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January 15, 2009

Disability Travel Challenge Continues

travel challenge.jpg

John's latest report comes from Cairns, Australia, where he enjoyed the Kuranda Scenic Railway, Skyrail and Cultural Experience. See The Disability Travel Challenge: Kuranda tour, Cairns, Australia

Posted by rollingrains at 06:32 PM

January 14, 2009

Collaborative Design of a Lifestyle

The Chicago Tribune has another story about collaboration where a designer enters into the reality of someone with a disability to provide a mutually transforming result. See Young designer makes a kitchen accessible—and pretty

Starting from the fundamental reality that ADA is not Universal Design designer Jordan Guide began work on the kitchen of Connie Wurtzel:

"The look of ADA is not luxury by any means," Guide says. "It's very basic. It's very institutional looking. And Connie is not that and would never settle for that."

Notably, Guide used few specialty products designed for people with disabilities. Instead, she specified standard items and then used them in creative, accessible ways.

This is the goal of inclusion. Not separate and stigmatized but "imagined" into normalcy and full participation by intent of design

Author Karen Klages comments:

t is important to note that although the kitchen was gutted and feels gads bigger now, it retains its original, (slightly larger than) 10-foot-square footprint. The only wall-altering change that Guide specified was widening the entryway by 7 inches so Wurtzel could glide easily into the room.

And also important was the Wurtzel-Guide teamwork involved here, which also feels bigger than most client-designer relationships.

Before plans were drawn, Guide spent significant time observing Wurtzel in the kitchen, noting her "range of motion, her strengths, her weaknesses and what she was lacking" in that kitchen. And all along the way, Guide would insist that Wurtzel try out products and appliances to make sure her client actually could use, reach and maneuver them.

The function/happiness that resulted from all this attention to detail is stunning in its breadth.

"Stunning." What an appropriate description for both the process and product of the respect embodied in Universal Design.

Posted by rollingrains at 05:58 PM

January 12, 2009

Travel Solutions

My Cyber Social Map

Image by frankdasilva via Flickr

Travel globally, socialize locally: PDAs and social networks keep far-flung friends more connected looks at Kelly Fallis' travel paraphernalia and travel style. We watch these trends for the way they suggest new more comfortable ways for travelers with disabilities to get around. As the travel niche that most utilizes word-of-mouth endorsements this snippet seemed especially appropriate:

According to Norm Rose, a travel technology analyst and consultant in Belmont, Calif., people like Fallis are on the leading edge of technology's impact on the travel experience. "As smart phones become the standard, we will see location-based services and specific applications from different segments of the travel industry catering to every sort of traveller," he says, citing ReardenCommerce.com as a good example.

Rose notes that as the Facebook generation gains greater disposable income for travel, the industry will have no choice but to change: Online social networks essentially digitize real-life ones, making them, and the collective wisdom they contain, instantly accessible. "By having instantaneous peer opinions on travel-related subjects and products, the impact on vendor choice could be significant. Especially since this generation is predisposed to book vacations on their own (using say, Tripit.com,) versus using a traditional travel agent," he says.

Source:
http://www.nationalpost.com/life/travel/story.html?id=1187360

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For those who read "below the fold" here's a hot tip. Craig Grimes has started a new travel-with-a-disability social network at accessible.travel. It specializes in short-hop "city breaks.

Posted by rollingrains at 06:44 PM

January 11, 2009

Universal Design for Web Applications

Marisa Peacock writes:

O'Reilly has just published Universal Design for Web Applications, a new book that promotes designing accessible websites and teaches readers how to build websites that are more accessible to people with disabilities and explains why doing so is good business...

Once considered internet pariahs, the over 50 age group is rapidly expanding its web presence, and designers need to get their sites ready to handle the user behaviors accompanying it. Improving web site experiences and accessibility doesn't mean that your site will alienate other users -- in fact, it will improve your site's overall user experience.

Full article:

http://www.cmswire.com/cms/books/want-to-build-websites-that-are-more-accessible-003695.php

Posted by rollingrains at 06:00 PM

January 06, 2009

Universal Design: Malia & Sasha Obama and the White House

White House Ground Floor showing location of p...

Image via Wikipedia

"Kids in the kitchen benefit from universal design as much as those managing physical limitations due to age and disability," writes Konrad Kalestch See his reflections on the application of Universal Design to the White House with the upcoming occipancy by the Obama family:

http://universaldesignresource.blogspot.com/2009/01/universal-design-malia-sasha-obama.html

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Posted by rollingrains at 07:54 PM

January 05, 2009

Cocooning, Staycations - and Universal Design as the Next Trend in Resort Design

Joann Pestaschnick writes about the trends that portend hope for travelers with disabilities - starting at home:


As the cost of fuel makes travel increasingly expensive, there’s a growing tendency among homeowners to stay put and add some new features to their homes. Call it a "staycation" or call it cocooning, but the focus is changing. "People are definitely turning inward, paying more attention to their homes and their quality of life," says Ed Miller of E. Miller & Associates in Cedarburg, and chairman of the Metropolitan Builders Association (MBA) Remodelers Council...

Some of the trends popular in the last couple of years are back again, says Chellee Siewert, chief operating officer of the MBA in Waukesha. For example, the concept of "aging in place" supports the notion that older persons should be able to live in their own homes for as long as confidently and comfortably possible. Livability can be extended through the incorporation of universal design principles and other assistive technologies. Modifications to bathrooms and changes to accommodate a wheelchair are common.

This idea of aging in place has become so popular that the MBA now offers a certification in it, according to Siewert. "What we heard from our members is that there is the need to respond to consumer demands. So, we developed this CAP (Certified Aging in Place) designation for our members who complete a series of seminars," she says.

Source:
http://www.gmtoday.com/content/m_west/2008/October/mwest_1008_p52.asp

Posted by rollingrains at 07:44 PM

January 01, 2009

Looking Ahead to 2009

Location of the United States

Image via Wikipedia

"Tis the season to make resolutions - and predictions!

Doreen Hemlock at the South Florida Sun-Sentinel sees these trends in travel for 2009:

  • Value will reign
  • Travelers will stay fewer nights.
  • Travelers will use more Internet services
  • Travelers will expect businesses to go "green"
  • Marketers will celebrate diversity
  • Business travel will fall especially hard
  • Fewer will visit the United States from abroad
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What trends do you see?

Full story:

http://www.sun-sentinel.com/business/sfl-flztraveltrends0101sbjan01,0,993760.story

Posted by rollingrains at 10:26 PM

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

Looking Back at 2008: An Example from the US

Open green map.htm


Green Maps founder Wendy Brawer has been an enthusiastic supporter of any and all suggestions to improve their remarkable tool for the benefit of travelers with disabilities. Below is a recap of some of their recent accomplishments - and an appeal for support:

2008 has been an action-packed year. 88 new Green Map projects got started! This record-breaking number includes well-known cities like Austin Texas, Cape Town South Africa and Seoul Korea alongside lesser-known places like Sharon Ohio and Gandhinagar India. Each has something remarkable in common – they are changing for the better, and they want everyone to take part!

Our 'Open Green Map' participatory social mapping platform is creating a low-cost new way to promote, share and enhance the sites making progress toward sustainability as well as highlight the challenging places that can be turned around with community involvement. Green Map System has also created new youth tools, updated our globally designed iconography and much more to support locally-led Green Mapmaking projects. Click GreenMap.org for 360 unique published editions and to explore the first 36 participatory maps now online at OpenGreenMap.org.

In the waning moments of 2008, we ask you to make our dream of a better world for all, your dream as well. Tell your friends about how we and our global partners are helping to guide the way, and how they can utilize Green Maps as a resource for choosing where to live, how to get around, where to dine, and for finding green options for employment, recreation, learning and community involvement.

Then, please send a tax-deductible donation that will really make a difference to hundreds of communities by clicking GreenMap.org/donate to contribute online in any amount. Or send a check to Green Map System, PO Box 249, New York, NY USA 10002-0249. We will be glad to acknowledge donations made in honor of or as a gift to friends and family.

Reach out to us anytime at info[at]greenmap[dot] org - we encourage your suggestions and ongoing involvement.

Posted by rollingrains at 01:28 AM

December 25, 2008

Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG)

The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) has announced a new standard to make sites more accessible to older and disabled people.

Version 2.0 of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) will apply to text, images, audio and video.

It also covers web applications and is said to give developers more flexibility than the old guidelines.

According to the consortium, WCAG 2.0 should also be easier to understand and use.
The guidance is designed to address barriers encountered by people with visual, hearing, physical, cognitive and neurological disabilities and older people with access needs.

For more news see: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/technology/7789622.stm or watch the video: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/technology/7792662.stm

Posted by rollingrains at 10:21 PM

December 23, 2008

Assistive Technology for Travelers

Congratulations to Suzanne Robitaille for here piece in Business Week today :

For the Disabled, More Power for Play

You can read her blog at:

Profoundly Yours

Posted by rollingrains at 12:36 AM

December 21, 2008

The UD "Boom" in Housing Design - Aging in Place Will Impact Hotel Design

Stories on Universal Design in homes keep getting better and better in the mainstream US press.

Partly that is the convergence of promotion of UD by AARP and serious efforts by home appliance m=designers to accommodate the very real desire of the Boomer population bulge in aging in their own homes. Partly is is the tireless advocacy of Eleanor Smith and allies for Visitability at Concrete Change. Partly it is just good research and interesting writing.

Take the latest example to come across my desk -- Appliance makers fine tune aging-in-place features for baby boomers by Julia Bauer in The Grand Rapids Press:

The population bulge of 76 million [Baby Bomers] has surged through the economic landscape since birth.

All that buying power -- a big chunk of the $25 billion U.S. appliance market -- is prompting manufacturers to pay closer attention to focus groups of old-timers.

But as those appliance and home products makers fine-tune features, they serve more than just baby boomers.

Within 10 years, many younger families will have live-in senior citizens. And designs to help the aging customer also can foster independence for children, said Margaret Biggs, a universal design consultant with Disability Advocates of Kent County.

Full article:
http://www.mlive.com/grpress/business/index.ssf/2008/12/appliance_makers_fine_tune_agi.html#post

See also:

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Posted by rollingrains at 05:19 PM

December 19, 2008

A Message from the Tourism Authority of Thailand

TAT.png


More than 10 years ago Thailand adopted an explicit policy of striving to be a destination of choice for travelers with disabilities. Knowing the importance of tourism to their national economy and reflecting the sincere spirit of hospitality apparent when visiting this country Mrs. Phornsiri Manoharn, Governor of the Tourism Authority of Thailand has issued the following statement:

The recent closure of Bangkok's two airports was an unforeseen and unpredictable event never experienced before in Thailand. We sympathise with all of you who were affected and the distress it caused.

In realising your plight, the various related agencies of the Thai tourism industry did everything possible to alleviate the inconvenience incurred upon visitors. Hundreds of people across the spectrum of the Thai travel and tourism industry worked round-the-clock to help the thousands of tourists seeking to be reunited with their families and friends.

With regards to the efforts of the Ministry of Tourism and Sports, Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) and together with entire private sector, we provided accommodation and meals, as well as facilitated tourists as much as possible. Some emergency flights were also operated from other airports, and city terminals were established for tourists to undergo early check-in procedures. Once the all-clear was declared, the entire tourism industry moved expeditiously and urgently to get the airport open again.


We hope that you have reached home safely and that your confidence and trust in Thailand as a destination has not been affected, and that we will have many more opportunities to welcome you again in our country.

Today, I am happy to inform that the Thai travel and tourism industry is back to normal. Thailand is and continues to be a wonderfully diverse tourism destination with great beaches, savoury, food, health and wellness centres, luxury accommodation, unspoilt nature, and of course warm and friendly smiles.

So with all of this and much more, we look forward to seeing you in Amazing Thailand soon.

Posted by rollingrains at 11:30 AM

December 16, 2008

Self-Promotion

Alexa has spoken! Who are mere mortals to argue?

The Rolling Rains blog is #51 in popularity rating among design blogs. See Alexa's Top 90 Weblogs.

Posted by rollingrains at 12:39 AM

December 10, 2008

Turismo em Numeros (Portuguese)

Turismo em Numeros.jpg


A revista Turismo em Numeros ( Edição Número 74) contem:

* Editorial – Conselho Editorial: "Turismo Especial."

Posted by rollingrains at 12:00 AM

December 09, 2008

Disabled Travel Advice - UK

Global Access News reports:

Sue Davies, of the UK’s Disabled Travel Advice, wrote to share the word on their new public interest web site at www.disabledtraveladvice.co.uk/home.htm The site focuses on the disabled travelers’ needs and provides great tips for everything from traveling with pets to staying in hostels.

Where else would you find an article like Dealing with Mobility Scooter Rage and Motorcycle Riding for Disabled Drivers?

Posted by rollingrains at 07:47 PM

December 02, 2008

Air Travel - Philippines

cebu - disabled.jpg

This review of the Cebu Pacific's discrimination against deaf travelers appeared at Filipino Deaf blog

I know that the incident involving Cebu Pacific happened earlier this year. But at least people from outside our community are slowly taking notice of it. After making it my first blog post in April, some notable bloggers picked it up and commented about it. I have so far collected a few and I’m posting them here.

Here is the blog post link made by Filipino Voices entitled “No Hear, No Fly” which so far has more than 36 responses. Filipino Voices Blog was awarded one of the Top Ten Emerging Influential Blogs of 2008.

Another Award Winning Blogger Jester-in-Exile posted his though-provoking insights. The issue was also being discussed in Plurk and other social networking
sites.

Mr. Kevin Ray Chua, web designer of Mar Roxas for President in 2010 already wrote an email asking Mr. Palengke for his assistance and would also blog about this.

“This is shameful” was the intriguing blog title posted by Bny Castro on his The Beanster Blog.

Cebu Bloggers also made a forum thread discussion (Blog Swarm) about this. I have also added this on the All Deaf Forum to find out the international deaf communities’ sentiments.

Source:

http://deafphilippines.wordpress.com/2008/12/01/cebu-pacific-discriminating-deaf-passengers-stirs-attention-from-filipino-bloggers/

Posted by rollingrains at 10:52 PM

$4.7 Million Disability Transportation Research Grant

Congratulations to Edward Steinfeld, Arch.D.and Aaron Steinfeld, Ph.D on their grant from the U.S. Department of Education's National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR).

$4.7 Million Disability Transportation Research Grant Awarded to UB and Carnegie Mellon


Release Date: December 1, 2008

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Researchers in the University at Buffalo School of Architecture and Planning will partner with colleagues at Carnegie Mellon University on a $4.7 million, five-year effort to advance public transportation for people with disabilities.

The grant from the U.S. Department of Education's National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR) was awarded to father and son researchers, Edward Steinfeld, Arch.D., an internationally recognized pioneer in the field of universal design at UB, and his son Aaron Steinfeld, Ph.D., a systems scientist in Carnegie Mellon's Robotics Institute.

The grant will fund a new Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center on Accessible Public Transportation (RERC/APT) at UB and Carnegie Mellon, and establish a formal partnership between the UB Center for Inclusive Design and Environmental Access (IDEA Center), an internationally acknowledged center for excellence in universal design directed by Edward Steinfeld, and the Carnegie Mellon Robotics Institute, an internationally regarded center for excellence in robotics.

For more information on the new RERC on Accessible Public Transportation, go to http://www.rercapt.org.

Employing elements of computer science technology and principles of universal design, the RERC/APT will research and develop methods to empower consumers and service providers in the design and evaluation of accessible transportation equipment, information services and physical environments.

The Steinfelds are each co-directors of the RERC/APT. Aaron Steinfeld will be the principal investigator.

Edward Steinfeld, a UB professor of architecture, and his research team in the UB IDEA Center research and design environments and products to make them more usable, safe and appealing to people with a wide range of abilities. The center provides resources and technical expertise in architecture, product design, facilities management and the social and behavioral sciences.

Aaron Steinfeld does research and development on human-robot interaction, ergonomics, rehabilitation, universal design and intelligent transportation systems in the Carnegie Mellon Robotics Institute's Quality of Life Technology Engineering Research Center.

According to Edward Steinfeld the RERC/APT will conduct research that is extremely timely and needed by the transportation industry and business partners, including manufacturers and consumer-advocacy organizations. "We will help to implement research findings and disseminate information that directly improves transportation services, vehicles and facilities," he says.

One collaborating organization is the United Spinal Association, which focuses on improving the quality of life of Americans with spinal cord injuries and disorders. The association will focus on developing improved transportation regulations and standards.

Two other partners, the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority (NFTA) in Buffalo and Port Authority of Allegheny County in Pittsburgh, will assist the researchers as they develop new technologies and concepts.

A fourth partner is the California-based Gillig Corp., the nation's largest manufacturer of heavy-duty mass transit buses. Gillig will, at its own expense, incorporate the access and interior design modifications developed by the RERC/APT into a new prototype NFTA bus that will be ready for commercialization.

As part of its project, the team will create a public Web site where riders can report on their experiences and collaborate with transit providers on ways to improve the transportation system. The team also will use advances in machine learning to develop software that can assist riders in reaching their destinations.

Source:
http://www.buffalo.edu/news/9802

Posted by rollingrains at 05:05 PM

November 29, 2008

Universal Design, Visitability and the "Resort Lifestyle" in a Retirement Home

Luxury comes home in Kansas City. It is being described with reference to travel industry products in the "resort lifestyle" retirement home with "cruise ship style dining":

Riverstone Resort Lifestyle Retirement Community in Kansas City, North, offers a “cruise ship” style of dining, said Ted Rychlik, who is the on-site manager of facility..“Our residents can eat all day,” he said. .. the Kansas City facility is the first to offer the “resort lifestyle” rather than the more traditional structure, Rychlik said.

Innovation around town includes a strong does of Universal Design and Visitability according to the Kansas City Star:

What works is universal design — houses that have entryways without steps, wider doorways, lever handles instead of door knobs, elevated dishwashers and accommodations for homeowners or renters whose bodies can no longer bend as low, reach as high or grip as well as they used to.

“The next 20 years in the housing industry is going to look completely different,” said [Jim Albertson, chairman of the 50+ Housing Council of the Home Builders Association of Greater Kansas City.]

Construction companies are creating villa communities with universal design
and maintenance-provided features or they are building new homes to suit the older homebuyers. Remodelers, too, are retrofitting existing houses with ramps and other accommodations for those who want to stay where they are.

The EasyLiving Home Program, developed by public and private organizations, is a national voluntary certification program promoting construction features that make homes convenient and comfortable.

“Visitability” is one of the buzzwords.

“It means anyone can come visit you and can get in and out of your home without limitations,” Albertson said.

Source:
http://www.easylivinghome.org/elh.htm

Posted by rollingrains at 01:47 AM

November 28, 2008

Vida em Movimento (Portuguese)

Dudu Braga.jpg

Apresentado por Dudu Braga, filho do cantor Roberto Carlos, o programa "Vida em movimento" estréia neste sábado, dia 29, às 10h, na TV Cultura. O objetivo "é mostrar e valorizar toda a capacidade física de pessoas com deficiência", como o próprio Dudu, que é deficiente visual. O programa contará com um sistema ainda pouco conhecido no país, a audiodescrição, "recurso em que um locutor narra às pessoas com deficiência visual detalhes do conteúdo das matérias exibidas e que não contam com narração ou pessoas falando, apenas imagens".

A data escolhida para o lançamento da atração antecede ao Dia Internacional da Pessoa com Deficiência, comemorado em 3 de dezembro.

http://oglobo.globo.com/cultura/kogut/post.asp?t=dudu_braga_estreia_programa_sobre_pessoas_com_deficiencia&cod_Post=142416&a=12

Posted by rollingrains at 02:53 PM

November 19, 2008

Accessible Portugal Online Magazine

Accessible Portugal 2008.jpg

Accessible Portugal Online Magazine offers some travel itineraries based around the arts in Portugal.

http://www.accessibleportugal.com/revista/2008/Novembro/site/home.html

Dear friends,

Our last issue of the year is already online. In this one, Accessible
Portugal Online Magazine is going to present you a little bit about the
Portuguese artistic culture, tracing some curious and original routes
based on our artistic heritage.

In 2009, we will return in February. Then you’ll understand why. For
now, enjoy your reading at:

http://www.accessibleportugal.com/revista/2008/Novembro/site/home.html

Best regards,
João Durão da Silva
__

If you want to see your website, your association or something else in
Accessible Portugal Online Magazine, please contact us through
magazine@accessibleportugal.com

Posted by rollingrains at 12:29 AM

November 13, 2008

And Even More Design for All - Enabled by Design

Yesterday it was time to celebrate the forthcoming issue of Design for All India . The day before we had the chance to highlight again Wendy Jordan's book Universal Design for the Home.

Today have a look at a new social entrepreneurial project in the Universal Design space out of the UK called Enabled by Design. Congratulations to Denise Stephens!:

:

Enabled by Design supports anyone looking to make adjustments to their lives through the use of assistive equipment, be it as a result of disability, injury or personal identified need. We aim to make independent living more accessible through the use of clever modern design. Enabled by Design bridges the communication gap between users of assistive equipment and designers, encouraging discussion and collaboration to produce both practical and stylish gadgets. The site provides an opportunity for people to air their views, talk through ideas and hopefully find some answers! It’s all about giving people the chance to adapt their lives in a way that fits around their individual needs.
...we will be working hard to build a strong, interested and engaged community of users and designers around our new site, which is being developed as we speak. Other priorities include continuing to promote the project to a wide and diverse audience of individuals and organisations, champion the notion of universal design and personalisation within the health sector.

Source:
http://enabledbydesign.org/?p=87

Posted by rollingrains at 04:08 PM

November 10, 2008

International Monitors Elected for CRPD

States that are parties to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities elected the first twelve members to the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities; formally setting up a mechanism for countries that have ratified the Convention to report on their implementation efforts.

The Committee, made up of independent experts, was established and its members elected during the first session of the Conference of States Parties, held in New York on 31 October and 3 November 2008.

Starting 1 January 2009, Mr. Ronald McCallum AO (Australia), Mr. Monsur Ahmed Choudhuri (Bangladesh), Ms. María Soledad Cisternas Reyes (Chile), Ms. Jia Yang (China), Mr. Germán Xavier Torres Correa (Ecuador), Mr. György Könczei (Hungary), Mr. Mohammed Al-Tarawneh (Jordan), Ms. Edah Wangechi Maina (Kenya), Ms. Amna Ali Al Suweidi (Qatar), Mr. Cveto Uršič (Slovenia), Ms. Ana Peláez Narváez (Spain), and Mr. Lotfi Ben Lallahom (Tunisia) will serve as members of the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

The Committee will review periodic reports from States Parties, raise concerns, if necessary, and make recommendations to the States Parties concerned. The Committee will receive and consider claims of violations of the Convention, from individuals and groups under the jurisdiction of States that have also ratified the Optional Protocol. The Committee can also initiate enquiries when informed of reliable evidence of grave and systematic violations of the Convention.

Members of the newly established Committee on the Rights of Persons with disabilities were elected from a list of experts nominated by 23 of the 41 countries that have ratified the Convention. However, experts do not represent their countries; rather they serve in their personal capacity.

Six of the initial twelve Committee members will serve a full four year term while the other half will serve two years. The latter will be eligible for re-election for a full four year term.

The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and its Optional Protocol entered into force on 3 May 2008, marking a new era in efforts to protect the rights of the world’s 650 million persons with disabilities. States that ratified the Convention commit themselves to enact laws, and harmonize legislation, policies and programmes to be in line with the Convention, removing barriers in society that discriminate against persons with disabilities. The Convention does not create new rights; rather, it sets out with much greater clarity the obligations on States to promote, protect and ensure the rights of persons with disabilities. The Convention has been signed by 136 countries and ratified by 41. The Optional Protocol has received 79 signatures and 25 ratifications.

For further information, please visit: www.un.org/disabilities or contact Franck Kuwonu of the UN Department of Public Information, tel. 1 212 963-8264; e-mail: kuwonu@un.org.

Posted by rollingrains at 02:43 PM

November 07, 2008

Advising President Obama on Tourism: An Initiative by the National Tourism Association

eTurboNews reports that the National Tour Association is extending its campaign to advise the US government on issues of tourism:

Leaders of the travel and tourism sector of the national economy will convene to share ideas and prepare recommendations to assist President-elect Barack Obama in accelerating the economy through travel and tourism. The outcomes will be presented to President-elect Obama, his transition team, and key members of Congress following a meeting in Washington, DC on December 16.

A broad cross-section of travel and tourism leaders has been invited to be a part of creating workable solutions for the struggling economy. The participation of more than 20 organizations has been confirmed including leaders representing packaged travel, lodging, travel agents, cruise lines, ground transportation, air transportation, and special interest travel, according to the National Tour Association, which is managing the effort.

Source:
http://www.eturbonews.com/6047/travel-and-tourism-sector-convenes-draft-recommendations-presiden

At the time of this post staff at the National Tourism Association are researching my inquiry on how the organization intends to position Inclusive Tourism as well as the market of senior and disabled travelers in their policy recommendations.


Posted by rollingrains at 11:31 PM

November 06, 2008

Universal Design in Phones: Pantech Breeze

pantech breeze.jpg


The Pantech Breeze is a new phone available through AT&T built on Universal Design principles. (Their UD Principles are here.) Let's Go Mobile reviews the phone like this:

Universal Design Handset

The Pantech Breeze budget phone is the direct result of AT&T and Pantech's collaboration to build a cell phone on the principles of Universal Design - the practice of designing products and applications that are usable by the most customers possible. AT&T recently published the company's approach to Universal Design to encourage application developers and handset manufacturers to consider the needs of seniors or customers who have disabilities when creating products and services.


AT&T and Pantech

"Universal Design helps define important design criteria to meet the wants and needs of as many of our customers as possible," said Carlton Hill, vice president of Product Management, Voice Products and Affiliate Marketing for AT&T's wireless operations. "The Pantech Breeze mobile phone is a result of our efforts to meet these criteria and offer a great-looking phone that's a breeze to use for everyone - from tweens to great-grandparents."

Source:
http://www.letsgomobile.org/en/4041/pantech-breeze/

In Ireland Universal Design is taking front stage also:

Telecoms providers will need to work harder to use universal design principles to ensure all users – including those with disabilities – can use their products and services.

At a workshop in Croke Park today, the Commission for Communications Regulation (ComReg) and the National Disability Authority (NDA) held a workshop on the importance of universal design in future products.

“As communications technology develops and improves, ComReg believes it is incumbent on operators to ensure that their products and services can be accessed by all users. Universal design is good design,” [ComReg commissioner Alex] Chisholm said.

Source:
http://www.siliconrepublic.com/news/article/11730/comms/telcos-must-learn-to-design-for-life

Posted by rollingrains at 03:20 PM

November 04, 2008

Healthy Homes for the Eldery on Tribal Land

Morgan Greenseth writes at WorldChanging.com on the green/Universal Design convergence occurring in the Pacific Northwest of the US. With forward thinking like this it should be no surprise that green maritime design is emerging from the same region. See the Waypoint-Backstrom Principles now in Spanish at Polibea Turismo.

Medical advancements and rising life expectancies mean new challenges as members of the Baby Boom generation age. One of these challenges is housing.

Many elderly citizens are demanding viable alternatives to nursing homes, where they can live independently, while interacting with their communities and growing old in their own homes. But this independence will require spaces that are accessible for a range of abilities: for example, with entrances that accommodate wheelchairs or walkers, or door and drawer handles that are easy to grasp and turn. Housing for the elderly also needs to be affordable, from construction costs to utility bills, and health, constructed with non-toxic and irritant-free materials.

The Elder Healthy Home by EcoFab offers one example of what a solution could look like. This showcase prototype is a working model of a sustainable, accessible home built on a budget that was designed specifically for senior citizens and regional Native American tribal members.

Full story:

http://www.worldchanging.com/local/seattle/archives/008915.html

Posted by rollingrains at 03:17 PM

November 03, 2008

Disability Rights Fund Makes Grants to 33 Organizations in 7 Countries

Press release:

The Disability Rights Fund[1] (DRF) – a groundbreaking collaborative to support the human rights of people with disabilities around the world– today announced funding decisions from its first request for proposals. A total of $800,000 will be gifted to 33 organizations in seven countries. The grants will support work to raise awareness about the rights of people with disabilities, build coalitions and networks, and develop advocacy and monitoring activities, in connection with the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

DRF grantees share the goal of advancing the rights of people with disabilities at the country-level. Recipients include:


* A Ugandan organization of lawyers with disabilities.

* An emergent Peruvian group of people with psycho-social disabilities.

* A grassroots network in Bangladesh of women-led disabled persons’ organizations.

The full grantee list will be posted on the DRF website, www.disabilityrightsfund.org/grantees.html and is available upon request.

"As the disability rights movement gains new impetus through the UN Convention we are delighted to play our part by placing new funding in the hands of DPOs to enable them to advance rights at country level," stated DRF Co-Chair, William Rowland. DRF Director, Diana Samarasan, added “It is an auspicious day to put money in the hands of organizations run by people with disabilities. The first Conference of States Parties to the Convention is being held at the UN; the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities is being elected. The work of translating the Convention from paper to practice is before us.”

Grantees were selected after a rigorous review process which included review by DRF’s Steering Committee, a committee composed of donor representatives and people with disabilities from the Global South.

DRF’s donors include: an anonymous founding donor, The Sigrid Rausing Trust, the Open Society Institute, the UK’s Department for International Development, and the American Jewish World Service.

A grantee list can be requested from DRF by writing to dsamarasan@disabilityrightsfund.org

Posted by rollingrains at 06:15 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 25, 2008

Edificos Adaptados (Spanish)


Resulta paradójico que se erijan proyectos de tecnología avanzada, de elevadísimo presupuesto, con el objeto de incorporar avances de sostenibilidad cuestionables o de complejidad estructural y se desatienda flagrantemente posibilitar una arquitectura centrada en las necesidades reales. "Se tiende a pretextar que construir edificios adaptados para las necesidades de la gente mayor supondría un encarecimiento en los costos de producción debido a razones técnicas", apunta el geógrafo Andreas Huber.

"Sin embargo, diferentes estudios han permitido constatar que la construcción de un edificio sin barreras arquitectónicas supone un incremento de un mero 2%", afirma. "Construir para los mayores es construir para todo el mundo", apunta sin dudar el arquitecto Carlo Baumschlager...

Full story (subscrption):
http://www.lavanguardia.es/premium/publica/publica?COMPID=53567177812&ID_PAGINA=3746&ID_FORMATO=9&PAGINACIO=&dummy=dummy?urlback=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.lavanguardia.es%2Fpremium%2Fpublica%2Fpublica%3FCOMPID%3D53567177812%26ID_PAGINA%3D3744%26ID_FORMATO%3D9

Posted by rollingrains at 12:42 AM

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 22, 2008

Related Story: Endless Vacation Rentals

EndlessVacationsLogo_150.gif

A few hours after posting Vacation Rentals: A Market for Universally Designed Homes? Endless Vacation Rentals by Wyndham Worldwide sent out a press release highlighting the new PhoCusWright research on the $24 billion vacation rentals market.

Key findings from "PhoCusWright's Vacation Rental Marketplace: Poised for Change" include:

1. Nearly two thirds of vacation rental guests researched online for their last trip
2. 20 percent of online travel shoppers (who used at least one website to plan their travel) booked a vacation rental in the past year
3. Vacation rental guests are well-off, well-traveled, well-educated and savvy Internet users
4. Vacation rental guests are very satisfied: 89% of vacation rental guests indicated that they will rent again within three years

We wish they had reported on trends in human-centered design of these vacation rentals as well.

The "PhoCusWright's Vacation Rental Marketplace: Poised for Change" research methodology included a survey to consumers who have and have not booked vacation rentals, vacation homeowners and vacation rental management companies over the last 6 months. In addition, more than 30 in-depth interviews were conducted with vacation rental management companies, distributors, technology firms, online players and homeowners.

Full press release:

http://www.marketwatch.com/news/story/endless-vacation-rentalsr-phocuswrightr-present/story.aspx?guid=%7BF28F8E59-B2C9-455C-8C13-E73144D8BF77%7D&dist=hppr

Posted by rollingrains at 12:05 AM

October 19, 2008

2008 Award: Architectural and Urban Accessibility for Latin American Municipalities

The San Isidro Municipality in Lima, Peru has been awarded the 2008 Architectural and Urban Accessibility for Latin American Municipalities Award. The contest was administered by the Spanish International Cooperation Agency (AECID), and the ACS Foundation, with the collaboration of the Royal Patronage on Disability.

Posted by rollingrains at 02:56 AM

October 16, 2008

A New Model in Car Sharing: Berkeley's AccessMobile

Access Mobile.jpg


Berkeley's AccessMobile will be one of several projects receiving an award from the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) in the San Francisco Bay Area with the 28th "Excellence in Motion."

From the press release:

City CarShare and City of Berkeley's AccessMobile


City CarShare and the city of Berkeley's AccessMobile will receive the Doris W. Kahn Accessible Transportation Award for providing the nation's first wheelchair-accessible carshare van for those with disabilities. The AccessMobile can accommodate two individuals using wheelchairs, plus three additional passengers and a driver. Funded by Berkeley and City CarShare, the AccessMobile cost more than $50,000 with City CarShare, a nonprofit carshare provider, matching $25,000 won by the city in 2007 through the National Organization on Disability's Accessible America contest. Access program participants can use the van around the clock, greatly increasing travel options for the disabled, and improving the quality of life for the disabled, their families and friends. The AccessMobile began operating on Earth Day, April 22, 2008.

"The AccessMobile is a shining example of innovative ways we can make car-sharing accessible to the entire community," said Berkeley Mayor and MTC Commissioner Tom Bates. "Through creativity, passion and commitment, City CarShare, our staff and our disability commission did an amazing job in developing a carshare vehicle that can accommodate disabled people with wheelchairs."

Source:

http://www.theenergydaily.com/pressreleases/environmental_services/200810160900PR_NEWS_USPR_____AQTH035.html

Posted by rollingrains at 01:04 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

Slowly Toward Ubiquity: Universal Design in Canada

As home design goes so hotel design will follow.

Here is another indicator of the ceaseless progress of Universal Design as the "new common sense" approach to lifestyle design.

By the year 2017, 50 per cent of the population will be 55 or older. They'll be affluent, discriminating baby boomers who want to stay in their own homes.

While they might need modifications to make those homes accessible, they'll also want them to be as tasteful and beautiful as the rest of the house.

"We found it to be such a growing industry that we focused a team just on this aspect of building and renovating," says Ezio Tartaro, of Windsor, Ont.-based Gintar Contractors. "With the aging baby boomers, it's growing even bigger."

There's such a market that Gintar is incorporating what it calls the "universal design concept" into all its current developments.

Source Calgary Herald Home:

http://www.canada.com/calgaryherald/news/neighbours/story.html?id=ae35a2b2-d9c1-4920-81ad-7ccc816d28a7

Posted by rollingrains at 04:32 PM

October 04, 2008

ReadSpeaker Blog on Listening as UD and CSR

I have just returned from the 2008 Universal Accessibility in Airports conference. One of my colleagues on a presentation panel described how they will be adding a ribbon at the bottom of the airport's many CNN tv screens for text versions of important announcements. Here Niclas Bergstrom at ReadSpeaker reflects on some other situations where multimodal information is Universal Design:

The other day I was standing in the hotel bar watching the TV. The volume was turned down completely but thanks to the real-time captioning I was able to follow the news broadcast. The day after, I was spending some hours waiting for my delayed flight at Heathrow airport to get ready for departure. There was a TV on the waiting area, again with the volume turned down. This time there was no captioning. However, they did have a sign-language narrator in the bottom right corner of the screen. That didn’t help me much since I can’t understand sign language. I was experience “Situational Disability”. In this case, text would have helped everybody that could read. Now, what about Audio? There are a great number of reasons why audio version of the text is as universal as text version of audio.

In another post Roy Lindemann notes a trend toward Universal Design as corporate social responsibility:

Here at VoiceCorp we’re convinced and obsessed that all web site owners and bloggers benefit from adding an audio version to their online content. So far, we have had a lot of our customers coming from the public arena. That is quite normal since this sector has often the obligation to provide an equal access to their information whether you suffer from a disability or use a mobile device to reach their online content for example. Making their web sites talk helps them achieve this.

But what about the private corporate sector? We are starting to see an evolution here with an increasing amount of household names contacting us and asking us what speech-enabling their web sites could help them achieve. One of the interesting trends here is that some of these companies see an audio version of their web content as part of their overall corporate social responsibility (CSR).

The full blog posts:

Listening as Universal Design
http://blog.readspeaker.com/2008/10/03/listen-function-as-universal-design/

Corporate Social Responsibility
http://blog.readspeaker.com/2008/07/21/online-csr/

Posted by rollingrains at 02:31 PM

Homes Going Green and Livable for the Long Term with Universal Design

The convergence of green and Universal Design is documented again. This time it is in an article on kitchen redesign in San Antonio Texas:

...appliances with the EnergyStar logo are extra-efficient and have become the norm in new appliances.

The placement of appliances is starting to reflect the interest in universal design, the idea that a home should accessible to everyone.

Although universal design hasn't taken over home design yet, builders say it's become more mainstream thanks to baby boomers interested in building a home or renovating so that they can live there for decades.

The full article;

http://www.mysanantonio.com/business/real_estate/30373574.html

Posted by rollingrains at 02:23 PM

September 29, 2008

A Rocket Scientist Witnesses a Blind Man Being "Launched" from a Dragonair Flight

Dragonair logo

I was finishing up my presentation for the 2008 Universal Design in Airports Conference that will start next Tuesday in Chicago. I speak on a panel led by my colleague and Greek-Brazilian-American friend Gus Zografopoules. The topic is "Where do people with disabilities go to get information on flying?" I thought I had nailed down the content. I was looking forward to exploring one of the wheelchair accessible trails shown to me last weekend by folks from the San Francisco Bay Greenbelt Alliance. Then I saw Jim's blog.

Jim Fruchterman's blog at Benetech.org will now be front and center in my talk.

The Rolling Rains blog chronicles a small percentage of the stories on air travel and disability that are sent here (see below) but Jim's tale helps us illustrate what is sometimes overlooked.

Some violations are so egregious that reflection on their deeper meaning requires a cooling down period. The shock value of some stories evoke outrage. Jim's story documents classic nonviolent praxis in the face of injustice. He tells the story in a way that allows for some critical thinking even while the story itself is fresh.

Simon Darcy made an observation about the market dynamics of travelers with disabilities in his game-changing research entitled "From Anxiety to Access." He alerted the world that that we are very well networked and leverage a disproportionately large referral market.

That point didn't need to be made explicit when we reported on billionaire Sminu Jindahl's mistreatment by Jet Air. It seems rather obvious that a billionaire might have more socially beneficial things to do than argue about her competence to sit in an airline seat - and probably had an influential social network.

Jim's Benetech.org is one of the San Francisco Bay Area's premiere social entrepreneurial enterprises. It builds technological solutions for entrenched social problems with such products as a database for documenting (and prosecuting) human rights violations called Martus and their rapidly-expanding service for those who need audio books known as Bookshare. He speaks regularly to industry leaders at events including the World Economic Forum in Davos.

Perhaps it is true that "all publicity is good publicity" but If Dragonair had contracted me to produce a "short list" of people who they would definitely not want to witness abusive practices on their part Jim's name would be on it.

It was unfortunate that Rami Rabby, the first blind foreign service officer working for the US State Department, was thrown off their Dragonair flight from from Hong Kong to Fuzhou. Like Jim I applaud Rami for the courage of his convictions.

But Jim is being overly humble so I also want to recognize his everyday heroism of solidarity and citizen journalism. He could easily have argued that he had more pressing things to do (yes he is literally a rocket scientist by training) yet he stood by witnessing and documenting this act of all-too-common injustice. Thank you Jim from our entire global community

A select list of similar incidents endured by air travelers with disabilities:

Katrina Segundo-Casino on Cebu Airlines

Lori Mango on American Airlines

Michelle Daley on Air France

Chrsitine Wolf on Qantas

Deaf discrimination by Tiger Airways

Rajeev Rajan on SpiceJet, AirSahara, and JetLite

Adele price on Air France

Qantas Issues a 'Non Servium" to a 72 year old

Deaf culture's response to airline discrimination

"Sometimes your just seen as a piece of luggage."

What was my presentation topic again - "Where do people with disabilities go to get information on flying?"

Same answer/new meaning: We go to our friends.

Read more on Benetech's contributions to the world at:

http://benetech.blogspot.com/

Posted by rollingrains at 07:40 PM

September 25, 2008

One Word: "Intolerable!"

"Australia's largest-ever overseas team flew into Sydney yesterday morning, the kit bag full with 79 medals, including 23 gold [from the Paralympic Games]."

They flew Qantas:

Paralympian Christine Wolf's return home yesterday was soured when staff on her flight from Sydney refused to allow the gold medallist to take her prosthetic legs as carry-on luggage.

Australian coach Iryna Dvoskina, who travelled back to Canberra with Ms Wolf yesterday, said she would make a formal complaint.

''[The prosthetics] are just so sensitive, we never check it into luggage, we take it on the plane all the time and now, on our last flight after two months away and we are just very happy to be home, it was just so unhelpful and unfriendly,'' Ms Dvoskina said.

''I can't believe that it would happen.

Writing about this topic daily, lecturing about it globally, I can't pretend to be as incredulous at this abuse as Coach Dvoskina. With sympathy to Christine Wolf the bright side of the story is that her celebrity status made newsworthy the sort of back alley bully mentality that travelers with disabilities endure from even the top brands in the industry.

The rest of the article:

http://www.canberratimes.com.au/news/local/news/general/qantas-snubs-goldmedal-paralympian/1278246.aspx?src=enews#

Posted by rollingrains at 08:41 PM

September 13, 2008

Deja Vu All Over Again: Ike and the Absence of Accessible Post-Disaster Housing

The fundamental of Universal Design is that you build a product so that it usable by the largest number of people under the widest range of situations without the need for special modification. Simple. Not rocket science.

So when we read the following predictions about Hurricane Ike bearing down on Texas all these years after the mistakes of Katrina we can be certain that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has learned that the most cost-effective response is to insist that all mobile homes purchased with federal dollars meet that simple common sense criteria, right?

"This is pretty much a worst-case scenario for flooding the Gulf Coast area," Michael Chertoff, secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, told a press conference in Washington, D.C. "It is a potentially catastrophic hurricane. We will move as swiftly as possible to relieve suffering."

The Federal Emergency Management Agency estimated that at least 100,000 homes would be flooded and that several million people could be without power. Officials were sending more than 5.5 million prepackaged meals to the region, along with more than 230 generators and 5.6 million liters of water.

Here we go again! Exclusion by design.

Message to Mr. Chertoff -- You can't relieve suffering by providing "solutions" that cause suffering. You cannot relive suffering caused by the built environment without unequivocally adopting Universal Design.

Watch the weather. There is a a slow storm brewing that will sweep away those who perpetrate the social exclusion caused when government constructs cities that are not Livable or Visitable.

Posted by rollingrains at 12:48 AM

September 11, 2008

iPod Improves as a Travel Tool?

The new iPod Nano is out.

It's not that it is chock full of content or capacities that make it a necessity for a traveler - although having your tunes along is nice.

What is prophetic is the prominence given in the interface design to the aging demographic and other visually impaired users :

In a bid to increase the accessibility of the Nano for people with impaired vision, Apple has included a font size setting on the fourth-generation Nano that makes its menus more legible--a nice feature even if you have 20/20 vision...

An unprecedented feature found only on the fourth-generation Nano is the capability for vision-impaired users to hear menu, selection, and playback information read to them in a synthesized voice. You can enable this feature through iTunes, which generates the synthesized voice information and transfers it to your iPod Nano.

For more on the iPod nano:

http://reviews.cnet.com/mp3-players/apple-ipod-nano-fourth/4505-6490_7-33246772.html

Posted by rollingrains at 01:28 AM

September 10, 2008

Silent Odyssey: The First Feature-Length Documentary Film on Filipino Deaf Culture

Maria Gilda L. Quintua is CEO of M.G.L.Q. Deaf Tour Assistance, Philippines. The upcoming film, Silent Odyssey, may give you even more reasons to want to visit the Philippines and take advantage of her service.

SILENT ODYSSEY:

The First Feature-Length Documentary Film on Filipino Deaf Culture

September 20, 2008

Saturday

4:00 p.m.

UP Film Center Theater

SILENT ODYSSEY—a journey into the Deaf world—brings out the Filipino Deaf's sentiments towards the hearing society, chronicles the significant and pioneering efforts of different institutions and personages in Philippine Deaf history and touches on important and current issues on Deaf education. It introduces the word "audism" (Deaf oppression)—a not-yet-so-popularly used term in the Filipino Deaf community; takes a glimpse at the 15th World Federation of the Deaf Congress in Spain with the theme "Human Rights Through Sign Language" and the celebration of the entry into force in the Philippines of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

The film also focuses on some of Deaf achievers who are worthy of emulation by the Filipino Deaf youth and presents the World Federation of Deaf President Markku Jokinen's views on oralism, use of hearing aids and importance of sign language to the Deaf. Most importantly, the film takes a close look at the Filipino Sign Language (FSL)—its probable origin, uniqueness, present status vis-à-vis other sign systems and its importance as index to the cultural identity of the Filipino Deaf as a cultural-linguistic minority group.

The journey leads to a realization that the Deaf are disabled and impaired by society's failure to understand and accept their language and culture as an ethnic group, disregarding their cultural needs as Deaf persons by not providing the bridge of communication which aggravates their linguistic isolation. That "Deaf can" is no illusion but a reality which can shame those who think of themselves as superior just because they can hear.

---------------

"Silent Odyssey captures the cry of the Deaf soul through an intricate tapestry of image, sound and color – indeed a poetic documentary that only Miranamedina can create."

PROF. THERESE BUSTOS

Special Education

University of the Philippines, Diliman

"I have to admit that many issues tackled in the film were new to me. So, in that sense, the film has accomplished its purpose on introducing what is happening in the Deaf community in the Philippines…"

JUNKICHI FUJIOKA

Reporter

Manila Shimbun


"Silent Odyssey is simply unbelievable in its quality and unmatched expressiveness in outlining the life, struggles of the Deaf and the Deaf history in the Philippines. Mirana Medina's excellent film will capture the hearts of every movie watcher and celebrates the expressiveness of language without a voice."

RAPHAEL TORRALBA

Journalist

WITHNEWS


"Silent Odyssey shows who Deaf people are and what they want."

ANA KRISTINA ARCE

President

Benildean Deaf Association

---------

SILENT ODYSSEY (110 minutes, subtitles in English) is a production of Miryad Visyon in cooperation with the National Commission on Culture and the Arts (NCCA) and Lingap-Pangarap Foundation, Inc.

The Premiere Screening of Silent Odyssey is sponsored by De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde School of Deaf Education and Applied Studies (DLS-CSB SDEAS) and UP Special Education Council.

Proceeds of the film will go to the Deaf Scholarship Fund of DLS-CSB to provide access to tertiary education for more Deaf Filipinos, to Miranamedina's next advocacy film on special children and to projects of UP Special Education Council.

BUY YOUR TICKETS NOW!

Php 150 (Regular)/Php 100 for students (please present ID)

silentodyssey@gmail.com, 526-7441 local 239, 0927-2248584

Watch the Silent Odyssey trailer:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fFUeGiYyH6I

Visit the blog:

http://silentodyssey.blogspot.com/

Posted by rollingrains at 01:50 PM

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 08, 2008

River Landing: Is the Back Entrance Acceptable Inclusion?

"To me, excuses are excuses. I don't think there's any logical reason why they couldn't have made this accessible to everyone without segregating a portion of the population off to two elevators."

