably it wasn't.

Government statistics estimate there are around 10 million people registered as disabled in the UK, of which Visit Britain estimates roughly 2.5 million are regular travellers. "In terms of spending power the figures we have are quite general," says Mr Seaman, "but as a market sector we're talking billions of pounds."

With so much cash sloshing about, has anything changed in the three decades since the report? In England, more enlightened tourism providers have, since 1987, been able to sign up to the National Accessible Scheme, a voluntary accreditation system for establishments providing good access. Run by, among others, Visit Britain, with just 450 members in a marketplace of thousands the uptake is, says Mr Seaman, far from comprehensive. In April of this year those providers that are on board were published in a new guide, Britain's Accessible Places to Stay, yet Tourism for All's long-term goal remains for such guides to one day become redundant.

Significantly, says Mr Seaman, much progress has been made by the UK's larger hotel chains, Best Western being a notable example. While improvements are due in part to government legislation such as the Disability Discrimination Act of 1995, many chains have not only improved access but use mystery shoppers to test its effectiveness. Attracting tourists with disabilities is, of course, dependent on the co-operation of local authorities. "Brighton is an example of a city that includes a number of steep hills," says Mr Seaman, "and the local council there recently carried out an 'access audit' to determine how it might improve facilities."

Of the UK's 10 million registered disabled, Mr Seaman points to the fact that "only around 5 per cent actually use a wheelchair. The remainder comprise a range of disabilities, and improving access information for these groups represents a real challenge for the future."

One country setting something of a benchmark is Denmark. Its Accessibility Labelling Scheme not only ranks facilities by their disability provision, but also the range of impairments they cater for, from asthma to reading difficulties.

The scheme operates under the auspices of the Danish Accessibility Association, a non-profit organisation that was formed as recently as 2003. "While the scheme does run nationwide," says Alan Sorenson of Visit Denmark, "we do have a number of stand-out regions that are being particularly innovative in this area. West Jutland, for example, has undertaken major works on wooden footpaths to make sure all its beaches now have disabled access."

So are we likely to see a similarly comprehensive scheme in Britain any time soon? Brian Seaman is confident. "Thirty years ago this was an extremely marginal issue," he says. "We're realistic enough to know that some hotels will never be accessible to everyone but in terms of information on those that are, a new website appears almost every month."


Source:

http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/lifestyle/travel/story.jsp?story=707009

Posted by rollingrains at 02:52 AM

September 18, 2006

An Occupational Therapist as Tour Guide

Tugboat


This is no ordinary tour and you tour guide is tour guide is no ordinary OT. This is Ingrid ("SpookyOT") from the Rolling Rains Travel With a Disbility photo-sharing site at Flickr giving you the insider's view of universally designed playgrounds!

Take a tour of a playground in Hamilton, Ontario here

Find more at Center for Creative Play - www.cfcp.org

Ingrid writes:

I also have an amazing job helping communities create wonderful play environments that are designed for individuals of ALL ability to play in - I have spend the past four years working with this small non-profit organization in Pittsburgh, PA called the Center for Creative Play - www.cfcp.org and helping three Michigan communities create their own play spaces. It's wonderful to work somewhere that firstly is designed to be universally accessible and secondly where the staff understand how to empower each individual regardless of their "disability".

Further Resurces:

Able to Play
www.abletoplay.org

Posted by rollingrains at 12:54 PM

September 13, 2006

TouriSME

The European initiative TouriSME, a community initiative of the Interreg IIIC Regional Operation Plan, reaches its conclusions this year. What will its lasting effect be?

The Community of Valencia, along with the Province of Limburg, Holland, the Sachsen-Anhalt region of Germany, and the region of North East England, is involved in the European project TouriSME, a community initiative of the Interreg IIIC Regional Operation Plan. For the Generalitat, the European Affairs Office of the President and the IMPIVA are also included. The aim of Interreg is to generate interregional exchanges of experience and knowledge, and to create a working network linking administrations, association and various public and private sector agents of the various regional members.

The Valencia Tourism Agency, which is part of the Tourism Consellería, is involved in four subprojects of the TouriSME programme: Natural Patrimony and Tourism, Accessible Tourism, New Markets, and Tourism Structures. On the occasion of the 4th Interregional Operation Plan Conference, held in Valencia, in October, 2005, the Valencian Agency of Tourism, organised a parallel visit for the English delegates participating as associate members of the Agency in the “Accessible Tourism” subproject.

The English associates, accompanied by a Tourist-Information Office representative, visited three tourism spots: the Fallero Museum and two hotels in the city of Valencia. As a result, the English members independently and of their own volition prepared a report on the accessibility standards of the places they had visited, which overall was quite favourable.

Prior to their visit, a meeting took place in the Tourism Centre CdT of Valencia, in which the heads of accessibility matters in the Valencian Agency of Tourism and the Social Well-being Consellería explained to the English delegation the legislation, plan of action and aid programmes that the Generalitat has undertaken in order to improve accessibility to tourism destinations and products in the Community of Valencia.

The British delegation was favourably impressed by the aid plan of the Valencian Tourism Agency for the adaptation of tourism establishments for the disabled, and they highlighted the high standard of accessibility to the beaches of the Community of Valencia.

The Interreg IIIC TouriSME programme will terminate in 2006. Till then, the Valencia Tourism Agency will continue working with its associates in the Accessible Tourism project, who attended the X International Tourism Forum of Benidorm, where 150 representatives discussed the infrastructure and service differentiations in destinations. Especially noteworthy was the round table discussion on the subject of accessible tourism and the adaptation of tourism infrastructures and services to the needs of new market segments.

Source:
Conselleria de Turisme
www.comunidad-valenciana.org

Posted by rollingrains at 06:11 PM

September 10, 2006

Austrian Travel Resource: Informationsplattform Barrierefreier Tourismus

IBFT Logo

For travel planning to Austria, provided your German is polished up*, try Informationsplattform Barrierefreier Tourismus. For more on Austrian accessibility see Behindertenarbeit.

* OK, there's also an English version for folks like me:

http://www.ibft.at/en/start

Posted by rollingrains at 01:53 AM

September 05, 2006

United Nations Recognizes Disability Rights: Africa Responds

pambazuka logof

The 2004 Rio Declaration on Sustainable Inclusive Development set a high standard in the ongoing dialogue on development and disability. Progress continues. The following is by Lina Lindblom, communications officer at the Secretariat of the African Decade of Persons with Disabilities. The aricle celebrates the August 25, 2006 approval of a UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

PROTECTING THE RIGHTS OF THE DISABLED
http://www.pambazuka.org/

by Lina Lindblom

Friday 25 August saw a UN General Assembly committee approve a UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. The Convention is the first human rights treaty of the 21st century and is designed to encourage governments to pass legislation protecting people with disabilities and to eliminate discriminatory laws and practices. Lina Lindblom from the Secretariat of the African Decade of Persons with Disabilities explores the implications for the 60 million people in Africa living with disabilities.

The first human rights treaty of the twenty-first century has just been finalised at the United Nations. It will serve to promote and protect the human rights of 650 million persons with disabilities around the world. In Africa, the decade between 1999 and 2009 has been proclaimed the African Decade of Persons with Disabilities by the African Union. The first-ever human rights convention for persons with disabilities will be an important tool for the Secretariat that facilitates the implementation of the African Decade’s plan of action.

Around 60 million persons with disabilities live in Africa. These individuals are barely visible in most African societies, and rarely appear to have voices or opinions about general issues that are brought to our attention by the media. The majority of them are excluded from schools, work opportunities and participation in development programs. The African disability movement’s struggle for human rights is essentially a fight against this exclusion and against the overwhelming poverty that it leads to.