So goes the argument at the center of a design decision controversy for River Landing in Saskatoon. For those willing to dig, the compromise solution may already be built and working well in some unique stair/ramp designs in Singapore. For the full article:

http://www.canada.com/saskatoonstarphoenix/news/story.html?id=8c595198-63e3-49ee-b6d7-49f60b2fd996

Posted by rollingrains at 03:45 PM

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

Construction Begun on the Ed Roberts Campus

Construction has begun on the historic Ed Roberts Campus in Berkeley, California:

Judged strictly by traditional development standards, the new Ed Roberts Campus in Berkeley will be woefully inefficient when it opens in the spring of 2010.

The corridors will be unusually wide. The bathrooms will be unusually large. Doors will be programmed to open by custom motion detectors rather than simple lock and key.

But architect William Leddy measures the design by a different yardstick: its future use by Jan Garrett, who was born without arms or legs but became an attorney and now is executive director of Center for Independent Living, one of the campus' future tenants.

"The goal was to make a building where Jan can come in after hours and move about with no problem at all," said Leddy, whose firm Leddy Maytum Stacy Architects designed the complex that on Thursday officially began construction.

Full story:
http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2008/09/05/BA3T12O8KH.DTL

Posted by rollingrains at 06:38 PM

August 28, 2008

Foreign Language Survey Asks People with Disabilities to Respond

National surveys show U.S. high school students with disabilities, while increasing in the numbers enrolled in foreign language courses, still lag behind their non-disabled peers in the percentages who study foreign languages. U.S. students with and without disabilities are close to equal in the percentages completing foreign language courses at the higher education level. However, the data does not explain what languages are being studied, how successful the learning experience is, and what are the barriers and benefits for people with disabilities at all ages. Are you a person with a disability from the United States who is interested in taking a survey about foreign language learning and disability? The National Clearinghouse on Disability and Exchange (http://www.miusa.org/ncde) seeks your and other individuals with disabilities input and experiences.

Take a 10-minute Foreign Language survey online at: http://www.surveygizmo.com/s/47971/foreignlanguages.

Deadline to submit the survey: October 31, 2008.


Questions:

Melissa Mitchell
Outreach & Training Coordinator
National Clearinghouse on Disability and Exchange
Mobility International USA
(541) 343-1284 ext. 21
www.miusa.org
132 E. Broadway, Suite 343
Eugene, OR 97401 USA

Empowering people with disabilities around the world to achieve their human rights through international exchange and international development.

Posted by rollingrains at 06:31 AM

August 26, 2008

Hilary Lister and Breaking Barriers at Sea

The news is a few days old now but in anticipation of the Paralympics here's a tribute to Hilary Lister who has had to postpone her journey to circumnavigate Britain:

Hilary Lister, who is paralysed from the neck down, and her support team have been beset by problems since setting sail from Dover on 16 June.

Bad weather, technical trouble and injuries to crew members meant they had only managed to reach Cornwall on a trip scheduled to take four months.

Mrs Lister, 36, said: "The fates have conspired against us but I am now ever more determined to go again next year."

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/kent/7559387.stm

Posted by rollingrains at 12:02 AM

August 23, 2008

Green Globe International and the United Nations World Tourism Organization

I like this statement describing the UN's World Tourism Organization:

UNWTO plays a central and decisive role in promoting the development of responsible, sustainable and universally accessible tourism, paying particular attention to the interests of developing countries.

Will we that fragment of institutional "Inclusive Tourism DNA" get transferred to Green Globe in this mating? We would all like to see more progress in the vision:

Universal Design is a framework for the design of places, things, information, communication and policy to be usable by the widest range of people operating in the widest range of situations without special or separate design. Most simply, Universal Design is human-centered design of everything with everyone in mind.

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.

Source:
http://www.adaptenv.org/index.php?option=Content&Itemid=3

Green Globe International, Inc. (OTCBB: GGLB), which owns the Green Globe brand, the premier international green brand focused on sustainability and carbon neutrality programs, today announced that Green Globe International has been accepted for affiliate membership of the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO).

The UNWTO is a specialized agency of the United Nations and the leading international organization in the field of tourism. Headquartered in Madrid, Spain, the UNWTO plays a central and decisive role in promoting the development of responsible, sustainable and universally accessible tourism, paying particular attention to the interests of developing countries.

Green Globe International received an official notification that the UNWTO Executive Council had approved its membership application at its 83rd session held on June 13-14, 2008 in Juju, Republic of Korea. The Executive Council's approval will be subject to formal ratification by the next General Assembly, which will take place at Astana, Kazakhstan in October 2009.

In accordance with established practice, the Executive Council has decided that pending ratification by the General Assembly, Green Globe International has been admitted provisionally to membership of the UNWTO will all of the rights and obligations and may participate fully in any of its activities.

Affiliate membership in the UNWTO offers a chance to participate in the forefront of international tourism business and policy. Members benefit from increased exposure and visibility and gain access to all UNWTO meetings and seminars. As a UNWTO affiliate member, companies and organizations will be able to: 1) access to UNWTO's extensive information networks; 2) explore partnerships for specific projects and new business opportunities; 3) contribute to policy inputs through participation in specific UNWTO working committees with member states; 4) contribute to UNWTO program development for projects, events and other activities; 4) share your institution or company knowledge/expertise; 5) network with leading business decision makers and influential policy shapers.

"A strong association with the UNWTO and adherence to its principles related to sustainable tourism was identified as a high priority for Green Globe International management once we completed our acquisition of the Green Globe brand, and we are extremely pleased to have received notification of our acceptance for affiliate membership in the organization," commented Steven R. Peacock, chief executive officer and managing director of Green Globe International.

The UNWTO has expressed its support for the creation of a Sustainable Tourism Stewardship Council (STSC) designed to increase the credibility of sustainable tourism certification programs. The STSC will become the accreditation body that will endorse these programs and will create the first set of comprehensive global requirements that such programs will have to meet.

"The long and distinguished history of the Green Globe program in the global travel and tourism industry, as well as the strong academic and scientific principles that underpin the Green Globe standards, obviously position Green Globe very well relative to any accreditation process. Green Globe International will continue to support the policies set forth by the UNWTO and will ensure that all Green Globe programs, including its comprehensive Sustainability and Carbon Neutrality Plans, meet the requirements set forth by the STSC," Mr. Peacock added.

The World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) established Green Globe in 1992 as a response to the United Nations Rio de Janeiro Earth Summit, where 182 Heads of State endorsed the Agenda 21 principles of Sustainable Development. Green Globe is the only international sustainability program based on Agenda 21 principles.

Green Globe International (www.greenglobeint.com) encourages all shareholders and others interested in following the progress of the company to subscribe to receive email alerts whenever new information is made public. To subscribe, please visit http://www.greenglobeint.com/stayconnected/email/.

About the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO/OMT)

The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO/OMT) is a specialized agency of the United Nations and the leading international organization in the field of tourism. It serves as a global forum for tourism policy issues and a practical source of tourism know-how.

UNWTO plays a central and decisive role in promoting the development of responsible, sustainable and universally accessible tourism, paying particular attention to the interests of developing countries.

The Organization encourages the implementation of the Global Code of Ethics for Tourism*, with a view to ensuring that member countries, tourist destinations and businesses maximize the positive economic, social and cultural effects of tourism and fully reap its benefits, while minimizing its negative social and environmental impacts.

Its membership includes 157 countries and territories and more than 300 Affiliate Members representing the private sector, educational institutions, tourism associations and local tourism authorities.

Direct actions that strengthen and support the efforts of National Tourism Administrations are carried out by UNWTO's regional representatives (Africa, the Americas, East Asia and the Pacific, Europe, the Middle East and South Asia) based at the Headquarters in Madrid.

UNWTO is committed to the United Nations Millennium Development Goals, geared toward reducing poverty and fostering sustainable development.

*
Article 2 of the Global Code of Ethics for Tourism (GCET)

Tourism as a vehicle for individual and collective fulfilment

1. Tourism, the activity most frequently associated with rest and relaxation, sport and access to culture and nature, should be planned and practised as a privileged means of individual and collective fulfilment; when practised with a sufficiently open mind, it is an irreplaceable factor of self-education, mutual tolerance and for learning about the legitimate differences between peoples and cultures and their diversity;

2. Tourism activities should respect the equality of men and women; they should promote human rights and, more particularly, the individual rights of the most vulnerable groups, notably children, the elderly, the handicapped [sic], ethnic minorities and indigenous peoples;

3. The exploitation of human beings in any form, particularly sexual, especially when applied to children, conflicts with the fundamental aims of tourism and is the negation of tourism; as such, in accordance with international law, it should be energetically combatted with the cooperation of all the States concerned and penalized without concession by the national legislation of both the countries visited and the countries of the perpetrators of these acts, even when they are carried out abroad;

4. Travel for purposes of religion, health, education and cultural or linguistic exchanges are particularly beneficial forms of tourism, which deserve encouragement;

5. The introduction into curricula of education about the value of tourist exchanges, their economic, social and cultural benefits, and also their risks, should be encouraged.

Posted by rollingrains at 08:22 PM

August 19, 2008

Surprised by the Desire for Basic Services

We repeatedly emphasize the need for reliable travel information on the part of travelers with disabilities. This is one reasons that breakthrough projects like AccessAbility's Free2Wheel.co.in get such an enthusiastic welcome here. The following press release demonstrates how even the airlines themselves are seemingly unaware of how dependent all their customers are on quality information -- British Airways was surprised by response to its simple

Press release - 18 August 2008 - British Airways

British Airways’ application for the new Apple App Store has seen massive uptake that exceeds expectations. It’s being accessed by up to 3,000 people a day worldwide. In the first month, UK users alone exceeded 15,000.

These statistics underline the importance of accessible travel information on the move and the readiness of consumers to utilise the functionality of new technologies.

The application allows users to access real-time departure and arrival information for updates if catching a flight or picking someone up. It also contains full BA timetable information and enables access through to ba.com.

Chris Carmichael of BA’s innovations team said: “Customer reviews on the Apple App Store site have been great and they have given us lots of ideas for the future.

“We knew there was an appetite for this application and the take-up figures have been very impressive. The statistics underline which technology tools really make a difference to customers in making travel that much easier.”

Posted by rollingrains at 06:42 PM

August 18, 2008

Inclusive Tourism meets Adventure Tourism in Brazil Next Month

Ricardo Shimosakai is organizing the following in Brazil.

ATYAAAAKK9mC0mZ5Mre24yMRxSNf-vz4jN-Tpzlr77vyQJX73C843cy0g-m1l-UK7w-KJ0hbP0b-WXZeY2jlKFfO_ExAAJtU9VBU7yU0jX_cl2aXsgqXruS6PFGMxw.jpg

Posted by rollingrains at 04:21 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 23, 2008

Disability Body Blasts EU Anti-Discrimination Draft

A draft anti-discrimination directive from the European Commission has been criticised by a major disability lobby group for failing to cover technology accessibility standards.

The commission’s proposal, ‘Non-discrimination and equal opportunities: a renewed commitment’, deals with discrimination against people on the basis of disability, race, religion, gender or sexual orientation and covers non-employment areas such as education, social security and health care (see http://fastlink.headstar.com/eur8).

In a statement European disability Forum (EDF) President Yannis Vardakastanis said the draft directive omits “important issues for persons with disabilities as the concept of universal design, the necessity of European and national accessibility standards and the right to services ensuring inclusion.”

In addition the document “leaves room for interpretation and will create legal uncertainties”, Vardakastanis said (see http://fastlink.headstar.com/edf2).

The EDF was created in 1996 to give a voice in the European Union to Europe’s 50 million disabled people (http://www.edf-feph.org).

Source:
http://www.headstar.com/eablive/?p=199

Posted by rollingrains at 06:36 PM

July 19, 2008

Remodelling, Aging-in-Place, and Unversal Design

Chris Farrell of Business Week takes a look at the trend toward aging in place. Predictably the conversation turns to that contribution of the US Disability Rights Movement to global society: Universal Design:

Overall, remodeling activity is falling at an annual rate of 4.8% in 2008, according to the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University. But the fastest-growing segment of the remodeling industry is overhauling homes for the 50-plus crowd.

Making your home a place where you can grow old comfortably doesn't mean littering it with sterile-looking devices reminiscent of nursing homes. The trend is to "universal design," which calls for safe, easy-to-use appliances that blend in with their environment. Doorknobs are replaced with handles (easier to open), lights made brighter (for aging eyes), door frames widened (for wheelchair access), and grab bars installed in the shower. "It's no one thing," says George Cundy, architect with the firm Cundy, Santine & Associates in Shoreview, Minn. "It's a combination of things that makes the difference so you can stay there."

Source:

http://www.newschannel5.com/Global/Story.asp?S=8691441
The article would have been stronger with an adequate definition of the concept:

Principles of Universal Design

1. Equitable Use: The design does not disadvantage or stigmatize any group of users.
2. Flexibility in Use: The design accommodates a wide range of individual preferences and abilities.
3. Simple, Intuitive Use: Use of the design is easy to understand, regardless of the user's experience, knowledge, language skills, or current concentration level.
4. Perceptible Information: The design communicates necessary information effectively to the user, regardless of ambient conditions or the user's sensory abilities.
5. Tolerance for Error: The design minimizes hazards and the adverse consequences of accidental or unintended actions.
6. Low Physical Effort: The design can be used efficiently and comfortably, and with a minimum of fatigue.
7. Size and Space for Approach & Use: Appropriate size and space is provided for approach, reach, manipulation, and use, regardless of the user's body size, posture, or mobility.

Compiled by advocates of Universal Design in 1997. Participants are listed in alphabetical order: Bettye Rose Connell, Mike Jones, Ron Mace, Jim Mueller, Abir Mullick, Elaine Ostroff, Jon Sanford, Ed Steinfeld, Molly Story, Gregg Vanderheiden. The Principles are copyrighted to the Center for Universal Design, School of Design, State University of North Carolina at Raleigh [USA].

The Principles established a valuable language for explaining the characteristics of Universal Design. They are in common use around the world, sometimes with slight modifications, primarily one or two principles grouped together. It is expected that the principles will be reconsidered on the occasion of their tenth anniversary in 2007 and are likely to evolve in response to experience with implementation and in order to incorporate insights and perspectives from the engagement of more diverse cultures.

Source:
http://www.adaptenv.org/index.php?option=Content&Itemid=25

Posted by rollingrains at 05:21 AM

July 18, 2008

China: personas con discapacidad como voluntarios en Beijing (Spanish)

Beijing

Personas con discapacidad actuarán como voluntarios durante los Juegos Olimpicos y Paralimpicos de Beijing 2008. Puestos como centros de llamadas para atención a usuarios y kioskos de información serán ocupados por voluntarios con discapacidad seleccionados en el proceso de formación del cuerpo de voluntarios integrado por 87 mil personas, la mayor de todos de 87 años, que representan la diversidad de culturas en la cumbre del alto rendimiento deportivo mundial. Concursaron 600 mil aspirantes al cuerpo de voluntariado, muchos de ellos con discapacidad.

Posted by rollingrains at 04:45 PM

Advances at Avis

Although originally nudged along by litigation Avis Rent A Car continues to show commitment to the disability community as travelers with further improvements in service announced yesteerday.

Press release:


PARSIPPANY, NJ, Jul 17, 2008 (MARKET WIRE via COMTEX) --

Avis Rent A Car today announced the nationwide rollout of mobility
devices and the addition of new mobility devices including heavy duty
scooters, power chairs and manual wheelchairs, to its Avis Access(R)
program, the Company's suite of products for travelers with
disabilities. The national rollout of these lightweight,
battery-operated portable mobility scooters follows a successful test
in Orlando and Las Vegas.

Mobility devices are popular with older travelers in addition to
people with disabilities, especially when traveling for special
purposes such as vacations, graduations or weddings. They are also
used by general consumers for special purposes, including:

-- Navigating large conventions or resorts with long walkways;
-- Overcoming the inconvenience of a temporary ailment such as a sprained
ankle or fracture;
-- Making sightseeing in large cities easier and more enjoyable,
especially during the hot summer months.

"Customer response to mobility scooters in Orlando and Las Vegas was
strong," said Michael Caron, vice president of product and program
development for Avis Budget Group, Inc., parent company of Avis.
"Offering these rental products in additional cities as demand
increases shows how 'We Try Harder' at Avis to bring customers
products and services that make travel more accessible for all."

"My son had broken his leg and the scooter made it possible for him
to go everywhere with the family," said Ted Fardoe, an Avis customer
who rented a mobility device in Orlando. "The scooter rental made a
huge difference in the entire family's ability to enjoy our
vacation."

In 2004, Avis introduced Avis Access, the most comprehensive suite of
products in the car rental industry aimed at making travel more
accessible for travelers with disabilities. Available free of charge
with all Avis car rentals, Avis Access products include transfer
boards, swivel seats, spinner knobs, hand-controls and panoramic
mirrors. Last year, Avis also introduced a national training program
to educate employees on how to recognize different types of
disabilities and how best to assist these customers. Avis employees
are also trained in the correct usage of terminology and language
when dealing with persons that are sight or hearing impaired,
speech-impaired or use wheelchairs.
devices that can be reserved directly through
Scootaround, the industry leader in mobility equipment rentals, and
are available for rent for a minimum of three days. For more
information or to make a reservation, visit www.avis.com/access or
call 1-888-TRY-HARDER.

About Avis

Avis Rent A Car System, LLC and its subsidiaries operate one of the
world's leading car rental brands, providing business and leisure
customers with a wide range of services at more than 2,100 locations
in the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the Latin
American/Caribbean region. Avis is one of the world's top brands for
customer loyalty, as ranked in the 2008 Brand Keys(R) Customer
Loyalty Engagement Index. The company is a wholly owned subsidiary of
Avis Budget Group, Inc.

Posted by rollingrains at 01:18 AM

July 17, 2008

Rolling Rains and ENAT

Scott Rains, publisher of RollingRains.com, was recently honored as Lifetime Honorary Associate member of the European Network for Accessible Tourism (ENAT). Download file


The ENAT site is a rich source of current information and quality literature on inclusion in tourism. See the site at:

http://www.accessibletourism.org/

Posted by rollingrains at 01:05 AM

Manual de Convivência (Portuguese)

Está disponível para download em PDF o Manual de Convivência, um guia prático de como se relacionar com as pessoas com deficiência.


Manual de Convivência: Pessoas com deficiência e mobilidade reduzida
http://www.vereadoramaragabrilli.com.br/manualc/manual_web.pdf

Posted by rollingrains at 01:02 AM

Hacer accesible el turismo beneficiaría al 35% de los ciudadanos europeos (Spanish)

Desde El Cisne:


El coordinador de Investigación y Desarrollo de la Oficina de Accesibilidad de Bélgica, Steven Vos, afirmó durante su intervención en el 'II Congreso de Turismo para Todos ENAT' que, teniendo en cuenta a las personas con discapacidad, a los mayores, a las mujeres embarazadas, a las familias con niños pequeños y a quienes tienen otras limitaciones, 'alrededor del 35% de todos los europeos pueden beneficiarse de las mejoras de la accesibilidad en el turismo', como las instalaciones y los servicios accesibles.

"No obstante, sólo un porcentaje muy pequeño del mercado se ocupa de las necesidades en materia de turismo accesible", agregó Vos. Este experto belga comentó que hay una gran cantidad de hoteles, servicios de transporte y lugares turísticos que "no son físicamente accesibles" para muchas personas con discapacidad y personas mayores. "Falta información precisa y accesible, los empleados no están capacitados para proporcionar servicios adaptados a las personas con discapacidad, y el personal de los servicios de turismo a menudo carece de formación sobre los medios para satisfacer las necesidades de accesibilidad de los turistas con discapacidad", agregó Vos.

Por su parte, la directora de Ocio y Bienestar del Reino Unido, Susan Thomas, hizo un llamado a los estados miembros de la UE para que compartan "las buenas prácticas", armonicen los criterios de accesibilidad y fomenten y permitan que todos los servicios relacionados con el turismo "elaboren y apliquen planes de acción sobre accesibilidad para mejorar la experiencia de los viajes y el turismo del cliente".

Por su parte, Ercan Tutal, representante de la Asociación Turca de Agencias de Viajes, habló sobre el turismo accesible en Turquía y comentó que en los últimos años se han producido muchos avances con el objetivo de convertir a Turquía en un lugar más accesible, con "más habitaciones para personas con discapacidad en los servicios de alojamiento, nuevos hoteles sin barreras y nuevos reglamentos en la accesibilidad del transporte". Asimismo, recordó que la normativa de la UE en materia de accesibilidad turística se basa no sólo en la "rehabilitación" de las personas con discapacidad, sino también en la "integración" de este colectivo en la sociedad, lo que se considera "una cuestión de derechos humanos". Tutal explicó que la asociación a la que pertenece creó una "Comisión de turismo sin barreras para todos", que, entre otras iniciativas, ayuda en la creación de una guía turística titulada "Estambul sin barreras para todos", dirigida a personas mayores y personas con discapacidad.

En representación de Noruega, Aina Olsen, consultora de la Dirección de Sanidad y Asuntos Sociales, destacó el hecho de que en el 2004 se estableciera una comisión en su país con el objetivo de crear un "sistema de etiquetado" para los destinos turísticos accesibles. Ello supone, en su opinión, un gran reto para "ver cómo un sistema nacional de etiquetado puede abarcar las necesidades de todos los grupos de discapacitados". En cuanto a las medidas que se pueden tomar para convencer al sector turístico de la necesidad de adoptar el sistema de etiqueado, Olsen destacó que hay que "apelar a la conciencia social", porque el bienestar de las personas con discapacidad "no es sólo responsabilidad del sector sanitario, sino también del turístico", sin obviar que "la gran proporción de personas con discapacidad y mayores suponen un área de mercado muy importante".

En este sentido, la secretaria delegada de la Asociación de Turismo y Discapacidad de Francia, Emmanuelle Tulliez, comentó que desde su institución se ha creado la etiqueta "Turismo y Discapacidad", que comprende los cuatro tipos de discapacidad (motora, visual, auditiva y mental) y todos los alojamientos turísticos, hostelería, sitios turísticos, lugares de ocio, etc. Dicho sello distintivo, explicó, "sirve para potenciar los esfuerzos de las personas que trabajan en la industria del turismo y hace una invitación a todos los que quieran abrir sus lugares a la mayor variedad de clientes".

Posted by rollingrains at 01:00 AM

July 16, 2008

Marriott Courtyard in Columbia, SC

Watchdog ( Tony Bartelme ) at the Charleston Post and Carrier reports on abuse of disabled parking spaces and ignorance of the law by staff at a local hotel. While this abuse is common the Post and carrier is to be commended for taking notice of such a "small" infraction and protecting the safety of the disability community as we travel for work and pleasure -- and probably stay at a competitor's hotel:

Last April, Laura Kirkham was a guest at Marriott Courtyard in Columbia and noticed these materials stored on a disabled parking space. [photo in original article here ]

Kirkham said she uses crutches and that this was the only covered handicap parking spot at the hotel. She it would have been helpful to have this space available because it rained several inches during her stay. "Rain and crutches are a treacherous combination," she noted...

Michael Wells, a manager, told Watchdog that the hotel has 189 spaces total, five of which are for disabled motorists, including the one covered up. He said the hotel was only required to have four. He declined additional comment.

In fact, the hotel is required to have 6 spots available at all times.

Total Parking in Lot -- Required Minimum Number of Accessible Spaces

1 to 25 -- 1

26 to 50 -- 2

51 to 75 -- 3

76 to 100 -- 4

101 to 150 -- 5

151 to 200 -- 6

201 to 300 -- 7

301 to 400 -- 8

401 to 500 -- 9

501 to 1000 -- 2 percent of total

1001 and over -- 20 plus 1 for each 100 over 1000

Source: access-board.gov/adaag/html/adaag.htm

Posted by rollingrains at 11:54 PM

Route 66 -- and Accessibility -- the Jason Angel Story

Route 66 once had a mythical attraction to Americans as the ultimate "road Trip." Jason Angel relives the magic as a traveler with a disability.

Angel delivers: 'Accessing the Mother Road'
http://www.wickedlocal.com/amesbury/archive/x170777075


Salem State student travels the long road to accessibility
http://www.wickedlocal.com/northshoresunday/news/x273547792/Salem-State-student-travels-the-long-road-to-accessibility

Posted by rollingrains at 02:36 PM

July 15, 2008

India Rising in Popularity with American Tourists

This article appeared in the San Jose Mercury News. Timely as we prepare to do a nationwide tour for the Indian tour industry on Inclusive Tourism:


NEW DELHI—Keith Lotman went to New Delhi on a two-week business trip. But a quick day of sightseeing in India's capital city left him enthralled and ready to see more of the country. "I have about a hundred different places that I'd like to visit," said Lotman, 31, a business executive from Philadelphia, as he checked out the world's largest Bahai temple in New Delhi. "A hundred different kinds of experiences." He added: "It's very different from any place I've traveled to before. Culturally very different. I'd definitely like to go to Agra to see the Taj Mahal next...."

New tourists like Lotman have helped feed a boom in travel to India, and the country is now nearly as popular a destination for Americans as Spain. Travel to India from the United States increased 10 percent between 2006 and 2007, on top of an 8 percent rise the year before. More Americans visited India last year than went to Ireland or Thailand, according to the most recent data from U.S. Department of Commerce.

The upsurge in Americans visiting India is part of broader boom in India's tourism industry. In 2007, some 5 million travelers headed to India, nearly double from 2000, according to the Tourism Ministry. Visitors from the U.S. accounted for 15.7 percent of the total.

These include a large number of business travelers, wealthy retirees out to explore India from the comfortable confines of an air-conditioned luxury bus or train, and people of Indian origin eager to see their parents'—or grandparents'—homeland.

For the full article: Americans are part of boom in tourism to India

Even better, watch Rolling Rains for a travelogue as we go.

Posted by rollingrains at 01:11 AM

July 11, 2008

Will You Be Traveling to Ohio?

The following video was produced by Day al-Mohammed to support discussion of disability issues by the US presidential candidates.

Posted by rollingrains at 03:23 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 08, 2008

DisabilityPhoto.com Launches!

Disability Photo.com Logo

Received from the new site DisabilityPhoto.com

A new stock photo agency‚ Disabilityphoto.com, is aggressively seeking photos and illustrations of‚ by‚ and for the disability community.
The site’s goal is to offer a unique place for royalty–free and rights–managed photography and illustrations.

Art from prominent photographers in the disability community has already been lined up. For instance‚ buyers on the site will be able to obtain the works of Christopher Voelker, Chris Hamilton, Eric Stampfli and
and many others. However, Creative Director Jennifer Ruf wants to get the word out that there’s no limit to DisabilityPhoto’s quest for talent.

Disability Photo.com banner


“We’re creating something that’s never been done before…a place where a
huge amount of disability artwork will be available at a buyer’s fingertips.
We’re calling on all artists‚ from amateurs to professionals‚ to contact us.
It’s a great opportunity.”

Disabilityphoto.com will be a well–organized site so that finding the right works for any project will be a snap. “This site is intended to offer high end photography and illustrations in an easy–to–use format‚” says Ruf, “The site
has a great layout to make it easy to find exactly what you’re looking for.

“With the goal of stocking the site with thousands of photos and art, Disabilityphoto.com promises to be the premier source for anyone seeking disability–related images.

To submit artwork or learn more about the site, please go to:

www.disabilityphoto.com

You can also find disability and travel photos at Travel with a Disability on Flickr


Posted by rollingrains at 05:43 PM

July 07, 2008

Peace through Tourism Course Launched

World Leisure International Centre of Excellence logo

While I have not reviewed the final curriculum I did contribute in the research phase of this promising new course:

At the 4th IIPT African Conference, May 20th – 25th 2007, Kampala, Uganda, a course on Peace through Tourism was launched, discussed and enthusiastically received by the international community. WICE – World Leisure International Centre of Excellence at Wageningen University, The Netherlands – developed this course; course director is Drs Jan te Kloeze.

The course is an initiative aiming to consolidate the concept of Peace through Tourism. It is open to external participants, members of institutions interested in the subject, and tourism and peace policy makers.

The course – duration 4 weeks – is divided in four thematic units:

1. Sustainable tourism and the world today;
2. Theory of peace making and peace keeping in a national and international context;
3. The role of tourism in promoting international understanding; and
4. Tourism and community development: tourism as an agent for poverty reduction.

Peace through Tourism Course Launched


A trans-interdisciplinary approach is used to outline the potential of tourism as a peace tool. Lecturers from WICE together with international academics, carefully selected from the WICE world wide network of renowned experts are giving the lectures.

The classes will take place at Wageningen University in the Netherlands. When certain conditions are met, the course can be given in other guest countries too.

Costs and fees: € 3,770.—[including living costs, travel costs, and fee; fee only: € 1,750.–].

About World Leisure International Centres of Excellence (WICE)
In 1988 the Association began exploring the concept of a truly international post-graduate programme in leisure studies. Ultimately this led to the creation of a framework for the World Leisure International Centres of Excellence (WICE). The purpose was to provide an unique opportunity whereby postgraduate students from countries around the world and international leisure specialists come together in one location for a two-year program leading to a graduate degree.

The first such program was established in The Netherlands in 1992, with substantial support from the Dutch government. Today, through a contract with Wageningen University, a leading international institution in Holland, the WICE program gives students access to the resources of the University and at the same time provides instruction and consultation through a visiting faculty of 40 professors in any given year. Up to 25 students are admitted each year. Students completing the program receive a M.Sc. degree in Leisure and Environments. Many of the graduates have gone on to occupy senior leadership positions in their home countries.

A WICE Advisory Panel, responsible to the World Leisure Board, reviews and advises on existing programmes and new initiatives. For more information, visit www.worldleisure.org.

Posted by rollingrains at 05:25 PM

July 05, 2008

Usability Review: The SPOT Personal Safety Device

SPOT.jpg

Ever find yourself asking, "Who designed this thing anyway?" I do. I also found someone who figured out what to do next. Her story might someday impact us all.

Julie Jones is founder and CEO of Engineered Travel. Engineered Travel, LLC (www.engineeredtravel.com ) works with manufacturers of existing products and shows them how to apply Universal Design thinking. The result can be anything from product improvements involving simple engineering changes to the development of entirely new products to meet the needs of the disability market. The company is busy at both.

Julie has teamed up with Bob Davis of the GEOS Travel Safety Group www.geosalliance.com. GEOS provides integrated security, safety and resilient communications services for corporations as well as domestic and international travelers. With former police, military, and government security professionals in-house and having extensive knowledge of search and rescue (SAR) practice GEOS partnered with the manufacturers of the SPOT Satellite Messenger to provide a new type of personal safety device.

I have been field testing it.

I like it!

Let me reiterate that the purpose of Engineered Travel LLC is to take products that were not designed with our community in mind and make them accessible. That said, even with opportunities for design improvements I have had fun playing with SPOT as I traveled from Brazil to Alaska. It evoked a satisfying round of "tech envy" as I took it out of my briefcase during a meeting of technology innovators in San Francisco recently. I am getting quite a few requests to be added to the list that receives a SPOT "Check In" email pinpointing me on a Google map as I globe trot with SPOT.

There is always inconvenience, even risk involved in travel. For someone with a disability what may be inconvenience for some can be a risk - a vehicle that goes dead somewhere out of cell phone range for example. This is where a personal location device like SPOT literally becomes a life saver.

SPOT 911.jpg

The orange and black ruggedized waterproof unit has several functions. These include 9-1-1 mode, a less urgent Help mode, and a simple Check-in mode.

From the SPOT website here is how 9-1-1 mode works:

Once activated, SPOT will acquire its exact coordinates from the GPS network, and send that location along with a distress message to a GEOS International Emergency Response Center every five minutes until canceled. The Emergency Response Center notifies the appropriate emergency responders based on your location and personal information - which may include local police, highway patrol, the Coast Guard, our country's embassy or consulate, or other emergency response or search and rescue teams - as well as notifying your emergency contact person(s) about the receipt of a distress signal.

In Help or Check-in mode SPOT contacts those who you have designated to receive an SMS message or an email. The email also includes a link to a Google map showing your location within 15 feet. At your SPOT account online you compose the email and select who you want to receive the message before you travel.

SPOT Alert Map.jpg

Something that seems ingenious is the SPOT Tracking feature. It is the second function to the OK button used for Check-in mode. This “Optional feature” ($49.99/yr) is very useful so in the event you need to be located but also need to move. Tracking leaves a breadcrumb trail of where you have been. Once activated this feature plots your location every 10 minutes for 24 hours, without having to re-push a button.

SPOT distinguishes itself from existing products in a number of ways. It uses satellite technology and the GEOS Emergency Response Center that is not dependent on cell phone reception, Electronic Position Indicating Radio Beacon (EPIRB) or the PSAP (Public Service Access Points) network. This adds a layer of human contact which, in one case described to me by Bob Davis of GEOS, led to additional lives being saved.

I was told one story about a rescue using SPOT. In an avalanche situation a SPOT owner's distress call was verified by GEOS. (Note: SPOT is not designed to function under snow.) GEOS’ call to the owner's emergency contact revealed that the owner's party included eight people. That information allowed the Search and Rescue team to be prepared and make a successful rescue.

SPOT is waterproof although it is not designed to signal effectively when submerged in water.

This feature, that SPOT is waterproof for up to 30 minutes even when submerged at 1 meter, was quite a reassurance as I kayaked through an ice floe in Alaska last month with the unit in my pocket. Doubly reassuring as one iceberg chose to imitate a rotary saw blade by flipping top for bottom just after we passed it.
More often I suspect that the waterproofing feature will come in handy when I am juggling coffee cups or at the pool.

In my analysis of the product, and the team behind it, my opinion is that the three part team involving SPOT, GEOS, and Engineered Travel LLC is what makes this product/service bundle such a potential benefit to the disability community. Team members express genuine interest in achieving usability for, to quote the classic definition of Universal Design, "the widest range of people operating in the widest range of situations without special or separate design."

For some of us the current SPOT form factor will work just fine. If it works for you as is you can pick one up online here: https://www.geosalliance.net/geoslogin/orderspot.aspx (Although I do recommend that you read to the end of this review to find the discount code.* )

For others of us Engineered Travel LLC needs to work its magic. In its present form SPOT controls lack sensory redundancy for those of varying abilities.

I found the buttons took effort to push under warm conditions and required me to use a pen or other implement to activate when my fingers became weaker in the cold. The size and non-slip material along the edges were a benefit in gripping the unit but the protruding belt clip on the back makes the unit unstable when laid on a flat surface in order to work the buttons. The easy release fasteners made opening the case for battery insertion possible. The color makes it easy to locate.

Whether you need a safety device for when you are in a cell phone dead zone, a monsoon downpour, or just want to accurately geo-tag your photos on Google maps this is a handy unit to have. Thinking ahead to travel, emergency, or disaster situations where normal communication channels are unavailable I am reminded of yesterday’s post and the Bonn Declaration that “Disasters are Always Inclusive.” This unit could also be a lifesaver.

SPOT is useful in its current version for those with good to fair visual acuity and fine motor skills. Given my conversations with representatives of the GEOS Travel Safety Group and Engineered Travel LLC I suspect that we will see modifications. These in turn will show concretely how the consumer power of the disability community is coming of age and once again demonstrate the “Curb Cut Effect” of Universal Design to the benefit of us all.

* Engineered Travel LLC provides a promotional/discount code for purchasing SPOT but only here (https://www.geosalliance.net/geoslogin/orderspot.aspx ) through their direct relationship with the GEOS Travel Safety Group: etllc4d (a seven character alpha/numeric code)

(Full Disclosure Statement: As a result of meeting Julie Jones I have joined Engineered Travel's Disabled Advisors Board. In that role I field test products on loan to me such as SPOT but receive no financial compensation or free product and provide design, usability, and market analysis to Engineered Travel LLC- as well as early product reviews for readers of the Rolling Rains Report.)

Posted by rollingrains at 11:23 PM

July 01, 2008

TripWolf is Live With 200,000+ Destinations and all MairDumont's Content

OK, this site could be a big development for sharing travel information in the disability community.

Now is the time to determine that for yourself. If you like it share it with your friends. Where you see it needs improvement share that directly with TripWolf.

Or, as soon as you register, add me as a Friend. I'm on the site as Rolling Rains. This will allow us to compare evaluations of the site's usefulness. It will also allow us to better inform the site's staff on the needs of people with disabilities.

From their press release:

New York City, July 1, 2008. Today tripwolf.com (http://www.tripwolf.com) is released publicly to the US market. tripwolf is a new social travel guide that covers the whole world, focusing mainly on Europe. tripwolf combines professional editorial content with user-generated content from globetrotters worldwide.

tripwolf is backed by MairDumont, Europe’s largest publisher of travel guides
including Baedeker, Dumont and Marco Polo
. Through collaboration with
tripwolf, MairDumont has taken the unprecedented step of putting all of its
content - covering more than 200,000 destinations and points of
interest - online for free.


Note the recent post on the Sydney for All online travel directory and observe how different approaches to online travel information and directories are evolving to serve the disability community.


tripwolf---startpage-sml.jpg

Posted by rollingrains at 03:49 PM

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 29, 2008

Bicycle Technology: Testbed for New Wheelchair Design

Behind the scenes (sorry, Nondisclosure Agreements in effect), some interesting "Green Wheelchairs" are in development. Take some hints from bicycle designers:

Cardboard Bike
http://www.cnn.com/2008/TECH/science/06/17/cardboard.bike/

Bamboo Bikes
http://www.bamboobike.org/Home.html

Bamboo Bike Project

From The Natural Standard web site:

http://www.naturalstandard.com/index-abstract.asp?create-abstract=/monographs/herbssupplements/patient-bamboo.asp

Cane and bamboo may be alternative basic construction materials for orthotic and prosthetic appliances. Bamboo night splints and upper limb splints are believed to be effective, and bamboo walkers, crutches and wheelchairs are remarkably useful, inexpensive and lightweight.

Posted by rollingrains at 07:46 PM

June 28, 2008

Accessible Hiking Trails?

Several readers specialize in outdoor access and even maintain public web sites on the accessibility of trails. The following grant offer from the American Hiking Society might be enough to convince a hiking-oriented non-profit to do something significant to improve trals accessibility:

The American Hiking Society ( http://www.americanhiking.org/ )
2009 National Trails Fund is open for applications. The National
Trails Fund is the only privately funded, national grants pro-
gram dedicated solely to building and protecting hiking trails.
Now in its eighth year, the fund has awarded nearly $382,000 to
105 grassroots organizations all over the United States working
to establish, protect, and maintain foot trails in America.

American Hiking will be awarding two different types of National
Trail Fund grants in 2009:

1) American Hiking Society Trail
Grants, which will range from $500-$4,999 each; and
2) Nature Valley Trail Grants, which will be for $5,000 each. Twenty
applicant organizations for the Nature Valley Trail Grants will be
selected as prospective grant recipients and will be featured on
Nature Valley's Web site ( http://www.wheresyours.com/ ). Nature
Valley Trail Grant award winners will be chosen by public vote
from October 1 through 31, 2008. The top ten projects will each
receive $5,000.

Hiking Society Seeks Applications for Trail Grants

Deadline: August 15, 2008

The American Hiking Society ( http://www.americanhiking.org/ )
2009 National Trails Fund is open for applications. The National
Trails Fund is the only privately funded, national grants pro-
gram dedicated solely to building and protecting hiking trails.
Now in its eighth year, the fund has awarded nearly $382,000 to
105 grassroots organizations all over the United States working
to establish, protect, and maintain foot trails in America.

American Hiking will be awarding two different types of National
Trail Fund grants in 2009: 1) American Hiking Society Trail
Grants, which will range from $500-$4,999 each; and 2) Nature
Valley Trail Grants, which will be for $5,000 each. Twenty app-
licant organizations for the Nature Valley Trail Grants will be
selected as prospective grant recipients and will be featured on
Nature Valley's Web site ( http://www.wheresyours.com/ ). Nature
Valley Trail Grant award winners will be chosen by public vote
from October 1 through 31, 2008. The top ten projects will each
receive $5,000.

Applicants must be a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Projects
that will be considered for the 2009 grants are as follows: proj-
ects that have hikers as the primary constituency, though multi-
ple human-powered trail uses are eligible; projects that secure
trail lands, including acquisition of trails and trail corridors
and the costs associated with acquiring conservation easements;
projects that result in visible and substantial ease of access,
improved hiker safety, and/or avoidance of environmental damage;
and projects that promote constituency building surrounding
specific trail projects -- including volunteer recruitment and
support.

Visit the American Hiking Society Web site for complete program
guidelines and the online application system.

RFP Link:
http://fconline.foundationcenter.org/pnd/15013896/americanhiking

Posted by rollingrains at 10:12 PM

June 26, 2008

TIA Campaign: Media Reports On Benefits of Travel

Benefits_Travel_logo

To the extent that the Travel Industry Association takes seriously the disability community as a travel market the following letter from Roger Dow, TIA President and CEO, is a hopeful sign:

As you may know, TIA has been sharing information in recent months on the personal benefits of travel and taking a trip. I am happy to note that the media is beginning to report on the contributions travel makes to individuals, as illustrated in articles in The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times.

I was also introduced recently to a blog called Sure To Meet, which provides tips and information on business and social networking. It highlighted how face-to-face meetings are still best for building relationships. I want encourage you to help us get the word out by passing along the articles and the information we’ve compiled.

Through the Benefits of Travel, TIA provides a one-stop shop for survey results and facts that demonstrate how travel benefits everyone personally in the areas of:

* relationship building,
* career success and productivity, and
* health and wellness.

In addition, there is an interesting "Other Important Facts" section. All of this information is also available online at www.tia.org/Benefits.

Let’s work together to help everyone better understand that when we travel, the benefits are everywhere.

Best regards,
Roger Dow, TIA President and CEO
Travel Industry Association

Posted by rollingrains at 06:47 PM

June 25, 2008

Autistic Toddler and Family Removed from Plane

Coverage of plummeting airline service continues to include excellent case studies revealing the details of counterproductive social responses to disability. Here an incident involving intimidation combined with physical overstimulation by the flight crew resulted in a predictable panic response from a passenger with autism. There appears to be some disconnect occurring in American's customer service training regarding the simple facts of certain disabilities.

Julie Deardorff tells the story behind an American Airlines flight departing from the Raleigh- Durham International Airport. Here she reports:

But the mother, Janice Farrell, told Crump that the flight attendant made matters worse.

"She kept coming over and tugging his seatbelt to make it tighter, 'This has to stay tight'. And then he was wiggling around and trying to get out of his seatbelt. And she kept coming over and reprimanding him and yelling at him," Farrell said.

One of the pilots came back to the cabin with a stern warning and Farrell says the frustration level escalated.

She says Jarrett picked up on that and things only got worse.

"He just melted down. He saw me getting upset. He was upset. He was on the floor rolling around," she said.

Deardorff's advice is sage:

But the prevalance of autism is increasing and society must learn how to handle the special needs of people who are on the spectrum.

For the full article:

http://featuresblogs.chicagotribune.com/features_julieshealthclub/2008/06/autistic-toddle.html

Posted by rollingrains at 11:52 PM

Australia: Renovating a House for Disability Access

UD House

Following Universal Design Renovations blog gets more and more interesting as the construction process progresses. The title of one post, Starting to Look Like a House, captures the sentiment.

Posted by rollingrains at 05:23 PM

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 23, 2008

Post War El Salvador

Former guerrilla fighters in El Salvador are helping to boost the
country's income through tourism. Claire Marshall reports on BBC:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/americas/7452192.stm

Posted by rollingrains at 07:06 PM

June 22, 2008

Renovando con Diseño Universal (Spanish)

Desde PRNewswire-HISPANIC PR WIRE:

Más de 21 millones de personas, en su mayoría adultos mayores, visitan al médico cada año como consecuencia de accidentes en el hogar. Con la intención de reducir esa cifra, el "Home Safety Council" declaró a Junio como el Mes de la Seguridad en el Hogar, que insta a las personas a crear un ambiente más seguro en el hogar y evitar caídas, incendios, o envenenamientos.

(Para ver este reporte presentado por AARP dirígete a: http://media.medialink.com/WebNR.aspx?story=35276)

Cada vez más contratistas están incorporando -tanto para la construcción como para la renovación de las viviendas- los principios del "Diseño Universal", que promueve simplificar la vida de las personas utilizando artículos electrónicos y productos de fácil uso para todas las personas, sin importar sus edades o capacidades.

Una reciente encuesta de AARP reveló que unos 70 millones de "boomers" planean vivir en sus casas el mayor tiempo posible, por lo que AARP junto a la Asociación Nacional de Constructores de Casas decidió comenzar a certificar a especialistas en "Envejecimiento en el Hogar".

Para obtener más recomendaciones acerca de cómo renovar su vivienda y hallar un especialista en "Envejecimiento en el Hogar" visite www.aarp.org/homedesign, o visite www.homesafetycouncil.org para consejos acerca de cómo aumentar la seguridad en sus hogares.

Fuente:
http://media.medialink.com/WebNR.aspx?story=35276

Posted by rollingrains at 01:15 AM

June 21, 2008

Trip Wolf & Travolution

tripwolf-logo

Travolution is a valuable information source for those who watch the travel industry and trends like "travel 2.0" (think Web 2.0 + travel).

TripWolf.com is a travel 2.0 "social guide" to travel - especially the growing trend toward independent travel.

Here Jennifer at the TripWolf blog interviews Kevin May of Travolution in a piece called Travel Trends.

And, as an Easter egg for those who read "below the fold," here is the URL to the secret backdoor entrance into TripWolf while it is still in private beta:

http://www.tripwolf.com/invite/backdoor

Look for me there as "RollingRains" and add me as a Friend.

Sneak preview: Jennifer is also preparing an interview on the Rolling Rains Report

Related story: http://www.rollingrains.com/archives/002303.html

Posted by rollingrains at 04:14 PM

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

Hilary Lister Sails

At national Public Radio Melissa Block interviews sip and puff sailor Hilary Lister.

Have a listen here "Quadriplegic Attempts Solo Sail Around British Isles"

Posted by rollingrains at 02:12 AM

June 19, 2008

Marta Gil (English; Portuguese)

Marta Gil is president of Amankay Research Institute (Amankay Instituto de Estudos e Pesquisas)

She will become host of the popular Brazilian radio program Breaking Down Barriers - Access for All (Derrubando Barreiras - Acesso para Todos). She replaces current host Mara Gabrilli as Mara assumes her city council responsibilities for São Paulo taking a 3-month hiatus from the program.

Parabems (Congratulations) to my friend Marta! We hope to hear lots of reporting on inclusion in tourism.

The following announcement on the change in host is in Portuguese.

Na próxima segunda-feira, 16 de junho, o programa Derrubando Barreiras - Acesso para Todos, apresentado pela Mara Gabrilli, recebe o nutricionista Alfredo Galebe. Este é um programa muito especial, pois Mara se despede - temporariamente, de acordo com a lei eleitoral - do comando do programa. Nos próximos 4 meses, quem fará uso do microfone do Derrubando Barreiras - Acesso para Todos é a socióloga e consultora na área da pessoa com deficiência, também uma das fundadoras da Rede Saci e do Amankay, Marta Gil.

"É uma responsabilidade e tanto que estou assumindo. Vou manter o programa seguindo a mesma linha mantida pela Mara. Espero que os ouvintes gostem", afirma a nova apresentadora. Para Mara Gabrilli, é difícil se despedir deste que considera um filho seu. "Eu entendo que posso ajudar mais as pessoas com deficiência atuando na Câmara Municipal. Mas é muito difícil me despedir dos ouvintes, mesmo que temporariamente", concluiu.


Mara diz tchau ao programa - ao qual deve retornar depois de 3 de outubro - fazendo sua última entrevista com o nutricionista Alfredo Galebe. Em comemoração ao dia dos namorados, Mara traz aos estúdios da Rede Eldorado AM, Alfredo, seu namorado, com a proposta de derrubar mais uma barreira: mostrar que as pessoas com deficiência namoram, sim, e têm vidas afetiva e sexual ativas.

Esse programa vocês não podem perder!

Derrubando Barreiras - Acesso para Todos / Apresentação: Mara Gabrilli

Todas as segundas-feiras, às 16 horas. Reprise aos sábados, 13 horas.

Rádio Eldorado AM (700 kHz)

Ouça também pela internet www.radioeldoradoam.com.br .

Para participar, mande e-mail para o derrubandobarreiras@redeeldorado.com.br .


Mais informações:

Claudia Carletto

Assessora de Imprensa


Vereadora Mara Gabrilli

55 11 3396-4899

55 11 8385-3443

claudiacarletto@camara.sp.gov.br

www.vereadoramaragabrilli.com.br

Posted by rollingrains at 05:59 PM

June 17, 2008

A Sneak Preview: TripWolf.com

tripwolf-logo

You can huff and you can puff and you still can't get in at TripWolf.com -- well, not unless you got one of the limited pre-beta invitations.

But don't worry. It won't be very long at all now until the site's front door opens and Rolling Rains blog readers can see what the travel pack at this new " travel 2.0" site out of Germany has created.

Expect the unexpected.

You will find the usual Friends, Favorites, Photo upload options, Google mashups, user-generated reviews, ratings, private messaging, and almost wiki-like freedom of access to content creation.

However, this is some sophisticated stuff. The site makes good use of the Marco Polo resources. You will also find a unique workspace/workflow metaphor using Scrapbooks. Scrapbooks hold media that you want to drop into your personal Journal entry or Trip report (not yet implemented) and can be shared as .pdf in a JIT ( just-in-time) publication. Pretty foxy!

I recommend orienting yourself to the site's features and workflow with the video on the homepage. Then head on over the entry for Glacier Bay National Park and see what has been going n behind closed doors.

Then, give TripWolf.com an accessibility shakedown cruise and send your feedback to their IT team.

Posted by rollingrains at 04:44 PM

Reportaje Sobre RollingRains.com y Tour Watch (Spanish)

termometro banner

Por la Jorgelina aparecia noticias en España al sito TermómetroTuristico.es hoy sobre el movimiento de turismo que incluye todos.

Tour Watch: una red social dedicada al turismo y a la discapacidad
cuenta de nuestro red social para professionales, professores y estudiantes de turismo.

DOTB logo


Gracias Jorgelina!

Porque no vienes disfrutar nuestro "Day on the Beach" en Santa Cruz, California dia 19 de julio:

http://www.dayonthebeach.org/

Posted by rollingrains at 04:21 PM

The GADA* (Go Anywhere, Do Anything™) Belt

GADA belt

I stayed with Craig and Andrea Kennedy during the 2008 SATH Congress in Florida. It has been an act of discipline but I have kept quiet about their new product the the GADA (Go Anywhere, Do Anything™) Belt. Today they released the press release that follows.

Having fallen out of my wheelchair at some of the most unpredictable times I could certainly see the value of the non-intrusive protection and restraint system that Craig was testing at the congress. Especially in sports and outdoors situations this product make sense for even the most agile wheelchair users.

The GADA* (Go Anywhere, Do Anything™) Belt released June, 1st 2008
You GADA Have One!

Access Anything owners and renowned disability & travel experts and adventurers, Craig & Andrea Kennedy are set to launch their newest innovation, The GADA Belt, which is a side guard, clothing protector, and sports belt for manual wheelchair users that also improves seating posture, at the Southern California Abilities Expo in Anaheim, California on May 30, 31 & June 1.

Steamboat Springs, CO, (May 26, 2008): Beginning on May 30th, 2008 manual wheelchair users will be able to purchase the latest innovation in wheelchair seating products, The GADA Belt, at the Abilities Expo in Anaheim, California.

“The GADA Belt was born from ten years of personal experimentation after many falls and after ruining pair after pair of pants. As active as I am, I really felt like I needed a seat belt for my chair,” says Craig Kennedy, President of Access Anything.

The GADA Belt, named after the company’s motto Go Anywhere, Do Anything™, is a soft, secure, waterproof side guard set/clothing protector for manual wheelchairs that is also used as a sports belt, and is great for maintaining proper seating posture. This multi-functional device was designed to replace the hard-plastic side guards that typically come with manual chairs (and can cost as much as $300) and gets rid of the need for separate, single-strap lap belts often used by wheelchair athletes in sports such as tennis, basketball, and rugby. The GADA Belt’s soft canvas design reduces skin damage and breakdown, and actually improves the handling and performance of your chair while playing sports and recreating outdoors. This product is currently designed to fit all Quickie and Ti model manual wheelchairs. Design modifications for other models such as Invacare, Lasher Sport, Colours, Kushcall, and Flight Ultralight are underway and GADA belts will be available for these brands soon.

For active wheelchair users and business men and women that need to look professional, the GADA Belt also keeps clothing clean & dry, and is a great way to keep business jackets neatly tucked in. And for people with hip and/or pelvic alignment issues, the GADA Belt has been recommended by physical therapists to help correct and ensure good posture and alignment.

Craig and Andy Kennedy are travel consultants and writers specializing in marketing and education for all aspects of disability travel including recreation, adventure, eco travel, and ADA rights and interpretation. They started Access Anything in 2003 and have published two travel guides for people with disabilities, Access Anything: Colorado (Fulcrum Books, 2005), and Access Anything: I Can Do That! (Outskirts Press, 2007). They are considered the premier experts on adventure travel for people with disabilities in the United States today. For more information or to purchase your own GADA Belt, visit www.gadabelt.com, www.accessanything.net/onlinestore, and http://www.accessanything.net/text/AATraveler_0508.pdf .

Posted by rollingrains at 12:59 AM

June 16, 2008

Disability Right Fund Opens

From a press release:

BOSTON, MA – The Disability Rights Fund—a groundbreaking grantmaking collaborative supporting the human rights of people with disabilities—today announced its first grants competition.

The broad objective of the Fund -- which was launched by the Open Society Institute, The Sigrid Rausing Trust, the United Kingdom Department for International Development, and an anonymous donor on the first anniversary of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) -- is to empower disabled persons organizations in the developing world and Eastern Europe/former Soviet Union to effectively implement and monitor the CPRD.

In 2008, the Fund plans to give out a total of USD $700,000 in one-year grants ranging from USD $5000 - $50,000 and aimed at awareness-raising, strengthening coalitions and networks, and rights advocacy.

To be eligible for this year’s grants program, applicant organizations must be based in and conduct the majority of their activities in the following seven countries: in Africa, Ghana, Namibia and Uganda; in Latin America, Ecuador, Nicaragua and Peru; in Asia, Bangladesh. In these countries, the Fund will support Disabled Persons’ Organizations activities that advance the human rights of persons with disabilities at country-level.


Interested organizations are urged to review the full eligibility criteria and application details posted at the Fund’s website, www.disabilityrightsfund.org. Any questions on the proposal process should be directed to info@disabilityrightsfund.org by July 15. The deadline for applications is August 15.

Disability Rights Fund Steering Committee Co-Chair, William Rowland, President of the World Blind Union, stated "The Disability Rights Fund heralds an innovative partnership between donors and persons with disabilities. The flow of new resources to support our struggle for rights is a development of major significance."


####
Contact: Diana Samarasan, Director

Telephone: 617-261-4593

Email: dsamarasan@disabilityrightsfund.org

Posted by rollingrains at 10:20 PM

El Fondo Sobre Derechos de Personas con Discapacidad abre su período de subvenciones a OPDs en 7 Países (Spanish)

COMUNICADO DE PRENSA:


BOSTON, MA – El Fondo Sobre Derechos de Personas con Discapacidad, una iniciativa colaborativa que apoya los derechos humanos de las personas con discapacidad – anunció hoy su primera competición por subvenciones.

El objetivo amplio del Fondo – que fue lanzado por el Open Society Institute, el Sigrid Rausing Trust, el Departamento para el Desarrollo Internacional del gobierno británico, y un donante anónimo, en el primer aniversario de la Convención Sobre los Derechos de las Personas con Discapacidad (CDPD) de las Naciones Unidas – es el de empoderar a organizaciones de personas con discapacidad en el mundo en desarrollo y la Europa del Este/antigua Unión Soviética, para la implementación y monitoreo efectivos de la CDPD.


En el 2008, el Fondo tiene planificado otorgar un total de USD $700,000 (dólares estadounidenses) en subvenciones de un año de duración que varían desde los USD $5,000 hasta $50,000, dirigidos al aumento de la concientización, el fortalecimiento de alianzas y redes, y la defensa de derechos.


Para poder optar al programa de subvenciones de este año, las organizaciones aplicantes deben tener su sede y realizar la mayoría de sus actividades en alguno de los siguientes siete países: en África, Ghana, Namibia y Uganda; en América Latina, Ecuador, Nicaragua y Perú; en Asia, Bangladesh. En estos países, el Fondo apoyará actividades de las organizaciones de personas con discapacidad que contribuyan al avance de la CDPD a nivel de los países.


Se alienta a que las organizaciones interesadas revisen los criterios de eligibilidad y los detalles para aplicar que se encuentran en el sitio de Internet del Fondo: www.disabilityrightsfund.org. Cualquier pregunta acerca del proceso para realizar propuestas deberán dirigirse a: info@disabilityrightsfund.org a más tardar el 15 de julio de 2008. La última fecha para enviar aplicaciones es el 15 de agosto de 2008.


William Rowland, Co-Presidente del Comité Coordinador del Fondo Sobre Derechos de Personas con Discapacidad, quien también funge como Presidente de la Unión Mundial de Ciegos, declaró “El Fondo Sobre Derechos de Personas con Discapacidad ha constituído una asociación innovadora entre donantes y personas con discapacidad. La canalización de nuevos recursos hacia la lucha por reivindicar nuestros derechos, es un desarrollo de importancia significativa.”

Contactar a: Diana Samarasan, Directora

Teléfono: +1-617-261-4593

Correo Electrónico: dsamarasan@disabilityrightsfund.org

Posted by rollingrains at 09:23 PM

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

June 12, 2008

Voyages Jules Verne

A website designed for a major luxury travel brand by digital design agency Fortune Cookie has cruised to success at two major design awards. Kuoni’s luxury travel brand Voyages Jules Verne (VJV) has received two prestigious awards for excellence in web design (www.vjv.co.uk).

Earlier this month, VJV and Fortune Cookie celebrated success at the 2008 Travolution Awards, where the luxury travel brand picked up the ‘Best User of Technology (Tour Operator)’ award.

Posted by rollingrains at 10:24 AM

June 07, 2008

Beijing Olympics: Isn't Cross-Cultural Communication Fun?!

This wonderful article on the Olympics and Paralympics appeared on NineMSN. So many potential training contracts and translation case studies revealed in one short expose!

And, as Eleanor Lisney appropriately points out over at Freewheeling.info, the author might benefit from similar deeper reflection on context and cultural diversity:

Disabled people can be unsocial, stubborn, controlling, defensive and have a strong sense of inferiority, according to an official Beijing Olympics guide set to spark outrage in the disabled community.

The Olympic manual for volunteers in Beijing is peppered with patronising comments, noting for example that physically disabled people are "often" mentally healthy.

Volunteers at the Olympics and Paralympics are instructed not to call Paralympians or disabled spectators "crippled" or "lame", even if they are "just joking".

The document, which indicates the Chinese hosts could use a swift education in political correctness, says the optically disabled "seldom show strong emotions".

"Physically disabled people are often mentally healthy," adds a copy of the guide, obtained by AAP.

"They show no differences in sensation, reaction, memorisation and thinking mechanism from other people, but they might have unusual personalities because of disfigurement and disability.

"For example, some physically disabled are isolated, unsocial, and introspective; they usually do not volunteer to contact people.

"They can be stubborn and controlling; they may be sensitive and struggle with trust issues.

"Sometimes they are overly protective of themselves, especially when they are called crippled or paralysed."

Volunteers are instructed never to "stare at their disfigurement".

"A patronising or condescending attitude will be easily sensed by them, even for a brain damaged patient (though he cannot control his limbs, he is able to see and understand like other people).

"Like most, he can read your body language," says the 2008 volunteer guide.

"Show respect when you talk with them.

"Do not use cripple or lame, even if you are just joking.

"Though life has handed many difficulties to them, disabled people are often independent and self-reliant.

"Volunteers should offer assistance on a basis of equality and mutual respect...

"Disabled people can be defensive and have a strong sense of inferiority."

China's treatment of the disabled has in the past angered swimming great Dawn Fraser, who cited it as one reason she won't be going to Beijing.

She said in April she had seen disabled athletes spat on in the streets in Beijing during university games in the mid-1990s.

Volunteers at the Beijing Games are also given some very specific instructions on how to sit, stand, walk and talk properly.

A handshake should last from three to five seconds, the manual states, and the body and arm should form a 60 degree angle.

An "appropriate" personal space on social occasions is from 1.2 to 3.6 metres, but for work colleagues it is 1.2 to 2.1 metres, and 2.1 to 3.6 metres is good for strangers.

When sitting, volunteers are told to avoid hooking the chair with one foot ("low-class and boorish"), stretching out their legs ("rough"), crossing the legs in a "4" shape ("cocky and impolite") and continually changing positions ("underbred").

When standing, the guide warns against shaking any part of the body ("careless"), putting two hands in pockets ("frivolous"), crossing both arms ("defensive"), standing with two arms or one arm akimbo ("offensive") and standing with two legs crossed ("too easygoing").

It says taking steps too large or too small looks "strained", though it does not specify how large the step should be.

The Olympics run from August 8-24, while the Paralympics follow from September 6-17.

Source:

http://optuszoo.news.ninemsn.com.au/article.aspx?id=569510&rss=yes&_cobr=optus

Posted by rollingrains at 09:46 PM

June 06, 2008

Discrimination in Travel Insurance?

The following news comes from Only Finance.com:

Travel insurers have been accused of contravening the Disability Discrimination Act by unfairly treating 9 million sufferers of medical conditions like diabetes, epilepsy, asthma, and Parkinson’s disease etc in the UK.

Managing Director of karmainsurance.com, Brian Wright who made the allegation, said they flout the law which requires insurers to justify their action if they wished to differently treat people with medical conditions from others.

Reminding that premiums ought to be based on actuarial statistics and thorough knowledge of a condition, he said the opposite is usually what happens.


“As soon as people with pre-existing medical conditions ask for a travel quote, discriminatory assumptions are made and they’re faced with higher insurance premiums or no quote at all,” he explained.

In a recent survey by Parkinson’s Disease Society, in a sample of 10,000 respondents, it was found that 27 per cent of people had either been quoted increased premiums for travel insurance or refused cover.

This was in spite of the fact that Parkinson’s does not affect longevity.

Also, another study revealed that diabetics had been given quotes four times more expensive than the normal price.

For the full story see:

http://www.onlyfinance.com/Travel-Insurance-News/12749064-Travel-Insurers-Accused-of-Breaching-Disability-Act.aspx

<--!

Mr Brian said a situation whereby insurers stigmatise those with pre-existing conditions should be challenged. “They take a one size fits all approach, believing specific conditions present the same symptoms and are at the same stages.”

But their argument or judgement often crumbles under scrutiny as they have no statistical proof to justify their assumption, he said.

Although most people heading off on holidays and wanting to purchase cover do not see their condition as medical but a normal way of life, the expert said insurers often refuse to accept this position.

He thus called on the industry to reconsider its risk assessment, pricing strategies and intrusive medical screening processes so as to make insurance policy accessible and affordable to everyone.


--!>

Posted by rollingrains at 08:08 PM

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

May 26, 2008

Documenting the Demand for a Solution to 'Wrap Rage' (Packages That Even Adults Can't Open!)

Future Food and Drinks Packaging: Emerging ethical, food safe and convenient formats is a new report on product trends. One key finding from this report according to the press release:

An ageing population in China, Japan, the US and Europe is driving demand for products suited to the older consumer, including easy grip and easy open packaging as well as smaller portion sizes for consumers with smaller appetites.

Socio-demographic shifts are creating demand for more convenient packaging solutions. Ageing populations in the US, Europe and Japan are placing new demands on packaging design. Easy open, easy grip and smaller portion sizes are all being developed with ageing populations in mind. More fragmented family lives, the growth in the number of women working, growth in single person households and a loss of cooking skills are all contributing to increased demand for more conveniently packaged food formats.

To order this report: Future Food and Drinks Packaging: Emerging ethical, food safe and convenient formats

http://www.reportlinker.com/p088571/Future-Food-and-Drinks-Packaging-Emerging-ethical-food-safe-and-convenient-formats.html

For more information, please contact
Reportlinker.com
Nicolas
(718) 887-3024
Email: nbo@reportlinker.com

Posted by rollingrains at 10:15 PM

May 23, 2008

One-fifth of Japanese Population Aged 65 or Older in Rapidly Aging Japan

Int'l ageing graph.png

In 2007 the senior population of Japan rose to more than 27 million in 2007. Since 2005 when the country's population peaked at 128 million population has been in decline. This "age-inversion" phenomenon is widely studied among aging and disability scholars but largely unknown to the public and not adequately addressed by policy makers. The Cabinet Office of Japan recently issued a report on the topic.

The annual report by the Cabinet Office showed Japanese aged 65 or over making up 21.5 percent of the population last year, while the so-called "late-stage elderly" — those 75 or older — accounted for nearly 10 percent.

"We have become a full-fledged aged society," the report declared.

"The pace of aging has reached the highest level (among advanced countries) at the beginning of the 21st century, and is expected to enter a phase that no other country in the world has yet experienced," the study added.

For signs of things to come read One-fifth of Japanese population aged 65 or older in rapidly aging Japan

Posted by rollingrains at 05:22 AM

May 22, 2008

Universal Desgn Moves to Vacation Homes (and a Half-Step Closer to Mainstreaming in the Outdoor Leisure Industry)

Yes, we have been tell you that it's coming:

Tim Goorbarry, a Port Hope-based building consultant with Viceroy Homes, says he's starting to see a demand for an unusual cottage luxury - an elevator.

"In the past two or three years we are starting to see more of a request for that, if [clients] like the idea of keeping bedrooms separate and you build one floor on top of another floor."

He notes that installing an elevator in a cottage (or urban home) isn't necessarily a costly venture. They cost $20,000 to $25,000, he says, noting that the expense of laying the foundation of a sprawling single-storey cottage would be the same as for a two-storey building with an elevator.

This article in the Globe and Mail by Katherine Laidlaw goes on to describe forward-thinking cottage owners John and Deb Douma:

The Brampton couple began researching different design options when they bought the plot of land on the Bruce Peninsula nine years ago. Accessibility eventually became the driving factor behind their cottage's design.

"Even though we're young, we thought if it were a place we would retire to some day, it would be a smart move to have the main level contained," says Mr. Douma.

For the full story see, On Lion's Head, the livin' is easy

On Lion's Head, the livin' is easy
Cottage owners like John and Deb Douma are wise to design their getaway homes with their future needs in mind, experts say

KATHERINE LAIDLAW

Special to The Globe and Mail

May 16, 2008

On the shores of Georgian Bay, in the village of Lion's Head, stands a two-storey cottage with tan siding, wooden front steps and a red door. A stroll around back in the early morning hours - with the waves lapping at the shore and the sun rising over the bay - reveals a basement walkout. In short, the cottage looks much like many others along the water.

Once you step inside, you see that the open-concept main floor - with 1,200 square feet - includes the master bedroom and ensuite bathroom. And the cottage's two main-floor bathrooms have been enlarged so that lifts and handles can be installed, while the doorways are extra wide.

"You could manoeuvre around in [the two bathrooms] if you were in a wheelchair," says John Douma, 49, who owns the house with his wife, Deb, 48. "[The doorways] are wide enough that you could go through them with a wheelchair."

The Brampton couple began researching different design options when they bought the plot of land on the Bruce Peninsula nine years ago. Accessibility eventually became the driving factor behind their cottage's design.

"Even though we're young, we thought if it were a place we would retire to some day, it would be a smart move to have the main level contained," says Mr. Douma.

The 500-square-foot second level, with two bedrooms and a bathroom, is intended for the use of the couple's children and grandchildren. (The basement, at 1,200 square feet, houses the furnace and is used only for storage.)

The physical site of a cottage is also a major consideration when designing for accessibility. The Douma's property doesn't present any major difficulties, however.

There are three small wooden steps in front that could be easily converted into a ramp for wheelchair use, Mr. Douma says.

The back lot could easily be enjoyed by retirees, wheelchairs or not, he adds. It slopes gently as the property gets closer to the water, and there is a level terrace and rock garden behind the cottage. "There's a flagstone patio with a fire pit and a sitting area on one side," he says. Again, a ramp would make getting to the smooth patio and fire pit in a wheelchair relatively easy.

Both the Douma's builder and a real estate agent they consulted advised the couple to consider their later years in deciding on a design. The agent said greater accessibility would improve resale options if they decided not to retire there.

Mr. Douma says he and his wife sifted through a lot of plans to find the right shape and size for their recreational home, which is about 80 kilometres north of Owen Sound.

He says that building the master suite on the ground floor didn't increase the cost of the building, which was completed in 2005.

That the couple had accessibility requirements for their cottage isn't particularly unusual these days. With population aging, there has been a shift in the design and construction of vacation properties in Canada.

Blair MacKenzie, sales manager at Pan-Abode log home builders, based in Richmond, B.C., says that he asks his clients when he first meets them if they have considered how their cottage might meet their needs when they are older.

"Our primary customers are baby boomers - they're the bulk of the cottage customers," Mr. MacKenzie says. "Definitely people are planning longer. That's part of the process when we talk to them about what they'll use it for."

He says he has seen an increased demand for designs that position the necessities on the main floor for easy access and long-term use.

Mr. MacKenzie lists three basic elements of an accessible cottage. The first is having the master bedroom and, if possible, a second bedroom on the ground floor.

"Couples tend to sleep apart the older they get, so it gives someone the option to change rooms," he explains. "It also gives them an option for guests to sleep on the main floor, particularly friends who would be in the same age group."

A second element is an open-concept design. Combining the kitchen, dining and living areas means less travel through the cottage and simpler communication.

"It allows you not to have to travel throughout the house to talk to somebody," Mr. MacKenzie points out.

As well, "if somebody had to be in a wheelchair ... you're not dealing with hallways."

The third element: spacious bathrooms with enough room to manoeuvre a wheelchair or install added features for bathtub or toilet use.

"If you ever have to put extra handles or a lift system, you need more space for that."

Wide, easily mountable stairs from the outside to the main floor are also essential.

Tim Goorbarry, a Port Hope-based building consultant with Viceroy Homes, says he's starting to see a demand for an unusual cottage luxury - an elevator.

"In the past two or three years we are starting to see more of a request for that, if [clients] like the idea of keeping bedrooms separate and you build one floor on top of another floor."

He notes that installing an elevator in a cottage (or urban home) isn't necessarily a costly venture. They cost $20,000 to $25,000, he says, noting that the expense of laying the foundation of a sprawling single-storey cottage would be the same as for a two-storey building with an elevator.

"Some people look at it as an additional expense. The truth is ... the cost of the elevator can balance out the [one-storey cottage]."

Mr. Goorbarry also encourages customers to consider accessibility when planning for their future cottage life, but says many people aren't comfortable thinking about potential needs.

"It really doesn't take much change in the planning to make sure your doors are 30, 32, 34 inches wide ... if wheelchair accessibility is a concern," he says.

"[But] to look ahead 20 to 25 years is a long way for a lot of folks."

_!>

Posted by rollingrains at 09:38 PM

May 20, 2008

Make $2.7 Million in Six Months Selling ADA-Compliant Hotel Rooms?

Wheelchairtravel.us has a unique business concept: corner the market on ADA-compliant hotel rooms. The business plan won second place in the Miami Herald Business Plan Challenge and "expects to sell more than 67,000 nights over a six-month period, which would produce a gross income of $2.7 million."

If nothing else, the "secret" is getting out about the consumer power of the rapidly-growing market that is the disability community.

"While many travel websites offer information for special needs travelers and allow customers to request such rooms, none guarantees that you will get such a room, explained Robert Holtzman, the founder of Wheelchairtravel.us."

That, of course, is the reality driving the legal action against Hotels.com (See also here.)

Creating a specialized channel (separate but equal?) for marketing adapted hotel rooms runs counter to the international move toward Universal Design, mainstreamining, and Minimum Guidelines for Hotel Accessibility but it does have a certain marketing logic. As web designers say, "Findability precedes usability."

Wheelchairtravel.us, which is still in the planning stages, would make its money the same way most travel sites do -- buying rooms in bulk and selling them at a mark-up.

Holtzman estimates that start-up costs -- including a $550,000, 180-day national marketing campaign -- would be about $1.8 million.

The story on Wheelchairtravel.us:

Website designed for wheelchair travelers
http://www.miamiherald.com/business_monday/story/537695.html


Posted by rollingrains at 02:34 PM

May 18, 2008

Cruiselines 'must make ships more accessible for disabled travellers'

This May 15, 2008 article from Travel Weekly demonstrates the kind of demand/supply bottlenecks caused by years of resistance to Universal Design on the part of port authorities and cruise lines.

A travel agent who specialises in selling holidays to the disabled has called on the cruise industry to make their ships more accessible or risk losing business.

Accessible Travel and Leisure agent and Travel Weekly Cruise Club member Tracy McFall said she had lost bookings worth almost £15,000 in the last three months as wheelchair-bound [sic] customers were uncomfortable about arrangements made to accommodate them.

Full article at Travel Weekly

Although cruise companies have no legal obligation to meet the needs of disabled customers, McFall, who uses crutches having contracted rheumatoid arthritis at the age of 18 months, is hoping improvements will be made.

She said: "The fantastic thing about cruises is that they cut out the flights if they are departing from a UK port. This is a huge help as there are people out there who can’t fly because of their medical condition. They can access the world on a cruise.

"Even with all the cruises in the UK we are still restricted on what we can offer disabled people."

McFall added two of the bookings she lost were on P&O Cruises’ Artemis worth up to £7,600 because it proved impossible to disembark the ship in certain ports. McFall also lost a £7,000 booking with Norwegian Cruise Line as the company would not accept a customer’s electric wheelchair.


A P&O Cruises spokeswoman admitted that while the ability to disembark a disabled person depends on the angle of the gangway in a port, problems are worse on smaller ships such as Artemis.

She added: "P&O Cruises has always excelled itself on facilities for those with disabilities and we make every effort to accommodate passengers with impaired mobility."

NCL UK sales director Nick Wilkinson said: "We appreciate feedback from our agent partners and will be contacting Accessible Travel and Leisure to resolve this issue. NCL welcomes all passengers onboard our ships, including those with disabilities."
-!>

Posted by rollingrains at 08:51 PM

May 16, 2008

One Post-Katrina New Orleans Home to be Retrofitted with Universal Design, Green Features

From press release:

The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) and the Senior Lending Network are joining forces with Rebuilding Together New Orleans to rebuild a home damaged by Hurricane Katrina. Volunteers from NAHB’s 50+ Housing Council will participate in a two-day community service project May 17-18 to help rebuild the home of displaced owners Hazel Tate, age 87, and Hilda Levy, age 67. On May 18, the three groups will host a media event featuring legendary actor Robert Wagner, spokesperson for the Senior Lending Network, to meet the homeowners and provide guided tours of the home and show its progress to date.

The purpose of the project, which is being sponsored by the Senior Lending Network, is to make the home, which is owned by an elderly daughter and mother, both age-appropriate and environmentally friendly through the inclusion of aging-in-place and green features. While a volunteer crew works on the interior and exterior, the turn-of-the-century shotgun home will be equipped with universal design components such as a no-step entrance, wider doorways, ADA-compliant grab bars, raised countertops, comfort-height toilets, ENERGY STAR appliances and other energy-efficient features.

Event --

WHAT:

The community service project is being held in advance of NAHB’s 2008 Building for Boomers & Beyond: 50+ Housing Symposium,SM May 19-21 in New Orleans. Presented by the NAHB 50+ Housing Council, the Symposium is the premier educational and networking event for industry professionals who serve the growing 50+ housing market.

This event also kicks off the Senior Lending Network’s Senior Independent Living Month from May 15 to June 15. All mortgage originators affiliated with the Senior Lending Network will be asked to join forces to promote social responsibility and the ethical treatment of seniors and discuss the positive benefits of reverse mortgages.

Rebuilding Together New Orleans is a local affiliate of the national non-profit organization, Rebuilding Together, Inc. By utilizing volunteer labor and corporate sponsorship, Rebuilding Together New Orleans is able to rebuild the homes of low-income, elderly and disabled residents who are still trying to return home. Since Katrina, the organization has been able to completely rehabilitate 95 homes, with another 30 in progress.

WHEN:

Sunday, May 18, 2008

3:00-4:00 p.m.

WHERE:

1825-27 St. Roch St., New Orleans

*Directions available upon request.

WHO:

* Robert Wagner, legendary actor and Senior Lending Network spokesperson
* Joanne (Jo) Theunissen, Chair, NAHB 50+ Housing Council
* Kristen Gisleson Palmer, Director, Rebuilding Together New Orleans
* A volunteer crew of more than 40 NAHB members, including builders, developers, architects, remodelers, and experts in universal design and green building.

REGISTRATION:

Registration is complimentary for members of the working press for both the media event and Symposium. For more information, please contact Jeff Jenkins at 800-368-5242, ext. 8292, or jjenkins@nahb.com.

Visit www.nahb.org/build4boomers for more information and to download a copy of the Building for Boomers & Beyond: 50+ Housing SymposiumSM brochure.

For more information about the Senior Lending Network, visit

www.seniorlendingnetwork.com.

Posted by rollingrains at 02:26 AM

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

The (Sometimes) Walking Wounded

War creates casualties. So do ritualized battles. Civilized nations maintain humane systems appropriate for these facts of life.

While it is supremely tragic to endure the parade of death and disability that is the product of war there is a redemptive quality in the compassion and instinct for social reconstruction following war or natural disasters. We have seen it after events such as Katrina, the Indian Ocean tsunami, or the Chengdu earthquake. Even as we have commented on the incompetence and bad faith efforts in response to Katrina and are now witnessing the absence of a fully human response in Myanmar we see Bruce Curtis at the World Institute on Disability (WID) recently returning from a tour of national redemption in Iraq.

I experienced a seismic wave of dissonance while scanning through my email today. Sequentially I learned:

  • Bruce Curtis, with WID, is contributing to peacemaking in Iraq by empowering Disabled People's Organizations (DPOs)
  • Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has promised a $100 million Federal Budget funding boost for families with disabled adult children "to help older carers of children with a disability to plan for the transition of their children to appropriate supported accommodation in the future."
  • At 36, former NFL player Brian DeMarco walks with a cane because of a spinal injury from sports yet he and his family have been left homeless three times due to uncovered medical expenses.
  • Or to state it differently:

    • Regular citizens with disabilities like Bruce Curtis step in providing global leadership in a conflict situation.

    • National electorates reject political philosophies of unmitigated greed and the abdication of the governmental mandate to insure the common good.

    • Heroes of the politically-anesthetizing war-substitute spectacle of professional sports are dumped on the street. Stripped of their role as warriors of the playing field they are shunted into the ranks of the untouchable ostracized -- the marginalized community of people with disabilities.

    The solution is to be found in the political will to enact social inclusion.

    This site revolves around implementation of Article 30 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, "Participation in Cultural Life, Recreation, Leisure and Sport".

    No individual, no government, no nation -- no sports team -- is exempt.

    Article 30 of the UN CRPD:

    http://blogs.bootsnall.com/Scott-Rains/tourism-in-the-united-nations-convention-on-the-rights-of-persons-with-disabilities-crpd.html

    Posted by rollingrains at 02:58 PM

May 10, 2008

New Zealand Recevies the Franklin Delano Roosevelt International Disability Award

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today congratulated the Government and people of New Zealand, the recipient of this year's Franklin Delano Roosevelt International Disability Award, for their efforts to improve the lives of those living with disabilities.

The Award is presented by the Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt Institute to a UN Member State that makes noteworthy progress towards the full participation of citizens with disabilities as called for in the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

In his remarks at the award ceremony, Mr. Ban noted that New Zealand is widely recognized for its leadership on disability issues, particularly as a leading proponent of the Disabilities Convention, which just entered into force on 3 May.

Ambassador Don McKay of New Zealand chaired the committed tasked with drafting the Convention, and his "inspired leadership ensured an open, transparent and inclusive process that led us to a successful outcome," the Secretary-General noted.

The Ambassador's leadership was a reflection of his country's deep commitment to disability issues domestically, Mr. Ban added, noting that the Government's comprehensive disability strategy led New Zealand to adopt Sign Language as its third official language in 1996. It has also promoted quality living for persons with disabilities within their communities.

"As a result of these many similar measures, New Zealand has become a model for the world on disability issues," said Mr. Ban. "Your example strengthens our resolve to ensure human rights and development for all – especially through the full and meaningful participation of persons with disabilities in every level of society, from the local to the global."

The Secretary-General's own country, the Republic of Korea, was the first recipient of the Award, which was established in 1995.

Source: http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=26585&Cr=disab&Cr1=

Posted by rollingrains at 11:10 PM

May 09, 2008

Ministra Suplicy Lança Programa Viaja Mais Jovens (Portuguese)

A ministra do Turismo, Marta Suplicy, lançou ante ontem um novo programa de incentivo ao turismo no Brasil. Segundo reportagem "metade das vagas" dsse programa, Viaja Mais Jovens "serão destinadas a alunos das escolas da capital [da Acre] e o restante para estudantes de municípios com baixo desempenho nos Indicadores de Desenvolvimento da Educação Básica (Ideb). ´´Na hora em que você leva o estudante que não tem acesso a alguma coisa que faz parte da cultura, você está investindo no conhecimento, na oportunidade dele em olhar o mundo, mas não por aquela janelinha pequena que ele vê da casa dele´

E verdade pois sabemos que a deficiencia ocure mais com pobreza. Viaja Mais Jovens tem condicoes transportar jovems portadores de deficiencia? Tem planes atingir acessibilidade nos teatros, museus, e outros pontes turistico-culturais

Ministra lança programa Viaja Mais Jovens

Os jovens são o novo público-alvo dos programas de incentivo ao turismo no Brasil. A ministra do Turismo, Marta Suplicy, lançou nesta quarta-feira, 7 de maio, o programa Viaja Mais Jovens. A iniciativa faz parte do programa Viaja Mais, que desde o ano passado se dedicava à terceira idade. Segundo a ministra, o foco principal estará nas viagens de estudo, o turismo pedagógico. O projeto piloto começará com 600 estudantes de escolas públicas do Acre que visitarão o Vale do Acre. A ação terá início com alunos da 6ª série do ensino fundamental. ´´É um projeto do turismo, mas muito relacionado à educação, porque ele transforma aquela viagem em conhecimento´´, defendeu Marta. O ministério, em parceria com o governo do Acre, investiu R$ 400 mil no projeto. Em um primeiro momento, metade das vagas serão destinadas a alunos das escolas da capital e o restante para estudantes de municípios com baixo desempenho nos Indicadores de Desenvolvimento da Educação Básica (Ideb). As viagens serão integralmente custeadas pelo ministério em parceria com o estado. Segundo Marta, o Distrito Federal também manifestou interesse em aderir ao programa. ´´O projeto vai beneficiar o Brasil todo, mas principalmente o estudante que não teve a oportunidade de viajar. Você viajar, primeiro no seu estado, é você se apropriar da sua cultura´´, afirmou. De acordo com Marta, o ministério está à disposição de outros estados que queiram integrar o Viaja Mais Jovem. ´´Na hora em que você leva o estudante que não tem acesso a alguma coisa que faz parte da cultura, você está investindo no conhecimento, na oportunidade dele em olhar o mundo, mas não por aquela janelinha pequena que ele vê da casa dele´´, disse a ministra.

Agência Brasil
Fonte: Hotel On Line

Posted by rollingrains at 07:17 PM

May 01, 2008

My Green Map

GreenMap.org is a project that I have followed with interest for several years. I attempted to connect up with one of their projects in Brazil last week but scheduling did not allow it. Below is more on what GreenMaps is doing that's new:

Green Map System has promoted inclusive participation in sustainable community development around the world since 1995, using mapmaking as our medium. Over 450 locally-led map projects in 50 countries have successfully published 335 Green Maps, used by millions to connect with green living, nature, social and cultural resources near home and while traveling. While all use Green Map Icons to highlight both positive and challenging sites, each powerful guide is unique.

Now, we're taking our inclusiveness mission the next step by developing an open interactive Green Mapmaking tool that will help people worldwide quickly share their own selection of sustainability sites, pathways and resources online.


Merging local knowledge and our freshly updated iconography with a Google Map, the resulting interactive Green Maps will be viewable from our own and many other websites, starting in mid-2008. With open commentary, green ratings, multimedia elements, 'impacts index', mobile access, onsite markers and more, everyone will be able to get involved.

My Green Map (working name) will give voice to thousands and ensure that an enormous diversity of successful sustainability activities and models are shared with the broadest audience possible. Merging the booming ‘going local’ and green development movements with social networking and interactive mapping, My Green Map begins with our network's collective inventory of green sites. Each of their maps will be linked to the related profile and locally-designed full-scale Green Map already viewable at GreenMap.org. Once we have helped them overcome technical barriers to participation, we intend to phase in public mapmaking and behavior change assessment, mobile formats, thematic worldviews, and more.

To help people of all ages impact current conditions, My Green Map will encourage local participation that counters global climate change, supports vibrant biodiversity and heritage preservation while addressing social and cultural challenges. It will promote more diverse involvement by guiding newcomers to get involved in important greening activities, encourage long-time residents to make more sustainable everyday choices, build students' eco-literacy and leadership skills, provide visitors with best practice models to share back home, and motivate decision-makers to act for the common good.

See http://www.greenmap.org/greenhouse/en/news/ggm!

Posted by rollingrains at 04:20 PM

April 26, 2008

Publishing Disability Directories as a Revenue Source: CapeAbilities

The Cape Cod Disability Access Directory is a project of CapeAbilities.

When he learned last year that funding was desperately needed to continue publishing the Cape Cod Disability Access Directory, Larry Thayer, CapeAbilities' executive director, sought a grant from the Lyndon Lorusso Charitable Foundation.

The grant saw the directory through last year's publication, allowing JAM Specialists' Jean Ann McLaughlin to purchase hardware and software to produce the publication and CapeAbilities to train staff to assess potential sites to be included.

This year, Thayer and McLaughlin invited the Cape Organization for the Rights of the Disabled (CORD), one of last year's sponsors of the directory, to join them as co-publishers. "We were able to use last year's advertising revenue to fund this year's directory," Thayer said.

Before CapeAbilities' involvement, McLaughlin was founder and sole publisher of the directory. "I made all the site visits myself," McLaughlin said. "That's becoming increasingly difficult for me to do."

Disabled as a result of a drunk-driving accident, in 1996 McLaughlin turned her disability into an asset for Cape Codders and the millions of visitors with challenges by founding JAM Specialists INC., which publishes the annual Cape Cod Disability Access Directory.

CapeAbilities' clients have taken over responsibility for delivering the directories to senior centers, libraries, chambers of commerce, the National Seashore, and increasingly, hotels and motels.

kedlocal.com/dennis/news/lifestyle/health/x1632299787

Posted by rollingrains at 05:10 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 21, 2008

Skype presenta un servicio de videollamada para sordos (Spanish)

Madrid. (EFE).- Las personas sordas podrán comunicarse a través de una aplicación de videollamada on line de alta calidad que se ha presentado hoy por Skype y Logitech en la Asociación de Sordos de Madrid.
Más información sobre enlace www.skype.com

Este sistema permite transmitir mensajes gestuales a cualquier parte del mundo descargando de la página web de Skype el software que permite establecer la comunicación de manera gratuita.

Sólo será necesario contar con un ordenador con conexión a Internet, el software de Skype y la vídeo cámara de alta calidad de Logitech por el precio de 99 euros.

El responsable de imagen y comunicación de Skype, David Málaga, apuntó en rueda de prensa que para las personas con disminución auditiva esta nueva aplicación tecnológica va a suponer un avance clave en el camino hacia el derrumbe de las barreras de la comunicación.

La vídeo cámara que se ha presentado hoy de Logitech ofrece una calidad de 30 imágenes por segundo y según el jefe de producto de Logitech, Max Valls, la cámara permite apreciar detalles y movimientos casi imperceptibles sin cortes ni saltos.

Posted by rollingrains at 04:45 PM

April 19, 2008

Accessibility Means More Than Entry for Wheelchairs

This article from the Cape Cod Times explores disability and citizenship. You can read the whole article here.

Every town on the Cape holds its town meeting in a location that at least meets the minimum standards to be accessible to voters who use wheelchairs.

But town meeting venues aren't always so accommodating for those who are visually or hearing-impaired.

The article goes on to document a lack of awareness of accessibility requirements by towns in the area. With financial pressures to save money this is not a hopeful sign.

Posted by rollingrains at 07:21 PM

April 14, 2008

The Independent Living Institute Launches New Version of its Accessible Vacation Home Exchange Service

This note from Sweden's Independent Living Institute:

The Independent Living Institute Accessible Vacation Home Exchange service has been greatly improved. It is now possible for you to add, delete, and revise your own entry, as well as add photos.

Swapping homes with other persons with similar needs, in other parts of the world, is a low-cost and practical alternative. You can find out in advance how accessible the vacation home is, since you can ask your swap partner relevant questions. And, unlike most other tourists, you’ll have an infrastructure of neighbors and local contacts in place as you arrive.

As the number of visitors to the Independent Living Institute website continues to grow, so will the exposure of your offer to swap homes.

Please take a look at www.independentliving.org/vacaswap.html and contact me, should you have any questions.

Thanking you,

Miles

miles.goldstick@independentliving.org

Posted by rollingrains at 01:28 AM

April 13, 2008

An Endemic Epidemic Gets the Media Coverge it Deserves

"Ludwig van Beethoven (the famous deaf composer) would not be allowed to fly alone on a Tiger Airways flight if he were alive today, because of the Singapore-owned airline's purported policy on deaf passengers."
.

A representative of Tiger Airways Australia told the group last month they could not make an interstate flight without a care provider who could hear. The group was allowed on the March 4 flight eventually, but was then sent a note by the flight attendant that they will not be allowed to fly alone on the airline again, the Herald Sun newspaper reported.

Source:
Airline Slammed on Deaf Policy

Airline Slammed on Deaf Policy

By ROD McGUIRK – 1 day ago

CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — Ludwig van Beethoven would not be allowed to fly alone on a Tiger Airways flight if he were alive today because of the Singapore-owned airline's purported policy on deaf passengers, a government minister said Friday.

Bill Shorten used the example of Beethoven — who famously continued composing until his death in 1827 despite losing his hearing — in condemning the treatment of deaf passengers by the Australian subsidiary of Singapore-based budget carrier Tiger Airways.

The policy bars deaf passengers from flying unless accompanied by a fare-paying adult care provider, a Tiger Airways reservations agent who said she goes by only one name, Jinky, told The Associated Press.

But airline spokesman Matt Hobbs denied that the airline had such a policy, and said he was investigating why air crews and call center staff in the Philippines were telling passengers otherwise.

Shorten, Australia's parliamentary secretary for disabilities and children's services, said he telephoned the airline Friday to tell them that barring deaf people from flying alone was wrong.

"Under this, Beethoven would never have been able to catch a plane" on his own, Shorten told Sky Television. "Just because people are deaf doesn't mean that they're stupid."

A group of four deaf adults has lodged a complaint with the Australian government's anti-discrimination watchdog agency after a representative of Tiger Airways Australia told them last month that they could not make an interstate flight without a care provider who could hear, the Herald Sun newspaper reported Friday.

The group was eventually permitted to take their seats on the March 4 flight but a flight attendant told them they would not be allowed to fly alone again on the airline, the newspaper said.

Hobbs, Tiger Airways Australia's head of corporate communications, said the cabin manager had written the four a note saying: "In future, so you know, you'll need to travel with a carer for safety reasons."

"We're clarifying with all staff that deaf people do not require a carer to travel with them," Hobbs said, adding that he could not explain the widespread misunderstanding within his company.

"We are apologetic and very sorry that the people involved in this feel in any way that they've been discriminated against or upset by this in any way," he said.

Hobbs said his company's sister airline, Tiger Airways Singapore, had changed its policy that once required deaf passengers to be accompanied by a care provider.

The Australian subsidiary of Singapore-based Tiger Aviation entered the Australian domestic aviation market last November. Its Australian competitors allow deaf passengers to fly alone.

Posted by rollingrains at 06:23 PM

April 02, 2008

International Coalition Launches Groundbreaking Disability Rights Fund

Disability Rights Fund

Press Release:

BOSTON, MA – The Open Society Institute, The Sigrid Rausing Trust, the United Kingdom Department for International Development, and an anonymous donor today announced a groundbreaking collaborative to support the human rights for people with disabilities.

Launched on the first anniversary of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CPRD), the Disability Rights Fund will provide financial support for human rights advocacy in the developing world and Eastern Europe/former Soviet Union. The broad objective of the Fund will be to empower disabled persons organizations around the world to effectively implement and monitor the CPRD.

“The Fund is a unique partnership among donors and the worldwide disability community,” said Emily Martinez, Director of Special Initiatives at the Open Society Institute. “It will directly support the human rights work of disabled persons organizations in the developing world.”

The CRPD recognizes that self-representation is essential to the enjoyment of human rights. It underscores the importance of including people with disabilities in the development of disability law, policies and programs. Through its unique governance structure, the Disability Rights Fund incorporates this principle.

A global advisory panel, made up of 12 individuals, most of whom are persons with disabilities, will provide recommendations on grantmaking strategies for the Fund; four of the Panel members will also serve on the Fund’s grantmaking decision body. The members of the panel come from five continents and reflect a broad cross-section of the disability community. The majority were nominated by international and regional disabled persons organizations.

The structure of the Fund not only reflects the international disability community’s slogan, “Nothing About Us Without Us,” it also reflects a growing trend within the grantmaking community to better listen to the communities they seek to serve and to redefine the relationship between grantmaker and grantee in the interest of more effective grantmaking.

Grants disbursed by the Disability Rights Fund will be centered on three major areas: increasing the participation of persons with disabilities in their communities through trainings and networking opportunities; developing awareness of the CPRD among stakeholders; and supporting advocacy projects that promote, protect and ensure the full and equal enjoyment of all human rights by persons with disabilities. The Fund expects to make its first grants in late spring/early summer 2008.

“The broad, international support for the Disability Rights Fund is a remarkable characteristic of this grantmaking enterprise. It is our hope that this diversity in funding sources will expand as the Fund develops,” said Diana Samarasan, Director of the Fund.

####

MARCH 31, 2008
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Diana Samarasan, Director
Telephone: 617-261-4593
Email: dsamarasan@disabilityrightsfund.org

Posted by rollingrains at 03:18 PM

March 26, 2008

Air Passenger Rights in the UK?

Richard Rieser, Director, Disability Equality in Education (DEE) has written the article at Inclusion Week entitled The Social Model of Disability. I think some of the ideas contained in it will gain some new press coverage as one of his travel companions textmailed me a moment ago with Twitter-like reflexes:

" Scott - Watch out for a press release. A member of Equality 2025 was taken off a plane and refused a flight by air france from london to belfast..."

Reiser begins his article with a review of the damage caused by the medical model and the absolution it promises to those who then fail to perceive any social responsibility to adopt Universal Design:

The 'medical model' of disability sees the disabled person as the problem.

We are to be adapted to fit into the world as it is. If this is not possible, then we are shut away in some specialised institution or isolated at home, where only our most basic needs are met. The emphasis is on dependence, backed up by the stereotypes of disability that call forth pity, fear and patronising attitudes.