The Secretariat of the African Decade of Persons with Disabilities advocates for the inclusion of disability into the existing development priorities of African Union member states, because the exclusion of disability from them perpetuates the poverty and despair of disabled Africans. The new convention constitutes a broad framework for disability, human rights and development. It will be increasingly important to associate any work on disability to the convention, including poverty reduction processes. The African Decade for Persons with Disabilities, 1999-2009, was proclaimed by the African Union to address the human rights and development needs of disabled Africans.

Representatives of DPOs and UN Agencies came up with a continental plan of action for the Decade. It was endorsed by the executive counsil of the AU in 2002. The government of the Republic of South Africa accepted to host the Secretariat of the African Decade in 2003, and the Secretariat was established in Cape Town, South Africa, in 2004. The Secretariat facilitates the implementation of the Continental Plan of Action through its African Decade Disability Programme (ADDP), a program primarily funded by the governments of Sweden and Denmark.

One of the working focuses of the disability movement has become to mainstream disability, i.e. to get disability and persons with disabilities included in the existing development community. It is about getting governments and development organisations to include disability into policies and programs, and to invite persons with disabilities to participate in the development of these policies and programs. The disability movement does not want separate, exclusionary processes, keeping them out of the mainstream societies.

If mainstreaming is a buzz word in the disability movement, how come they have designed a new and separate human rights convention just for persons with disabilities?, you may ask. Some within the movement are indeed wishing that disability had been inserted and mentioned in the existing human rights provisions instead, but most people are actively supporting the new convention. Petronella Linders, who works for the South African government and assisted the South African delegation to the convention deliberations in New York, explains that she believes that the convention will force countries to look at their own legislation from a disability point of view. In so doing, a separate convention can actually enhance and enforce mainstreaming of disability into national legislation. Before, the approach of many African governments has been to implement human rights provisions for persons with disabilities on an ad-hoc basis. Now there will be a legally binding document that governments must implement if they ratify it.

Thomas Ong’olo from Kenya, who works as a program manager at the Secretariat of the African Decade of Persons with Disabilities, agrees. He says that the convention will be a crucial instrument “to remind governments that we are here”. So many times before, Africans with disabilities have simply been left out of the equation. It has also been argued that persons with disabilities find themselves in a legal disadvantage in relation to other vulnerable groups such as refugees and women, because the latter have the protection of single bodies of binding norms in thematic human rights conventions. The convention on the Rights of the Child has been the only one of the conventions to explicitly mention persons with disabilities. In the other ones, individuals with disabilities are only covered as being part of “vulnerable or marginalized groups”. Governments that ratify the new convention will be legally bound to treat persons with disabilities not just as a vulnerable group or a minority, but as subjects to the law with clearly defined rights.

The process of developing the new convention has been said to be very participatory and well functioning. More than 400 delegates and disability advocates from around the world have attended the eight sessions since 2002 at the United Nations in New York. One of the few serious problems mentioned is that many persons with disabilities and Disabled Persons’ Organizations (DPOs) from developing countries have not been able to attend the meetings, meaning that their issues and voices have not been adequately captured in the draft convention. This, again, is down to the issue of poverty. Many African DPOs have simply not had the money to send representatives to the United Nations headquarters in New York.

According to Phitalis Were Masakhwe, an international advisor on disability within the United Nations, there appears to be a wide gap between the wishes, needs and aspirations of persons with disabilities from poor developing countries and those from the so called developed world. In Africa and parts of Asia people would have wanted a convention that emphasizes their main challenges; poverty, disability and conflicts, and invisibility of disability in international development and cooperation, he says. Thomas Ong’olo of the African Decade Secretariat agrees. The benchmark of the discussions in New York has been set by the rich, he argues: “Sometimes the discussions may be around issues that are simply not relevant to most Africans, such as choice of services. Choosing the type of accessible transport you want to use or the exact time of pickup by that transport of your choice, is not an issue in developing countries. The main African issue is around basic survival.”

Implementation is the main