Usually the focus is on the impairment rather than the needs of the person. The power to change us seems to lie within the medical and associated professions, with their talk of cures, normalisation and science. Often our lives are handed over to them.

Other people's assessments of us, usually non-disabled professionals, are used to determine where we go
to school, what support we get and what type of education; where we live; whether or not we can work and what type of work we can do and indeed whether or not we are born at all, or are even allowed to procreate. Similar control is exercised over us by the design of the built environment presenting us with many barriers, thereby making it difficult or impossible for our needs to be met and curtailing our life chances. Whether in work, school, leisure and entertainment facilities, transport, training and higher education, housing or in personal, family and social life, it is practices and attitudes that disable us.

Read on at:

http://inclusion.uwe.ac.uk/inclusionweek/articles/socmod.htm

And watch for the press release. The Office of Her Majesty's Government Office for Disability Issues describes Equality 2025 as:

Equality 2025 is a big step forward towards the government meeting its commitment to implement the recommendations in the Prime Minister’s Strategy Unit report ‘Improving the Life Chances of Disabled People’.

Equality 2025 will carry out the promise to disabled people that they will have a direct voice into government to help us design polices and services that they really want.

Air France, are you creating the sort of "voice in government" that serves investors? Perhaps this pattern of treatment is part of a neatly conceived plan to "adjust shareholder value downward" on the order of the incident with passenger Adele Price:

Adele Price, 42, a British citizen, sued the airline in Manhattan federal court seeking unspecified damages.

Price, who was born without limbs because her mother took the drug thalidomide during pregnancy, said in the suit she is able to manipulate a wheelchair and has traveled by air many times.

The suit states that she had bought a ticket in 2000 for travel between Manchester, England and New York. After Price had checked her luggage, she alleged that she was stopped by an Air France agent who told her that "a head, one bottom and a torso cannot possibly fly on its own."


http://www.rollingrains.com/archives/000156.html

Posted by rollingrains at 11:23 PM

The Trend Toward Meaningful Travel

Over at Conde Nast Jill Culora validates what we know about trends in tourism that are being drien by the aging of Boomers -- purpose-drive travel and travel for learning. Her article Twenty Trips doesn't make the obvious link to the principles of Inclusive Travel but that too is to be expected. In its current phase, with the explicit emphasis on the industry transformations necessary to accommodate those with disabilities, Boomers will not self-identify as disabled. They will demand the same transformations but shun the stigma of disability.

From Culora's article on the trend to meaningful travel:

Learning a new skill or delving into an area of interest—whether the French Resistance or Renaissance painting—while on vacation is the latest indulgence in travel. A recent Travel Industry Association survey reports 56 percent of travelers would like to take an educational trip—outranking interest even in spa and family travel—and ShawGuides.com, an Internet directory for travel learning opportunities, cites an increase in site traffic of between 10 and 15 percent annually. "More Americans than ever are looking for self-improvement," says Kristin Lamoureux, tourism studies director at George Washington University. "That's why we're seeing such growth in educational travel and experiential learning." The participants, she says, are mainly from among the 78 million baby boomers who make up more than 40 percent of all leisure travelers and who now have their families and finances in order and are eager to take up new challenges.

Source:

http://www.concierge.com/cntraveler/articles/detail?articleId=12082

Posted by rollingrains at 01:12 AM

March 25, 2008

Universal Design Boom: REACT Survey

What happens in home trends gets carried over to hotels, resorts, and cruise ships:



Universal design booming: The baby boom generation and those planning for retirement are driving demand for easy-to-use features and floor plans. Sixty five percent of agents in the REACT survey said that the number of buyers looking for universal design features, such as a master bedroom on the main floor or a single story home, has increased in the last few years.

Source:
http://www.buildingonline.com/news/viewnews.pl?id=6947&subcategory=140

Posted by rollingrains at 01:49 AM

March 19, 2008

The Benefits of Being Last to Market: AT&T Stumbles Onto UD

In an effort to catch up with the years of strategic advantage in product design enjoyed by world-class innovators in Universal Design in Japan, Korea, and other nations AT&T has released a simple restatement of Universal Design principles.

By branding UD as somehow proprietary to AT&T this cultural product of the Disability Rights Movement created and promoted by quadriplegic architect Ron Mace of North Carolina and further developed since its creation in the 1970's now seems to have achieved the same degree of ubiquity that leads to "greenwashing" marketing strategies.

Universal Design is a set of principles that launch the long hard process of good design not a "let-me-on-the-bandwagon-too" marketing campaign. The generation that invented Universal Design and the Disability Rights Movement - Baby Boomers - is well represented in the 36,200 references that come up when you Google the phrase "I hate my cell phone." AT&T, the future of your product line depends on getting UD right.

Botton line? Show us full lines of universally designed mobile phones operating on US networks - now!

"It is our goal that the concept of 'design for all' is not viewed as a constraint but as a catalyst for innovation across the industry," said Carlton Hill, vice president of Marketing for AT&T's mobile unit. "We believe that, by making our methodology on Universal Design available for all to see, we can show the importance and value of creating wireless products and services that are usable and beneficial to as many people as possible. The end result will be more choices for more consumers."
Source: FierceWireless

From FierceDeveloper:

AT&T announced it will publicly release its Universal Design methodology in an effort to encourage application developers and handset manufacturers to consider the needs of seniors and customers with disabilities when creating new mobile products and services. AT&T said principles of Universal Design--the practice of developing apps and products usable by the widest possible spectrum of subscribers--are employed in its fledgling Mobile Speak and Mobile Magnifier applications, which the operator released late last year to improve the user experience for customers suffering from impaired vision. AT&T said its methodology not only defines and explains the benefits of Universal Design but also several scenarios to further illustrate its relevance--the full document is available at http://developer.att.com/universaldesign.

Developers must first submit applications created via Universal Design principles to AT&T for certification if they wish for the apps to be available on the operator's Media Mall mobile site. Consumers who download premium applications will be billed by AT&T, which will split revenues with the developer. "It is our goal that the concept of 'design for all' is not viewed as a constraint but as a catalyst for innovation across the industry," said AT&T Mobility vice president of marketing Carlton Hill in a prepared statement. "We believe that, by making our methodology on Universal Design available for all to see, we can show the importance and value of creating wireless products and services that are usable and beneficial to as many people as possible. The end result will be more choices for more consumers."

For more on AT&T's Universal Design specs:
-read this release

Posted by rollingrains at 11:53 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 01, 2008

Home Design Trends Survey of the American Institute of Architects.

logo of the aia


Jenny Sullivan reports on the current Home Design Trends survey by the American Institute of Architects. The story continues to be that Universal Design and green design fit together:

Those consumers who are buying new or renovating their homes appear to be more budget conscious and environmentally minded than in years past. Renewable flooring and countertop materials ranked among most popular kitchen features in the latest poll (at 61 percent and 49 percent respectively), along with drinking water filtration systems (44 percent), and recycling centers (45 percent).

On the bathroom side, radiant heat flooring topped consumers' wish lists (at 60 percent), followed by multi-head showers (59 percent), doorless showers (59 percent), universal design elements (58 percent), low flow toilets (57 percent), hand showers (42 percent), and LED lighting (39 percent). These preferences indicate a similar greening of bathroom spaces, as well as mounting currency for accessible design features, no doubt fueled by the aging boomer population

Posted by rollingrains at 04:11 PM

February 27, 2008

ENAT: The European Network for Accessible Tourism

The European Network for Accessible Tourism, ENAT, is maturing organizationally. It has gained status as the European Union's non-profit organization promoting inclusion in tourism. The press release below illustrates how organizations promoting travel with a sensitivity to disability share a similar agenda worldwide that converges around standards informed by the participation of people with disabilities and disabled peoples organizations.

PRESS RELEASE

* * * FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE * * *

Athens, 25.2.2008
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------
European Network for Accessible Tourism begins new phase

The European Network for Accessible Tourism (ENAT) has registered this week as a non-profit organisation in Belgium. This marks an exciting new phase in its European and international operations.

The ENAT network started two years ago as a pilot project, co-funded by the European Commission and nine sponsoring organisations from six EU countries. Over 400 members from 50 countries have joined up.

The network's principal aim is to help tourism businesses meet the access needs of the growing market of seniors and disabled visitors, as well as families with small children. Good access is seen as a key part of quality that benefits everyone, rather than as an 'extra'.

"What makes ENAT so attractive is that our network contains a good mix of tourism businesses, policy-makers, educators and consumer groups all sharing their expertise and ideas” says ENAT’s newly-elected Swedish President, Lilian Müller. ”By networking, we help to create the optimum conditions for business innovation and improvement."

"ENAT’s on-line Resource Centre plays a key part in delivering knowledge to where it is needed. Those who can respond quickly and effectively with improved access are already seeing the positive effect on the company’s bottom-line,” says Lilian Müller.

Ongoing and future concerns include:

* Introducing an 'Accessible Tourism Compliance Label' as part of a quality assurance scheme for tourism providers.
* Introducing a 'Code of Good Conduct' and ’Good Practice Guidelines’ for members who wish to use this label.
* Encouraging members to create partnerships and share good practices, both through e-networking and at regular conferences and workshops.

ENAT national coordinators are signed up in Austria, Belgium, Greece, Italy, Portugal, Spain and Sweden, and others are expected to follow soon. ENAT’s coordination offices will give information and support to the tourism sector at the national and local levels, working in their respective languages.

For further information or to join the network or become a sponsor, please visit www.accessibletourism.org

You can also send an email to Monica Guy at press@accessibletourism.org or contact ENAT’s Managing Director, Ivor Ambrose at enat@accessibletourism.org (telephone 0030 210 6148380).

- This Press Release was published today on the ENAT website at: http://www.accessibletourism.org/?i=enat.en.press.373

--
European Network for Accessible Tourism
Press Office
c/o EWORX S.A.,
Jean Moreas St., 66
GR-15231, Halandri, Athens
Greece.
Tel. 0030 210 614 8380
Fax. 0030 210 614 8381
E-mail: press@accessibletourism.org
Web: http://www.accessibletourism.org

Press Officer: Monica Guy, Paris, France. Call direct: +33 1 4209 5614

ENAT: The European Network for Accessible Tourism asbl
is a non-profit 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 and to help promote
Accessible Tourism around the world.

Posted by rollingrains at 11:58 PM

February 25, 2008

Conde Nast: "Renting a Different Kind of Wheels in France"

The Perrin Post blog brings Inclusive Tourism incrementally closer to mainstream with this entry called Renting a Different Kind of Wheels in France.

Posted by rollingrains at 10:46 PM

February 17, 2008

Segway & Disability in San Francisco

I could no longer stand the constant confrontations, and reluctantly taped a bright blue handicapped logo squarely on the front of my Segway. I thought that people would see the logo and understand that I was not just some lazy rich guy. But I was wrong.
When we talk about travel with "invisible disabilities" or the stigma of medical equipment we don't often think of the flip side -- the inconvenience of the "cool factor":

Sometimes, people come up to me just to say that the Segway is cool. Others are curious about how it works. I hope that more people, able-bodied and disabled, adopt and accept the Segway as an alternative mobility device. Until then, I have a simple plea: Please don't push me off my Segway.

Read Peter D. Poulos' article "Segway helps disabled man more than wheelchair"

Posted by rollingrains at 09:42 PM

February 15, 2008

Gordon Rattray on Disability Culture -- and Touring Africa

Gordon Rattray is an expert on travel in Africa. He also uses a wheelchair. As he explains here the wheelchair isn't always the most efficient way to get somewhere but, as he writes a guide on accessible travel in Africa, his experience reinforces one of the key values of disability culture -- interdependency:

There are distinct advantages to being disabled too; apart from the fact that enthusiastic and able help is often easier to find away from home, being reliant on people can even help bridge the usual gulf between us, the tourists, and them, the locals. I'm often forced to ask for assistance; and people, in turn, are interested to know what caused my disability and why western medicine can't cure me. This means there is a greater chance of more meaningful encounters and conversations, instead of the usual bartering with a market trader where both parties' motives are financial. Information I compile for Bradt guides is aimed mainly at people with physical disabilities, but some books also contain notes for those with sensory deficits, and it's not just disabled people who are seeking new trails; many older travellers worry about having to climb too many steps, availability of bathrooms or simply being able to regularly take a rest and sit down.
Gordon Rattray is Bradt's expert on travel for the disabled. Gordon worked as an overland driver in Africa before a diving accident left him C5/6 (complete) quadriplegic. Despite that, his wanderlust remains undiminished; he continues to travel frequently, and his experiences inform the tailored advice for disabled travellers that he contributes to many of our guides. A writer himself, he recently reached the final of the Bradt/Independent on Sunday Travel-Writing Competition, and is currently researching a Bradt Guide to African safaris for those with limited mobility (due for publication in June 2009).
Posted by rollingrains at 02:10 AM

February 13, 2008

Brian Sterner on CNN Yesterday & the Today Show Tomorrow

A quadriplegic in Florida is abused on videotape -- at the police station. (Note response received from Commissioner Al Higginbotham below.)

Follow- up:


Dear Scott,

Thank you for sharing with me your concerns regarding the incident at Orient Road Jail. As you may or may not know, I myself am a paraplegic. The actions of the guards and other employees involved were deplorable, unacceptable, and not typical of most employees of Hillsborough County or of the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office. I have urged Sheriff David Gee to investigate and respond seriously to the actions of his deputies. We look forward to hearing Sheriff Gee’s findings.

Sincerely,

Al Higginbotham
HigginbothamA@HillsboroughCounty.ORG
[Commissioner Hillsborough County District 4 ]

“Working together we will make a difference.”

Tampa Bay
http://blogs.tampabay.com/breakingnews/2008/02/deputies-suspen.html

MSNBC:
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/23131766/

Live Leak:
http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=0d7_1202840119

The Huffington Post
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2008/02/12/florida-police-dump-quadr_n_86290.html

(Note: CNN has placed an ad for Valentines Day pajamas before the news clip. There does not appear to be an "opt out" function for the ad.):

http://www.cnn.com/video/#/video/us/2008/02/12/deeson.fl.disabled.man.dumped.wtsp

Posted by rollingrains at 10:23 PM

February 10, 2008

News on the Beijing Paralympics Games

This report on the Beijing Olympics from Daniel Schearf atVoice of America. Note that "for the first time in Paralympics history, the city will pay all travel expenses for disabled athletes and team officials."


China is preparing to hold its first Olympic Games this year, and along with it, the Paralympics Games for disabled athletes. Chinese officials acknowledge that they are far behind in providing equal access for the country's disabled citizens, and they hope the games will help improve the situation.

Beijing wants to host a festive Olympics this year and officials say the Paralympics should be equal in splendor.

Beijing has built new facilities for the games and for training China's disabled athletes.

Chinese officials say there are 83 million people with disabilities in China and two million of them play sports.

Cao Qiuping hopes to play basketball for the Chinese team. She says the Paralympic Games will help reduce prejudice in China against the disabled. "A lot of people take [disabled people] to be obedient and docile. In fact, it's not like this. Their understanding is wrong. We want to use this opportunity to show them the real appearance of handicapped people."

An estimated 4,000 athletes from 150 countries are expected in Beijing for the Paralympics.

Officials say they will provide them with the same quality services as Olympic athletes and should have no problem meeting their needs.

Beijing plans to provide accessible buses and subway cars for getting disabled athletes and spectators to the Paralympic events.

But most public transport still lacks access facilities, cutting disabled athletes off from most of the city when they visit for the games. Officials say they will make the city more accessible, but they warn that Beijing will likely lag behind cities in more developed nations.

"We hope through the work of preparing for the Paralympics we can in Beijing reach national standards. But quickly reaching common, but rather high, international standards is difficult for all places," says Tang Xiaoquan, who is a director with the China Disabled People's Federation.

Beijing says, for the first time in Paralympics history, the city will pay all travel expenses for disabled athletes and team officials.

Source:

http://www.voanews.com/english/2008-02-08-voa25.cfm

Posted by rollingrains at 10:35 PM

February 07, 2008

Access to the Golden Gate National Recreational Area

DRA Logo


Disability Rights Advocates (DRA), a California-based non-profit law firm, filed a class action complaint today in federal court challenging the Golden Gate National Recreational Area (GGNRA) on behalf of visitors with disabilities. The complaint may be downloaded here.
The press release follows.

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. – The Golden Gate National Recreational Area (GGNRA) and the National Park Service (NPS) are discriminating against individuals with disabilities by denying them access to GGNRA parks. In order to end this discrimination, Disability Rights Advocates (DRA), a California-based non-profit law firm, filed a class action complaint today in federal court on behalf of all people with mobility and vision disabilities who have been denied access to GGNRA parks. GGNRA has been obliged to provide reasonable accommodations for persons with disabilities, since the passage of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.

Spanning over 75,000 acres of land and water from San Mateo to Marin County, GGNRA is the country’s largest national park in an urban area and attracts more than 13 million visitors a year. The park includes such national landmarks as Alcatraz, the Presidio, the Marin Headlands, Muir Woods, Crissy Field, and Forts Point and Mason. It contains 1,273 plant and animal species, encompasses 59 miles of bay and ocean shoreline, and has military fortifications that span centuries of California history from the Spanish conquistadors to Cold War-era Nike missile sites.

“What makes this case especially frustrating,” said Laurence Paradis, executive director of DRA, “is that we have been working in good faith with the GGNRA for over a year in an effort to achieve a plan to bring this agency into compliance with federal law. In the end, all we obtained was another year of delayed access for people with disabilities.” DRA attorney Julia Pinover echoed the sentiment, “This is not rocket science. We’re not seeking accessibility in the most remote part of the Amazon, we’re talking about long overdue accessible restrooms, visitors’ centers, parking, exhibits, trails and programs in the San Francisco Bay Area. This case is really about how our national parks systematically exclude people with disabilities and, in doing so, fail to fulfill our local and national policy of inclusion.” Although access requirements took effect in 1973, now, in 2008, GGNRA still does not provide basic accommodations to allow access.

Plaintiff Laurie Gray, a wheelchair user with a visual impairment, organizes and leads outdoors trips for groups of people with various disabilities to facilitate outdoor experiences and the enjoyment of the natural wonders of the Bay Area. Gray stated, “It’s astonishing that decades after the Rehabilitation Act was passed, the GGNRA still won’t make the most basic accommodations, never mind considering the possibility that groups of people with disabilities might occasionally travel together and need group accommodations.” Co-plaintiff Ann Sieck, like many Bay Area residents, has a life long love of the outdoors and is frustrated that she cannot enjoy what GGRNA has to offer. “The pervasive access barriers discourage people with disabilities and their families from visiting the parks. I think many people have just given up.”

DRA previously reached a settlement agreement with the State of California in 2005 to improve accessibility at parks statewide.

Posted by rollingrains at 06:39 PM

February 06, 2008

Svayam Receives Pro Forma Apology from Jet Airways

Backsliding on issues of air travel safety for people with disabilities has recently been a frequent issue here. One issue in India with Jet Airways has reached an unsatisfactory conclusion:

Ms. Sminu Jindal travelled by Jet Airways to Bangkok and back, on the Christmas vacations on 25th December 2007 and return on 01 Jan 2008. She was shocked to see the lack of sensitivity, ill-trained ground staff, absent essential services and above all how the Airliner like Jet Airways treat people with reduced mobility. Although Jet Airways issued a public apology, when media highlighted the incident, however, that doesn't solve the problem of millions of other people with disability whose voice doesn't reach the public/media.

Specifically, the apology indicates that Jet Airways will provide aisle chairs only on international flights. Such assurances by Jet Airways CEO Wolfgang Prock-Schauer certainly make for interesting case studies of worst practices in the anthology of business cases that I provide to faculty colleagues. However, I think he and I both share the ideal that such examples should be on the decrease rather than on the increase.

I would advise Jet Airways that their policy failure has already had negative impact on the company's international reputation. The smart business decision would be to consistently apply internationally recognized standards of non-discrimination and protect against further brand erosion.

Download apology from Jet Airways as .pdf

For more on this case see Svayam:
http://www.svayam.com/?q=node/411

Posted by rollingrains at 05:21 PM

February 05, 2008

Fundaperdis de Caracas

Caracas, 1 Feb. ABN.- La Fundación para la Atención de las Personas con Discapacidad (Fundaperdis), adscrita a la Alcaldía Mayor, finalizó el ejercicio operativo 2007 con grandes logros para este sector de la comunidad metropolitana, beneficiando a más de 3 mil personas.

Esta fundación sin fines de lucro, creada como parte del programa de Gobierno del alcalde Juan Barreto Cipriani, tiene como misión proporcionar atención integral a este sector del Distrito Capital para facilitar su incorporación e integración a la comunidad de forma digna, productiva y participativa.

El presidente de Fundaperdis, Otto Tovar, dijo que durante 2007 beneficiaron a 3 mil 946 personas de las 32 parroquias caraqueña, con lo cual superó las metas fijadas en más de 60%.

El organismo puso en marcha el Programa Apadrinando un niño con discapacidad o hijo de personas con discapacidad, el cual consiste en que cualquier persona, natural o jurídica, ayude a un pequeño con alguna discapacidad en forma de beca durante un año.

También realizó donaciones de sillas de ruedas, prótesis auditivas, bastones de rastreo, regletas y punzones, grabadores digitales, coches ortopédico, medicinas, férulas anti equinas, montacargas, rampas de acceso, becas escolares y de rehabilitación, termómetros y tensiometros parlantes, software sonoro para personas con discapacidad visual, intervenciones quirúrgicas, exámenes médicos, lentes, muletas axilares, muletas canadienses, andaderas, maquina de escribir braille, magnificadores para baja visión, colchones y cojines antiescaras y pañales, entre otros.

Fundaperdis también creó los equipos de baloncesto y de tenis sobre sillas de ruedas de la institución y concretó acuerdos de corresponsabilidad social con empresas públicas y privadas de Venezuela y de España (Organización Nacional de Ciegos Españoles (Once) y Universidad Complutense de Madrid, entre otras).

Además, patrocinó la publicación de la revista Todo con nosotros y El Manuel de accesibilidad como Derecho y Diseño Universal para todos, y organizó, patrocinó y participó en el II Encuentro de Discapacidad Intelectual, el II Encuentro Metropolitano de Políticas Públicas de la Asociación Civil Por una Caracas Posible y el II Aniversario del Sistema Metropolitano para la Integración Social de Personas con Discapacidad.

Otro de los logros tiene que ver con el impulso a la creación del Consejo Metropolitano del Poder Popular para las Personas con Discapacidad, en la que se logró la unidad del sector en una organización colectiva, cooperante y de participación protagónica.

Metas para 2008

Para el presente año 2008, Fundaperdis contará con un presupuesto operativo que estará destinado a la Creación de la Unidad Metropolitana de Ortesis, Prótesis y Ayudas Técnicas y mantendrá los programas iniciados el año pasado.

Igualmente, impulsará nuevos proyectos como la Cruzada por la Discapacidad, el Baúl de los Sueños, el Museo Tiflológico de Caracas, Ciudad Sin Barreras, Tecnoperdis de Venezuela y Producciones Fundaperdis.

Aunado a ello, gracias a las gestiones del alcalde Juan Barreto, Fundaperdis contará con otra sede para atender a las personas del sector con discapacidad, ubicada en la avenida Lecuna, esquina de Petión, Edificio El Águila, Planta Baja, municipio Libertador, sede donde también funcionarán las instituciones hermanas como el Consejo Metropolitano del Poder Popular para las Personas con Discapacidad y el Sistema Metropolitano para la Integración Social de las Personas con Discapacidad.

Las personas interesadas en contactar a Fundaperdis pueden acudir al Edificio Lander, esquina de Torres a Veroes, Planta Baja, Parroquia Catedral, Caracas, o a través de los teléfonos 0212-861-76-95 y 0212-815.85.20 y del correo electrónico fundaperdis@gmail.com.

Posted by rollingrains at 01:34 AM

February 03, 2008

Vouched for by a Vowel: A Big "E" for "Excellent!"

Excellent Award Logo visual description: A graphic that has the letter E in black on a background of white tilted on its axis facing right. Above it is the word Excellent. Below it is the phrase This blog is rated E for excellent.


The Rolling Rains Report has been awarded a big "E." (Technically, it would be called a "Lazy E" if it were a cattle brand. I'm not so handy as a cowboy on the ranch where I worked as teenager since I've become paralyzed so optometrists and computer manufacturers come to mind first now when I look at it. "Big E" works fine as a visual description for us city slickers.)

I have been socialized to prefer "A's", of course. (Except on the shipping boxes of my PCs and laptops where the previous vowel predominates.) Fortunately, this "E" stands for "excellent" as in the "Excellent Award." My gratitude to previous recipient Ruth Harrigan for the nomination.

The meme seems to be circulating through the Catholic bloggers circle so I am going to give it wider circulation as I follow the rules for accepting the award. But I am going to hold off posting who I award this to for a few days to give Rolling Rains readers the chance to submit sites that they think should also be rated "Excellent":

By accepting this Excellent Blog Award, you have to award it to 10 more people whose blogs you find Excellent Award worthy. You can give it to as many people as you want-even those that have received it already, but please award at least 10 people.

So, if this blog were on Sesame Street would it be introduced with the voiceover, "Today's post is brought to you by the letter 'E' !" Maybe so.

Posted by rollingrains at 10:46 PM

February 01, 2008

Shameless Self-Promotion -- And a Tribute to Rolling Rains Readers!!!

Echoing Green Semi-Finalist


Our work together to date -- and my plans for future projects -- promoting Inclusive Tourism and Inclusive Destination Development worldwide has won the affirmation of the Echoing Green Foundation. The dedication shown by those who read, contribute to, and are written about here at the Rolling Rains Report have been an encouragement for me to continue to the next phase of the competition.

Very briefly my proposal is to establish three Centers of Excellence in strategic locations around the world over the next two years.

The Centers of Excellence will gather industry, government, and disabled people (individual PwDs and their DPOs) into an action-oriented network to grow this market of travelers with disabilities. The Centers will gather the local tourism business eco-system to function as results-focused resource and a professional standard-setting body. As part of a coordinated international network these Centers are the launch of a new stage of industry maturity in service and marketing to this growing but underserved and eager-to-travel demographic.

Each Center of Excellence will participate in our international work to standardize the diversity of accessibility laws, disseminate minimum accessibility guidelines for hotels, train travel & hospitality industry staff, promote the education & hiring of PwD in the industry. At the local level we will work to make these three destinations accessible and train a core of PwD to be self-sustaining as advocates & experts in Inclusive Tourism for their region.

This competition is important because it will provide initial seed funding. Without this Echoing Green Foundation funding the project cannot take place. With it we will see the confluence of the many "islands of innovation" that you have read about here over the years.

This project to make strategic impact in the proper management of three destinations is the concrete expression of the vision I presented at the United Nations for ICAT 2007 in the address, "Inclusive Tourism: A New Strategic Alliance for the Disability Rights Movement."

Readers are welcome to submit recommendation letters to the Rolling Rains Report. The form is available here. Download file

Potential funders: Echoing Green is interested in hearing that the project has matching grant, partner, and post-seed stage funders are standing ready to support this project. Contact me at the email address provided under the Rolling Rains graphic on the top left.

Readings on a vision for inclusion in travel:


Waking Up to a Changed Travel Market

Defining the Market of Travelers with Disabilities

Theme Parks and Real Life

From, "Prayaville, Thailand:Becoming a Destination of Choice for Travelers with Disabilities":

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.

Posted by rollingrains at 08:26 PM

January 30, 2008

Bluetooth as an Aid to Walking?

From the "What Will They Think of Next?" file comes this report at CNN on the use of Bluetooth technology as a substitute for the human nervous system. In effect, the technology that brings you hands-free cell phones frees a man without legs to walk. Here Joshua Bleill describes how his prosthetic legs work:

Bleill's set of prosthetics have Bluetooth receivers strapped to the ankle area. The Bluetooth device on each leg tells the other leg what it's doing, how it's moving, whether walking, standing or climbing steps, for example.

"They mimic each other, so for stride length, for amount of force coming up, going uphill, downhill and such, they can vary speed and then to stop them again," Bleill told CNN from Walter Reed Army Medical Center, where he's undergoing rehab.

"I will put resistance with my own thigh muscles to slow them down, so I can stop walking, which is always nice."

Hmmm, what do you get if you hit "redial" while you are asleep -- sleepwalking?

For the full story see, " Double amputee walks again due to Bluetooth Die to Bluetooth"
http://www.cnn.com/2008/TECH/01/25/bluetooth.legs/index.html?iref=mpstoryview

Posted by rollingrains at 11:03 PM

January 29, 2008

Around the World on a Skateboard!

Beth Haller has a blog called Media dis&dat. She has done a post on Kevin Connolly. Kevin traveled around the world on his skateboard. That's unique enough but Kevin was born without legs -- and he took along his camera to document people staring at him. From her site:

Connolly took 32,000 photos and has created an online exhibit, called The Rolling Exhibition at http://therollingexhibition.com/. It's a wonderful exhibit, which allows the viewer to see the world from a unique perspective. Many of the images are visually stunning because of the upward angle that captures aspects of the scene that one usually doesn't experience. I know its theme is the staring but the composition and subjects on the street make many of the images pure artistry. If this is any indication of his documentary abilities, I will be there to buy tickets to his first film.

http://media-dis-n-dat.blogspot.com/2008/01/man-without-legs-photographs-staring.html

Kevin's personal site:
http://www.kevinmichaelconnolly.com/

Posted by rollingrains at 11:02 PM

January 27, 2008

Steak & Shake: Where ADA Compliance has Been Taken Off the Menu!

Americans with disabilities spend more than $13.6 billion annually on travel. The Open Doors Organization calculated that in 2003, persons with disabilities or reduced mobility spent 35 billion dollars in restaurants. According to the same study, more than 75% of these people eat out at restaurants at least once a week. But Karen at A Deaf Mom Shares Her World tells a story that gives these mind-numbing numbers some texture and reality.

Can it really that be that hard to spend our money? Maybe the misguided narratives about "plucky" super-crips "overcoming" their disabilities and achieving heroic feats that inspire TABs (look it up) have some validity. Buying a milkshake and completing the transaction with dignity intact rates high on the heroic achievement scale in this story of an encounter with Steak 'n Shake -- but her equanimity to the bile evident in the public comments about her post is where Karen's true strength of character is revealed. Insult added to injury:

So I told him about the Americans with Disabilities Act and I explained that taking orders through the window is an accommodation that I need because I can't use the speaker to place an order.

He kept insisting that orders need to be taken at the speaker. "If you had just let me know at the speaker that you needed accommodations then I could take your order through the window."

"But I'm DEAF! I can't hear on the speaker! When I drove up, the first thing that I told you was that I couldn't order back there because I can't hear through the speaker."

Read about her descent down Alice's Rabbit Hole here at Steak and Shake Denies Service

Posted by rollingrains at 10:16 PM

January 26, 2008

ASTA Files Comments with the Department of Transportation on Oversales and Denied Boarding Compensation

Press release:
ASTA logo

ASTA, [the American Society of Travel Agents] filed comments today with the Department of Transportation (DOT) on the issue of Oversales and Denied Boarding Compensation. ASTA provided the DOT with numerous recommendations for updating the more than 20-year old rules that currently govern the process of Denied Boarding Compensation practices.

“This is unfortunately an issue that affects most passengers at one time or another,” said Cheryl Hudak, CTC, ASTA president and CEO. “ASTA’s recommendations, if implemented, would reduce the number of instances in which airline passengers are involuntarily bumped and, in the event that an airline is forced to bump a passenger, create a more stable and acceptable process for doing so.”

In its comments, ASTA:

• Stated that it is in favor of doubling the ceiling on compensation for involuntarily bumped passengers.

• Suggested that ceiling caps should be adjusted automatically every five years and based on the Consumer Price Index Consumer-Price-Index Oct-07 (CPI).

• Objected to the DOT permitting airlines to establish, without any control, preference as to who will be involuntarily bumped when they are unable to secure volunteers. The DOT currently allows airlines to decide who will be involuntarily bumped based on the price of a passenger’s ticket.

• Argued that anyone with a confirmed seat assignment should never be bumped. ASTA also suggested that if an airline reserves the right to bump passengers based on the price of their ticket, the airline should warn the passenger of this risk at the time of purchase.

• Argued that compensation practices for international and domestic travel should be treated identically and based on a combination of length of delay and distance.

• ASTA recommended that the rules abolish the use of vouchers in favor of cash payments, stating that only cash payments will create a full incentive for airlines to closely manage Denied Boarding Compensation.

For additional information or to read any of ASTA’s filed comments on Oversales and Denied Boarding Compensation, please visit, ASTA.org.

The mission of the American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA) is to facilitate the business of selling travel through effective representation, shared knowledge and the enhancement of professionalism. ASTA seeks a retail travel marketplace that is profitable and growing and a rewarding field in which to work, invest and do business.

Contact: Kristina Rundquist/Sarah Wilhite, Phone: 703-739-8710

Posted by rollingrains at 06:48 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 10, 2008

One Person, One Fare: Canadians in the Air

The Council of Canadians with Disabilities / Conseil des Canadiens avec Deficiences send the following press release:

Reaction to Landmark Canadian Transportation Agency Decision:
Disabled Canadians Jubilant to Have Transport Barrier Remove
d

Winnipeg, January 10, 2008 – Today the Canadian Transportation Agency
(CTA) released a landmark decision concerning the right of individuals with
disabilities to travel by air without having to pay for a second seat, for
an attendant or other use, to accommodate their disability.
In a historic
decision in the “One Person, One Fare” case, the agency has recognized the
right of these individuals to have access to a second seat when traveling
by air in Canada without having to pay a second fare.

“Canadians with disabilities are celebrating today,” said Pat Danforth,
Chairperson of the Council of Canadians with Disabilities Transportation
Committee. Joanne Neubauer, one of the principal complainants in the
case, agreed. “We hope that this decision sends a strong message to all
transportation carriers,” she said. “Access is the rule.”


The CTA decision acknowledged the importance of a number of established
human rights principles underlying the arguments of the complainants in
the case, noting that these principles dictate that persons with disabilities
have the same rights as others to full participation in all aspects of
society and that equal access to transportation is critical to their
exercise of that right.

“The Canadian Transportation Agency recognized the fundamental soundness
of our arguments, which have a strong foundation in existing human rights
jurisprudence,” said David Baker of Bakerlaw, legal counsel for the
complainants in the case. “While the number of people who will benefit
and the actual cost to the airlines are larger than in any previous case, the
principles applied by the Agency in its decision were clearly established
by the Supreme Court of Canada in its March 2007 CCD v. VIA Rail decision,”
said David Baker.

Disabled Canadians said the decision had the potential to make an enormous
difference in their lives. “This is about independence,” said Sandra
Carpente
r of the Centre for Independent Living in Toronto. “It’s about
our
ability to be part of Canadian society and to have barriers to our
participation removed.”

The decision was many years in coming – the late Eric Norman, Joanne
Neubauer,
and the Council of Canadians with Disabilities filed the
original complaint with the CTA in 2002, seeking to establish a situation of
equality for passengers with disabilities who travel with attendants.

For many years, Canadians with disabilities traveling by train, bus or
marine service have been permitted to use a second seat without cost when
one was required. But airlines such as Air Canada, Westjet, and Jazz have
not been bound to obey this policy, meaning that many Canadians with
disabilities have been forced to effectively pay double what others pay to
fly.

Now that all seems set to change.

“We have been looking for some good news in the transport industry for
some time,” said Claredon Robicheau, a member of the Council of Canadians with
Disabilities (CCD) Transport Committee. “This decision gives us enormous
hope that we are once again moving to build an accessible and inclusive
Canada.”

- 30 -

For More Information or Comment on the Decision Contact:

Mr. David Baker, Legal Counsel

Ms. Sandra Carpenter, Acting Executive Director,
416-533-0040 Ext 222 Centre for
Independent Living in Toronto 416-599-2458 Ext 36

Ms. Joanne Neubauer Mr. Jim
Derksen, CCD Policy Advisor
250-881-1936
204-781-4187

Ms. Pat Danforth, Chair, Mr. Laurie
Beachell, National Coordinator CCD
Transportation Committee 204-947-0303
250-595-0044

Mr. Claredon Robicheau,
Member CCD Transportation Committee
(available for French interviews) 902-769-2474

Posted by rollingrains at 12:49 PM

December 31, 2007

The Year Ahead - Clearer Skies?

The end of 2007 saw the ENAT and ICAT conferences on Inclusive Tourism. Early January 2008 will be the SAT conference and may 2008 will see the IIDI Turismo para Todos conference. At the same time ratification of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities continues at a rapid pace.

With so much progress on the stabilization of human rights for persons with disabilities the actions of the Federation of Indian Airlines to subvert the ' Carriage by Air of Disabled Persons or Persons with Reduced Mobility' proposed by India's Office of The Director General of Civil Aviation is especially out of step with the global consensus on the value of travelers with disabilities as a market. One would think that no one in the industry is doing their diligence on market forecasting.

Dear Kiki and Friends,

I would like to thank you for your responses...and I will go through the attachment you have sent.

In the meanwhile there has been a new development in India on the 30th Dec 2007 - this time by the FIA - Federation of Indian Airlines.

The FIA are not ready to accept the new guideline on ' Carriage by Air of Disabled Persons or Persons with Reduced Mobility' proposed by DCGA (Office of The Director General of Civil Aviation). The same was to come into force from 1st Jan 2008. I have attached the draft guideline with this mail for your reference. And in the last few months we had strongly lobbied for many changes before this final draft.

FIA says "Free help to disabled can't be enforced" - kindly read on for the article that was published in yesterday's news paper for your reference.

Kind Regards

Mahesh

'Free help to disabled can't be enforced', Times of India, 30th Dec 2007

NEW DELHI: The government's first attempt to regulate pricing policy of airlines could come to naught and add to the costs of physically challenged passengers.

Following several complaints from disabled rights groups, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) had about a month back issued a draft civil aviation requirement (CAR) on the subject. Among other things, it asked airlines to mandatorily provide free assistance to such passengers. The rule was to go into effect from January 1.

While most airlines currently provide wheelchairs, stretchers and ambulifts free, they have strongly opposed making the free service compulsory. The Federation of Indian Airlines — a joint body of Air India, Jet, Kingfisher, Deccan, GoAir, IndiGo, Paramount and SpiceJet — has said that the industry must be free to recover any extra cost that's incurred in the process of providing assistance to handicapped passengers.

Saying airlines are aware of their responsibilities towards physically challenged passengers, FIA has submitted its reply to the CAR to the ministry and DGCA.

"FIA believes that the issue of costs and cost-recovery for such special facilities cannot be mandated through the CAR. In our consultation with members, all carriers have expressed their strong opposition to airlines being denied the right to charge and recover costs for service provided," it said.

It goes on to add: "No other passengers are provided services free of charge. Any additional service should necessarily come at a charge to the passenger using the service, else the increased costs will need to be borne by the other airline passengers which is unfair. Airlines should be allowed to independently decide the charges, which certainly should be communicated clearly to passengers."

It has pointed out that the earlier CAR of July, 2005, allows airlines to charge for any additional service provided to passengers with special needs.


The new CAR stipulated that no airline would refuse to carry persons on a stretcher if they are accompanied by an escort who would look after them in flight. While FIA agrees to this, it says: "However, the carriage must be paid for. For example, a stretcher requires displacing nine seats that would otherwise be sold as revenue. It must be clear that these seats must be reserved in advance and paid for."

Similarly, the new rules say that all airlines must provide assistance to persons with disabilities/reduced mobility from the departing airport terminal to the destination airport terminal without any additional charge. "The Airlines strongly disagree with this statement. It is one thing to provide service, another to do it for free. No other passengers are provided free-of-charge services," the FIA has said.

Asked about this stand, a member airline of FIA said that most carriers provide these services free of charge and may even continue to do so. "But the decision to charge or provide assistance free must be the commercial decision of airlines. It can't be legally mandated," he said. This is not the first time airlines are spurning government's moves on influencing their charges. While the aviation ministry strongly opposed the term "congestion surcharge", airlines continue to levy it.

saurabh.sinha@timesgroup.com http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/India/Free_help_to_disabled_cant_be_enforced/articleshow/2661352.cms

****************************** Response to the Article **********************

31.12.07

Dear Mr. Saurabh,


Greetings and thank you very much for publishing the article titled "Free help to Disabled Can't be enforced"

This is a significant development and a new hurdle posed by The Federation of Indian Airlines (FIA) towards the new Civil Aviation guidelines by DGCA for "Carriage by Air of Disabled Persons or Persons with Reduced Mobility".


In the last few months, we as a group of disabled persons have been lobbying with the DGCA in drafting these guidelines and finally when it was to come into effect from 1 Jan 2008 - the FIA has sprung a surprise.

We as persons with disabilities are not asking for free service, we want to use the services like any other passengers. However the limitations posed by the procedures adopted by the different airlines further reduces our mobility and prevents us from using the airline just like any other.


Some examples that prevent us are highlighted below:


1. From the point of check-in - the airline asks us to use the wheelchair provided by them - these wheechairs cannot be self-propelled and therefore we need a ground staff.


2. The airline do not handle our personal wheelchair safely and many times they have broken my wheelchair because of their careless attitude.


3. Where ever there is an aerobridge facility passengers using wheelchair are not given access to use them and they are not alloted the first row of seats - because of which we physically lifted by 3-4 persons with our wheelchair up and down the stairs to the aircraft.


4. We cannot use the buses/ transport facilities provided by the airline on the tramac as there are steps and no ramps to get into the coach. Therefore we need assistance to be lifted up and down from the bus or wheeled on the tarmac till the aircraft.


5. There are no wheelchair accessible toilets in many of the airport, the ones that are built are not according to standard specifications therefore one needs assistance to access the toilets.


Who is to be blamed for creating such obstacles? Why should the passenger using wheelchair or a person with limited mobility bear the cost towards these procedural and architectural barriers created by the airlines and at the airports.


Closing with warm regards


Mahesh


****************** A Prior Violation of Rights ******************************

Dear Friends,

Greetings,

Through this mail I would like to highlight the practice adopted by some of the airlines where passengers using wheelchairs have to sign in the "APPLICATION FOR THE CARRIAGE OF MEDICAL PASSENGER".

The most offending paragaraph in the 'APPLICATION' that we as passengers using wheelchair are forced to sign reads as follows -

"I the undersigned .....hereby indemnify and hold harmless, DECCAN from any and against any liability arising out of any bodily injury, and / or death. damage or loss that I may suffer/ experience and also from any damages, payments, expenses, face and cost which DECCAN may incur directly or indirectly as a result of accepting me on its Flight No. .........from ....... to ...... on date.....

I hereby further indemnify DECCAN from any payments that DECCAN makes to meet any of my expenses towards damages, loss etc for the said purpose."

This I feel is both humiliating and discriminating towards persons with limited mobility.

Do passengers with limited mobility have to sign similar forms in other countries too before boarding the flight?

Please find below my letters written to both the Commissioner (Disabilities) and DGCA (Director General Civil Avaiation) highlighting this practice and with suggested changes.

Closing with best wishes for Christmas and New Year...

Kind regards

Mahesh

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

24.12.2007
To
The Commissioner (Disabilities)
Office of the Commissioner Disabilities
Govt. of Karnataka
40, Thambuchetty Road, Cox Town
Bangalore. Email: discom@vsnl.net

Copy
Mr. R. P. Sahi
Jt. Director General
Office of the
Director General of Civil Aviation
Opp. Safdarjung Airport
New Dehli – 110 003
Tel: 011-24611504. Email: rpsahi@dgca.nic.in

Respected Sir,

Greetings,

This letter is to bring to your kind notice the prevailing discriminatory practice adopted by some of the airlines who force passengers who use wheelchairs to sign the "APPLICATION FOR THE CARRIAGE OF MEDICAL PASSENGER" before boarding the flight.

Although, I, as a passenger who uses wheelchair did clarify that I am not a medical passenger, the ground staff are in no mood to listen and we are left with no choice but to fill and submit the form if not we should be prepared to miss our flight.

In this connection, I would like to quote my recent experience:

During my recent return journey from Kolkata to Bangalore by AIR DECCAN on 18th Nov 2007, I was asked to fill the "APPLICATION FOR THE CARRIAGE OF MEDICAL PASSENGER" as I use a wheelchair. I did argue that I am not a "MEDICAL PASSENGER" but the ground staff were in no mood to listen. Therefore I filled in the form during check-in but deliberately did not submit the same while boarding the aircraft.

The most offending paragaraph in the 'APPLICATION' that we are forced to sign reads as follows -

"I the undersigned .....hereby indemnify and hold harmless, DECCAN from any and against any liability arising out of any bodily injury, and / or death. damage or loss that I may suffer/ experience and also from any damages, payments, expenses, face and cost which DECCAN may incur directly or indirectly as a result of accepting me on its Flight No. .........from ....... to ...... on date.....

I hereby further indemnify DECCAN from any payments that DECCAN makes to meet any of my expenses towards damages, loss etc for the said purpose."

Firstly, I personally feel that it is the duty of all the airlines to protect the safety of all passengers. But by signing the above form - the airline is not taking the responsibility to ensure the safety of passenger like me who use the wheelchair.

Secondly, the airline should make appropriate changes in the systems and built environment so that we can use our personal wheelchair (as much as possible) till we transfer to the seat of the aircraft. This procedure will assist us to be comfortably seated in our own wheelchair instead of sitting on the very small and uncomfortable chairs provided by the airlines for more than an hour.

Thirdly, passenger using wheelchairs should be give permission to use the aerobridge facility where available. These change will prevent the ground staff of the airline ground from physically lifting us up and down the flight of stairs to the aircraft. The practice that is both humiliating and extremely dangerous especially for the person who is being lifted.

Fourthly, in recent times DGCA has issued a new Guidelines on "Carriage by Air of Disabled Persons or Persons with Reduced Mobility" that is going to come into effect from 1st Jan 2008 and has taken into account some of the issues mentioned by me in my letter. However, I am not aware if any strategy for dissemenation/ training has been planned for all the ground staff of the different airlines at the airports on the need to "Respect the Rights and Dignity of Passengers with Disabilities".

Therefore, it my sincere appeal to your esteemed office to initiate appropriate steps to prevent this discriminatory and humiliating practice adopted by the airlines towards passengers with limited mobility.

Looking forward for your kind reply.

With kind regards

C. Mahesh

--
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
www.cbrforum.in

Posted by rollingrains at 12:46 AM

December 29, 2007

Design for All Institute India

Design For All Institute of India and EIDD-Design For All Europe are jointly publishing December2007 Vol-2, No-12 issue of the Design for All Newsletter. From the editor, Dr. Sunil Bhatia:

Different eminent designers from different countries and those are the members of EIDD under the guidance of Mr. Pete Kercher have contributed the articles and our current issue is in front of your computer screen. Our December issue is very special and historic, reason is, we are celebrating completion of our two years of publication of newsletter. We have started a new section of CASE study for benefits of our readers. We have loaded a movie and those who wish to see the movie they can click the below given link
Kindly visit our web site www.designforall.in for our current as well as past publication of our monthly newsletter or click this link

http://www.designforall.in/newsletter_dec_2007.pdf (For Newsletter)

The download link for mechanical elevator

http://www.designforall.in/mechanicalelevator.zip
First unzip it by using winzip

Posted by rollingrains at 06:47 PM

December 28, 2007

Senegal: Disabled students fight great odds

Inclusion in higher education is one of the prerequisites for building the sort of diversity in a local tourism economy to make a place a destination of choice for travelers with disabilities. This story from Senegal is not one of the more hopeful in this regard.

SENEGAL: Disabled students fight great odds

Students recently protested a shortage of housing for the physically handicapped at Dakar's Cheikh Anta Diop University

DAKAR, 18 December 2007 (IRIN) - On the campus of Cheikh Anta Diop University in the Senegal capital Dakar, physically handicapped students can often be seen crawling unaided up concrete staircases or across dirty bathroom floors.

With a few exceptions - such as the main library and a new amphitheatre - buildings on the sprawling, sandy campus have no handicap accessibility.

"Users of hand-powered or motorised wheelchairs have to crawl to access certain buildings," the disabled students association said in a recent letter to the authorities. The association compiled a list of their grievances and proposed solutions and presented it to university officials at the beginning of the school year.

Serigne Diop, a government official, says he cannot erase from his mind what he calls an "unbearable" image. "I saw a severely handicapped student trying to make it up a spiral staircase on crutches. I think she did not want to crawl so as not to get her clothes dirty," he said. "Other students passed by her without bothering to help at all."

Given the difficulties of getting around, physically disabled students often arrive late to classes. That is for those who have on-campus lodging. For those who do not, commuting is a problem, as public transport vehicles have no accommodations for wheelchairs, the disabled students association says.

Abandoning school

In their dorm room, which also serves as the headquarters of the association, students lament two disabled female colleagues who had to abandon their studies for lack of on-campus housing.

They were not the first and likely will not be the last, say handicapped students.

"These two students, who had passed the university entrance exams, had to drop their academic ambitions and return to their home villages simply because they did not find housing on campus," Fulbert Manga of the association told IRIN.

Disabled students remaining at the university say they face the same struggle daily - lack of housing, lack of access to most school buildings and public transport, inadequate financial assistance and difficulty getting decent jobs.


Photo: Serigne Adama Boye
The social services building is one of few university buildings that have ramps for wheelchair access
While Senegal's constitution includes laws protecting the rights of disabled persons, and the country is a signatory to related international conventions, the daily reality is otherwise, students say. For the disabled, arriving at university means taking on a huge battle far beyond keeping up with studies.

Access

The handicapped students association in November staged a protest at the university, calling for better housing. For some 250 disabled students, at least 162 beds should be made available according to quotas agreed to by university officials, but only 107 beds are available, fourth-year sociology student Insa Sané said.

The director of housing, Makhtar Ndoye, says given the wider problem of housing at the university the housing department has had to fight to keep even 107 spaces for handicapped students. At Dakar's main university, only 5,136 beds are available with a student body of some 55,000.

Bathrooms also pose a constant problem for disabled students. "In not one single men's room will you find a sit-down toilet, and that's the case even in some women's restrooms," Yague Touré, a second-year physics and chemistry student, told IRIN.

"We are constantly protesting these inhumane conditions in the toilets." In many restrooms, inaccessible in a wheelchair, the floors are wet from faulty faucets. "Those of us who use wheelchairs are forced to crawl in dirty water." Housing official Ndoye says the university plans to install sit-down toilets and repair the faucets.

Regional problem

Djibril Sow, West Africa director of an African Union institute for the physically handicapped, said disabled people face such barriers in public places across the region. He said many more disabled students would likely be in university were conditions better.

"Certainly if conditions were improved, the number of physically handicapped students in Dakar would be multiplied by 10 or 20. From Dakar to [the Burkina Faso capital] Ouagadougou, the disabled face the same kinds of problems."

Posted by rollingrains at 07:24 AM

December 26, 2007

Press Release: Mexico, El Salvador and Nicaragua Ratify the UN Disability Rights Convention

Mexico, El Salvador and Nicaragua Ratify the UN Disability Rights Convention
RI Calls on Governments to Recognize the Human Rights of All by Ratifying the CRPD

(United Nations, New York, USA, 17 December 2007): RI congratulates the Governments of Mexico, El Salvador and Nicaragua for ratifying the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), bringing the number to 14 States Parties. Mexico also ratified the Optional Protocol today. RI calls on all governments which have not yet ratified the CRPD and its Optional Protocol to do so as a matter of priority and without reservations and declarations. Furthermore, RI urges all States Parties to begin the process of implementation by developing laws, programs and policies to ensure that ALL persons with disabilities, regardless of the type of disability, enjoy all of the rights in the Convention.


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Libre Acceso President Federico Fleischmann said, “We recognize the great efforts of the Government of Mexico for being a leader in promoting the human rights of persons with disabilities, as embodied in the Convention. RI and its member in Mexico, Libre Acceso, are committed to working within its broad network to ensure that Mexican laws are strengthened to comply with the high standards set by the Convention.”

As part of its Global Advocacy Campaign, RI partnered with Libre Acceso, representatives of the Mexican government, the Mexican law firm Barrera, Siqueiros y Torres Landa, S.C., the international law firm Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP and local disability experts to develop recommendations on how Mexico’s National Disability Law can comply with the Convention. These recommendations, presented to the Mexican Government on October 18, 2007, were formally adopted by Partido Accion Nacional (PAN), the political party of the Mexican President, as the official proposed amendments to this national law. The Senate and Chamber of Deputies will now discuss the amendments, which may be adopted as early as next year. This RI project has been made possible because of the generous support of an anonymous donor and Irish Aid.

“We are very happy today to deposit the instrument of ratification of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Setting up the legal framework is only the first step. The real challenge is to build a culture where the human rights of every person are fully respected,” said Senator Guillermo Tamborrel, President of the Commission on Vulnerable

Groups and a member of PAN. Senator Tamborrel, together with Senator Maria los Angeles Moreno Uriegas of Partido Revolucionario Institutional (PRI), were present when Mexico deposited its ratification instrument today.

The CRPD, the first human rights treaty of the 21st century, represents an essential legal instrument prohibiting discrimination against persons with disabilities in all areas of life, and includes specific provisions related to rehabilitation, habilitation, education, employment, health and access to information, public facilities and services, among others. The Optional Protocol concerns how individuals or groups can seek redress for violations of the CRPD once national remedies are exhausted. The Convention will become international law after 20 ratifications. (Attached is a current list of all signatories and States Parties to the CRPD and Optional Protocol).

# # #

For more information on the UN Convention and contact details of experts within the RI membership, please contact Tomas Lagerwall (sg@riglobal.org), RI Secretary General, or Shantha Rau (shantha@riglobal.org), Senior Program Officer, at +1-212-420-1500.


About RI

Founded in 1922, RI is a global and diverse organization bringing together expertise from different sectors in the disability field, to advance and implement the rights and inclusion of persons with disabilities. RI is currently composed of over 700 members and affiliated organizations in 93 nations, in all regions of the world.

RI works closely with other disability organizations, actively participating in the International Disability Alliance (IDA) – a network of eight global, democratic organizations of persons with disabilities – and was an active member of the International Disability Caucus (IDC) – a coalition of disability organizations and NGOs that participated in the negotiations toward the Convention. RI also maintains official relations with the United Nations and its agencies and institutions as well as with other international organizations, NGOs and universities.

For more information about RI, please visit our accessible website: http://www.riglobal.org.


Posted by rollingrains at 01:53 AM

December 20, 2007

AirSahara (Deccan): A Pattern of Bad Conduct

AirSahara, now known as Deccan, discriminates against passengers with visible disabilities.

The ongoing practice has been repeated, reports the Hindustani Times, in the case of Sanjeev Sachdeva despite warnings of the Directorate General of the Civil Aviation Authority of India (DCGA) that airlines not discriminate.

This practice is becoming so widespread in the industry that Australian authorities have had to issue similar warnings recently on top of the many lawsuits and complaints active in other parts of the world without similarly responsible action on the part of regulatory agencies.

See Airline Displays Callousness at
http://epaper.hindustantimes.com/artMailDisp.aspx?article=20_12_2007_003_015&typ=1&pub=47

Posted by rollingrains at 09:59 AM

December 18, 2007

In Support of Right Livelihood

Erica Barnett writes in "Making Travel More Ethical" at WorldChanging about hotel workers. First among her list of little-know-facts is this disturbing statistic about how being a hotel worker can actually be a path into becoming disabled:

Housekeepers in the hospitality industry report pervasive problems with job-related pain. In surveys compiled by Unite Here's Hotel Workers Rising campaign, which organizes and works on behalf of hospitality workers in the United States, more than 75 percent of workers report work-related pain; more than 80 percent report pressure to complete their work quickly; more than two-thirds report taking pain medication regularly; and nearly three-quarters report chemical irritation from exposure to cleaning supplies.

She continues:

Those are some alarming statistics. Fortunately, there are some innovative, accessible resources available to travelers that both provide information to people who stay in hotels and put pressure on hotel companies to improve pay and working conditions for those at the bottom of the travel food chain. Two I particularly like are Hotel Workers Rising's union hotel guide and The Jewish Funds for Justice's Ethical Travel Campaign.

For the entire article see:

http://www.worldchanging.com/archives/007694.html

Posted by rollingrains at 12:45 PM

December 17, 2007

Tourism Websites Fall Short On Accessibility


Almost all UK tourism websites are failing to meet basic acceptable
standards of accessibility, according to a new report from technology
access charity AbilityNet.

The report, the latest in a series of 'State of the eNation' surveys by the
charity, assessed ten websites at random from a list of the most popular
UK visitor attractions. The sites were rated using a five star scale from
'very inaccessible' (one star) to 'very accessible' (five stars), with
three stars representing an 'adequate' level of accessibility.

Only one of the ten sites examined - the Glasgow Science Centre - met
or exceeded this 'adequate' threshold. The centre's site
(http://www.glasgowsciencecentre.org ) has been improved in the past
year with accessibility in mind and as a result achieved four stars.

Of the other sites assessed, four achieved two stars (the Eden Project,
The Giant's Causeway, National Waterfront Museum and Portmeirion)
and five were deemed very inaccessible, receiving only one star
(Belfast Zoo, The Burns Heritage Museum, Edinburgh Castle, Kew
Gardens and the London Eye).

Sites which fail to meet the three-star level may be falling short of
service access requirements set out in the UK's Disability
Discrimination Act
, AbilityNet says.

The report took into account sites' compliance with the international
World Wide Web Consortium's Web Content Accessibility
Guidelines, as well as the practical difficulties that visitors with a range
of disabilities may experience. Among the features that cause problems
are small text that cannot be resized; unnecessary complexity; closely
clustered buttons; unlabeled images and over-reliance on visual clues.
Since the audit was taken at least three of the single-star-rated
attractions have expressed a commitment to improving the accessibility
of their websites.

Source:

E-access Bulletin, Headstar, Issue 96

Copyright 2007 Headstar Ltd http://www.headstar.com .
The Bulletin may be reproduced as long as all parts including this
copyright notice are included, and as long as people are always
encouraged to subscribe with us individually by email. Please also
inform the editor when you are reproducing our content. Sections of
the bulletin may be quoted as long as they are clearly sourced as 'taken
from e-access bulletin, a free monthly email newsletter', and our web
site address:
http://www.headstar.com/eab
is also cited.

+Personnel:
Editor - Dan Jellinek
Reporter: Majeed Saleh
Editorial advisor - Kevin Carey
Marketing Executive - Claire Clinton
Sales and Marketing - Jo Knell, Will Knox.

ISSN 1476-6337

Posted by rollingrains at 03:54 PM

December 14, 2007

Piso tátil orienta deficientes (Portgugese)

Para contribuir com projetos de acessibilidade, a Mercur traz ao mercado o Piso Tátil. Formado por placas de borracha antiderrapantes e superfícies de relevos direcionais, o produto tem por finalidade orientar pessoas com deficiência visual.

Na verdade, são dois os tipos de placas de Piso Tátil: os direcionais, que possuem linhas longitudinais em relevo para demarcar a direção; e os de alerta, compostos por superfície tipo moeda para indicar mudança de direção. Dependendo de como as placas são dispostas, indica-se a direção a ser seguida. A novidade da Mercur segue as orientações da NBR 9050:2004 da ABNT. Piso Tátil conta também com alta resistência a produtos alcalinos, ácidos, água sanitária e produtos de limpeza em geral. Dúvidas podem ser esclarecidas em www.mercur.com.br. O telefone de contato é (51)3719-9500.

Posted by rollingrains at 04:20 AM

December 12, 2007

Statement by Rosangela Berman Bieler – International Services Human Rights Award

Rosangela Berman Bieler, Executive Director of the Inter-American Institute on Disability & Inclusive Development, recently received the 2007 Human Rights Award from International Service. Rosangela's work includes disaility and development at the World Bank and an ongoing project on disability, tourism, and development linking Brazil, Argentina, and Uruguay. Below is the text of her acceptance speech:

First of all, I would like to express my deep appreciation to International Services for establishing this Human Rights Award and to including Disability Rights as a relevant area. I humbly thank the IS selection panel and supporters for considering my name amongst such a distinguished group of Human Rights Champions from around the world. It is for me a huge honor to be part of the IS partnership.

This award comes in a unique moment, when Disability rights advocates from all over the planet are working together to give visibility and to maximize the number of nations that ratify the new Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

This twenty-first century's first human rights treaty was adopted by the United Nations a year ago and opened for signatures on March 30, 2007. To date, 118 nations have indicated support of the treaty and interest in ratification. As of today, 10 nations have ratified (Croatia, Cuba, Gabon, Hungary, India, Spain, Bangladesh, South Africa, Jamaica, and Panama). The treaty becomes legally binding 30 days after the 20th nation ratifies it.

According to the UN, approximately 10 percent of the world’s population has a disability. This translates into over 600 millions disabled people living around the world, being more than 400 million in developing countries. For every disabled person, there are at least three other members of the household indirectly affected by disability. The largest increase in the number of people with disabilities will happen in the age bracket of 65 years or more. And the world population is aging…

Today Disability is understood as the result of the interaction between people with different levels of functioning and an environment that does not take these differences into account. Disability is part of each and every individual’s life cycle. Beyond the typical areas of disability (motor, hearing, visual, and mental/intellectual), persons in general face “disabling” conditions in a society that is unprepared to recognize and respond to human diversity.

People with physical, sensory or mental limitations are often disabled not because of a diagnosable condition, but because they are denied access to education, labor markets, and public services. This exclusion leads to poverty and, in a vicious circle, poverty leads to more disability by increasing people’s vulnerability to malnutrition, disease, and unsafe living and working conditions.

According to the World Bank, it is expected that the number of people with disabilities will increase by 120%, in the next 30 years in developing countries. The increase is of 40% in more developed countries. It is estimated that 100 million people in the world acquired a disability due to malnutrition.

About 80-90% of disabled people in the Latin-American Region are unemployed or outside the work force. Most of those who have jobs receive little or no monetary remuneration. In my native country, Brazil, the 2000 Census shows that, of the 24.650.000 Brazilians with disability, 27% live in situation of extreme poverty and 53% are poor.

Universal inclusion is not only a human rights issue and a principle for equity, but also an operational strategy to general a better and sustainable society for all. To improve the efficacy of social and economic development actions and to reach all manifestations of human diversity, public policies, from design to implementation, must take all human characteristics and needs into account.

Human Rights are exercised in the mainstream society, in the daily life of each one of us. The means for this full exercise are provided by fair and equitable public policies for all. The UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities is a strong and effective instrument to orient and assist governments to implement policies and actions under an inclusive development approach.

The UN Convention recognizes the fundamental importance of getting disabled people ourselves involved in the process of our emancipation and reinforces the concept of “Nothing About Us, Without US”, used by the disability field to claim full participation. Under this premises, together with my peers and supporters of the Disability field, I would like to call all governments to immediately ratify the CRPD and start making the ideal of an inclusive Society, into a reality.

Thank you very much for this opportunity and let’s continue working together for a planet and a society where life is valued, diversity is celebrated and dignity is for all.



Inter-American Institute on Disability & Inclusive Development
Instituto Interamericano sobre Discapacidad y Desarrollo Inclusivo
Instituto Inter-Americano sobre Deficiência & Desenvolvimento Inclusivo

Rosangela Berman Bieler
Executive Director

Posted by rollingrains at 12:29 AM

December 11, 2007

Collusion: Airlines Warned Not to Bar Disabled

Steve Creedy, Aviation writer for the Australian reports [Editor's note, Article 9 of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities establishes access to transportation as a right. And Graeme Innes rocks!]:


LOW-COST carriers have been warned not to attempt to cut costs by discriminating against the disabled after two airlines recently sought exemptions from laws designed to grant handicapped travellers equal access to transport.

Singapore-backed Tiger Airways has applied to the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission for an exemption to the Disability Act so it can temporarily refuse to carry some passengers with limited mobility.

It says it needs to do this because it does not have the equipment to get wheelchair-bound [sic] people safely on to its Airbus A320 jets.

Disability groups are also fighting a move by Australia's biggest independent regional carrier, Regional Express (Rex), to introduce restrictions they say will make flying harder for disabled people in the bush.

The Public Interest Advocacy Centre is pursuing court action against Virgin Blue to head off moves to require some people with disabilities to buy a second ticket for a carer if they want to travel.


"It's fine for low-cost or budget airlines to reduce services," human rights commissioner Graeme Innes said yesterday. "But not carrying passengers with disabilities can't be part of those reductions and to do so is against the law.

"As commissioner, I intend to ensure wherever I can that airlines meet their obligations to all passengers, not just passengers without disabilities."


Tiger is offering affected passengers a full refund and says the problem stems from the inability of its third-party ground handler to obtain special hydraulic devices capable of lifting wheelchairs on to planes. It did not expect the lifters to be available at all destinations until the end of February.

Tiger's application comes as a report, due to be released this week by the PIAC, says an analysis of the experiences of 110 airline passengers demonstrates a systemic failure of legislation introduced in 2002 to set standards for disabled access to public transport.

The report finds recent development and application of airline policy, and changes to baggage handling, have made disabled access more difficult, particularly for people with motorised or bigger wheelchairs.

"Some passengers who travelled independently for many years now find themselves barred from travel or facing the imposition of unreasonable conditions," it says.


Source:

The Australian
http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,25197,22903033-23349,00.html

Posted by rollingrains at 03:39 AM

December 06, 2007

Leadership from Lansing with a UD/LEED Project

Peckham Inc. is a nonprofit providing employment and training services in Lansing, Michigan.

The Lansing State Journal reports that the organization is one of the growing number of businesses choosing the complimentary approaches of Universal and Green Design.

"Our old buildings have been cobbled together," said Mitch Tomlinson, Peckham's president and chief executive officer. "For us, it's been fun to start with a blank slate and design something that meets our needs."

The new headquarters is being built with universal design standards, which help ensure accessibility, and should be certified by the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design program, which rates a project based on its environmental friendliness.


Good design spreads. With the facility located near the Capital City Airport perhaps we will see Universal Design creeping into the design of the airport or sweeping through the hotels in DeWitt or clustered along Saginaw at Highway 96.

Posted by rollingrains at 01:54 AM

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

New Uses for Wheelchair Ramps

Listening to presentations citing the positive secondary effects of wheelchair ramps and Universal Design this week I noticed some similarities. Whether the presenter comes from Turkey, the US, Mongolia, Korea, or the UK the standard justification is that ramps also help "people on bicycles, with shopping carts, and people with prams (strollers)"

Maybe we should add one more type of user to the lift -- Rollerman!! (See frames at -4:52)

Posted by rollingrains at 01:01 AM

November 27, 2007

Promoting the UN Millennium Development Goals in the Tourism Industry

Imtiaz Muqbil writes the Travel Impact Newswire. Coincidentally his recent commitment to using this widely-read tourism industry publication to promote the UN Millennium Development Goals parallels messages about the need for non-governmental collaboration given by presenters such as Theresia Degener at the World Assembly of Disabled Peoples International in Seoul and myself at ICAT 2007 as it pursues the theme of a rights-based approach to disability. Announcing his campaign Muqbil writes:


The eight Millennium Development Goals are: 1: Eradicate extreme poverty & hunger; 2: Achieve universal primary education; 3: Promote gender equality and empower women; 4: Reduce child mortality; 5: Improve maternal health; 6: Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria & other diseases; 7: Ensure environmental sustainability; 8: Develop a global partnership for development.

The year 2007 marks the half-way point of the 2015 target set for attainment of the goals by the UN Millennium Summit in 2000. With a mere seven years left, and time time running out, the travel & tourism industry can and should put its shoulder to the wheel. Because of its relationship with each of the eight MDGS, the travel & tourism can be a major contributor to facilitating the success of the MDGS.

As a responsible member of the travel industry media, Travel Impact Newswire is proud to contribute to the process by becoming a conduit for a) raising awareness of the MDGs; and b) providing a one-stop service for information about the many ways companies, institutions and organisations worldwide are helping. This will save my readers valuable time in keeping up with global developments in this effort, and provide a useful platform and reference point for brainstorming ideas and initiatives that can be taken by like-minded companies, institutions and individuals.

The MDGs are all about helping to improve the human condition. We can all play a role. Let’s get on with it.

-X-X-X-X-X-X-X-X-X-X-

ABOUT TRAVEL IMPACT NEWSWIRE

Set up in August 1998, Travel Impact Newswire is the Asia-Pacific’s first email travel industry news feature and analysis service. Mission Statement: Dedicated to reporting with Integrity, Trust, Accuracy and Respect the issues that impact on the Asia-Pacific Travel & Tourism industry. Distributed every week to 40,000 senior industry readers worldwide, mainly in the Asia-Pacific and Middle East.

Advertorial sponsorship messages cost 750 Euro per dispatch. Please contact: Imtiaz Muqbil, Executive Editor, 24 Soi Chidlom, Bangkok, Thailand 10330. T: (66-2) 2551480, 2537590. Fax: (66-2) 2544316. Email: imtiaz@travel-impact-newswire.com

Posted by rollingrains at 01:45 PM

Inaccessibility Challenged in Mexico

Architect José Luis Gutiérrez Brezmes of Mexico's Universidad Iberoamericana reminded attendees to attend to Universal Design and diversity at the Jornada Académica de Ingeniería Biomédica Espacio Biomédico 2007. Recognition of the diversity in human size and capacity as well as inaccessibility as a societal, rather than an individual, problem are key to achieving a solution he indicated.

MÉXICO, PAÍS INACCESIBLE A LA DISCAPACIDAD

México, DF.- Las instalaciones urbanas de México son en general inaccesibles para las personas con discapacidad –motriz, sensorial o intelectual-, señaló José Luis Gutiérrez Brezmes, profesor del Departamento de Arquitectura de la Universidad Iberoamericana Ciudad de México al participar en la Jornada Académica de Ingeniería Biomédica Espacio Biomédico 2007, donde brindó la ponencia Accesibilidad y diseño universal en los entornos construidos, tema en el que nuestro país tiene un rezago de más de 30 años.

La razón es que no forma parte de nuestra sensibilidad reconocer que no todos somos físicamente iguales, lo que deriva en que los entornos materiales no estén pensados para la diversidad, sino hechos para estándares, y construidos para seres humanos idealizados, algo que no se cuestiona en las escuelas de arquitectura mexicanas.

Gutiérrez aseguró que la accesibilidad no es un problema del individuo, sino de la sociedad. Y en el caso de la Ciudad de México, ésta resulta crítica, presenta una falta de recursos, estudios específicos y de sensibilidad entre los profesionistas para reconocer la discapacidad, informó la Universidad Iberoamericana (UIA).

Fuente:

http://www.cimacnoticias.com/site/07111411-BREVES-DE-CIMAC-14.31068.0.html

Posted by rollingrains at 12:46 AM

November 26, 2007

Detroit Free Press: Travel Becoming More Accessible

Ellen Creager of the Detroit Free Press did a little research on trends in accessible travel:


Good news. The world is getting friendlier for travelers who use a wheelchair, scooter or who just walk slowly.

"It is getting better," says Candy Harrington, an accessible travel expert who has monitored the scene for more than a decade.

For a more in-depth look or to plan your own vacation take a look at Candy's latest book "101 Accessible Vacations" at bookstores or online at www.emerginghorizons.com.

Source:

http://www.freep.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20071111/COL21/711110540/1032/FEATURES07

Posted by rollingrains at 12:59 AM

November 18, 2007

Grabs Bars as Elements of Style?

It may seem a far-fetched claim but Sally Ann Sullivan, CKD, of Showcase Kitchens and Baths, Inc. in Tulsa, OK captures the sea change in attitude toward style taking place as Boomers age and redefine standards around themselves. They are starting to more and more like what the disability community has been saying for over three decades with Universal Design:

“Grab bars are now quite attractive to people and they can be done in a very sophisticated way, [especially] since the showers are so huge.”

Here is an excerpt from The Simple Life by John Fillipelli:

He concludes: “Time spent in master baths is becoming more and more precious, combining practicality and indulgence. The ‘spa at home’ feel and the efficiency needs required when in master baths are often gathered under the same roof.”

Curbless Enthusiasm

[Carlene] Anderson sees curbless showers as another growing factor in the bath.

“We’re eliminating the threshold at the shower, so the bathroom floor slopes right into the shower drain. So, if anyone is in a wheelchair, they can get in and out quickly,” she says.

[James R.] Dase agrees: “Curbless showers are very popular right now. I am even doing one in my home. While it does take up more space, people love them because you don’t have glass to clean.”

He continues: “If they are not doing a steam shower, it is a much cleaner and sanitary way to do a shower because it also dries out faster, especially when natural materials are used.”

And, this ties into the growing impact of Universal Design, the designers point out.

Anderson offers: “By doing Universal Design, we are trying to make people want to stay in their homes.”

Most bath designers agree that accessible design elements, such as grab bars, are beginning to be accepted universally by clients of all ages for the tub and shower.

More on Universal Design in the bath:

http://www.kitchenbathdesign.com/print/Kitchen-and-Bath-Design-News/Poughkeepsie-Bath-Showroom-Seeks-to-Wow/2$4206

Posted by rollingrains at 03:14 PM

November 17, 2007

VibeAgent Unveiled

This afternoon I had the opportunity to get a behind-the-scenes look at VibeAgent just 24 hours after its public launch from Adam Healey, VibeAgent’s co-founder and CEO.

We know that the travel industry has not yet built the "killer travel research & reservation app" for the market of people with disabillities. We also know, from studies by the Open Doors Organization, that this market depends on the advice of trusted sources - usually other PwD - because it looks for very specific data. Simon Darcy and Bruce Cameron in Australia have published reports on the importance of visual documentation of hotel accommodations in the decision making of people with disabilities. That is one of the reasons I found TripTV.com to be so promising.

I think VibeAgent surpasses them in usefulness to the disability community right out of the box -- and they don't even offer video yet. Rather than write a definitive review of VibeAgent at the moment I am going to invite readers to register. Play with it and join the group that I have started: Disability & Travel.

Press Release:

Features Personalized Hotel Recommendations and Booking at Best Available Rates

Orlando, FL, Wednesday, November 14, 2007 – Pushing the envelope in online travel, VibeAgent (www.vibeagent.com) announced today at the PhoCusWright Travel Conference the general availability of a new online resource for travelers to save time and money when researching and booking hotel accommodations. VibeAgent is the first travel site that combines user-generated content, meta-search, and social networking to deliver personalized, trustworthy hotel recommendations and booking at the best available rates, all in one convenient place. VibeAgent is addressing an unmet need that helps travelers simplify the hotel research and booking process by providing hotel recommendations based on the reviews of friends, colleagues, and like-minded travelers.

PhoCusWright, the leading travel research firm, estimates that online hotel bookings will total $86.6 billion in 2007 and grow by 20% in 2008. When researching accommodations online, consumers are increasingly turning to travel community sites for objective advice. While these sites provide feedback, their trustworthiness and relevance to the user often falls short. There are few reliable mechanisms in place to keep hotel operators and businesses from posting biased reviews. Feedback is presented in a cumbersome way with minimal information provided about the review writer. Some sites take advertising money from hotels to prioritize their placement in search results, limiting their value for consumers and creating mistrust about their relevance. Lastly, because the source for the best available hotel rates fluctuates so widely, travelers typically visit 4 different web sites before booking a hotel room.

VibeAgent improves the hotel research and booking process by being the first site to offer travelers personalized hotel recommendations, for more than 120,000 hotels, based on the content and connections within a traveler’s social network. VibeAgent then “meta” searches a multitude of travel and hotel web sites in real-time to find all the available room rates for each hotel, so users know they are booking their chosen accommodations at the best available rate. VibeAgent’s features include:

VibeIndex – VibeAgent has developed a proprietary algorithm that combines demographics, site behavior, and the concept of six degrees of separation to rank hotels based on the likelihood they will appeal to each individual traveler. This “VibeIndex” incorporates how the members and groups in each user’s network have rated and tagged hotels to create personalized recommendations for each search. By mining the content and connections in each user’s social network, VibeAgent provides two people conducting the same hotel search with two different sets of recommendations.

Meta-Search – When a hotel search is conducted on VibeAgent, the site gathers rates and availability in real time from multiple online travel agencies (OTAs) and directly from the hotels’ web sites. In total, VibeAgent provides rates and availability for over 120,000 hotels, making it the fifth-largest collection of bookable hotel inventory in the world. VibeAgent users frequently have access to the best rates available online for each of these hotels.

Hotel Tagging – VibeAgent helps travelers make informed hotel booking decisions via a unique tag-based tool that quickly personalizes a search via three categories: Ambience, Activities, and Recommended For. These categories drive the customization of hotel preferences, such as a hotel with a romantic ambience, a day spa, and gourmet dining for food lovers. Registered users can tag a hotel from any search or hotel page without writing a review, for easy reference later.

Groups & Forums – VibeAgent enables registered users to create custom groups or join groups of like-minded travelers, to exchange stories, tips and recommendations with people that share similar travel interests. VibeAgent features a broad array of groups, ranging from Marathon Travelers, to Napa Valley wine lovers, to company groups for business travelers. Once users have joined a group, they have access to the group members' reviews and can create and post messages in group-only forums. Groups can be open or closed for added privacy.

“My Map” - My Map is a customizable dashboard that presents a personalized map of one’s friends, reviews, and groups. Using “My Map,” a traveler can do a quick geo-search of their network to pull up any city in the world and see all the hotels where people in their network have stayed. They can also read reviews, view hotel photos, check room availability, and book a hotel room ─ all without leaving the dashboard.

“My Trips” – The My Trips feature lets travelers keep track of their planned trips while updating their friends, family and colleagues. Conversely, they can also stay informed of their friends’ adventures or planned trips. A status bar gives users a dynamic snapshot of where the friends within their personal network are traveling to at any given time.

“My News” – My News is a personalized news feed of all the activity occurring in one’s travel network. Users are informed whenever their friends, family and colleagues write reviews, plan trips, post questions, or expand their network. VibeAgent also gives users the option to customize what news is presented in their personalized news feed.

“VibeAgent has strived to create a best-of-breed site that provides travelers with trustworthy hotel recommendations, personalized to their individual tastes and preferences, at the best available rates,” stated Adam Healey, VibeAgent’s co-founder and CEO. “VibeAgent users can be confident they’re making the best accommodation choice possible.”

VibeAgent’s formal launch comes on the heels of announcing a round of financing and the appointment of Trip Davis, President and CEO of TRX Inc. (NASD: TRXI), to the company’s Board of Directors. Mr. Davis is recognized as a travel technology industry leader and has received numerous honors and awards, including Business Travel News magazine’s 2007 “Top 25 most influential executives” in the travel industry.


About VibeAgent Inc.

VibeAgent.com is a new online resource for travelers to research and book hotel accommodations. It is the first and only site that combines user-generated hotel reviews, meta-search, and social networking to provide its users with personalized hotel recommendations and booking at the best available rates. VibeAgent’s unparalleled meta-search engine assembles rates and availability for more than 120,000 hotels worldwide from leading sites and providers such as Priceline, HotelBook, InterContinental Hotels, Holiday Inn, Skoosh, Reserve Travel, Venere, Booking.com, Crowne Plaza, Staybridge Suites, TravelWorm, and Travel Intelligence. Founded in 2006, VibeAgent is based in Charlottesville, Virginia. For more information, please visit www.vibeagent.com.

Posted by rollingrains at 02:11 AM

November 13, 2007

Sweden Pays Attention to How Seniors Travel

Travel Daily News reports:

“Senior travellers are one of the most interesting sectors in Sweden right now,” says Johan F Lundberg, ITTFA President and Exhibition Manager for TUR. “In a few years there will be more than 3 million people over 55 years, which represents 30% of the total population in Sweden.”

Lundberg continues, “As well as an increase in numbers, there are also notable changes in the behaviour and demands of this market segment. These days Seniors now spend more money on themselves than before, not just on their own trips but also together with their families and grandchildren. They are also very experienced travellers, most of them having travelled for many years. “

“Recognising this new market, the Swedish Exhibition Centre started a specialist senior exhibition two years ago, where travel is the biggest product sector at the fair... “

In order to succeed, it is therefore essential that holiday companies adapt to provide the over 50s market with opportunities that are appealing, accessible and original. Trips that reflect their wanderlust, capture their imagination but also meet their specific needs in a mature and uncomplicated manner. This Third Age of travellers can only get bigger and more powerful. In order not to miss the boat, train or plane, companies need to get on board now and embrace a whole new generation.

Posted by rollingrains at 12:46 AM

November 12, 2007

Up Kilimanjaro

Kilimanjaro has racked up a growing reputation as a backdrop for some extraordinary accomplishments by people with disabilities.

* Michele Norris talks to Nicolai Calabria, 13, who climbed Mount Kilimanjaro this summer. He climbed the 19,000-foot mountain on crutches, braving arctic temperatures. Listen to the interview on NPR.

*Jimmy Goddard on Kilimanjaro.

Posted by rollingrains at 02:12 AM

November 11, 2007

Seniors Travel Back to Campus?

Campus Continuum

The travel and leisure industry is abuzz with the question, "What are the trends to watch coming out of the Boomer generation?" One may be new ways of forming community.

Campus Continuum LLC, based in Newton, Mass., organizes residential 55+ Active Adult Communities for life-long learners on or near college campuses. The firm plans to develop a network of communities across the country boostrapping on each other's best practices. Will this include Universal Design?

Gerard Badler, Campus Continuum's managing director, says many Boomers are finding a sense of place that bypasses more conventional retreats such as beaches or golf courses: they're looking for a retirement -- or semiretirement -- lifestyle different from that experienced by their parents. They're looking for stimulating intellectual, social and volunteer opportunities.

In Campus Continuum's vision, residents will have access to the programs and facilities of the university, as well as seminars and other programs they organize themselves. Depending on their interests and backgrounds, some might become part-time lecturers, advise student clubs and organizations, act as tutors, mentors, or career advisors, and be an enthusiastic audience for music, theater and sports.


http://www.thematuremarket.com/SeniorStrategic/dossier.php?numtxt=9278&idrb=5&titre=SurveyShows:%2055+%20Residence%20Concept%20Is%20Catching%20On

Posted by rollingrains at 08:19 PM

November 02, 2007

Prospect Endangering Passenger's Safety at SFO?

prospect airport services

On October 1,2007 the San Francisco International airport (SFO) passed a regulation that staff may not push two wheelchairs at the same time when assisting passengers. The instruction seems clear enough. However, reports have come in that the regulation has been ignored in some cases. If you have observed or experienced this, or other, unsafe practices at SFO please contact the Rolling Rains Report.

Unfortunately, the union reports that as of October 26, 2007 none of the workers in the agency responsible for this service at SFO, Prospect, had been formally notified of this new rule. In addition, they characterize Prospect management as engaged in stalling contract negotiations leaving workers frustrated and ready to take on major actions.

At the same time, the Prospect web site offers one of the most insightful observations on the importance of this service. In describing this demanding time-critical work environment faced by those who assist airline passengers with disabilities Prospect signals its best intentions:

How important are these services to the image of any airline? From skycap service to wheelchair assistance to baggage service personnel, they are often the first and last impression that customers receive when traveling. These representatives also frequently spend the most time of any personnel interacting directly with the passengers.

This high level of interaction is particularly true of passengers requiring physical assistance in navigating through the airport. As the fastest growing segment of the traveling population, the number of those requiring a wheelchair or electric cart continues to rise dramatically.

The SFO situation is similar to Los Angeles LAX.

Troubling reports circulate that Prospect workers there have been working with 1 or 2 trainings in
the past 5 years on this topic - some never received any since they started working in
2004 - and they're still working with broken wheelchairs, even though
the company has new wheelchairs that they're not letting the workers
use.

At one level situations such as this are complicated involving the interests of individual workers, their union, multiple airlines, contract services, airport management, regulators, travelers with disabilities, and disability advocates. At another level, as I have said previously, it is too frequently the service industry worker who takes the brunt of a traveler's dissatisfaction - even while they may be quietly serving to improve services for people with disabilities within their own organization at work.

If you encounter unsafe equipment or practices, report them. If you experience good service, tip generously! The good service you reward today will result in safer service for everybody tomorrow.

For previous coverage see:

LAX Compromises the Safety, Security and Health of Passengers
http://www.rollingrains.com/archives/001736.html


Due Diligence on the Part of Airport Assistants for People with Disabilities

http://www.rollingrains.com/archives/001690.html

Posted by rollingrains at 07:34 PM

Open Social: Social Networking Goes Open Source?

As social networks like My Space and Facebook proliferate - and get relevant as in the case of Disaboom and others under production - Google has placed itself in the Open Source camp with Open Social announced today. Early reporting in Tech Crunch here coverage of the announcement, and a Ning site on Open Social offer background. How will developers utilize this new initiative to the benefit of the disability community?

Posted by rollingrains at 01:05 AM

November 01, 2007

Reaching Consumers With Disabilities: The Silver Economy


Over at New Mobility author Mark E. Smith notes that demographics of aging and disability have penetrated into product design thinking. Not just NTT DoCoMo's cell phone but Honda's Monpal and Porsche's P'Gasus represent the maturity of mainstream manufacturer's knowledge about PwD as a market.

pgasus wheelchair

Honda Motor Company - known for its automobiles, motorcycles and recreational vehicles - has entered the mobility market, launching its Monpal mobility scooter. As a mobility device, the Monpal is a bold move for Honda, reaching out to a consumer demographic that other mainstream transportation manufacturers haven't yet addressed: those of us with disabilities.

What's intriguing about the Monpal is that Honda approached the mobility market from an automotive perspective rather than a clinical one, integrating aspects like automotive-style lighting and bold body design that obviously take cues from the motorcycle market.

For the full article:
http://www.newmobility.com/articleView.cfm?id=11019


Posted by rollingrains at 01:46 AM

October 31, 2007

Disabled Teacher, Students Thrown off Bus Near Esplanade District in Kolkata

The following is not the sort of story likely to improve tourism:

Kolkata, October 29: Disabled teacher and her two students, both hearing impaired, were thrown off a private bus by the conductor near Esplanade today.

The victims, who were injured in the incident, later lodged a complaint at the New Market police station, after which the driver and conductor were arrested.

Nandini Sengupta, a national award–winning teacher at the Behala Deaf School, and her two students - Satyabrata Mukherjee and Bapi Mukherjee - boarded a private bus on route 241A from Taratolla crossing around 11 am. They were supposed to get down at Esplanade.

A few minutes after boarding the bus, the trio showed their special concession passes for disabled people to the conductor Tapan Das.

But he reportedly demanded money and an argument ensued. The trio later bought tickets to avoid confrontation.

When the bus reached Esplanade around noon, the driver did not stop the bus while the conductor pushed her off, alleged Nandini in her complaint. Satyabrata and Bapi were allegedly pushed off next.

The teacher and her students, who sustained minor injuries, were rushed to Calcutta Medical College and Hospital where they were treated and discharged subsequently.

"We have arrested the driver Swapan Mondol and conductor Tapan Mondol," said Vinit Goyal, Deputy Commissioner of Police (Headquarters).

Nandini is a resident of Budge Budge while Satyabrata and Bapi are residents of Tollygunge and Haridebpur respectively.

Source: http://www.expressindia.com

Posted by rollingrains at 07:55 PM

Marketing Jerusalem

The Tourism Ministry and the Jerusalem Tourism Board are embarking on a national campaign to promote and make the capital city more accessible as a tourist destination for senior citizens.

"Jerusalem represents a major destination for pensioners but the potential of this growing population visiting the city has not yet been realized," the Tourism Ministry said Sunday. "The main reason why pensioners are not coming to Jerusalem are lack of knowledge about Jerusalem, its abundance of attractive sites and the activities available."

According to a survey conducted for the Tourism Ministry, about 50 percent of pensioners (over the age of 65) in Israel, which make up 676,000 people, travel the country on a regular basis, while 180,000 are able to go on a vacation but didn't.

The NIS 200,000 campaign, which starts in November to February 2008, will offer pensioners reduced tour packages tailored for their needs and interests including hotel stays, special night-time events and entertainment activities in addition to the regular sites. The ministry will launch an advertising campaign in the national press this week with details of the vacation packages.

Source:

http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?pagename=JPost/JPArticle/ShowFull&cid=1192380677433

Posted by rollingrains at 01:43 AM

October 25, 2007

Friends in the Sky: Good Work United Airlines!

United Airlinesf

While discount airlines continue their efforts to balance their books on the backs of passengers, Carl Kole from United Airlines has done important work on behalf of passengers with disabilities.

Following a change in CFR power wheelchairs and scooters that have gel batteries and are secured on the device will no longer have to be disconnected. Work is underway to standardize it internationally with both IATA (International AirlineTransport. Assoc) and US DOT.

The text of the regulation: Download file


Posted by rollingrains at 01:56 PM

Indian Airlines Inch Toward Inclusion

seal of India

Here is the latest version of the Indian Civil Aviation Requirements on Carriage by air of disabled persons and persons with reduced mobility. Finalization is scheduled to take place on October 29, 2007. Download file

Posted by rollingrains at 11:20 AM

October 22, 2007

Universal Design Meets Green Design = Good Design

In 2004, at Designing for the 21st Century III, a group of Latin American visionaries crafted the document known as the "Rio Charter" or the "Rio Charter on Universal Design for Sustainable and Inclusive Development." They built upon a foundation laid by conference sponsors Adaptive Environments who clearly link Green and Universal Design:

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.

LEED building certification awards points for Universal Design as sustainable green practice and the tourism industry accelerates the convergence between Universal Design and green building with the Davos Declaration. While MIT's House Research Consortium was preparing homes through their Open Prototype Initiative, Access Living in Chicago was applying good design with readily available materials to its offices as described below.

Universal Access Meets Green Design by and Melissa Schmitt Oct 16, 2007

The height of Jennifer Thomas' desk at Access Living, a Chicago non-profit outreach organization, adjusts to accommodate her wheelchair. She rolls effortlessly across non-toxic carpet to her recycled filing cabinet under energy-efficient indirect lighting. There are no doors to struggle with at the restroom entrances. Once inside, all the faucets are automatic, a benefit to both Thomas and the environment.

Best of all, Thomas said, the features "are seamless. They don't look like they're marked for people with disabilities. As other members of the population age, they can use these features as well."

Access Living's new building at 115 W. Chicago Avenue is touted as the only one in the city where both universal design and green design meet. The building, which has a LEED certificate for energy and environmental efficiency, recently won the Barrier-Free America Award from the Paralyzed Veterans of America. The city most recently won that award for the design of Millennium Park, which opened in 2004.

Access Living staffers, city officials and experts in universal design held a workshop and tour at the building Tuesday entitled "Leadership in Action: Universal and Green Design For All."

"A building without barriers--it's a perfect example of what this building stands for," said Mayor Daley. "This building represents the future of construction in the city of Chicago and around the world."

The recently opened facility was built over five years on land donated by the city. The architect was Jack H. Catlin of LCM Architects in Chicago.

At some point in their lives, most Americans experience a functional limitation, such as arthritis, back problems or heart disease. They find themselves unable to navigate effectively in their homes, offices and public spaces.

The World Health Organization wrote a new definition of disability in 2001, classifying it as a predictable, universal experience. More than 190 member nations recognized the new definition, which will apply to a majority of the world population at some point in their lives.

Universal design offers a framework for creating places, products and communication systems that anyone can use, regardless of physical ability. They can range from can openers with large, comfortable handles to adjustable desks and easy-access cars.

The twin values of universal design and green design are at the centerpiece of Access Living's new building. It has energy-efficient heating and cooling systems and a green roof, which is accessible to people with disabilities.

Workstations accommodate a wide array of disabilities. Deaf workers communicate with a Video Relay System, allowing them to use sign language over a video screen with a specially trained operator. Elevators have front and back doors, which prevents people in wheelchairs from having to navigate to the front of a crowded space.

Some at the workshop said the need for universal design is especially acute today.

"Universal design is for all of us, especially the aging population," said Valerie Fletcher, executive director of Adaptive Environments, a non-profit that focuses on universal design."By 2050, over 25 percent of the population will be over 60 years old."



Source:

http://news.medill.northwestern.edu/chicago/news.aspx?id=65477

Posted by rollingrains at 06:12 PM

October 21, 2007

Faceless on Facebook: Inaccessibility in Web 2.0

Youreable.com argues that Facebook has instituted a serious design flaw that results in the exclusion of people with disabilities. Their analysis provides some useful detail on how to make digital information accessible:

Facebook is excluding users with poor vision and reading difficulties from its social network, through recent changes to its accessibility options, according to usability and accessibility specialist Foviance.
The online community has removed an accessibility feature that enabled people to verify themselves by mobile phone, instead of by visual CAPTCHA, and replaced it with an audio CAPTCHA that is not visible or keyboard accessible.

The move is likely to prevent many disabled communities from accessing Facebook. Visual CAPTCHAs are graphics with distorted or obscured letters or numbers used to determine if a user is human, to prevent spam and automated postings to blogs and communities etc.

They cause significant problems for people who are blind, visually impaired or dyslexic.

Continue to the full article:
http://www.youreable.com/TwoShare/getPage/01News/01Current/October2007/facebook

Posted by rollingrains at 10:15 PM

October 16, 2007

Disabled Advocates Push Disney World, SeaWorld to allow Segways

The JFA Daily (10/15/07) cites an Orlando Sentinel report that Disney World and SeaWorld will not allow Segway users. This turns out to be a difficulty for visitors like James Nappier.

When James Nappier, a petty officer in the Navy Reserve, first rode his new Segway scooter out into his Loxahatchee neighborhood, he felt emotions that were rare since he got home from Iraq.

On the two-wheeled, electric scooter, he could get around easily.
That felt like personal freedom. Standing on the upright vehicle,
he could look neighbors in the eyes, not the belt buckles. That
felt like equality.

"It's been a godsend, because I can get out and get around on it,"
said Nappier, 49, who suffered leg- and arm-nerve damage in a May
2004 mortar attack in Ramadi, Iraq.

"I try to take it all the places here I can."

But he can't take it everywhere. Disney and SeaWorld Orlando won't
allow visitors to use Segways, citing safety concerns.

"We're not turning people away," Disney World spokeswoman Kim
Prunty said. "We're turning away a particular form of
transportation."

...

To read the entire article, go to:
http://www.aapd.com/News/transportation/071015os.htm

More on the popularity of Segway travel:
http://www.travelindustryreview.com/news/6518

Posted by rollingrains at 02:18 AM

October 15, 2007

Inviting to All - Good Writing on an Exemplary UD Project

Freelance writer Robin Avni has succeeded in writing a type of story about Universal Design in homes that I don't believe I have seen before. Intelligent, excellently illustrated, and personal without being mawkish or drawing on stereotype this is definitely an article worth reading.

Designer and builder Sanjay Soli transcended the sterility of simple "accessible design" and retrofitting to achieve striking stylishness through Universal Design. Avni has written a piece on disability lifestyle worthy of New Mobility magazine. Kudos to the Seattle Times Pacific Northwest magazine for bringing to mainstream readership both the concept and the heart behind good design.

See Inviting to All .

Seattle has come a long way since we founded the Disabled Students Commission and launched the campus Architectural barriers removal Project at the University of Washington in 1974 when Ron Mace was pioneering this work! What was once a marginal design philosophy is now core design and architecture curriculum - and lives are fuller as a result.

Next step? Full adoption of Universal Design with style by the hospitality industry in hotels, resorts, and on cruise ships.

Posted by rollingrains at 05:17 PM

October 14, 2007

Survey: How Designed Environments Affect Individuals' Activities

A research team from the Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center on Universal Design and the Built Environment at the State University of New York at Buffalo is conducting online surveys examining how designed environments affect individuals' activities. The environments being studied are public buildings, streets and residences.

The study is interested not only in the experiences of individuals with cognitive, hearing, mobility or sight conditions but also in the experiences of individuals with none of those conditions. Widespread participation is very important to the goal of this study to identify environmental design features that are useable by everyone.

This study employs anonymous surveys to examine three build environments' influences on routine activities:

-Public Buildings (for example: using entrances, restrooms, etc.)

-Public Streets (for example: using sidewalks, intersections, etc.)

-Residential Environments (for example: using kitchens, bathrooms, etc.)

If you think you might be interested in participating or would just like additional information, go to the research study's website at http://www.udeworld.com/research/index.php. The surveys will be available online through January 2008.

Posted by rollingrains at 05:26 PM

October 13, 2007

Inaccessible Telephone Technology? AAPD Answers the Call!

raku-raku phone
Here is Silicon Valley I have the privilege of meeting with technology designers who are in residence or just passing through. Not long ago I had the opportunity to discuss NTT DoCoMo's universally designed phones with their engineering team. One of the problems we lamented was the lack of communication between people with disabilities as consumers of phones and telecommunications companies.

The American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD) is taking up the challenge. Because the size of the problem is expanding geometrically with the aging of Baby Boomers the failure of AARP to be a full partner in this work is disappointing. However, it demonstrates once again that the disability community is pioneering the new definition of retirement by being "beta testers for aging."

Consumer Complaint Campaign: People with Disabilities Fed Up With
Poorly Designed Phones

Over the past several months AAPD, and several other national disability organizations, have been assisting consumers with disabilities with their complaints about phones that are not accessible or usable. These complaints are from persons with vision loss, physical disabilities, hearing loss, and in several cases multiple disabilities. Several of the complaints involve aging boomers who expect the same usability they used to have when younger. Complaints range from lack of access to the information on the cell phone screen, such as not being able to navigate through the menus or being able to enter caller information from the keypad, lack of hearing aid compatibility, keypad buttons that are too small or keypads with no indicators, missing calls because the ring tone and vibrate function cannot be turned on simultaneously, customer service reps ignoring disability concerns, bills and product materials unavailable in alternate format, and other barriers to making and receiving calls like everyone else.

AAPD believes that most of these concerns are readily achievable
and we remain puzzled why the services providers are not insisting
on more usability from the device manufacturers, particularly as
the product life cycle is short and many of our design needs help
America's aging population. The Section 255 phone accessibility
and usability law was passed in 1996. Yet, eleven years later,
people with disabilities are putting up with clumsy workarounds
and barriers to making and receiving phone calls that mean they
are overpaying for their phone devices and services. It's time to
make sure the phone companies hear from you!

AAPD will continue to assist consumers with informal complaints
involving cell and other phones. Please contact Jenifer Simpson,
AAPD staffer, if you have just such a concern. Alternatively you
can file your complaint directly at the FCC using their online
Form 475 at http://fjallfoss.fcc.gov/cib/fcc475.cfm

Jenifer's Email is aapdjenifer@aol.com. Put "phone complaint" in
the subject line for faster handling.

Press notices about this consumer campaign can be seen at:

Coalition of Organizations for Accessible Technology at
http://www.aapd.com/News/telecomm/070814coat.htm

Hearing Loss Association of America at:
http://www.audiologyonline.com/news/news_detail.asp?news_id=2834

American Foundation for the Blind at:
www.prnewswire.com/cgi-bin/stories.pl?ACCT=104&STORY=
/www/story/07-26-2007/0004633567

SOURCE: AAPD

More on Cell Phones
http://www.rollingrains.com/archives/001538.html

Posted by rollingrains at 06:59 PM

October 10, 2007

"Reality TV" in India : Sound of the Silent

Part of the reason transportation and hospitality infrastructure and practice remains inhospitable is because the reality of the lives of people with disabilities is not accurately portrayed. K. Murali of Deaf Leaders in India has a proposal to begin to remedy that.

A tele–serial exclusively for the hearing impaired will soon capture the aesthetic interests of the hearing impaired country–wide.

A brainchild of K. Murali, Director of Deaf Leaders, an organisation working for the empowerment of the hearing impaired in Coimbatore, "Sound of the Silent" would feature success stories of hearing impaired individuals.

Speaking to The Hindu before his visit to Japan for a "Leadership Training for Deaf Persons," Mr. Murali said that he had met Government officials in New Delhi and Doordarshan to get a 28–minute slot once a week on the national channel. Mr. Murali was expecting a positive response from the Centre in two to three months.

A compact disc on the lives of two hearing impaired people from Madurai and Coimbatore had also been released by him, which would be used as material for the programme.

Insufficient funds were slowing down the process. The camera and related equipment were expensive and finding professionals to undertake the production work was also difficult.

Mr. Murali was expecting technical assistance from Japan and planned to get equipment required for shooting videos from there.

With movies on hearing impairment having begun to be accepted in mainstream cinema, the hearing impaired community would feel less excluded, he said. Such movies should be encouraged as they did not portray the hearing impaired as seeking public sympathy, but empowered citizens contributing to society. Through "Sound of the Silent," he aimed at motivate those of his ilk to empower themselves and contribute to society.

He is the only person from the country who has been selected by the Government of Japan to attend the training programme, which would mainly concentrate on improving communication skills for international sign languages and formulate an action plan to resolve the problems faced by hearing impaired people.

On his return from Japan, he would conduct conferences to impart the information to other organisations.

Source: http://www.hindu.com/2007/10/08/stories/2007100857910100.htm

Posted by rollingrains at 06:56 PM

October 04, 2007

Boomers: A Generation Discovers Universal Design, Inclusive Travel, & Livable Communities

The United States lives in a fog of denial about the coming population inversion. When the fog burns off the slow, steady adoption of Universal Design best practices that we have been documenting in the housing, leisure, hospitality, and development fields will catch the inattentive by surprise.

MONEY magazine published survey results this week on the next wave of "future shock". Almost 3,000 Boomers participated in the survey (Forever Young) conducted to examine their attitudes and its potential social impact.

Boomers are starting to form a new agenda, a reinvention of the American dream that emphasizes friends and family over making money, having fun over working hard, and making a difference in the community and the said MONEY's Marlys Harris in her article on the survey. The study shows that 63% of participants said their definition of success has changed since their late teens and early twenties. Living independently and maintaining health are the top two goals of Boomers.

"Living independently" has been the objective of the Disability Rights Movement (a baby Boomer generation phenomenon) as it created the Independent Living Movement and networks of Independent Living Centers (CILs) :

Independent Living Centers are typically non-residential, private, non-profit, consumer-controlled, community-based organizations providing services and advocacy by and for persons with all types of disabilities. Their goal is to assist individuals with disabilities to achieve their maximum potential within their families and communities.

Also, Independent Living Centers serve as a strong advocacy voice on a wide range of national, state and local issues.

New configurations of services for older adults imitate what CILs have refined over decades while younger people with disabilities have been "beta testers for aging." Comprehensive regional planning approaches such as the National Council on Disability's Livable Communities for Adults with Disabilities and WHO's Age-friendly Cities Initiative address at a macro level what home builders and remodelers know at the local level -- lifespan planning may not have been a priority for Boomers in their financing of retirement but it has certainly begun to catch on in home (re)design.

However, there is a confrontation with destiny facing any Boomer who holds unrealistic expectations of "maintaining health." (A 2006 AARP poll found that half of Boomers surveyed complain of some degree of hearing loss, but only one in four have seen a doctor about it.)

Here again, the disability community has been at the forefront of providing expectation management. It rejected the medicalization and personalization of disability -- that inevitable companion of aging -- in order to guarantee the generations' first goal of "living independently." It formulated the "social model of disability" as a means to locate the causes of handicap in the lack of social accommodation rather than as an inevitability of difference ("Anatomy is not destiny!"). Thinking has further progressed to include the definition of disability now proposed by the World Health Organization:

The way disability is defined and understood has also changed in the last decade. Disability was once assumed as a way to characterize a particular set of largely stable limitations. Now the World Health Organization (WHO) has moved toward a new international classification system, the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF 2001). It emphasizes functional status over diagnoses. The new system is not just about people with traditionally acknowledged disabilities diagnostically categorized but about all people. For the first time, the ICF also calls for the elimination of distinctions, explicitly or implicitly, between health conditions that are 'mental' or 'physical.'

The new ICF focuses on analyzing the relationship between capacity and performance. If capacity is greater than performance then that gap should be addressed through both removing barriers and identifying facilitators. The new WHO ICF specifically references Universal Design as a central concept that can serve to identify facilitators that can benefit all people.

The WHO defines disability as a contextual variable, dynamic over time and in relation to circumstances. One is more or less disabled based on the interaction between the person and the individual, institutional and social environments. The ICF also acknowledges that the prevalence of disability corresponds to social and economic status. The 2001 ICF provides a platform that supports Universal Design as an international priority for reducing the experience of disability and enhancing everyone's experience and performance.

The convergence of Boomer idealism and the legacies of the disability movement's social transformation tradition promises exiting times in the very near future. The travel & hospitality industry is already experiencing the benefit. Watch the trends:

So will the future find boomers shooting Colorado River rapids and hiking through the Mombacho cloud forest? Some will, but don't bet on it, says Edward Kerschner, author of "The Next American Dream," a 2004 study of boomers for Smith Barney and Citigroup Global Markets. He describes boomers as "lazily active." They enjoy walking but not running; going on cruises but not swimming; and going for a drive instead of hiking.

More on Universal Design:

The TOMAR Resolution
https://wcd.coe.int/ViewDoc.jsp?id=186495&BackColorInternet=9999CC&BackColorIntranet=FFBB55&BackColorLogged=FFAC75

Posted by rollingrains at 08:21 PM

India Ratifies UN Convention on Rights of Disabled

The Uniteed Nations reports that India has ratified the UN convention on rights of disabled.

India has ratified a UN convention to promote and protect the human rights and fundamental freedoms of those with disabilities as also respect for their inherent dignity.

External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee Monday deposited with the UN the instrument of ratification of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities adopted by the UN General Assembly on Dec 13 last year.

The adoption of the convention "to promote, protect, and ensure the full and equal enjoyment of all human rights and fundamental freedoms by all persons with disabilities, and to promote respect for their inherent dignity" followed four years of intense negotiations.

The convention marks a major step toward changing the perception of disability and ensures that societies recognise that all people must be provided with the opportunities to lead a life to their fullest potential, the permanent mission of India to the UN said in a press release.

India is committed to the elimination of barriers that persons with disabilities face and the Constitution of India implicitly mandates an inclusive society for all, including those with disabilities, it added


Souce: http://news.webindia123.com/news/articles/World/20071002/781790.html
Source: http://www.indianmuslims.info/news/2007/oct/01/india_ratifies_un_convention_rights_disabled.html

Posted by rollingrains at 01:37 AM

September 26, 2007

Discrimination in the Air

LARDEF logo


Both Mahesh Chandrasekar in India and Daniel Nelson in the UK have picked up on a type of story that is increasingly common:

A double amputee bomb victim who heads an Angolan disability organisation was thrown off a flight to London, it was disclosed this week.

The Portuguese airline TAP pilot told Carla Luis that she needed a medical certificate or a companion. Several passengers offered to be her “companion” and the much-travelled activist pointed out that she was not sick.

Nevertheless, the pilot refused to take off and she was forced to take another flight.

David Morris, senior policy adviser on disability to London Mayor Ken Livingstone, described it as an “absolute obscenity in this century for anyone to be thrown off a plane for being different.”


Read Daniel's piece at OneWorld.net: http://us.oneworld.net/article/view/153360/1/

Posted by rollingrains at 05:08 PM

September 22, 2007

Consumer Reports Encouraged to Consider Access Features in Product Evaluations

In an open letter to Consumer Reports, Greg Trapp, President, National Council of State Agencies for the Blind. Inc. (NCSAB) urges the publication to note the access features in their product reviews.

Wireless devices such as cell phones and iPods were given as examples of technology that pose accessibility issues for people who are Blind/low vision, as well as any item with a touch screen, programmable features, menu or electronic display. Solutions like speech output or input, using tactile surfaces, and audible tones to indicate menu selections were given as examples of currently available accessibility features in consumer products. Trapp asserts that manufacturers will be encouraged to make appliances and electronic devices accessible if Consumer Reports begins to routinely report on product accessibility. He also states that this may improve usability and functionality for all people.

Source:

National Council of State Agencies for the Blind. Inc.
http://www.ncsab.org/alert/consumer_report.htm

Posted by rollingrains at 03:44 PM

September 21, 2007

Multi-Modal Transportation & The Weakest Link

Although it is unfortunate to be the weak link n the UK rail system users of Morpeth Station can take encouragement in the fact that the inaccessibility of their location has raised some official notice -- and not simply for disability access:

Tara Melton, of Transport 2000, said: "Rail passengers need real travel choices.

"All stations should have good bus links, decent footpaths and secure cycle parking and must be accessible to all.

"What our survey shows is that this clearly is not the case for many rural and urban stations. "With rail patronage growing in the north east it is now more important than ever not to disable or discriminate against rail users and to say 'goodbye' to inaccessible stations."

Source:
http://www.newspostleader.co.uk/latest-news/Railway-station-branded-the-weakest.3178594.jp

Posted by rollingrains at 12:33 AM

September 19, 2007

Geocoding Travel Photos

Trackstick II

After taking a vacation posting travel photos on a Google map helps with telling the story.

There seem to be several approaches to geocoding photos maturing on the market. As a RoboGeo is in version 5. Using GPS gadgets there are two ways of capturing geocoded location data. One approach collects data continuously. The other does so at preset intervals or on command. The former is probably more relevant to video or to trail plotting than to geo-tagging still photos

For matching photos to location it is necessary to enable timestamping in the camera and - very importantly for accurate placement - make sure that the GPS gadget and camera clocks are synchronized! Following a photo shoot the data collected by both gadget and camera are transferred to a computer and processed. They are written to a file readable by tools like Google Earth (Archane geekiness for extra points: EXIF, KML.)

Several online sources feature, but few critically review, Trackstick II. Here are a few reviews at

Competitors include:

Sony GPS CS-1 at

Globalsat DG-100 GPS at
GPS Slim at
Whatever the gadget, eventually the photo geocoding process leads back to data transfer and Google Earth, Google Maps, and other tools like Picassa.

Key product features to consider are:


  • Signal reception capacity/Accuracy of data
  • Battery life
  • Ruggedization
  • OS compatability (Windows, Mac)
  • Ease of use of supplied data transfer & geocoding software
  • Storage capacity

Of these data transfer & usability of supplied geocoding software seem to be the most salient product differentiators for non-urban use (i.e. this project where signals are not blocked by skyscrapers and most products on the market should have sufficient strength.) Unfortunately, no apples-to-apples comparisons of these features seem to exist online.

Given the incomplete information I am drawn to the Trackstick II or III or the Globalsat DG-100 GPS. With the latter two difficult to find, Trackstick II seems a safe purchase.

Posted by rollingrains at 12:43 PM

September 18, 2007

Don't You Wish Your Service Animal Could Do This?

That's one smart canine companion!

Here are some canine companion travel tips from the American Kennel Club.

Posted by rollingrains at 07:39 PM

September 16, 2007

Analysis of India's Civil Aviation Requirements

C. Mahesh, Advocacy Coordinator for the CBR Forum has provided the following analysis of India's Civil Aviation regulations.

Sub: Issuance of Civil Aviation Requirements, Section 3, Series M, Part I on Carriage by Air of Disabled Passengers or Person with Reduced Mobility

With reference to your letter JDG/AT/2007, Dated: 30th Aug 2007

Firstly I would like to thank you and DGCA for considering our feedback and comments favorably for the above mentioned CAR and for your prompt actions.

As you have mentioned in the letter I noticed that there is substantial revision from the earlier CAR and we greatly regard and respect this action.

The following are my comments to the revised CAR.

1 Section 1.1 – It reads as if Persons with disabilities are now able to travel because of 'Low Cost and Low Frill' airlines. This is not true as persons with disabilities have been using air travel for a 'long long' time because it is convenient and one can avoid overnight journeys. The paragraph is 'Patronising' and reads like a favour is being done for 'Disabled Passengers or Person with Reduced Mobility'. Therefore I would suggest that section 1.1 stops at the line ending "….the common man with average income group to travel by air".

2 Section 1.1 - The line starting from "Whereas persons with disabilities…" should be a new paragraph and should be rewritten as "Whereas persons with disability or persons with reduced mobility like everyone else are increasingly given the possibility to travel by air….". In this way persons with disabilities are being considered as an equal to every other passenger.

3 Section 3.1 – Definitions – the issue that a disabled person is not able to travel independently is not only because of physical or any other limitation in the individual but it also to do with the physical structure of the airports and the imposed practices/ procedures. For example: Wheelchairs cannot enter the toilets designed for disabled passengers. There needs to be an additional line in the definition that acknowledges the barriers imposed by the facilities at the airport/ airline and the air plane that in fact disables a person. Therefore there need to be a change in the sentence to acknowledge this barrier "Disabled person or person with reduced mobility means any person whose mobility when using transport is reduced due to any physical disability……. or any other cause of disability, or age or due to the architectural barriers/ barriers caused by structural/ procedural requirements and whose situation needs appropriate attention…"

4 Section 3.2 – The use of the word 'abnormal' is inappropriate and dehumanizing. Who is considered 'normal?'. People for no apparent reason behave badly/ rudely do you consider them 'normal'? Therefore I suggest that the word abnormal should be deleted, the sentence "or from obvious abnormal physical or mental conditions" should be reframed as – "or from observations observed and reported by airline personnel"

5 Section 4.1, Sub Section b – The sentence starting from "Airlines should develop emergency evacuation procedures" should be a new paragraph and not clubbed with the previous line as they are two different points.

6 Section 4.4 is the most important welcome change that acknowledges that many persons with disabilities may not need an escort. Therefore the present Section 4.4 should re-ordered and should be 4.3.

7 Section 4.3 mentions about "No airlines should be refused to carry persons traveling…severe mobility impairments….if they are accompanied by an escort" should be re-ordered and should become 4.4

8 Section 4.5 mentions about "assistance booths/ counters" - this alone is not sufficient there should also be appropriate buses/ vehicles that must be available inside the airport for transfer from one terminal to another – For example in Mumbai airport they have a Volvo bus to transfer passengers from domestic to international terminal – however the buses has steep steps and one cannot lift the passenger with the wheelchair inside the bus – and the passenger with disability has to instead come out of the airport and take a private taxi cutting across traffic to reach the international terminal.

9 Section 6.3 – Other Assistive Devices – Passengers carrying 'spare calipers' or 'mobility aid' must be able to take the same as a hand baggage and the airline should not insist on checking-in this baggage as these devices could be prone to breakage. These assistive devices are essential for the mobility and independence of the disabled persons and in addition they are not ready-made products that can be replaced/ purchased to compensate the passenger.

10 Section 7.4 mentions about 'In Transit off loading' and Section 7.6 mentions about 'Transit Stations' – However there is no mention of appropriate bus/ transport service to ensure easy and safe transit of disabled passengers. This point needs to be added in the CAR.

11 There is no mention of handling baggage of checked in luggage of disabled passenger. As a rule practiced by all airlines - the passenger with disability or passenger with reduced mobility is the last to deplane. It takes 20-30 minutes for the assistance and wheelchair to arrive inside the airplane and passenger with disability is usually the last one to collect the checked-in baggage from the conveyor belt. Therefore I request DGCA to add a new section - that says - checked-in baggage of disabled passenger should be marked with a 'Priority Tag' and the ground staff at the baggage section should keep the baggage in a safe place till the passenger arrives.


Please do get back to me for any further information/ clarifications. In addition, I would be very happy if you could send me the copy of the finalized CAR.

With kind regards

Best wishes

C. Mahesh

Advocacy Coordinator


--
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 08:33 PM

September 14, 2007

Mrs. Charlton Goes to Town

Here is the tale of Mrs. Charlton -- someone who, quite fortunately, does not seem to bet suffering from self-seteem problems as a result of her temporary disability:


Mrs Charlton recently came out of hospital with mobility difficulties and she uses a scooter, wheelchair and walking sticks.


Mrs Charlton said: "On one occasion I was on a train and wanted to get off but I couldn't because the ramp was so rusty. The conductor then had to ask members of the public to manhandle me off the train and I just don't think that's on.

She added: "I went down to the Chiltern Railway offices in the end because I couldn't get through on the phones and I spoke to someone who said there are plans to do work on the station. As soon as I mentioned that I have contacted the newspaper he said there was no need for the papers to be involved – I think it helped." Chiltern Railways has agreed to pay for a taxi for Mrs Charlton to travel to her nearest accessible station.

Source:

http://www.bucksherald.co.uk/news/Disabled-traveller-felt-stranded-at.3200284.jp

Posted by rollingrains at 02:59 AM

September 13, 2007

SiSi: "Say It Sign It"

IBM has a new tool that increases digital accessibility -

Posted by rollingrains at 09:47 PM

September 10, 2007

Handcycling Portugal: Jose Lima's Protest

The September issue of Accessible Portugal is out. It features an interview with José Lima. Lima set his sights on a handcycle tour of the country.

See the Interview with José Lima

Posted by rollingrains at 08:32 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 24, 2007

Dr. Frank Bowe: LongtimeProfessor And Renowned Champion of People with Disabilities

Dr. Frank Bowe passed away August 23, 2007. Dr. Bowe directed the first cross-disability consumer advocacy organization in the United States, the American Coalition of Citizens with Disabilities (ACCD). Through his visionary leadership te coalition was pivotal in gaining passage of Section 504 of the Vocational Rehabilitation Act, the world's first civil-rights provision for persons with disabilities.

Aug 23, 2007

Hofstra University Mourns the Loss Of Dr. Frank Bowe, Longtime
Professor And Renowned Champion of People with Disabilities

Hofstra University, Hempstead, NY - Frank Bowe, Ph.D, LL.D, a
professor of counseling, research, special education and
rehabilitation (CRSR) in Hofstra University's School of Education
and Allied Human Services, passed away on August 21, 2007. He was
60 years old. He had served on the faculty since 1989 and held the
Dr. Mervin Livingston Schloss Distinguished Professorship for the
Study of Disabilities. In 2005, 2006 and during the spring of
2007, he served as acting chair of Hofstra's CRSR Department.

Dr. Bowe was a nationally recognized champion for the rights of
people with disabilities and a highly regarded and prolific
researcher in this area. On the Hofstra campus he was celebrated
for his excellent teaching skills and for being a professor who
brought warmth, humor and unwavering dedication to the classroom.

"Dr. Bowe was a prominent scholar and advocate for Americans with
disabilities, as well as a caring and outstanding teacher," said
Hofstra President Stuart Rabinowitz. "There are many Hofstra
alumni and current students who credit Dr. Bowe with opening their
eyes to the rewards of teaching and of working with special needs
students. In 1996 he won the University's Distinguished Teaching
Award, an honor based on the recommendation of graduating seniors
who regarded the opportunity to study with Dr. Bowe as a
transforming experience."

"Frank Bowe will be missed very much by his students, our alumni
and his colleagues. He set an example of compassion and excellence
to which we should all aspire."

Dr. Bowe received a Ph.D. in 1976 from New York University; an
M.A. in 1971 from Gallaudet University; and a B.A. in 1969 from
Western Maryland College. Before joining the faculty at Hofstra,
Dr. Bowe served as a regional commissioner of the U.S. Department
of Education's Rehabilitation Services Administration. From 1984
to 1986 he was the chairman of the U.S. Congress Commission on
Education of the Deaf.

Dr. Bowe is perhaps best known for his leadership as executive
director of the American Coalition of Citizens with Disabilities
from 1976 to 1981. He was the organization's first executive
officer, and provided crucial direction during the nationwide sit-
in regarding Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act in 1977, the
world's first civil-rights provision for persons with
disabilities, which eventually led to the American Disabilities
Act, passed in 1990.

In 1980 Dr. Bowe, who was deaf, became the first person with a
disability to represent any nation in the planning of the United
Nations International Year of Disabled Persons. For more than two
decades Dr. Bowe had been a consultant to the U.S. Congress on a
variety of issues. In 1992 he received the Distinguished Service
Award from the President for his lifetime achievement. In 1994 he
was inducted into the National Hall of Fame for People with
Disabilities. He is also credited as one of the architects of
provisions in the 1996 Telecommunications Act that have greatly
enhanced the quality of life for Americans with disabilities.

Dr. Bowe's teaching at Hofstra focused on inclusion, technology in
education and meeting K-12 special needs students. Outside the
classroom, he tirelessly researched how all of society not just
schools can better accommodate people with disabilities.

His latest study, released in September 2006, revealed that
Americans with disabilities the nation's third largest minority
are the least likely of any population within the country to
achieve the American dream. Dr. Bowe reported that more than a
quarter of this demographic live in poverty (75% earn less than
$20,000 annually) and fewer than half have private health
insurance. His research found that many adults with disabilities
subsist on Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and
Supplemental Security Income (SSI), and although the monthly funds
received from those programs provide barely livable wages, the
benefit of Medicare and/or Medicaid is something this population
cannot do without.

Dr. Bowe also examined education in this study and found that
despite measures to level the playing field, educational
opportunity for students with disabilities and those without is
not parallel. While the typical 9-year-old would be in the 4th
grade, a 9-year-old student with disabilities is more than half
likely (61%) to be in the third grade. Among high school students,
the vast majority of 15-year-old students with disabilities are
not with their same age peers in the 10th grade but in 9th or 8th
grades.

Dr. Bowe authored another paper that was released in 2005 by Rep.
Fred Upton (R, MI), chairman of the Subcommittee on
Telecommunications and the Internet, Energy and Commerce
Committee, U.S. House of Representatives. The paper, titled Two-
Way Technologies: A History of the Struggle to Communicate,
explored how people who are deaf, who are blind, who have cerebral
palsy, or who have mental retardation have communicated over the
past 40 years and how public policy (federal laws, orders of the
Federal Communication Commission, etc.) has alternately led and
lagged technology.

Dr. Bowe had a deep impact on his students and maintained close
ties with many of them after graduation. He was truly an
inspiration to students, fellow faculty and public officials. He
is survived by his wife, Phyllis, and daughters Doran and Whitney.


Media Contact:

Ginny Greenberg
University Relations
Room 202 Hofstra Hall
Phone: (516) 463-6819
Fax: (516) 463-5146
Email: prpgse@hofstra.edu

Posted by rollingrains at 01:54 AM

August 17, 2007

India: “The disabled cannot be denied air passage”

Ananth Krishnan reports in The Hindu on the questionable air travel policy and policy development procedure that is currently being challenged throughout India. On the positive side the regulation, specifies:

According to the new requirements, “no airline shall refuse to carry physically challenged or incapacitated persons or persons with disabilities,” as long as they “do not pose a threat” to the safety of other passengers or the evacuation procedure for the aircraft.

Airlines will also not be permitted to limit the “number or types” of disabled passengers on a particular flight, except “where required for operational reasons.” The procedure for limiting disabled passengers will also be documented. Airlines will now also have to run “sensitisation and developing awareness” training programmes for staff.

Disability rights experts in transportation are providing their colleagues in India with curricula and resources to develop best-of-class trainings drawing from worldwide experience.

Those with training resources to share may send them to Mahesh Chandrasekar below.

On the negative side:

Dhanasekharan, a representative of Vidyasagar, told The Hindu that the August 15 deadline did not give disabled rights groups enough time to respond to the recommendations. “We were shocked to discover that the deadline was to day [August 15],” Mr. Dhanasekharan said. “By just putting it on the DGCA website, how can they expect all of us to be aware of it?” Vidyasagar has written to the DGCA asking it to extend the deadline for implementing the new requirements. “Before they put the requirements into effect, the DGCA has to have a consultation with disabled groups as after all we are the stake-holders,” Mr. Dhanasekharan said. “They clearly seem to not want any suggestions from us.”

Source:
http://www.hinduonnet.com/2007/08/16/stories/2007081660221000.htm

Send training materials to:

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

Posted by rollingrains at 02:25 PM

August 16, 2007

Homebuilder Brings Accessibility to the Fore in New Homes

by Linda Crabtree

Linda Crabtree

GRIMSBY - My husband loves that new car smell. I’ll take the heady aroma of a new house any day. That mixture of sweat, sweet wood, paint, glue, and heaven knows what else gets my blood stirring and I love it. And when that home is accessible, well, guess who’'s in seventh heaven.

A recent trip to Quality Homes in Grimsby had my mind swimming with possibilities. Don’t get me wrong, I love our 18-year-old fully accessible home, but there are so many new things to see and the folks at Quality know disability. They have anticipated, for the most part, what I need, and are open to anything else I might want to accommodate my disability.

Right now you might be shaking yourself -- a house builder who actually invites people with disabilities to take part in the design of their home? You bet.

While talking to Howard Sher, executive vice president and Sandra Thompson, accessibility co-ordinator, I asked them all the questions I’d stored up since I first met Sandra at the People in Motion Show in Toronto the end of May. Sandra, 39, has used a wheelchair for mobility since she contracted spinal meningitis as a child. She’s a natural at barrier-free design and has made sure that all the sales people at Quality can talk knowledgeably to someone who needs access.

Quality'’s totally barrier free Liberty Series model home is in Kenilworth on Highway 6, 10 minutes north of Arthur. The ones in Grimsby on 9 Windward Dr., north of the QEW, could show me the choices I’d have in house plans and the range of choices I’d have in house plans and the range of choices I’d have in everything from exterior finishes to everything interior from carpets to pot lights and mouldings. There was plenty to keep me interested. Howard explained that the customer benefits from having all decor selections in one place. I recall being asked by my builder to pick out something like 15 different light fixtures... by tomorrow. No need for that here.

My husband and I toured the three model homes and looked at everything. I was impressed. I had no idea when we began that these beautiful houses were made from modules. Up to six homes are built at one time in their plant and delivered anywhere in Ontario south of North Bay and Sudbury.

"We take good design and modularize it," Howard explained. All have raised electrical outlets and lowered light switches, single lock casement windows and wider hallways. You can easily ask for a roll-in shower with multi rain or massage heads, raised toilets, accessible bathroom sinks, a walk-in bathtub, decorator grab bars and in the kitchen, roll under sink, side opening wall oven with pull out shelf underneath, a roll under stove top, a Lazy-Susan that pulls out, multi-tiered countertop to give individuals a variety of working levels and cupboards that automatically go up and down.

Did you know that the height of the toe kick can determine the height of your kitchen drawers? If you have footrests that stick out on your wheelchair, a high toe kick can mean your chair fits under the drawers more easily and the drawers are higher and easier to use.

Rooms are designed to give you enough space to turn around in your wheelchair or scooter. Textured walls can be had for those with vision impairment and interior railings can be added anywhere needed. Tracks for Hoyer lifts to move people who cannot transfer can be installed. Recessed door frames mean easy roll over patio and exterior door lips. Pocket doors can be used anywhere interior walls allow.

And green -- I asked about the green factor and waste with everyone so interested in how things are built and where the leftovers go. "We use as many green products as feasible," Howard said. "We minimize lumber and insulation waste, recycle drywall and use water-based paints. It’s more about the process and how you do it so there isn'’t much waste."

So how does one go about buying one of these homes? First you have to have an idea of where you want to live and then actually buy a lot. You must also have your infrastructure in place such as where your power and water will come from and where your water sewage will go. Then, with sales personnel, you decide on what you want in a house and sign a contract.

House prices range from around $159,000 to $660,000 and up.

"Unfortunately," Sandy said, "the federal Residential Rehabilitation Assistance Program (RRAP) offered through the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation allows nothing for the homeowner who wants to build a new accessible home. Homes have to be five years old and under $158,000. to qualify."

Howard says that 10 per cent of the people looking to build go by Quality’s plans as they are, 50 per cent go with an existing plan and make changes and 40 per cent end up with a completely customized home.

I applaud Quality Homes for their initiative. Howard says they sort of fell into adapting plans for accessibility by accident - - they didn’'t realize what they were doing when the public asked for modifications and they obliged. No matter how it came about, it’s available now, and a step in recognizing our needs. These beautiful homes allow more people with disabilities to enjoy an excellent quality of living and more seniors will be able to age in place.

For more on Quality Homes go to www.qualityhomes.on.ca or call 1-800-265-2648.

linda@lindacrabtree.com

Posted by rollingrains at 09:37 PM

August 15, 2007

Comments to the Indian Office of the Director General of Civil Aviation

The government of India has invited comments on proposed Civil Aviation Requirements and amendments. Follow this link. Comments are due today! Yet this monumental policy, with international impact, is being promulgated without input from the Indian disability community.

Here are thoughts to consider when reviewing the draft policy:

1. The draft DGCA policy does not acknowledge that persons with disabilities has the same right to travel by air as any other passenger – instead the draft reads "Carriage of Physically Challenged Passengers"

2. The policy includes derogatory statements and apparently deputizes lay persons to pass medical judgements – Example - "obvious abnormal physical or mental conditions observed and reported by airline personnel or industry-associated persons" – what is the meaning of "abnormal"?

3. There is ambiguity in the use of terminology – Example – "Physically Challenged Passenger means a passenger with physical or mental disability or incapacitation; or with a medical condition which requires individual attention or assistance" – This definition is not in any way connected with the definition of 'Disability' that has been used in India's Persons with Disabilities (PWD) Act, 1995

4. The policy in its present form can be used to the airline to deny persons with disabilities from traveling by air independently. Section 4.3 of the policy says "that a person with severe mobility, hearing and vision impairment should be accompanied by an escort who will be responsible for enplaning and deplaning" This goes against the spirit of the PWD Act and is in violation of the rights of persons with disabilities to travel independently and make independent choices; a limitation of civil rights.

5. At present all passengers (disabled or not) who us the assistance at the airport are seated on a chair with wheels that makes it impossible for persons to propel independently – so all users are severely disabled by design. What are the basis/ criteria to judge persons with 'severe' disability – who decides?

Your comments should reach DGCA by 15th August 2007 by e-mail at mailto:rpsahi@dgca.nic.in or by post to
Shri R. P. Sahi, Joint Director General,
Office of the Director General of Civil Aviation,
Opp. Safdarjung Airport,
Aurobindo Marg, New Delhi
110 003

Posted by rollingrains at 05:40 PM

August 10, 2007

Willful Misconduct: Airline Liable for Death from Lost Baggage

eTurboNews reports:

The United States Court of Appeals upheld a lower Federal Court's ruling against American Airlines. The airline forced an elderly woman to check her bag along with necessary medical devices.

The airline lost her checked items.

The court found that American Airlines was responsible for her subsequent death after losing the bag.

The lower court has held that American Airlines should pay $226,238.81 to the relatives of the woman because she died soon after her bag was lost.

For the story see, Airline Liable for Death from Lost Baggage

Posted by rollingrains at 10:19 PM

August 08, 2007

"Oh, I never thought about that."

Alana Wallace


Education will be high on the agenda of the new Ms. Wheelchair America. Universal Design will be part of her curriculum.

According to the Voice of America report, "[Alana ] Wallace is the founder and artistic director of Dance Detour, Chicago's first professional physically integrated dance company. She is also a founding member of Bodies of Work, a disability arts and cultural festival."

Wallace is the founder and artistic director of Dance Detour, Chicago's first professional physically integrated dance company. She is also a founding member of Bodies of Work, a disability arts and cultural festival.

"I just want people to know that people with disabilities are productive, talented and capable citizens and that we have so much to offer," Wallace says.

During her yearlong reign, Wallace will tour the country, advocating for fully accessible housing for the disabled.

She says that means more than just widening doorways or eliminating steps. "Many times we purchase condos or move into new homes and we find that while there are maybe turning areas, we can't reach our cabinets. A lot of our appliances are not accessible," she notes. "I support the universal design, which means that the home is going to be useable by anyone."

Posted by rollingrains at 11:00 AM

August 02, 2007

Captioning Videos @ Project readOn

As projects like [with]tv generate new online video content and user generated content continues to expand at places like YouTube and google Video the question of accessibility remains. Project readOn provides a very appealing free online resource for making video accessible through captioning.


On the readOn website Carl Wurtz of Hyperoptix Design says:

“I’m a developer and I’ve never seen the application of a simpler and more ingenious use of internet technology to solve a very real problem for a large community of people.”

Live since March 16th 2007, Project readOn has already garnered the interest of major internet video hosting companies, investors, and the deaf and hard of hearing community. They have developed a widget and are talking to several major video hosting companies, online TV networks, and content aggregators for ways to host the widget

Let's see the travel & hospitality industry pick up on captioning -- maybe sending sending a contract or two over to the good folks at Readon!

For more on video captioning:

Accessibility for the Deaf - Web Video Captioning Technologies
http://deafness.about.com/cs/accessibility/a/webvideocc.htm

Google Video Blog
http://googlevideo.blogspot.com/2006/09/finally-caption-playback.html

Posted by rollingrains at 01:30 AM

August 01, 2007

[with]tv - A New and Different Voice

withtv logo

The Travel section of the [with]tv blog has been launched -- after much procrastination on my part and good humored patience on the part of others.

Yesterday's post, "Welcome to Travel Programs at [with]tv" sets a theme of travel as transformation. Whether that is the intellectual transformation gained by such stellar programs as MIUSA's student exchanges, the personal transformation gained from a good vacation, or the systemic transformation of projects from disability & development organizations such as Rosangela Berman Bieler's Inter-American Institute on Disability & Inclusive Development (Instituto Interamericano sobre Discapacidad y Desarrollo Inclusivo) it is still true that travel transforms.

Today I am finishing an article for ECOT - the Ecumenical Coalition on Tourism on the topic "Tourism as a Tool in Peace Building" - a subject that will no doubt also find its way into the [with]tv blog. For someone with the skill, time, and interest there is a volunteer web master position open at [with]tv. It's not travel but being part of this new media outlet offers the promise of more than a little social transformation.

[with]tv, a start-up corporation devoted to providing television and Internet programming of, by, and for people with disabilities, is seeking a webmaster to maintain our on-line presence at www.with-tv.com.

The ideal candidate must be proficient in the use of HTML-based editing software and FTP protocol and will be responsible for:

• Editing the website on an ongoing basis as requested by [with]tv management
• The maintenance of our blog, including:
o Collecting articles from bi-weekly columnists
o Proofreading the articles and fixing grammatical and spelling errors
o Posting articles to the blog
o Posting messages and updates from [with]tv’s management to the blog
o Monitoring user comments for appropriateness and deleting any inappropriate entries that may appear
• Administering user e-mail accounts for [with]tv’s leadership on our server (setting up accounts, resetting passwords when asked, forwarding instructions to new users, etc.).
• Assisting with special projects related to the web site as they come up and time allows

Candidates may apply to:

Howard Renensland
CEO & Founder
[with]tv
P. O. Box 685
Wilton, CT06897
www.with-tv.com
hrenensland@with-tv.com

Posted by rollingrains at 01:20 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 26, 2007

The Launch of EU Inclusive Skies Regulations

From the European Disability Forum (EDF):

Brussels, 26 July 2006 – “It took us more than three years to obtain this important piece of legislation and I would like to congratulate all those that have actively contributed to make it happen. The European Union has taken an important step forward to advance disability rights in Europe, but we need to continue to work together in order to overcome the current gaps of the Regulation”, said today Yannis Vardakastanis, President of the European Disability Forum.

The overall aim of the Regulation is to guarantee equal treatment for all passengers, including ‘any person with reduced mobility or sensory impairment, intellectual disability or any other cause of disability, age, and whose situation needs appropriate attention and the adaptation to his or her particular needs of the service made available to all passengers’.


Only articles 3 (‘Prevention of refusal of carriage’) and 4 (‘Derogations, special conditions and information’) of the new Regulation enter into force today. The entire Regulation, which is directly applicable to European airports and airlines, will be totally effective in one year.

For the European Disability Forum, the umbrella organisation representing the interests of 50 million disabled people in the European Union that has lobbied the European union in favour of the Regulation, there is still room for improvement:

We are worried that the exceptions established in Article 4 will be used to continue discriminating disabled air passengers. If we want the Regulation to be effective, the safety reasons that allow to deny the boarding of a disabled person need to be clarified”, said Vardakastanis.

According to the Regulation, an airline can still refuse the boarding of a disabled passenger due to ‘Safety reasons established by national, Community or International law’. “We need the European Union to clearly define these exceptions and to agree on common safety reasons across Europe. Otherwise, a disabled passenger might be allowed to travel to a Member State applying certain rules, but not to come back!”, stressed EDF President.

EDF campaign on air passengers’ rights will therefore target the adoption of common safety rules in Europe, as well as the wide dissemination of the provisions of the law. The EDF will also concentrate its efforts to improve the Regulation, as well as to obtain similar legislation for all forms of transport.

EDF President: “Disabled people have new rights and they must apply them. It is important to inform them and to encourage them to complain if these rights are violated anywhere in Europe. This will ensure better quality for all passengers, with and without disabilities”.


For more information, please visit EDF webpage: http://www.edf-feph.org/en/policy/transport/trans_pol.htm


The text of the Regulation can be downloaded from:
http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/site/en/oj/2006/l_204/l_20420060726en00010009.pdf

For more information, please contact: Helena González-Sancho Bodero, EDF Communication and Press Officer; Tel office: (+ 32 2) 282 46 04; 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. 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 01:19 PM

L’espace aérien : ouvert aux passagers handicapés? (French)

Alors que les premières dispositions du règlement européen sur les droits des passagers aériens entrent en vigueur, le Forum européen des personnes handicapées met en garde sur les lacunes de cette législation.

Bruxelles, 26 juillet 2006 – « Il nous aura fallu plus de trois ans avant l’obtention de cette importante législation et j’aimerais féliciter tous ceux qui ont contribué activement à atteindre notre objectif. L’Union européenne a fait un grand pas pour mieux protéger les droits des personnes handicapées, mais nous devons continuer à travailler ensemble afin de surmonter les lacunes de ce règlement », a déclaré aujourd’hui le Président du Forum européen des personnes handicapées, Yannis Vardakastanis.

Le but du règlement est de garantir l’égalité de traitement de tous les passagers, y compris « toute personne avec un handicap physique, sensoriel ou moteur, handicap intellectuel, ou avec toute autre cause de handicap, ou de l'âge, et dont la situation requiert une attention appropriée et l'adaptation à ses besoins particuliers du service mis à la disposition de tous ».


Uniquement les articles 3 (« Interdiction de refuser le transport ») et 4 (« Dérogations, conditions spéciales et information ») du nouveau règlement entrent en vigueur aujourd’hui. L’ensemble du Règlement, qui sera d’application dans tous les aéroports européens et sur toutes les compagnies aériennes, entrera en vigueur dans un an.

Pour le Forum européen des personnes handicapées, l’organisation faîtière qui représente les intérêts de 50 millions de personnes handicapées dans l’Union européenne et qui est derrière l’adoption de ce règlement, la législation devra être améliorée.

“Nous sommes préoccupés parce que les exceptions énumérées dans l’article 4 laissent la porte entrouverte à des futures discriminations envers les passagers handicapés. Pour que le règlement soit réellement effectif, il faudra clarifier les motifs de sécurité qui peuvent être invoqués lorsqu’une personne handicapée se voit l’embarquement refusé » souligne M. Vardakastanis.

Selon le règlement, une compagnie aérienne peut refuser l’embarquement d’un passager handicapé suivant les exigences de sécurité applicables, qu'elles soient prévues par le droit international, communautaire ou national. « L’Union européenne doit clairement définir ces exceptions et se mettre d’accord sur des règles communes en matière de sécurité. Dans le cas contraire, un passager handicapé pourra voyager vers un Etat membre où ces règles le lui permettent, mais ne pourra plus rentrer dans son pays ! » rappelle le Président du Forum.

Les futures activités du Forum dans ce domaine cibleront l’adoption de ces règles harmonisées de sécurité, ainsi qu’une ample diffusion des dispositions prévues par la loi. Le FEPH concentrera également ses efforts dans l’amélioration du règlement. Il tentera aussi d’obtenir une législation similaire applicable à tous les autres moyens de transport.

Le Président du FEPH : « Les personnes handicapées ont aujourd’hui des droits et ils doivent les exercer. Nous devons les en informer et les encourager à porter plainte en cas de violation de ces droits sur le territoire de l’Union. Nous contribuerons ainsi à garantir un transport de qualité pour tous les passagers, avec ou sans handicap »


Pour plus d’information, beuillez visiter la page du site du EDF (seulement en version anglaise) :
http://www.edf-feph.org/en/policy/transport/trans_pol.htm


Le texte du règlement peut être téléchargé sur:

http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/site/fr/oj/2006/l_204/l_20420060726fr00010009.pdf

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 01:03 AM

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 02, 2007

Monitoring the Skys: Flight Rights @ Disability Now

flight-rights

Find out what is going on with airlines and travel for people with disabilities at Disability Now's Flight Rights site here:

http://www.disabilitynow.org.uk/campaigns/flight/index.htm

baywatch

And, when they're not watching the skies, Disability Now is watching parking bays. Join their July 2007 survey on the abuse of disabled parked at:

http://www.disabilitynow.org.uk/news/news_jun_2007_015.htm

Posted by rollingrains at 03:07 AM | TrackBack

June 29, 2007

Four Stories of Universally Designed Space - Built with Off-the-Shelf Products!

There is nothing more satisfying than an expert who has a knack for simple accurate answers. Meet Jack Catlin, partner at Wheaton based LCM Architects with that skill. Here he is describing the application of Universal Design to a new 50,000-square-foot commercial office building in Chicago:

"There's nothing special about this," [Catlin] said. "It's just about doing the research. It's about thinking about things upfront."

And, dispelling myths that there is some esoteric knowledge involved in Universal Design:

Virtually everything in the building was purchased off-the-shelf from typical suppliers. One of the only custom-made items in the building is a stainless-steel typewriter built into the elevator wall, allowing deaf passengers to communicate in case of an emergency, Catlin said.

"We want people to know how easy it is to do," he said, "once they know the right questions to ask."

Read the full story at the Chicago Tribune.

< ! -- User-friendly building optimizes disabled access

By Trine Tsouderos
Tribune staff reporter
Published June 19, 2007

The front door at Access Living's old headquarters on Roosevelt Road closed way too fast for Pearl Mathews.

She would hit the button to automatically open the door, but then it would close on her and her wheelchair halfway through.

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Access Living headquarters


Entry for all

No longer. The disability rights organization's new building in River North has automatic sliding doors that whoosh open -- and stay open -- as Mathews, a housing counselor, approaches in her chair. "It's like they are just there waiting for me," she said.

The entry is just one feature of the new building, which was designed to go far beyond what the Americans with Disabilities Act requires. Rather, the building was built with "universal design" in mind, meaning it was built to be user-friendly for people with and without disabilities (the building is environmentally friendly to boot).

The 50,000-square-foot commercial office building at 115 W. Chicago Ave., is the first of its kind in Chicago and is among the first in the nation, built as proof, its owner said, that universal design doesn't mean expensive and it doesn't mean institutional.

Institutional was the last thing architect Jack Catlin, partner at Wheaton based LCM Architects, wanted.

"We wanted lively," he said.

At first glance, the Access Living headquarters, which opened in February, looks like a modern, light-filled office building. The outside is brick and glass, the inside is airy thanks to an atrium. The walls are brightened with art. The furniture is sleek and contemporary.

But a closer look reveals many subtle, important differences. At the entrance, there's a wheelchair ramp cut into the curb in front of the building. Heating elements under the concrete sidewalks melt ice and snow, making it easier for people using wheelchairs to enter and exit, and preventing them from dragging the slushy mess inside.

The entire sidewalk in front of the building slopes oh-so-slightly from the street-grade alleys on either side of the building, saving wheelchair users from steep ramps. A thick, dark, grooved line leads from a drop-off spot on the sidewalk through automatic double doors to the reception desk to help people with visual impairments and developmental disabilities find their way simply.

"There's nothing special about this," Catlin said. "It's just about doing the research. It's about thinking about things upfront."

A good example of that is Access Living's entrance itself: What kind of doorway would work best for the most people and, at the same time, be as environmentally friendly as possible?

"We had a big battle over the doorway," said Marca Bristo, Access Living's president and CEO.

Principles

The doorway, they knew, had to be automatic and at street level. No steps. One of the seven principles of "universal design," a concept developed by disability architecture pioneer Ron Mace, is that everything should be as simple and intuitive as possible, meaning that it doesn't take any special knowledge or effort for anybody to, say, enter a building. Access Living also wanted the entry to be as energy-efficient as possible.

Catlin, who uses a wheelchair, suggested a big automatic revolving door, which would keep heated and cooled air from escaping while accommodating all kinds of users.

"We asked folks their opinions about that, and some were adamantly uncomfortable with that," said Bristo, who also uses a wheelchair. Users of large power chairs said revolving doors -- even large ones -- were nerve-racking, while people with visual impairment said such doors were hard to use because each one is just a little bit different.

"My question was always: Is it green and is it universal?" said Bristo, who wants the building to receive Silver LEED certification, a prestigious, national, 'green'-building benchmark. "If the answer was no, I would push people to go back to the drawing board."

Catlin returned with large automatic sliding double doors and an air curtain in the vestibule for energy efficiency. "Everything you see was thought of in many different ways," he said.

Throughout the building are scores of other features chosen for their universal user-friendliness. The refrigerator in the kitchen is a side-by-side design, which is easier for people in wheelchairs to use. The hallways are 6 feet 8 inches wide -- enough to accommodate two people in wheelchairs and a person walking by. The sinks in the restrooms are shallow, leaving more legroom underneath for people in wheelchairs. Like those in airports, the restrooms themselves have no entry doors (the stalls do, of course), making entering and exiting easier.

Making adjustments

The cubicle work spaces are adjustable inch by inch, making it possible to accommodate people of different sizes and needs. Elevators open on both sides to hurry loading and unloading passengers with wheelchairs. Every evacuation stairwell is supplied with special evacuation chairs, which make it possible for for a person in a wheelchair to be guided safely down stairs. Everywhere, everything is automatic -- lights, shades, water fountains, fire doors.

"It's really a lot of silly little things that add up," said Karen Washington, an employment-readiness skills coordinator at Access Living.

In the elevator, for example, the Braille now is next to the buttons for the floors, said Washington, who is visually impaired. When the Braille is on top of the buttons, she often would inadvertently push buttons for wrong floors while reading the Braille with her fingers, she said.

Virtually everything in the building was purchased off-the-shelf from typical suppliers. One of the only custom-made items in the building is a stainless-steel typewriter built into the elevator wall, allowing deaf passengers to communicate in case of an emergency.

The total construction cost for the four-story building, which also has a "green" roof, was almost $9.8 million. Furnishings ran $1.2 million. The total project cost, including line items such as architect's fees and land (which was purchased from the city at a steep discount), was $12.9 million. "That's a good price," Catlin said.

"We want people to know how easy it is to do," he said, "once they know the right questions to ask."

-----------

ttsouderos@tribune.com

--!>

Posted by rollingrains at 12:08 AM

June 26, 2007

The Text of the Hotels.com Discrimination Complaint

Below is the text of the complaint filed against Hotels.com. The original is also available here: Download file


For the Press Release as a Word file: Download file

CLASS ACTION

COMPLAINT FOR INJUNCTIVE AND DECLARATORY RELIEF


INTRODUCTION
1. Plaintiffs bring this action to remedy ongoing discrimination against persons with mobility disabilities who desire to, but cannot, use hotels.com’s worldwide reservation network to make reservations for hotel rooms. Although hotels.com represents on its website that it offers the lowest rates available as well as “the information travelers need to book the perfect trip,” a traveler with a mobility disability, in fact, cannot use hotels.com’s travel reservation services. Hotels.com does not provide information about accessibility features, and it will not guarantee reservations for accessible rooms.
2. Hotels.com describes itself as one of the five largest online travel agencies in the world, reporting $2.3 billion in gross bookings in 2006. It is one of the nation’s leading providers of hotel, bed and breakfast and other lodging accommodations (collectively, “hotel rooms”), offering hotel rooms to consumers through its Internet website and telephone customer service representatives.
3. The website allows consumers without disabilities to engage in efficient comparison-shopping and to make hotel reservations with the guarantee that reservations booked through hotels.com will be at the lowest available rates.
4. Although consumers can easily reserve certain types of hotel rooms, such as suites, hotels.com does not allow consumers with mobility disabilities to reserve a hotel room that is usable by them. In addition, hotels.com will not guarantee an accessible room even if the consumer takes the extra step of calling one of the company’s “customer care” representatives. Thus, if an individual who depends on a wheelchair or other assistive device makes a reservation through hotels.com, she runs a real risk that – despite having prepaid for the room and made the reservation well in advance – she will literally not be able to enter or use the room once she arrives at the hotel.
5. Hotels.com’s practices deny individuals with mobility disabilities equal access to the services and accommodations it provides, and prevent them from obtaining the benefits of the low-price guarantees that hotels.com offers.
6. Such conduct directly violates the Unruh Civil Rights Act, Civil Code §51 et seq., which is California’s principal bulwark against all forms of discrimination including discrimination on the basis of a disability, and the Disabled Persons Act, Civil Code §54, et seq., which guarantees individuals with disabilities the same access as other members of the public to all advantages and privileges of public facilities, including hotels and lodgings. Violations of these laws constitute unfair competition within the meaning of the Unfair Competition Law, Business & Professions Code §17200.
7. Plaintiffs seek injunctive and declaratory relief to redress hotels.com’s violations of California law. Because Defendants’ practices adversely impact thousands of disabled Californians, Plaintiffs ask the Court to certify their claims for class treatment and to order relief that will benefit all members of the Class.
PARTIES
8. Plaintiff AXIS Dance Company (“AXIS”) is a not-for-profit performing arts organization with offices in Oakland, California. AXIS’s mission “is to create and perform high quality contemporary dance that is developed through the collaboration of dancers with and without disabilities.” (http://www.axisdance.org.) AXIS performers include dancers who have mobility impairments and who require and perform in wheelchairs.
9. AXIS dancers travel extensively to performance locations throughout California and the United States. For example, for the remainder of 2007 and 2008 performances are planned in San Francisco, Chico, Cerritos, and Palmdale, California, as well as in seven other states. AXIS dancers, including plaintiffs Judith Smith and Bonnie Lewkowicz and other dancers with mobility disabilities, have previously traveled to and stayed at hotels in Redding, Chico, Sacramento, Davis, Pleasanton, Dixon, Monterey, Santa Barbara, Los Angeles, Cerritos, Riverside, San Luis Obispo, San Jose, Long Beach, Pacific Grove, Ukiah, Santa Rosa, Merced, Roseville, and San Diego, California.
10. AXIS pays all of its dancers’ travel expenses, including the costs of their hotel accommodations, and the managing director of AXIS generally makes all necessary airline, hotel, and other travel reservations. It is often a challenge for her to identify and make reservations for multiple wheelchair-accessible rooms in the same hotel. AXIS has attempted to locate and reserve accessible rooms suitable for its mobility-impaired dancers through hotels.com, but it has never made such reservations because hotels.com will only allow it to request, but not to make guaranteed reservations for, accessible rooms.
11. AXIS is a tax-exempt organization pursuant to I.R.C. §501(c)(3). All of its income is derived from contributions and grants. AXIS has suffered, and it continues to suffer, direct economic harm due to its inability to obtain the discounted hotel rooms, special air and hotel travel packages, and low-price guarantees offered by hotels.com.
12. Plaintiff Judith Smith is an individual who is a resident of Alameda County, California. Ms. Smith became physically disabled at the age of 17 as the result of an automobile accident. She depends on a wheelchair for mobility and is disabled as defined under applicable law. Because of her disability, Ms. Smith requires accessible accommodations whenever she travels.
13. Ms. Smith is one of the founders and, since 1997, the Artistic Director of AXIS. She travels to and performs with AXIS at an average of 26-30 cities outside the San Francisco Bay Area each year, including in other California cities.
14. In addition to her professional trips, Ms. Smith travels about four to six times a year for personal reasons, and she plans to continue such travel in the future. The availability of an accessible room and the price of the room are important factors and limitations on Ms. Smith’s personal travel. Ms. Smith desires to use but, due to her inability to obtain a guaranteed reservation for an accessible room, has been deterred from using hotels.com to book hotel rooms for her travels. Ms. Smith has suffered, and she continues to suffer, direct economic harm due to her inability to obtain the discounted hotel rooms, special air and hotel travel packages, and low-price guarantees offered by hotels.com.
15. Plaintiff Bonnie Lewkowicz is an individual who is a resident of Alameda County, California. She became physically disabled at age 15 as a result of an All-Terrain-Vehicle accident. Ms. Lewkowicz depends on a wheelchair for mobility and is disabled as defined under applicable law. Because of her disability, Ms. Lewkowicz requires accessible hotel rooms when she travels.
16. Ms. Lewkowicz is also a founding member of and performer with AXIS. She often travels out of town with AXIS and stays in hotels in other California cities where the company performs. In addition, she travels out of town for personal reasons approximately four to six times each year.
17. Ms. Lewkowicz plans to continue to be an active traveler and she will continue to need accessible hotel rooms. The availability of an accessible room and the price are important factors and limitations on Ms. Lewkowicz’s professional and personal travel. Ms. Lewkowicz desires to use but, due to her inability to obtain a guaranteed reservation for an accessible room, has been deterred from using hotels.com to book hotel rooms for her travels. Ms. Lewkowicz has suffered, and she continues to suffer, direct economic harm due to her inability to obtain the discounted hotel rooms, special air and hotel travel packages, and low-price guarantees offered by hotels.com.
18. AXIS, Ms. Smith and Ms. Lewkowicz are each ready, willing and able to act as class representatives and to vigorously prosecute this action on behalf of the proposed Plaintiff Class.
19. Defendant hotels.com, L.P. is a Texas limited partnership with its principal office in Dallas, Texas. Hotels.com does business through its interactive website and contracts with hotels throughout the United States, including hundreds of hotels in the State of California. Hotels.com actively solicits business in California and advertises its goods and services to California consumers on local radio stations and other media. It is also registered as a seller of travel services in California.
20. Defendants Does 1 through 20 are persons or entities whose true names and capacities are unknown to Plaintiffs, who therefore sue them by such fictitious names. Plaintiffs are informed and believe, and on that basis allege, that each of the fictitiously named Defendants perpetrated or is responsible for some or all of the wrongful acts and omissions alleged herein. Plaintiffs will seek leave of court to amend this complaint to state the true names and capacities of such fictitiously named Defendants if and when they are ascertained.
21. At all times mentioned herein, each Doe Defendant was the agent or employee of the other Defendants and was acting within the course and scope of such agency or employment. The Defendants are jointly and severally liable.
VENUE
22. Venue is proper in this Court and in this County pursuant to Code of Civil Procedure §§395 and 395.5, because Defendant does business in this County, the business practices at issue were conducted throughout California, including in this County, liability arose in this County, and events and conduct giving rise to the violations of law asserted herein occurred in this County. In particular, Plaintiffs Smith and Lewkowicz reside in this County, and they have suffered discrimination on the basis of their disabilities and been deterred from taking advantage of the benefits and services offered by hotels.com in this County. AXIS also has its principal place of business in this County, and has likewise suffered injury here.
CLASS ACTION ALLEGATIONS
23. Pursuant to Code of Civil Procedure §382, Plaintiffs bring this action on behalf of themselves and all other persons similarly situated. The Class consists of all individuals in California who are disabled because of a mobility impairment and therefore require an accessible room when they travel, and who have been and continue to be deterred from using hotels.com to make room reservations for accommodations in California because of hotels.com’s refusal to guarantee reservations for accessible hotel rooms. Excluded from the Class is any individual who has previously made travel reservations through hotels.com, and hotels.com’s officers and employees.
24. Plaintiffs are unable to state the precise number of potential members of the proposed Class. The Class numbers in the thousands, and members of the Class are sufficiently numerous and geographically diverse that joinder of all members is impracticable. A 2005 survey by Harris Interactive conducted for Open Doors Organization (ODO) reported that 69% of adults with disabilities – over 21 million people – traveled for business and/or pleasure between 2003 and 2005, with about 20% traveling 6 or more times within those two years. About 52% of those travelers – 16 million individuals – stayed in hotels, motels and inns. Internet bookings now account for over half of all U.S. travel bookings, and two out of five travelers with disabilities use the Internet to support their travel needs. Even if only 1% of those individuals has been deterred from using hotels.com, this lawsuit will benefit thousands of individuals.
25. There is a community of interest among the members of the proposed Class in that there are questions of law and fact common to all of their claims. Those common issues include, but are not limited to: whether hotels.com will guarantee a reservation for an accessible hotel room; whether hotels.com has the ability to provide the services Plaintiffs need; and whether hotels.com’s practices violate the Unruh Act, violate the Disabled Persons Act, constitute unfair competition, or violate other provisions of California law.
26. Plaintiffs’ claims are typical of, and not antagonistic to, the claims of all other members of the Class because hotels.com conducted and continues to conduct its business in a manner which caused, continues to cause, and will in future cause all Class members to suffer the same or similar injury. Plaintiffs, by advancing their claims, will also advance the claims of all other similarly-situated individuals.
27. Plaintiffs and their counsel will fairly and adequately protect the interests of absent Class members. There are no material conflicts between Plaintiffs’ claims and those of absent Class members that would make class certification inappropriate. Plaintiffs’ counsel are experienced in consumer, disability rights, and class action litigation, and will vigorously assert Plaintiffs’ claims and the claims of all Class members.
28. A class action is superior to other potential methods for achieving a fair and efficient adjudication of this controversy. Whatever difficulties may exist in the management of this case as a class action will be greatly outweighed by the benefits of the class action procedure, including but not limited to providing Class members with a method for the redress and prevention of their injuries and claims that could not, given the complexity of the issues and the nature of the requested relief, be pursued in individual litigation. Further, the prosecution of separate actions by the individual Class members, even if possible, would create a risk of inconsistent or varying adjudications and incompatible standards of conduct for the Defendant.
GENERAL ALLEGATIONS
29. Individuals with mobility disabilities make up a significant percentage of hotel travelers. The Internet is an essential, and growing, resource for these individuals. According to statistics provided by the Travel Industry Association of America, reliance on the Internet by adults with disabilities for planning and booking trips exceeds that of the general public.
30. Hotels.com is one of the nation’s largest and most popular providers of hotel and lodging accommodations, representing that it offers accommodations at more than 70,000 properties worldwide including hundreds of properties in California. Hotels.com offers rooms at hotels and other lodgings and various travel packages at a discounted price.
31. Hotels.com owns and operates an interactive website which enables California consumers who are searching for a hotel room to obtain information about pricing, room amenities, and room availability for those properties, to comparison shop for the best available price, to arrange and purchase discounted “package deals” including rooms, rental cars and airfare, and to make guaranteed reservations for hotel rooms.
32. Potential customers may make hotel reservations online, or by calling a hotels.com Customer Care Representative at a toll-free telephone number.
33. Hotels.com bills itself as a “one stop shopping source for hotel prices, amenities and availability” and claims that it specializes in providing travelers with accommodations during sold-out periods. In addition to “offer[ing] the information travelers need to book the perfect trip,” hotels.com advertises that it offers the “Lowest Rates – Guaranteed,” and that “prepaid hotel and vacation rental reservations booked through hotels.com are guaranteed to be the lowest rate you can find.” If a traveler books a hotel room through hotels.com and later discovers a cheaper rate, hotels.com will, subject to specified conditions, make up the difference in price.
34. To take advantage of the discount rates offered by hotels.com, a customer must (a) make and secure his or her reservation directly through hotels.com and not through the hotel itself; (b) pay hotels.com in advance for the room; and (c) contact hotels.com – and not the hotel – concerning any changes to the reservation.
35. The hotels.com website allows potential customers to search for various types of amenities, but it does not allow an individual to search for accessible rooms, does not define what qualifies a room as accessible, and does not uniformly report on the accessibility features that may or may not be offered. Nor are the Customer Care Representatives able to provide that information.
36. More important, if an individual with a mobility disability is able to figure out through other means that a hotel does in fact offer accessible rooms, hotels.com allows him or her to request such a room but will not guarantee that an accessible room will in fact be available. Instead, hotels.com considers features such as accessibility to be optional “amenities” – just like a king-size bed or a kitchenette – and will not guarantee that a room with such amenities will be available when the customer arrives at the hotel. Thus, although hotels.com advertises and offers guaranteed reservations for standard rooms and for suites, an individual who requires an accessible room cannot reserve such a room through hotels.com. She or he cannot find out until arrival and check-in at the hotel whether or not an accessible room is in fact available.
37. Plaintiffs are informed and believe, and on that basis allege, that hotels.com has the ability to provide Plaintiffs and the Class with the search features and the ability to secure guaranteed reservations that they need. For example, hotels.com allows a traveler to reserve specific types of accommodations, including suites, through its website.
38. Features such as a doorway large enough to permit a wheelchair to enter, hallways wide enough to allow a wheelchair to maneuver, and grab bars and roll-in showers are not “amenities” but absolute necessities for individuals with mobility impairments such as the Plaintiffs and members of the Class herein. Without such features, the Plaintiffs and Class members cannot stay in a hotel room.
39. It would be impractical and dangerous for Plaintiffs and the Class to rely on a room reservation unless accessibility is absolutely guaranteed. Because of their inability to reserve an accessible room, Plaintiffs have never booked any type of reservation through hotels.com.
40. Plaintiffs have given written notice to hotels.com about their inability to use its room reservation services and asked hotels.com to take action to remedy its violations of California law. Hotels.com has declined to take any corrective action. Plaintiffs will continue to be prevented and deterred from making hotel reservations through hotels.com unless and until hotels.com changes its practices to enable them to make guaranteed reservations for accessible rooms. Plaintiffs would reserve hotel rooms through hotels.com if they could make reservations guaranteeing them accessible rooms.
41. Hotels.com’s practices have a substantial impact on those who wish to travel within California. According to the website, three of the twelve “most popular cities” that users of hotels.com travel to are in California, and San Francisco, Los Angeles and San Diego are among the top five most frequently visited destinations.
42. Plaintiffs seek no monetary relief (apart from attorneys’ fees and costs) in this action. The amount in controversy does not exceed $5,000,000 in the aggregate or $74,999 for any Plaintiff or for any member of the proposed Class.
FIRST CAUSE OF ACTION
(Discrimination Prohibited by the Unruh Act)
43. Plaintiffs incorporate by reference as if set forth in full herein each and every allegation of paragraphs 1 through 42, inclusive.
44. The Unruh Civil Rights Act, Civil Code §51 et seq. provides that all persons within California, “no matter what their sex, race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, disability, … [or] medical condition are entitled to the full and equal accommodations, advantages, facilities, privileges, or services in all business establishments of every kind whatsoever.”
45. Plaintiffs and all members of the proposed Class are “persons” protected by the Unruh Act.
46. Hotels.com is a “business establishment” which provides services, advantages and accommodations to the public.
47. Hotels.com’s failure to allow Plaintiffs and the Class to guarantee accessible hotel rooms violates the Unruh Act by, among other things, denying Plaintiffs and the Class physical accommodations; preventing Plaintiffs and the Class from taking advantage of the reservation services hotels.com provides; and preventing Plaintiffs and the Class from benefiting from hotels.com’s guaranteed low prices.
48. Hotels.com’s violations of the Unruh Act are continuing and ongoing. Unless and until this Court intervenes, declares hotels.com to be in violation of the law, and issues an appropriate injunction, hotels.com will continue to harm Plaintiffs and the Class.
49. Plaintiffs are entitled to an award of attorneys’ fees, costs and expenses under Civil Code §52.
WHEREFORE, Plaintiffs pray for the relief set forth below.
SECOND CAUSE OF ACTION
(Unfair Competition)
50. Plaintiffs incorporate by reference as if set forth in full herein each and every allegation of paragraphs 1 through 42 and 44 through 48, inclusive.
51. California Business and Professions Code §17200 et seq., the Unfair Competition Law (“UCL”), defines unfair competition to include any unlawful, unfair, or fraudulent business act or practice. The UCL authorizes any person who has suffered injury in fact and who has lost money or property as a result of such unfair competition to bring an action for relief under the statute. The UCL authorizes the courts to enjoin acts of unfair competition and to issue declaratory and other equitable relief.
52. The business acts and practices of hotels.com as described herein constitute unlawful business practices in violation of the UCL in that:
a. Hotels.com’s conduct violates the Unruh Act as alleged in the First Cause of Action, above.
b. Hotels.com’s conduct violates California’s Disabled Persons Act (“CDPA”), Civil Code §54 et seq. The CDPA guarantees individuals with disabilities “the same right as the general public to the full and free use” of all public facilities and full and equal access to the accommodations, advantages, and facilities of hotels and places of lodging. The failure of hotels.com to allow Plaintiffs and the Class to guarantee accessible hotel rooms denies Plaintiffs and the Class physical accommodations and interferes with their rights to enjoy equal access to the rooms, goods, and services of the hotels which hotels.com represents and with which it contracts.
53. The business acts and practices of hotels.com as described herein constitute unfair and deceptive business practices in violation of the UCL in that hotels.com’s website and other advertising is misleading to consumers. The website represents that consumers can find all the information they need and guarantee a stay at a hotel by using hotel.com’s services, but those promises do not hold true for travelers who require accessible accommodations.
54. The unlawful, unfair acts and practices of hotels.com have injured, and continue to injure, the Plaintiffs and the Class insofar as they have been deprived of the opportunity to reserve rooms and stay at hotels which contract reservation services to hotels.com, have had to expend significantly more time identifying potential accommodations and making reservations than they would have had to spend had they been able to use hotels.com’s online reservation system, and have incurred higher costs for hotel rooms than they would have had to pay if they had been able to book rooms through hotels.com. Plaintiffs and the Class have lost money as a result of hotels.com’s acts of unfair competition.
55. Hotels.com’s violations of the UCL are continuing and ongoing. Unless and until this Court intervenes, declares hotels.com to be in violation of the law, and issues an appropriate injunction, hotels.com will continue to harm Plaintiffs and the Class.
56. Plaintiffs are entitled to an award of attorneys’ fees, costs and expenses incurred in the filing and prosecution of this action pursuant to Code of Civil Procedure §1021.5.
WHEREFORE, Plaintiffs pray for relief as set forth below.
PRAYER FOR RELIEF
Based on the foregoing, Plaintiffs respectfully pray for relief as follows:
1. For an order certifying this case as a class action, and appointing Plaintiffs as the representatives of the Class;
2. For an order finding and declaring that the acts and practices of hotels.com as set forth herein are unlawful and unfair;
3. For an order permanently enjoining hotels.com from continuing to engage in such acts and practices and from failing to adopt reasonable procedures by which mobility-impaired individuals who require accessible hotel rooms can search for appropriate rooms and make a reservation guaranteeing that an accessible room will be available to them;
4. For an award of attorneys’ fees, costs and expenses incurred in the filing and prosecution of this action; and
5. For such other and further relief as the Court may deem just and proper.

Dated: May__, 2007 Respectfully submitted,

CHAVEZ & GERTLER LLP

DISABILITY RIGHTS ADVOCATES

PUBLIC JUSTICE, P.C.

By: ____________________
Mark A. Chavez

Attorneys for Plaintiffs
*****************************************************************************************************************************
CHAVEZ & GERTLER LLP
MARK A. CHAVEZ (Bar No. 90858)
NANCE F. BECKER (Bar No. 99292)
42 Miller Avenue
Mill Valley, California 94941
Telephone: (415) 381-5599
Facsimile: (415) 381-5572
Email: mark@chavezgertler.com
nance@chavezgertler.com

DISABILITY RIGHTS ADVOCATES
SIDNEY WOLINSKY (Bar No. 33716)
KEVIN KNESTRICK (Bar No. 229620)
2001 Center Street, Third Floor
Berkeley, California 94704-1204
Telephone: (510) 665-8644
Facsimile: (510) 665-8511
Email: swolinsky@dralegal.org

PUBLIC JUSTICE, P.C.
VICTORIA W. NI (Bar No. 212443)
LESLIE BAILEY (Bar No. 232690)
555 Twelfth Street, Suite 1620
Oakland, California 94607-3616
Telephone: (510) 622-8150
Facsimile: (510) 622-8155
Email: vni@publicjustice.net
lbailey@publicjustice.net

Attorneys for Plaintiffs


IN THE SUPERIOR COURT FOR THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA

IN AND FOR THE COUNTY OF ALAMEDA


JUDITH SMITH, BONNIE LEWKOWICZ, and AXIS DANCE COMPANY, on behalf of themselves and all others similarly situated,

Plaintiffs,

v.

HOTELS.COM L.P. and Does 1-20,

Defendants.
)
)
)
)
)
)
)
)
)
)
)
)
)
)
)
) Case No.:

CLASS ACTION

COMPLAINT FOR INJUNCTIVE AND DECLARATORY RELIEF

Posted by rollingrains at 12:26 AM

June 25, 2007

Only the Start of Resolution in Chennai: After the Apology Comes the Willingness to Adopt International Standards of Business Practice

IBN News reports that Air Sahara has responded to the international scandal that it caused by attempting to roll back the rights of travelers with disabilities.

Jetlite, a division of Jet Airways and was formerly Air Sahara, on Thursday apologised to Rajiv Rajan with cerebral palsy for refusing to let him board a Delhi–bound flight in Chennai on Monday.

The airline also said it would sensitise its staff to the special needs of people with disability. "We regret the inconvenience caused to Rajiv Rajan. We will train our staff to be sensitive towards people with special needs. We apologise for the inconvenience," Jetlite said in its public apology.

Already the premise of the "solution" is faulty.

It is not "special needs" of the disabled at issue here but the universal needs of customers for quality service.

Once again, people with disabilities -- with knowledge of their dignity and a strong sense of community -- spoke the truth that all fliers experience with increasing reglarity: The customer service quality of the air travel industry has deteriorated to an intolerable degree. When we fly we are customers first.

Air Sahara made a disastrous business decision. It confused the ability to segment markets for research and marketing purposes into a decision to enforce a caste system relegating some demographics to perpetual disservice.

The problem does not lie at the level of line staff. "Sensitising" them with some incident-driven face-saving is not sufficient -- although, as the Service Employees International Union points out, it is necessary even from the line worker's perspective.

The airline's act was not an inconvenience. As numerous commentators have noted, it was an assault on dignity. It jeopardized a man's livelihood. It severely damage brand identity. It was a violation of law. It was the revelation of a business ethic that remains distorted at the highest executive levels of the airline. Until the ethical handicap is removed at the source it will continue to afflict the entire company.

The correct solution?

The training needs to be delivered first in the Air Sahara Board Room.
It needs to be a curriculum created by people with disabilities. The disability community alone can ably instruct the company on the conditions under which it will eagerly turn over its hard-earned finances to be satisfied customers. They have done so in numerous countries around the world.
And Rajiv Rajan needs to be lead trainer.

That would be an apology. That would be good business.

Source:
http://www.disabilityindia.com/html/news.html#sorry

Posted by rollingrains at 07:30 PM

June 23, 2007

US National Organization on Disability Announces Museum Partnership Awards Program

From press release:

The National Organization on Disability ( http://www.nod.org/ ) has announced the National Partnership Awards program (link to .pdf), a new competition for forty eligible [museums] from across America designed to recognize their work on behalf of people with disabilities. The associations are invited to demonstrate, via the competition, their leadership in supporting local initiatives that benefit people with disabilities.

The competition, which is sponsored by Prudential Financial, Inc.
( http://www.prudential.com/ ), will commemorate the 25th
anniversary of the founding of the National Organization on
Disability.

The winners of the competition will demonstrate innovative
programs or projects that involve improving access to jobs,
education, religious worship, voting, transportation, housing,
social opportunities, recreation, cultural or sports activities,
or emergency preparedness. The winning programs or projects will
help people with disabilities become full and equal participants
in the life of their community. The competition is designed to
highlight the work of the association's chapters or affiliates
and inspire others to create equally effective programs or
projects.

Five winning associations will receive $2,000 each to acknowledge
one of their chapters or affiliates for an outstanding program or
project that showcases how their members help citizens with dis-
abilities participate in and contribute to the economic, social,
and cultural vitality of the community.

The list of eligible associations, program guidelines, and entry
form are available at the NOD Web site.


Deadline: August 31, 2007

RFP Link:
http://fconline.foundationcenter.org/pnd/10007788/nod

Posted by rollingrains at 01:57 AM

June 22, 2007

Vidyasagar and India's National Trust Raise the Pressure on Air Sahara

The furor over discrimination against airline passengers continues in India with 100 protesters forming a human chain at the Chennai airport:

"We've been facing discrimination from various airlines and Monday's incident was the height of it. It not only violated human rights, but also the International Civil Aviation rules," said Smitha, Assistant Coordinator – Vidyasagar, an NGO which organised the agitation.

At the heart of the conflict is the refusal of Air Sahara to serve Rajiv Rajan.

The passenger, 34–year–old Rajiv Rajan, working with an NGO called Vidyasagar, was due to fly to New Delhi on Monday morning to attend a meeting of the National Trust, a body under the ministry of social justice and empowerment, that works for disabled persons. The directorate–general of civil aviation (DGCA), the regulator in the civil aviation sector, has sought an explanation from the airline Jetlite (known till now as Air Sahara) for its refusal to board Rajiv Rajan.


Head of the National Trust, Poonam Natarajan, said that the trust would definitely take up the matter with the social justice ministry. Rajiv Rajan was travelling to New Delhi to attend a subcommittee meeting of the National Trust to decide on the issue of imparting training to persons with disabilities.

Via Disability News India - original source: http://www.newstrackindia.com/newsdetails/349

Posted by rollingrains at 04:45 AM

June 21, 2007

Offloading Rajeev: Buffeted by Unfriendly Skies

CNN–IBN hosted a panel comprising an aviation expert and disability activists on the show India 360 to discuss the treatment of Rajiv Rajan By Air Sahara.

Here is bit of the report from IBN:


Via Disability News India:

Rajiv with cerebral palsy – which essentially means a brilliant mind caged inside a disobedient body – was denied permission to fly Air Sahara, which is now called JetLite after Jet Airways took over the airline, on Monday. The passenger was also made to wait at the airport for three long hours in spite of his special condition.

Does this mean the airlines violated the dignity of Rajan? Should action be taken against the airline for preventing disabled people from flying? These were questions discussed by
The Director General of Civil Aviation has already served a notice on the airline, asking for an explanation on the treatment meted out to Rajiv Rajan. On its part, the airline pulled out the rulebook to defend itself, saying Rajiv was not allowed to board the aircraft in compliance with the rules of International Air Transport Association.

"If they are not accompanied by somebody, or they don't have a certificate to certify themselves medically fit to fly, then under IATA regulations, it would be inappropriate to board them," Garry Kingshott, Ceo of JetLite, says.

But Rajiv claims he doesn't need a fit to fly certificate. "Fit to fly certificate is meant for medically ill people, not for disabled people. I thought they were going to push me off my wheelchair. So, I left and called the police," he says.

Rajiv says this was not his first brush with such discrimination. In fact, he had suffered at the hands of Jet earlier as well. The treatment meted out to Rajiv has now thrown open a debate about equality and right to dignity of disabled people and also about the discrimination faced by these people in their day to day life.

Source:
http://www.disabilityindia.com/html/news.html#airline

Posted by rollingrains at 11:17 PM

June 20, 2007

Violation in Chennai: Air Travel Denied Disability Activist

Let me state my bias from the outset, "I support Rajeev Rajan and his discrimination complaint against SpiceJet and JetLite." Further, I find it very encouraging that the government of India has taken swift and forceful action on his behalf. I have asked Rajeev to send in his own account of what occurred for publication in the Rolling Rains Report.

Here's a point under debate. Were the airline personnel malicious? Insensitive? Ignorant?

On the one hand, none of that is important in light of the abuse of Rajeev's rights and dignity.

On the other, locating the source of the problem may illustrate that we have further evidence supporting the California SEIU's claim that airline workers, who often have the best of intentions, are placed in impossible situations through lack of training. If that is true, then we have the opportunity for a truly global movement of solidarity in which both consumers and service providers are passionatelys striving for the same outcome.

My observation is that, for all the promise of this encouraging convergence of goals the cause of the problem lies in the failure to design transportation systems around the principles of Universal Design. And, that failure of imagination points to systemtized injustice embedded in travel industry business practices and resulting in lost revenue. The cause of the problem lives in managerial suites far removed from the site of the conflict.

Monday, June 18, 2007 (Chennai, New Delhi)

Rajeev Rajan is someone who fights for the rights of the disabled worldwide but Air Sahara denied him a boarding pass to fly from Chennai to Delhi...

The government has reacted strongly to NDTV's report of a disabled person who was not allowed to board an Air Sahara flight on Monday evening in Chennai without first getting a fit-to-fly certificate.

The Director General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has issued a notice to the managements of SpiceJet and JetLite (Air Sahara's new name) asking for an immediate explanation. The airlines could face action if the DGCA is not satisfied with its reply.


The article by Sam Daniel and Sandeep Phukan goes on further to explain:

Rajan says the airline authorities insisted on an escort and a fitness to fly certificate and called the police to evict him.

His repeated pleas that he is a frequent flier and ought to be treated with dignity went unheard.

When Rajeev contacted another airline, SpiceJet, they too refused him a ticket.

All of us with disabilities know that we are too often called upon to provide the sort of "just-in-time" training at the point of service that Mr. Rajan attempted. I suggest that we start billing for these services.

There is a predictable frequency to the ignorance about our comunity by those we have paid to serve us as passengers. The cure for ignorance is education. Are they being educated by anyone besides passengers? To what management level within the air transportation industry must this ignorance be eradicated before the policy of pervasive underpreparedness of front line professionals is eliminated?

I applaud Mr. Rajan's decision to take this incident to consumer court.

This ia a generous act of public education on his part. He is uplifting the ignorant from their moral confusion about the rights and realities of the disability community.

As a point of law, I hold that he is entitled to compensation for providing these educational services. He ought to be compensated at the rates customary for any professional educator. He has spent a lifetime mastering the content he is imparting to his student. His compensation ought to include the "course development time" he has invested -- a lifetime of becoming an expert on living with cerebral palsy.

Full article:

DGCA issues notice to Air Sahara
http://www.ndtv.com/convergence/ndtv/story.aspx?id=NEWEN20070015952

Posted by rollingrains at 04:58 PM

June 18, 2007

Friends Around the World Eulogize Topong Kulkanchit

In Malaysia Peter Tan posts on Topong's life while from her home in New York Brazilian activist Takeo Ogura writes for the World Federation of the Deaf (WFD) .

Peter reflects:

I thought to myself, “Here is a very brave man who is doing great things, not only for his peers with disabilities but also for his nation.”

Therefore, there was a great reluctance in my heart to accept that this great person has left us so soon and so suddenly. There is still so much that he can do to contribute to the disability movement in Thailand and the Asia-Pacific. There is still so much that we can learn from him. He was a free spirit and very charismatic. He never let his disability stop him from living life to the fullest. His demise has left a gaping void in the disability movement that will be difficult to fill.

Full article:
http://www.petertan.com/blog/2007/06/07/topong-kulkhanchit-dies/

The World Federation of the Deaf (WFD) Regional Secretariat in Asia/Pacific (RSA/P) is in great mourning over the sudden loss of one of the greatest leaders of the disability movement in our ESCAP Region, Mr. Topong Kulkhanchit. On behalf of the entire Deaf community in the ESCAP Region, I extend my deepest condolences to his family and to the organizations with which he was concerned. We share this great sadness with you. Topong had a great understanding of the needs of the Deaf, and was a constant friend and advisor for the National Association of the Deaf in Thailand. We will strive to carry on the fight for full participation and equality to which Topong dedicated his life.

WFD RSA/P
Director
Takeo Ogura

Posted by rollingrains at 01:32 AM

June 09, 2007

Topong Kulkanchit: Tireless Advocate

Topong


This eulogy for a friend and unstinting advocate for Inclusive Tourism was circulated today by
Shoji Nakanishi Chairperson, DPI Asia Pacific Region.

Topong was one of the few people who consistently provided me with news of important developments in the promotion of Inclusive Tourism before I had learned about it from some other source. My mailbox would frequently include emails with timestamps eflecting his practice of waking early to communicate at the convenience of his North American and European colleagues.:


Topong Kulkanchit, DPI Asia-Pacific Development Officer, passed away at 11:20 (Thai local times) on 7 June 2007. He returned from the South Asian workshop on 'Capacity Building of Southern Disabled People's Organizations in Bangladesh on 5 June. At that time his condition was bad, so that he stayed at home for a while. Then he developed a high fever over 40 degrees and was taken to the Army Hospital. In the night on 6 June, his condition turned to be critical. He had cardio-respiratory arrest 5 times until the morning. After the struggle with illness, while he was taken heart massage from doctors, he passed away.

Topong was a great leader in the disability movement. Before he became disabled in 1986, Topong had served Royal Thai Army. Following his graduation from Royal Military Academy in 1981, he extended his study and training at the US. Army Infantry School in 1984-85. He got car accident during his patrol duty near Thailand-Malaysia border in 1986, injured his cervical cord, and became quadriplegic. He was promoted to be lieutenant colonel after leaving the army in 1989. While taking rehabilitation at the hospital, he participated in DPI Regional Assembly held in Thailand in 1988. His encounter with disability sector led him to deep commitment to equal opportunities of persons with disabilities in society. Then he got a chance to participate in the Nagoya City Marathon and to visit an independent living center, Human Care Association in Japan. During his visit, he stayed my home and learned that a person with severe disability could live in community not in hospital. He began to live in community where he started to drive a car and to write by himself.

Then he became President of the Association of the Physically Handicapped in Thailand (APHD) and developed APHD from a small organization coving only Bangkok area to a nation-wide organization. He was also an activist in an independent living (IL) movement, after he had invited to an lL study trip in U.SA. in 1991 organized by the Human Care Association of Japan. He was always a great leader of our movements, such as establishment of Rehabilitation Law, making accessible stations of Bangkok Sky-train, and organizing campaign for barrier-free new Bangkok airport. Appointed as Regional Development Officer of DPI-Asia-Pacific region in 1999, he used his talent for fostering young leaders with disabilities in Asia and the Pacific. His attractive character caught many disabled persons’ minds and brought unprecedented success in the last 20 years of disabled persons’ movements in Asia-Pacific region. 26 Asia-Pacific countries joins DPI as member as a result of his tireless efforts made at regional, national, grassroot and individual levels. In the region, there is no person with disability who has never heard of Topong Kulkhanchit.

Our strong movement deeply owes to his activity. Once he said “Leader works when staff are tired. Leader keeps awake to work when staff go to bed. Leader works without taking meal when staff are hungry,.” He spent his life as his words. He continued his fight until his last moment and I believe he fulfilled his life.

May he rest in peace. I also offer my sincere condolences to his wife Ying, and his mother and sister.

We persons with disabilities left behind carry his torch and continue to fight to realize his vision of society of full participation and equality.

Posted by rollingrains at 08:34 PM

June 07, 2007

New International Building Code

Press release distributed through the Justice For All Network publication Disability Potpourri:

New International Building Code eliminates requirements for disabled in existing apartments undergoing alterations

Jackson Heights, NY - The 2007 Supplement of the International
Building Code (IBC) will no longer require apartments undergoing
alterations to provide adaptability features to accommodate people
with disabilities.

Under previous editions of the IBC, an alteration to more than 20
units in an existing building would trigger a requirement for two
percent of the units to be provided with basic adaptability
features.

A proposal (G-206) submitted during the International Code
Council's (ICC) fall hearings in Orlando, Florida led to the
elimination of the IBC's requirement to provide important
adaptability features in existing apartments undergoing alterations.

Staff from the U.S. Access Board, the U.S. Department of Housing &
Urban Development (HUD) and the United Spinal Association, were
unsuccessful in a bid to have an alternative proposal requiring
minimal adaptability requirements
in existing apartments revisited
during the ICC's hearings in Rochester, NY on May 24, 2007.

The National Association of Home Builders and The National Multi-
Housing Council provided testimony against the proposal asking for
minimal adaptability requirements,
citing the additional costs and
space that would be necessary to comply.

Further information:
http://www.aapd.com/News/housing/070601usa.htm

Source - press release:

Contact:
Dominic Marinelli
716-828-9139
dmarinelli@unitedspinal.org

Posted by rollingrains at 07:49 PM

June 06, 2007

Chinese Media on the 2008 Paralympics

Paralympic Pictograms

Sometimes it is instructive to follow a single story over time in the same publication. Here is ChinaDaily.com on the upcoming Paralympics:

Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games pictograms unveiled
http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/photo/2007-05/24/content_879097.htm

Designer inspired by Paralympic athletes
http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/2008/2007-05/23/content_879034.htm

Games official calls for better understanding
http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/cndy/2007-05/25/content_880001.htm

Games for Disabled boosts hopes at Paralympics
http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/2008/2007-05/21/content_876799.htm

Paralympics a growing blip on public radar
http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/2008/2007-05/25/content_880481.htm

Paralympics to see more reporters than ever
http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/2008/2007-05/29/content_882588.htm

Paralympics new focus of international media
http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/2008/2007-06/01/content_885211.htm

Posted by rollingrains at 02:15 PM

June 04, 2007

When Green & Universal Design Separate

P. J. Bremier reflects on Marin County, California where green and Universal Design seem have to diverged rather than converged as in so many other parts of the world:

A few years ago, it seemed that universal design was the wave of the future. It was an approach that considered accessibility and safety in homes, especially for seniors and those with impaired mobility.

It made sense not only because of our aging population but because anyone could have a temporarly health problem or injury and have to rely on crutches. And yet home designs with accessibility and safety in mind seem to have been left behind in the energetic response to the worldwide green design movement.

Building green is about saving resources, sensible choices and creating a healthy living environment. But if these large, multistory homes are decked in eco-friendly clothes but don't feature an awareness of the future, they can't serve our generation-spanning population.

Find the rest of the story at Fine Living: Challenges of home design for our aging population

Posted by rollingrains at 06:48 AM

June 01, 2007

Study: The Built Environment's Influence on Performance of Routine Activities

INVITATION TO PARTICIPATE IN A RESEARCH STUDY
The Built Environment's Influence on Performance of Routine Activities

A research team at the Center for Inclusive Design and Environmental
Access (IDEA) is currently conducting a federally funded study on how
the built environment influences people's ability to perform routine
activities.

The research study uses online surveys to identify activities that are
most problematic for people in three built environments: Public
Buildings, Public Streets and Residential Environments. Follow-up
surveys then evaluate how well specific architectural design features
remedy those problems.

Individuals who participate in the online surveys will be eligible for
random drawings of $100 cash prizes as well as a $500 grand prize.
Participants will also be invited to join message board discussions
where they can share ideas and talk about topics of mutual interest.

To participate in the research or to obtain additional information,
please go to http://www.udeworld.com/research/index.php or contact us at
idea@buffalo.edu.

Posted by rollingrains at 07:55 PM

May 31, 2007

Universal Design Article in Architectural Record

David Sokol's article Boomers Teeter at Edge of Vision Crisis quotes Danise Lavine of the IDEA Center and Eunice Noell-Waggoner, president of the Center of Design for an Aging Society:


Danise Levine, assistant director of the IDEA Center at University at Buffalo, says that while Universal Design principles take low vision into account, existing standards are prejudiced against low-vision building occupants. “Most accessibility codes are geared toward people with mobility issues, which is not what most low-vision people grapple with,” she explains. In cities such as Atlanta, residential “visitability” regulations, which guarantee entry and bathroom access for disabled visitors in new homes, also emphasize physical impairment. Even the best intentions, including mandatory curb cuts for wheelchair access, put low-vision pedestrians at a disadvantage, since these people are unable to discern the dip in a sidewalk’s surface.

Architects are slowly waking up to the low-vision epidemic. According to Eunice Noell-Waggoner, president of the Center of Design for an Aging Society, they are “becoming more curious” about accommodating low-vision users. The American Institute of Architects now includes information about lighting techniques in its guidelines for healthcare facilities.

The full article:
http://archrecord.construction.com/news/daily/archives/070529boomers.asp

Posted by rollingrains at 03:51 AM

May 25, 2007

UD @ Home (& Abroad)

This is the reporting that we like to read in the US. Let's hope that hotel designers, cruise ship builders, and esttination development specialists have c urrent subscriptions to San Diego Source:

Universal design may actually be getting universal.

Homebuilders have long given lip service to designing houses that accommodate people of all ages and physical abilities, but few companies actually built them. Now, though, the idea is gaining traction.

Read For Boomers the House of the Future


The irony of the fact that it is now the US imitating Japan's leadership in the field of Universal Design in homes ought not be lost on Boomers. See SmartSilver Alliance's "Click to the Loo My Darling!"

Posted by rollingrains at 04:34 PM

May 24, 2007

Support for Transparency in Online Hotel Booking

Catherine Marsden over at Accessible Chicago and the Kudos & Tomoatoes blog is one of several readers to register their support for the wakeup call to Bonnie and Judith's to Hotels.com.

Take a look at her April 8, 2007 blog entry, "Kudos for Orbitz Travel Website."

I had a positive experience with Orbitz travel website recently that I thought I would share with my users. I wanted to test the notion that firms in the entertainment and service industries do not currently offer the term wheelchair accessible as a selection criteria. For example, Metromix in Chicago can offer entertainment selections based on what types of bands you want to see, what neigborhood you want to go out in, but they do not offer a selection that would bring back an answer based on whether the user wanted wheelchair accessible seating, parking, or a wheelchair ramped entrance.

For the whole story:

http://www.accessiblechicago.org/kudos_for_orbitz_travel_website

Posted by rollingrains at 06:20 PM

May 23, 2007

Setting Precedents for Inclusive Travel: Booking Hotel.com for Discrimination

OK, time to scratch our heads and ask, "Why didn't I think of this?"

Read about the commonsense lawsuit against Hotels.com by Bonnie Lewkowicz and Judith Smith here:


Kevin Knestrick, attorney with Disability Rights Advocates, a law firm based in Berkeley that specializes in high-impact lawsuits on behalf of people with disabilities, said, "The failure to guarantee accessible hotel rooms means that a person in a wheelchair who pays for a room through Hotels.com literally might not be able to enter the room after they arrive at the hotel."

Knestrick alleged, "Hotels.com is excluding people with mobility disabilities from its services. This is hostility to disabled and elderly people, not hospitality."

Knestrick said Hotels.com won't guarantee that a wheelchair-accessible room will in fact be available but instead treats accessibility as an optional "amenity" like a king-sized bed.

Posted by rollingrains at 11:58 PM

May 22, 2007

Even CNN Starts to Get Universal Design

Although the article title makes disability or aging the villain ( Don't Let Disability or Old Age Rob You of a Stylish Home) rather than generations of architecturally encoded socal exclusion, it is encouraging to see further mainstreaming of UD:

•Universal design helps homeowners live in their houses for longer periods of time

• CDC: More than 12,000 people died of injuries related to falls in the home in '02

• Design can make living spaces more livable for those with, without disabilities

Source:
http://www.cnn.com/2007/US/05/21/universal.design/index.html

Thanks to Harry Wolfe for this news item.

Posted by rollingrains at 11:41 PM

May 17, 2007

The Long Trek: Man on a Mission in India

Lohar

I don't think this is the way I want to tour India and Pakistan but this story by Saadia Khalid recounts the grit of one man willing to go the extra mile.

ISLAMABAD: Mohammad Nadeem Lohar, a folk singer, poet and composer has come all the way from Gujrat to Islamabad* in his wheelchair with a ray of hope to meet president and seek grant for forming a musical group.

Offended though that no transporter showed readiness to accommodate him along with his wheelchair, Lohar continuously travelled in the scorching heat in his wheelchair to reach Islamabad, but his sweating suntanned face was still full of determination.

More:
http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2007%5C05%5C07%5Cstory_7-5-2007_pg11_10

* For those of us who are geographically challenged, Gujarat is the most northerly coastal state in the west of India while Islamabad is at the far eastern end of Pakistan above Punjab and bordering Jammu and Kashmir. I other words, it ain't no stroll in the park!

Posted by rollingrains at 11:05 PM

May 12, 2007

Random Acts of Kindness on the Road: Embracing the Korean "Peace Zone"

Technically, so they tell me, peace has never been declared with North Korea. So, as I struggle with Asiana Airlines to provide me with even a modicum of service, images of conflict and war come easily to mind. Add to that the fact that after a brief rest in Seoul tomorrow I will be off to Imjingak with a reporter from Chosun Ilbo and the chair of DPI's sub-committee on Imjingak accessibility.

Reading the independent, pro-unification newspaper Hankyoreh set my thinking down a more peaceful path.

There is Free Hugs campaign in Korea. Virally transmitted by an online video of some Australians doing the same these random acts of human contact seem to be just the cure for disability aversion. As the Hankyoreh article reports on the video of this April 20, National Disabled Persons' Day event:

In many cases, it seemed like it was people’s first experience to hug a person in a wheelchair, as they tried to figure out how to bend their knees and lower their heads in the right way so that they could look their hugging partner in the eyes. After the hugs, both parties always wear bright smiles.
Posted by rollingrains at 01:03 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

May 02, 2007

Why Stephen Kuusisto Will Let Stephen Hawking Blast into Space First

StephenHawking.jpg

Stephen Hawking's recent experience of weightlessness provided news writers with plenty of opportunity to dredge up a slurry of imagery associated with the pitiable state of someone "confined" to his wheelchair. Stephen Kuusisto, over at Blind Planet, offers a brief analysis of this archetype-invoking event.

The Virgin Galactic is scheduled to take near space commercial flights starting in 2009. Watch for continued media enthusiasm and eventually marketing hype involving words like "crippled" and "handicapped" in close proximity to words like "liberation" and "freedom" to describe space travel as desireable for people with disabilities.

Of interest to me is the unintended irony of the BBC News' statement, "The flight, which took off and landed at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, also was intended to test if Hawking has the "right stuff" for a suborbital spaceflight."

At stake here, for the temporarily able-bodied, is nothing less than the entire "right stuff" mythology of space and future. Who can predict the cultural fallout of someone as visibly and severely disabled as Hawking penetrating the sanctum of space travel machismo. Brokenback Space Cowboys on DVD?

Posted by rollingrains at 11:47 PM

May 01, 2007

More on Universal Design Going Mainstream in Homes

This is the reporting that we like to read in the US. Let's hope that hotel designers, cruise ship builders, and esttination development specialists have c urrent subscriptions to San Diego Source:

Universal design may actually be getting universal.

Homebuilders have long given lip service to designing houses that accommodate people of all ages and physical abilities, but few companies actually built them. Now, though, the idea is gaining traction.

Read For Boomers the House of the Future


The irony of the fact that it is now the US imitating Japan's leadership in the field of Universal Design in homes ought not be lost on Boomers. See SmartSilver Alliance's "Click to the Loo My Darling!"

Posted by rollingrains at 04:25 PM

April 27, 2007

Green & Accessible: The Convergence

Here at the Rolling Rains Report you read about the tourism industry adopting Universal Design. In the area of Inclusive Destination Development the convergence with eco sensitive building practice is very encouraging -- the work of Multi: Design for All in the Virgin Islands and the work of the International Institute od Disabilty and Inclusive Development in the Southern Cone of South America are bright lights in that area. Green Globe International is an important player in the sustainable tourism certification field.

GREEN GLOBE INTERNATIONAL UPDATE

Following the recent announcement of the joint venture between Green Globe Asia Pacific and Green Globe Limited, the international management rights of this amalgamation have been secured by EC3 Global.

EC3 Global is the new face of an impressive partnership of a number of highly respected business services supporting Australian and international organisations.

EC3 Global’s range of products and services, such as Earthcheck, Decipher, iPat and Total Tourism Management, are now recognized internationally as undisputed market leaders developing and delivering improved economic, social and environmental outcomes for business and government.

EC3 Global’s Chief Executive Officer, Stewart Moore is excited about the formation of EC3 Global and the incorporation of Green Globe International.

“Bringing Green Globe International under the EC3 banner will greatly enhance our product and service offerings to the domestic and international marketplace. Our aim is to offer a comprehensive, integrated approach to benchmarking and certification as well as consulting services which will benefit the entire industry,”said Mr Moore.

More news about EC3 Global and the new Green Globe International will communicated over coming weeks. Stay tuned!

Posted by rollingrains at 05:53 PM

April 15, 2007

Access Anything: I Can Do That!™

All rightie then! Let's give Access Anything: I Can Do That! lead billing today. See their press release below.


Brand New Guide Book for Travelers with Disabilities, Travel Agents, and Anyone in the Industry: Access Anything: I Can Do That!, Released April 25

For travelers and industry professionals alike, this guide to traveling with a disability showcases 45 different sports and how they became adapted, includes six motivational interviews with famous athletes and fundraisers, and thoroughly describes all modes of travel and how to avoid barriers and complications. Travelers with disabilities will call it their adventure travel bible, travel agents and marketers will call it their office's best resource for planning trips for travelers with disabilities.

Steamboat Springs, CO (PRWEB) April 13, 2007 -- Beginning April 25, 2007, Access Anything: I Can Do That!™, the second book in a series of travel guides for people and adventurers with disabilities, will hit bookstore shelves all over the country and set a precedent for travel writers everywhere.

An inspirational guide to traveling, adventuring, and sporting with a disability, Access Anything: I Can Do That! dives into the incredible world of adaptive sports and recreation by showcasing 45 different sports that have been adapted for people with disabilities. This one-of-a-kind guide also features essential disability travel information and tips for traveling by airplane, car/rental car, charter bus, cruise ship, and train; essential information for not only travelers with disabilities but all those seeking to market to them and provide travel products for them as well.

For added inspiration, Access Anything: I Can Do That! includes six inspirational interviews with world-class adaptive athletes who have helped change the face of adaptive sports. From Mark Wellman's heroic first ascent of the granite cliffs of 3,300-foot El Capitan in Yosemite National Park, to Erik Weihenmayer's inspiring first-ever summit of Mt Everest by a blind man in 2001. These are the heroes that are paving the way for a more accessible future.

Their first book, Access Anything: Colorado, Adventuring with Disabilities (Fulcrum Press, 2005), was a breakthrough for travel guides, encouraging people with disabilities not just to travel, but to have a sense of adventure and to try activities that may seem out of their ability level, and this series provides them with the tools to do so.

The authors will be on book tour for most of the 2007 summer, visiting NY in April, DC in May, California in June and July, and the southern states in August. They have also recently been featured on NBC's Nightly News and MSNBC's Roundup as well as Denver's KUSA9. See www.accessanything.net for these links.

About Access Anything: www.accessanything.net

The mission of Access Anything is to improve the quality of life for millions of people living with disabilities in the United States and around the world by encouraging them to enjoy life to its fullest through the sense of freedom provided by travel, adventure, and a "never give up" attitude. It is our vision to spread awareness concerning the need for better accessibility by writing a series of adventure travel guides for people with disabilities and to establish a common ground where people and information can come together and work to expand the rapidly growing adaptive travel industry.

# # #


http://www.prweb.com/releases/2007/04/prweb518368.htm

Posted by rollingrains at 11:41 PM

April 12, 2007

This minority is invisible by Javed Abidi

Javed Abdi wrote an essay on disability in 2002 that still makes the rounds via email. The piece is called, This Minority is Invisible. Let's hope that the prominence of tourists with disabilities - their economic contribuition to local economies, and the infrastructure built to gain their business - is having some trickle down impact.

June 2002: According to conservative estimates, approximately 6% of India's population is disabled. And if we go by what the U.N. officials or various other experts say, the figure could very well be in double digits. After all, Australia does admit officially that 18% of their population is affected by one form of disability or the other. United Kingdom's disabled population is estimated at 14.2%, whereas in the United States, it is 9%.

Why are the numbers so high for such 'developed' nations as Australia or U.K. or U.S.A.? The answer is quite simple. One, their definition of 'disability' is much broader and embracing. For example, in such countries 'people with internal conditions' are also considered disabled. These are individuals where the disability is not very visible. A person with one lung or one kidney or a person with a severe heart ailment would be termed 'disabled'. In certain countries, even diabetics are given shade under the umbrella of disability.

Such countries and societies are now looking at disability as a social issue and not as a medical one, as is the case in India where disability is a stigma. To be disabled means to be a person without a leg or arm or eye or twisted or worse, crooked! People are ashamed to be labelled 'disabled'.

The second reason is the methodology - how do we go about collecting our numbers. In 'developed' societies, almost each person in the country is accounted for. Every citizen has a social security number, with vital data about what is his/her age, his/her educational status and yes, whether he/she is disabled or non-disabled. So, the numbers are far more accurate, far more authentic. In India, we rely on the Census, an exercise that is conducted once every ten years. Millions of enumerators fan out all across the country and start knocking on the doors of houses, whether in urban areas or in the villages and slums. But then, India is not an easy country. It is vast, the numbers are huge and no matter how hard one may try, there are villages upon villages which are just simply not accessible. So, one has to, I guess, take these Census Commission figures with a pinch of salt. However, what is most tragic as far as disabled people in India are concerned is the fact that our Census Commission never bothered to collect statistics on disability. Atleast, not since India attained independence from the British Raj. Thus, to put it simply, the name of the game thus far has been: No Census, no statistics, no problem! The only attempt India made was in 1991, when a so-called National Sample Survey was conducted. It pegged the population of disabled people in India at 1.9%. And that perhaps is one of the reasons for the false that citizens are just simply not affected by disability. Alas, I wish that was true.

The Invisible Minority - 60 million

I hope that by now there should not be too much of a doubt in your mind that a very sizeable section of our population is affected by one disability or the other. If we agree on the conservative estimate of 6%, we are talking about the welfare and well-being of approximately 60 million of our citizens. Can we ignore them? More importantly, can we afford to ignore them? Just to establish the numbers even further, let me also share with you the statistics from our own neighbourhood: China - 5%, Nepal - 5% and Pakistan - 4.9%. These are all absolute, authentic statistics, sourced from the 'UN Manual for the Development of Statistical Information for Disability Programmes and Policies; 1996'. After a massive public campaign, the Government of India finally yielded and has included disability as a category in Census 2001. We also should now get more accurate statistics but in a year or two.

So, for how long are we going to ignore the facts and the realities? The fact that a disabled person in India can neither attend school, nor go to a college; that getting employment is next to impossible; that something as simple and ordinary as going to a cinema hall or to a park becomes a sort of an ordeal.

What we have done, most probably without even realizing it, is to have left this 6% of our population totally behind. To the point that they, our own brothers and sisters, are no longer visible. They have become 'the invisible minority' of our great nation.

Ignore 'them' But At Your Own Peril

The most grevious mistake our policy makers and decision makers have made is to have looked at disability as a charity issue, as a welfare issue whereas it was, it is and it should rightly be a development issue, a progress issue and to my mind, an economic issue. Can any country afford to have 6% of its population live off charity? Is it not a drain on its resources? Does it not affect the nation's economy? It is about time that we wake up and take a totally fresh look at disability.

No country or society can ever progress or develop leaving 6% of its population behind. In terms of human resources, we are talking about a potential workforce of 60 million people. I am no economist but if we can facilitate even some portion of this population into becoming working and productive members of our society, then don't we have more tax-payers? Conversely, if this huge mass of 60 million Indians was to sit idle, as 'prisoners of circumstances' at home, and remain dependent on charity, then what impact would that have on the nation's future prospects, it's progress and its economy? Can such a nation ever even dream of being a 'developed' nation?

The Disability Act 1995

Rajiv Gandhi was a man of vision. When he became Prime Minister of India, he recognised disability as a core issue. He appointed a high - powered committee under the chairmanship of Justice Baharul Islam. The committee gave its report in 1988 but before anything very concrete could materialise, Rajiv Gandhi went out of power in 1989. The Congress government under P.V. Narasimha Rao picked up the issue from where it had got left and to keep a long story short, 'The Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act, 1995' was passed by the Indian Parliament in December of 1995. It was notified on 7th February, 1996 and thus, it became the law of the land.

The Law

Chapter VI of The Disability Act 1995 is entitled 'Employment'. Clause 41 categorically mandates incentives to employers, both in public and private sectors, who ensure that at least 5% of their work force is composed of persons with disabilities. In 1999, the National Centre for Promotion of Employment for Disabled People (NCPEDP) conducted a Research Study to examine the employment practices of the Indian corporate sector with reference to people with disabilities. A brief questionnaire was sent to the 'Super 100' companies and after much follow-up and persuasion, we did get 70 responses. We suspected that the picture would be dismal, but the statistics that finally emerged just simply stunned us! Some of the key findings were as follows:

* Percentage of disabled employees in the respondent companies: 0.40%
* Percentage of employees with disabilities in the Public Sector: 0.54%
* Percentage of employees with disabilities in the Private Sector: 0.28%
* Percentage of employees with disabilities in the Multinationals: 0.05%
* Out of the 70 respondent companies, 20 companies did not employ any disabled person at all
* Out of the 70 respondent companies, only 10 were found to have 1% or above disabled employees
* There was no company amongst the 'Super 100' where even 2% of the workforce was comprised of disabled persons.

Let's Join Hands

Let us look forward and move on. Let us be honest and admit that we have made mistakes. And let us have the candour to say that we will not repeat them. Let us join hands, the disabled and the non-disabled, to build an India that we can all be proud of. An India, where all of us can move around freely. An India that is not just tolerant but 'inclusive'. An India, where all of us, with or without a disability, can live with dignity and honour.

Javed Abidi
June 2002

JAVED ABIDI was born with a condition called Spina Bifida. He has been a wheelchair-user since the age of 15. Abidi is based in New Delhi, where he heads the National Centre for Promotion of Employment for Disabled People. NCPEDP is at A-77, South Extension, Part - I, New Delhi - 110049, India. E-mail: ncpedp@vsnl.com. This article was written in 2001, and is published by India Together in arrangement with VOICES, Bangalore.

Posted by rollingrains at 08:07 PM

April 05, 2007

"My Maps" at Google

Google.jpg


With a mashup that lets you create interactive maps going mainstream at Google is there something useful for documenting Inclusive Travel? Take a look at Google Maps and click on the new My Maps tab:

http://maps.google.com/

The instructions seem simple enough:


Make Google Maps your maps.

Create and share personalized, annotated maps of your world. Learn more.

* Mark your favorite places on your map.
* Draw lines and shapes to highlight paths and areas.
* Add your own text, photos, and videos.
* Publish your map to the web.
* Share your map with friends and family.

Posted by rollingrains at 01:48 PM

Judge for Yourself. Is Universal Design Mainstream Yet?

Just some of the article that came across my desk in one day:

As boomers age, he helps their houses adjust
http://www.zwire.com/site/news.cfm?newsid=18132626&BRD=2605&PAG=461&dept_id=523946&rfi=6


"The more I got to know this market, the more convinced I was I needed more professional designations," he said. "But the real eye-opener was the training I received to become an aging-in-place specialist. I was shocked to learn how much this service was needed."

When Boomers Age
http://www.courierpress.com/news/2007/mar/22/when-boomers-age/

You can tell a lot about certain classes of people by what other people try to sell them. The home builders have contemplated the now-retiring baby boomers and, although they put it more gently, have seen walkers, wheelchairs and general decrepitude, if not now, eventually. And they are designing houses that will allow creaky boomers to stay in them.

Accessibility is a Hot Trend

Do You Know What You're Selling?
http://www.kitchenbathdesign.com/print/Kitchen-and-Bath-Design-News/Do-You-Know-What-Youre-Selling/2$3199

We understand that being known has value, whether it's being known for our famous celebrity visitors, products that are advertised on TV or designs that gained "fame" in a magazine. On a smaller but still significant scale, we may gain value in being "known" for our cleverly themed showroom, community involvement or unusual specialty such as green design or Universal Design.


Candidates on disability issues
http://columbiamissourian.com/news/story.php?ID=24897

Q: Would you support amending building codes to require universal design in housing construction?

A: Mayoral candidate John Clark, Third Ward candidate Karl Skala and Fourth Ward candidate Jerry Wade all agreed with the application of a universal design.

Mayor Darwin Hindman, who is running for re-election, also said he would like to see universal design used, especially for a possible mixed housing project in Columbia’s downtown...

Clark said that design affects more than just accessibility.

“It’s not about using the bathroom, it’s about social interaction,” he said, noting that design can isolate the disabled from the community.

Skala said his generation of baby boomers are getting to the age that lower light switches and more ramp entrances would get plenty of use.

“It may not be long until me and the other baby boomers will be in wheelchairs or become disabled due to old age,” Skala said.

Me, you and Grampa, too...designing homes for life
http://www.ntxe-news.com/artman/publish/article_41511.shtml


Tapestry Custom Homes in Dallas has been recognized by EasyLiving Home Texas as the first builder to construct an EasyLiving home in Texas. The company began building universal design homes during the 1990s in Dallas and Collin Counties.

"If the media buzz is any indication," says Bill Slease, Tapestry owner, "the concept of universal design in new homes will impact the housing market significantly in the near term."

Donny Mack, president and CEO of Beaver Builders in Sanger, Texas, says the company has built homes for disabled veterans, the physically challenged, families who choose to have their parents move in with them, and young couples looking ahead to their future needs. Mack points out that if universal design principles are incorporated in the preliminary house planning stage, there is no real increase in cost to build the home.

"It is pretty much just a forward way of thinking," says Mack. "Our homes and additions don't look 'accessible' but functionally are visitable by all."

http://www.builderonline.com/industry-news.asp?sectionID=26&articleID=458450

Every year, 4 million Americans turn 50. Most are looking for ways to stay independent longer, and that means living in homes built with accessibility in mind. But baby boomers don't want the stigma of unattractive homes with wheelchair ramps and an institutional feel.

The solution: universal design -- stylish homes touting features that look good while accommodating folks of all ages and physical abilities.

EDITORIAL: Speak the Home Builders’ Language
http://www.customretailer.net/story/story.bsp?sid=49150&var=story

I attended a press conference given by National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) Vice President of Research Gopal Ahluwalia that addressed “The Home of the Future...” Universal design and handicap access will grow in emphasis. Interestingly, average home sizes are expected to remain as they are today (about 2,400 square feet), although more two-story homes are coming.

Development targets active baby boomers
http://www.news-journal.com/news/content/news/stories/03222007Development.html


Builders urged to consider future mobility issues
http://thechronicleherald.ca/AtHome/563881.html


Structural Impairments That Limit Access to Health Care for Patients With Disabilities
http://jama.ama-assn.org/cgi/content/full/297/10/1121

Posted by rollingrains at 06:12 AM

April 04, 2007

Can We Work Some "Magic" Into Inclusive Tourism?

Magic Johnson wants to see more minority travel. Magic, we could use some celebrity support for accessible travel while you're at it.

From the Detroit Free Press:

Magic Johnson was known for his uncanny vision on the basketball court. Now a businessman with a stake in the travel industry, he has his sights set on making the leisure industry more accessible to minorities and their spending power.

"When you think about minorities, yes, we're traveling, but we could do it even more often if we have more minority buyers and sellers in the industry," Johnson said Friday to a group of cruise industry and travel agents at the cruise3sixty conference in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.. "We need more minorities selling travel."

Through the Magic Johnson Travel Group, the former Lansing Everett, Michigan State and Los Angeles Lakers guard has created a network of home-based travel agents who serve minority customers.

Johnson wants to bring jobs and money into minority communities by recruiting more minority travel agents. He said Hispanics and blacks have a combined spending power of $1.9 trillion.

"In general, that (travel) market is underserved and should grow," said Lynne Biggar, senior vice president and general manager of American Express Consumer Travel Network USA. "There's a lot of untapped opportunity."

Johnson has built successful businesses in minority markets. He has joint-ownership in 108 Starbucks stores, owns movie theaters and formed a partnership with 24 Hour Fitness.

"Everybody thought they could not make money in urban America, and that is wrong," Johnson said. "You just have to know how to speak to that customer."


Posted by rollingrains at 06:05 AM

April 02, 2007

Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Signing by Arab States

Sunday, 1, April, 2007 (13, Rabi` al-Awwal, 1428)

Kingdom and Six Arab States Sign UN Protocol
K.S. Ramkumar, Arab News

JEDDAH, 1 April 2007 Saudi Arabia, along with other countries, signed on Friday night the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and the Optional Protocol opened for signature by states and regional integration organizations at a solemn ceremony at the UN General Assembly hall in New York on Friday. Six Arab states including Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen were among more than 80 countries that took part in the signature ceremony.

"All the other Arab countries including Saudi Arabia will sign the treaty in the near future," Mukhtar Shibani of the Riyadh-based chair of the Arab region of one of RI's commissions International Commission on Technology and Accessibility (ICTA-RI), told Arab News yesterday.

Posted by rollingrains at 04:18 PM

Human 2.0 @ MIT Media Lab

h20logo


The MIT Media Lab will present h2.0 on May 9, 2007. From the web site:

A science is emerging that combines a new understanding of how humans work to usher in a new generation of machines that mimic or aid human physical and mental capabilities. Some 150 million of us are over the age of 80, while 200 million of us suffer from severe cognitive, emotional, sensory, or physical disabilities. Giving all or even most of this population a quality of life beyond mere survival is both the scientific challenge of the epoch and the basis for a coming revolution over what it means to be human. To unleash this next stage in human development, our bodies will change, our minds will change, and our identities will change. The age of Human 2.0 is here.

Source:
http://h20.media.mit.edu/about.html

Posted by rollingrains at 03:56 AM

March 30, 2007

Countdown on the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

From the Associated Press:


March 30, 2007

UNITED NATIONS: Eighty countries signed the U.N. convention
enshrining the rights of the world's 650 million disabled people

Friday in what the U.N. human rights chief called an unprecedented
show of support to empower the physically and mentally impaired.


The United Nations held a ceremony on Friday, the first day the convention opened, for signatures. Not only did 80 countries and the European Community sign it, but Jamaica also announced that it had ratified the convention meaning that only 19 more ratifications are needed before the convention comes into force. At the ceremony, speaker after speaker urged speedy approval.

U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour announced
the huge level of support at a news conference afterward, saying
"It's certainly unprecedented in terms of support for a human
rights instrument, but it's apparently setting records for the
signature of any convention in the United Nations."


Posted by rollingrains at 06:02 PM

March 25, 2007

More on Cell Phones

wikinomics.jpg


If DoCoMo can develop innovative Universal Design features into cell phones - but doesn't port them over to US network compatibility very soon - what sort of competitive innovation will swallow them up?

Alan Majer over at Wikinomics suggests that we are at a strategic inflection point with mobile devices similar to the transition from mainframe to PCs in the piece I Want an Open Source Mobile Phone.

Posted by rollingrains at 06:38 PM

March 23, 2007

Travel & Intellectual Disabilities

The following request may provide readers with an opportunity to have the realities of travel with a disability accurately portrayed in the media:


No More Stereotypes of People with Intellectual Disabilities!

The Entertainment Industries Council (EIC) has asked AAPD to help ensure that depictions of persons with intellectual disabilities in TV shows and in movies are not stereotypical or patronizing. They have asked AAPD to collect any personal stories you may be able to share with EIC that relate to any of the numerous issues surrounding intellectual disabilities. For example, they want to know about family, health care, legal, diagnostic, developmental concerns, so that they can share actual stories (similar to case studies) with Hollywood writers and producers, with the hope that true-life stories will inspire fictional depictions.

If you would like to participate, please write up a "case study" and send it to AAPD. Just write up the details (the who-what-when-where-why) and send it to me at aapdjenifer@aol.com as soon as you can. Maybe your true story of some outrageous comment or event will change how the world thinks about intellectual disability. I know I'm going to write up a few stories about how my son with intellectual disabilities has been treated very badly a few times (and how we got even!)


Source: Jenifer Simpson, American Association of People with Disabilities, email: aapdjenifer@aol.com

Posted by rollingrains at 05:19 PM

March 21, 2007

Launched Today: Visitability Canada

visitable canada

Visitability is a family value. It is a choice to allow the participation of family members who may have limited mobility and to welcome neighbors and guests with ambulatory disabilities. As this particular outgrowth of Universal Design spreads so do resources like Visitability Canada.

The purpose and long-term outcome of this project is to determine the impact of Visitability on communities. This project will be a major step forward in creating inclusive and livable communities.

The project focuses on Canada to discover where Visitability initiatives are taking place and what factors are facilitating its growth or are creating barriers to implementation.


http://www.visitablehousingcanada.com/

Project Goals

* To create a first time ever baseline assessment and data base of the state of Visitability in Canada
* To host a first time ever Think Tank meeting on Visitability in Canada
* To develop a website that will provide best practices, information, and advice on designing Visitable homes in Canada
* Establishment of a network of people interested in developing Visitable housing and communities across Canada


Project Timeline: August 1, 2006 to August 1, 2007

Project Funding: Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation and the Government of Manitoba, Department of Housing and Family Services

Posted by rollingrains at 12:47 PM

March 20, 2007

Steve & Alissa at UnBeige (MediaBistro.com) Pick up on UD

There is nothing like the buzz that starts happening when major media outlets pick up on Universal Design. Here it's the Washington Post and Roger Lewis.

Here is a note at MediaBistro.com on the fickle fame of Universal Design so far this week. See Back to Richard K. Lewis and Living Life with Design

Although in his article Richard Lewis uses the unfortunate descriptor "wheelchair-bound architect" to describe Universal Design's founder Ron Mace and does not appear to recognize the difference between the terms "handicapped" and "disabled" he compensates by being of the few popularizers who informs his readers of the seven principles. He also explains:

But universal design also is a bit of a critique of the ADA 's focus on only the needs of a specific population, the physically handicapped. Advocates of universal design instead propose that, to be truly universal, we should shape environments to fit a much broader population, including the disabled.

Although the distinction between the ADA and universal design may seem subtle, it nevertheless leads to different ways of thinking about design, to new principles and outcomes. The Center for Universal Design has laid out what it considers the key principles.

For the entire article read, In Universal Design, Comfort and Function for All.

Posted by rollingrains at 12:21 AM

March 18, 2007

If You Were Wondering About Cruise Ship Accessibility

Candy Harrington's post on the current state of maritime accessibility policy and regulations in the US is informative.

Read "Don't Believe Eveything You Read!"

Posted by rollingrains at 06:20 AM

March 16, 2007

From the Green Travel Digest

Marcus L. Endicott publishes the informative Green Travel Digest. A recent issue mentions an impressive collaboration created "to advance the state-of-the-practice in sustainable tourism development." Can we convince the Global Sustainable Tourism Alliance (GSTA) that Universal Design is the logical completion of the sustainable tourism ethic?

Tomorrow's post will reference some of the resources available here on the blog that are available for making that case.

USAID Global Sustainable Tourism Alliance (GSTA)

Global Sustainable Tourism Alliance (GSTA)
http://www.nric.net/tourism/gsta.htm

The Global Sustainable Tourism Alliance (GSTA) is a single award,
five-year Leader with Associates (LWA) cooperative agreement funded
by USAID. Its purpose is twofold: to advance the state-of-the-
practice in sustainable tourism development and allied fields; and to
assist USAID Missions and other operating units to design and
implement innovative, integrated, and market-based tourism approaches
that will foster sustainable futures for individuals, local
communities, and societies in USAID-presence countries.

Academy for Educational Development (AED): Ecotourism
http://www.aed.org/EnvironmentandEnergy/International/ecotourism.cfm

Ecotour - Ecotourism at Conservation International
http://www.ecotour.org/

Citizens Development Corps/Tourism Development Corps
http://www.mbaec-cdc.org/desktopdefault.aspx?page_id=148310

Counterpart International
http://www.counterpart.org/Default.aspx?tabid=322

EplerWood International
http://www.eplerwood.com/

George Washington University-International Institute of Tourism
Studies

http://www.gwutourism.org/iits.htm

Nathan Associates

http://www.nathaninc.com/

National Geographic Society-Center for Sustainable Destinations
http://www.nationalgeographic.com/travel/sustainable/

Rainforest Alliance
http://www.rainforest-alliance.org/tourism.cfm?id=main

RARE
http://www.rareconservation.org/programs/ page.php?subsection=Rare%
20Enterprises
{ http://tinyurl.com/2dzkw3 }

Solimar International
http://www.solimarinternational.com/

The Nature Conservancy-Ecotourism Program
http://www.nature.org/aboutus/travel/ecotourism/

University of Hawaii School of Travel Industry Management
http://www.tim.hawaii.edu/

U.S. Forest Service-Heritage Design
http://www.heritagedesign.org/

&

12 Non-traditional Development Partners

= = =

Summary Table of Organization Expertise in Sustainable Tourism
http://www.nric.net/tourism/directory_table.pdf

from:
"Marcus L. Endicott" mendicot@yahoo.com

Posted by rollingrains at 04:03 PM

March 15, 2007

DSQ Forum on Disability Blogs Goes Live Today

Disability Studies Quarterly Logotype

As mentioned on March 13 the latest issue of Disability Studies Quarterly contains a forum on disability blogs. It has gone live today here:

http://www.dsq-sds.org/_articles_html/2007/winter/2007_winter_toc.html


From Stephen Kuusisto's Introduction:

With this issue of Disability Studies Quarterly we want to introduce the blog as a new forum for disability advocacy and public engagement . Writing online is simultaneously brash, phlegmatic, idealistic, dogmatic, creative, reasoned, and vituperative. The blog is at once a forum for seasoned writers even as it offers entrance to public discourse by those who are new to publishing. It is not too optimistic to characterize the blog as an equalizing force when one considers how infrequently disability is discussed as a social construction by the traditional press. In his recent collection of essays Bending Over Backwards, Lennard J. Davis notes that even progressive political journals like The Nation will often refuse to publish editorials or articles that are concerned with disability. Progressive opinion journals are, it would seem, no better at claiming disability than their conservative counterparts.
Posted by rollingrains at 08:50 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

In Disability Studies Quarterly

Watch next month's Disability Studies Quarterly for A Roundtable on Disability Blogging. In it you will find some of my favorites:

Ruth Harrigan
Wheelie Catholic

The Goldfish
Diary of a Goldfish

Darren Hillock
Get Around Guide

Kay Olson / Blue
The Gimp Parade

Alicia "Kestrell" Verlager
The Blind Bookworm Blog

Wheelchair Dancer
The Wheelchair Dancer

Emma Crees
The Life and Times of Emma

Stephen Kuusisto
Planet of the Blind

Posted by rollingrains at 07:57 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 07, 2007

CruiseRespite.com and Book The Living Dementia Case-Study Approach

Cruise respite Logo

To a large extent our coverage of cruising and disability has focussed on mobility issues and blindness and occassionally about deafness or dialysis.

I just received this press release from Gwendolyn de Geest of Cruise Respite about a unique, and to all appearances, promising travel product - cruises tailored to those with dementia.



for immediate release


The Living Dementia Case-Study Approach

- Caregivers Discover What Works and What Doesn’t

Vancouver, BC, (March 6, 2007) - CruiseRespite today announces the release of The Living Dementia Case-Study Approach book.

With insight and clarity, the Living Dementia Case-Study Approach book explores common issues that caregivers face on a daily basis, from memory loss and communication challenges to bathing and wandering issues. Utilizing the 4-T Dementia Care Model, readers will embrace who the person was prior to the diagnosis.

The Living Dementia Case-Study Approach is a philosophy of dementia care to assist both professional and family caregivers to understand the journey. They will discover that there is an invisible “black thread” separating them from the reality of the person with dementia. As the person gives up the burden of their reality, relationships become lighter.

David Troxel, co-author of The Best Friends Approach to Alzheimer’s Care, comments that “Family and professional caregivers may be easily overwhelmed. Many of them do not have time to read books from start to finish. Instead, they benefit from quick, easy-to-read chapters that tell a compelling story and then summarize key points. The Living Dementia Case-Study Approach can be used as caregiver resource material to enhance bedside care (or taught in the classroom) so that busy and stressed caregivers can learn at their own pace.”

To order The Living Dementia Approach book, click here.

About the author

Gwendolyn de Geest, RN, BSN, MA is the author of The Living Dementia Case-Study Approach. Gwendolyn has been an educator and front-line caregiver in dementia care for over two decades. She has a passion to enhance the quality of life for seniors, and knowledge of the issues that are important to them.

As a result of witnessing the joys and sorrows of many of these individuals, Gwendolyn was moved to write The Living Dementia Case-Study Approach. This work touches the lives of these individuals in a most intimate manner, allowing both their dignity and humanness to remain intact.

Gwendolyn can be reached at 778-772-7776 or at gmdegeest@CruiseRespite.com.

website: www.CruiseRespite.com

Posted by rollingrains at 06:59 PM

March 05, 2007

Premio a la Accesibilidad y el Diseño Universal en Domogar 2007

TAU Cerámica patrocina el Premio a la Accesibilidad y el Diseño Universal en Domogar 2007, la Feria de la Domótica y del Hogar Digital que este año alcanza su tercer aniversario y que se celebrará en Valencia del 7 al 10 de marzo...

El objetivo de TAU Cerámica con este premio es fomentar la investigación y el desarrollo de servicios y sistemas que favorezcan los valores de la accesibilidad y el diseño universal, dos líneas de trabajo en las que la empresa viene incidiendo ampliamente en los últimos años, tanto de manera independiente como en colaboración de los principales institutos tecnológicos, instituciones y entidades privadas.



TAU Cerámica patrocina el Premio a la Accesibilidad y el Diseño Universal de la domótica en la feria Domogar 2007
http://www.casadomo.com/noticiasDetalle.aspx?id=9401&c=1&idm=5&pat=5

Posted by rollingrains at 03:16 AM

March 03, 2007

El Deporte Adaptado (CIDA 2007)

La Conferencia Internacional sobre Deporte Adaptado (CIDA 2007), se celebrarán en Málaga del 15 al 18 de marzo.

Posted by rollingrains at 07:10 PM

March 02, 2007

Disability in the Workplace

National Public Radio's consultant, Ben Dattner, is taking questions related to workplace dilemmas here. Readers with disabilities may want to submit questions from personal experience. Those in the travel and hospitality industry wanting to better accommodate people with disabilities may also want to do s o.

Posted by rollingrains at 11:24 PM

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 23, 2007

Entrevista Sobre Turismo Acessivel: Ricardo Shimosakai

Avape logo


Veja entrevista do estudante de Turismo e membro da equipe Turismo & Aventura Adaptado, Ricardo Shimosakai, que falou sobre a criação da equipe de turismo adaptado, que tem como objetivo principal promover a inclusão social através das atividades de turismo, esporte, aventura e lazer adaptados. Para assistir clique aqui.

Sobre AVAPE:

http://www.avape.org.br/site/index.asp?Fuseaction=Conteudo&ParentID=300&Menu=0,0,0,0&Materia=414&str_busca=

Posted by rollingrains at 04:47 PM

February 21, 2007

Public Transit: A View Into The Maelstrom

This 2006 firestorm of public debate in Seattle, Washington - one of the earliest adopters of accessible transit - on the use of busses by people with disabilities is preserved here.

Posted by rollingrains at 05:22 AM

February 20, 2007

Travel in Emergency Situations

The force evacuation of people with disabilities in natural disaters is not exactly tourism - but it does serve to thrust into public consciousness the failure of policy, infrastructure, and service that is the day-to-day reality of travelers with disabilitites. The following grant opportunity may result in strategies - and perhaps political will and entrepreneurial motivation - for improvement.

The National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research is inviting applications for two new research grants in the
areas of: "Emergency Evacuation and Individuals with Disabilities" and "Emergency Management Technologies."

NIDRR Announces New Grant Opportunities in Emergency Management and Disability

The National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research
(NIDRR) in the U.S. Department of Education is pleased to announce
notices inviting applications for two new research grants in the
areas of: "Emergency Evacuation and Individuals with Disabilities"
and "Emergency Management Technologies."

"Emergency Evacuation and Individuals with Disabilities" is a
three-year Disability and Rehabilitation Research Project (DRRP)
with projected funding at $450,000 per year. "Emergency Management
Technologies" is a five-year Rehabilitation Research and
Engineering Center (RERC) with projected funding at $950,000 per
year.

NIDRR will hold pre-application meetings (by teleconference) for
anyone interested in applying for the grants. Please see the
notices inviting applications for the dates and times of the pre-
application meetings. We also will conduct peer-reviewed
competitions to evaluate the applications we receive.

Notices inviting applications for these (and other) NIDRR grants
were published in the Federal Register on February 14, 2007 and
are available on the Department of Education website at
http://www.ed.gov/news/fedregister/index.html.

Applicants: Complete grant application packages for both
competitions are available at both
http://www.ed.gov/fund/grant/apply/grantapps/index.html
and http://www.grants.gov. Please note: When downloading
the application package via Grants.gov you are given three boxes
to fill in -- the FON; the CDFA and the ID -- you should only fill
in one of these boxes in order to open the application package. If
submitting electronically via Grants.gov you will have to read the
instructions very carefully. Please log onto
http://www.grants.gov early to register - this is a
3-5 day process. Institutes of Higher ED - Please check with your
grants/sponsored programs office to see who there will be
submitting them for you. Do not wait to the last hour on the
closing date to apply. Electronic applications received at the
Department via grants.gov must be received/logged in, on the due
date, by 4:30 p.m. Washington, DC time in order to be considered.

Applications are due on or before MONDAY, April 16, 2007.

Peer Reviewers: Persons interested in being a peer reviewer for
either of these competitions should send a detailed resume to
OSERSPRS@ed.gov, with copies to bonnie.gracer@ed.gov and
thomas.corfman@ed.gov. Please include a cover letter describing
your areas of expertise. You must include your academic
credentials, complete contact information and a description of
your experience in relevant areas (e.g., research, engineering,
emergency management, disability). If you already sent your resume
to Bonnie Gracer you do not need to resend it. Federal employees
are not eligible to be peer reviewers for these competitions.

Source: NCD Listserv

Posted by rollingrains at 02:53 AM

February 17, 2007

Assessing the Impact of Hurricane Katrina on Persons with Disabilities

Katrina has been out of the news for a while. Here's a study funded by the National Institute on Disability and
Rehabilitation Research "Assessing the Impact of Hurricane Katrina on Persons with Disabilities." Readers who plan to submit a presentation proposal for the Disabled Peoples International World Assembly on the UN Convention take note of this new resource if your topic is (F5) Roles of DPOs in Recovery Process on day three of the assembly.

New Findings: Assessing the Impact of Katrina on Persons with Disabilities

Dear Friends:

We are pleased to be able to share with you our recently completed
report, Assessing the Impact of Hurricane Katrina on Persons with
Disabilities at
http://www.rtcil.org/products/NIDRR_FinalKatrinaReport.pdf.

This research, funded by the National Institute on Disability and
Rehabilitation Research, represents the most recent in-depth
effort to understand how persons with disabilities prepared for,
reacted to, and recovered from the devastating impact of the storm
in portions of the Gulf Coast most affected. In addition, this
work sought to understand the roles and relationships that Centers
for Independent Living (CILs) played in all phases of the
disaster, with a special emphasis on their relationship to the
emergency management system.

Our findings, based upon extensive individual personal interviews
and focus groups, revealed three significant gaps in areas
affecting persons with disabilities
: ineffective pre-disaster
planning by CILs, persons with disabilities, and emergency
management; poorly developed pre- and post-disaster communication
and information sharing within and between these three entities;
and underdeveloped pre- and post-disaster coordination between
these three entities and other elements of support within
communities. Our recommendations build upon these findings. A
copy of the executive summary and full report are attached and can
also be downloaded from our Centers website at www.rtcil.org.

We hope that you find this work helpful and welcome any comments
or suggestions.

With best wishes,

Glen W. White, Ph.D. Michael H. Fox, Sc.D.
University of Kansas University of Kansas Medical Center

More information on disability and disaster relief:

http://web.worldbank.org/WBSITE/EXTERNAL/TOPICS/EXTSOCIALPROTECTION/EXTDISABILITY/0,,contentMDK:20319525~pagePK:210058~piPK:210062~theSitePK:282699,00.html

Posted by rollingrains at 04:35 AM

February 15, 2007

Inclusion Daily Express

Inclusion Daily Express is a valuable resource for news on issues of interest of the disability community.


http://www.InclusionDaily.com

As a fellow leader in the disability community, you understand how important it is to stay current on the latest developments in this important work.

You know we’re all in this together -- one big global disability rights community.

Inclusion Daily Express is the email news service that keeps disability rights advocates like us updated every day on what’s happening in this worldwide movement.

We celebrate the spirit that drives people with disabilities and our allies to make the world a better place for everyone.

Inclusion Daily Express also looks at efforts to rid the world of discrimination, injustice, and other barriers that keep many of us from being fully included in neighborhoods, work places, schools, families, houses of worship and homes of our choice because of our differences.

We can help you keep your staff, management, board, and clientele updated the latest on improvements in community living, assistive technologies, accessible design, and changes in laws and attitudes empowering people with disabilities, plus stories and articles by more than a dozen disability reporters and columnists from Albuquerque to Belfast to Kuala Lumpur.

Great for…
• People with disabilities
• Friends, community organizers, and disability rights advocates
• Parents and family members
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• Special education teachers, administrators, and para-professionals
• Researchers, grant writers and policy makers

Have us deliver the news to up to 10 readers of your choice for just pennies a day.

Go to http://www.InclusionDaily.com to sign up today!

TIMELY. COMPREHENSIVE. RELEVANT. RELIABLE.

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Posted by rollingrains at 11:16 PM

February 14, 2007

When Access is Out of Reach

Now here is something that sounds like a genuine dilemma.

The owner of a cinema in Belper, UK has been unable to find a way to make her establishment accessible because of its unique architecture. It is not, according to this report, as if she were not motivated. her own sister is a wheelchair user. What to do?

Ritz criticised for no disabled access

THE OWNER of the Ritz Cinema has defended the business which has been criticised for not having adequate disabled access.

Amanda Mundin, co-owner, of the Ritz on King Street, said they tried as hard as they could to find a way to make the place accessible for everyone but because the cinema is staggered over three floors none of the layers overlap enough for a lift to travel between levels.

She said they even looked at purchasing some more of the building in order to have space to fit a lift but it proved impossible.

She said: "Providing access is something we would definitely do if we extend the cinema because it would be such a big thing to do we would be making it accessible without a doubt.

"My sister was in a wheelchair for 20 years. I know what it is like to not be able to get in places and to have to struggle. It is not fair. I believe we should have access but we just can't."

The building is not listed so the problem with access has been purely down to logistics.

Ms Mundin said they also explored the possibility of installing a chairlift but it would not be in keeping with fire regulations and not all disabled people would be able to use it.

She said they even sought advice from an access officer in who is himself in a wheelchair but were unable to solve the problem.

Source:
http://www.belpertoday.co.uk/ViewArticle2.aspx?SectionID=747&ArticleID=1987566

Posted by rollingrains at 08:07 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

A Major Endorsement of Universal Design in US Housing

The new Liveable Communities Award promises to move Universal Design to higher visibility in the US housing industry. It is significant that in this award bothsustainability and Universal Designare once again married.

Now, who will take leadership to create similar recognition for the developers of hotels, resorts, cruise ships, and the other building blocks of the tourism sector?

Orlando, FL. Feb. 9 - AARP CEO Bill Novelli and National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) Executive Vice President and Chief Executive Officer Jerry Howard today announced a new joint award to recognize creative and unique home and community projects that improve the daily comfort, ease and safety of their residents and highlight the critical elements needed for a livable community.

The new AARP & NAHB Livable Communities Award will be presented annually to the three professional groups — builders, remodelers and developers — for projects that incorporate such aspects as:

- design elements that accommodate the needs of all residents with all levels of physical ability from children through grandparents;

- easy access to community services and features such as retail, restaurants, medical, social and cultural activities, as well as viable transportation options;

- improved energy efficiency and enhanced site design; and

- better communication with key stakeholders

Source:
http://guidetoretirementliving.com/wordpress/?p=701

Further Information:

http://www.aarp.org/livablecommunitiesaward

Posted by rollingrains at 06:27 PM

February 12, 2007

The Shape of Travel (and Travelers)

Here's the emerging wisdom about travel as quoted from Doug Macarthur at the Globe and Mail:

Eventually the sheer volume of travelling grannies and grandpas may lead to massive crowding at popular destinations, entry restrictions at fragile historic monuments and higher accommodation prices as the pool of cheap labour dries up.

In the meantime, a new generation of healthy, affluent, active and curious seniors is launched for take-off to the far corners of the globe. Just don't call them seniors, elderly or old.

Of course he goes on to note...

Have wheelchair, will travel

The number of disabled travellers is growing as boomers become seniors, says James Glasbergen, director of accessible travel with World on Wheelz, a division of Frederick Travel in Waterloo, Ont. At the same time, facilities for the disabled are becoming available even in exotic locales. The company arranges independent and small-group tours for people of all ages with special needs. It even does safaris in South Africa and tours to Egypt's pyramids. It can also arrange for oxygen and for rentals of wheelchairs, bed lifts and scooters.



Source:

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20070130.wxboomers31/BNStory/specialTravel/home

Posted by rollingrains at 09:12 PM

February 10, 2007

Avis: Still Trying Harder

ING_Marathon_Logo

It's over already, the 2007 ING Miami Marathon, but Avis's sponsorship of the a newly formed "Freedom Team" of 15 veterans with disabilities from across the U.S. earned them this bit of airtime:

Avis' sponsorship of the Achilles Track Club arose out of the Company's commitment to making travel more accessible to people with disabilities. The Company launched "Avis Access," the nation's first comprehensive program for travelers with disabilities, in 2003. Service offerings for drivers and passengers with disabilities include the following: transfer boards, swivel seats, spinner knobs, panoramic mirrors, hand controls, accessible bus service and mobility scooters. For the past four years, Avis has also been the presenting sponsor of the Wheelchair Division and Athletes with Disabilities of the ING New York City Marathon.

From an Avis press release

Posted by rollingrains at 07:26 PM

February 06, 2007

Off the Bus - and into the Courts

The following report from the Washington Post comes via the Justice for All network:

"No dog, no dog," shouted the driver and another worker when District resident Joe Orozco and his guide dog tried to board a Todays Bus from Washington to New York. Orozco protested that the company is required by law to accommodate service animals, but the workers continued to block his entry and laughed, he says, when he threatened to call police. Once he called police, the workers said he could ride if the dog was put in the bottom of the bus with the luggage. They relented after police came.

When Orozco tried to board the return bus the next day, a Todays
Bus employee in New York yanked his ticket away and tried to
return his money, he says.

The bus pulled away. After Orozco called police, workers said he
could take the next bus but ordered him to sit in the back. He
complied, but he is filing a complaint with the Justice
Department, which enforces the Americans With Disabilities Act
(ADA). Todays Bus did not respond to four telephone messages left
for the manager and owner.

The ADA guarantees interstate service to disabled passengers; that
includes providing access, with advance notice, to people in
wheelchairs. But many of the companies that pick up passengers
curbside -- the so-called "Chinatown buses" -- simply ignore the
law.
In 2004, regulators checked 14 companies that operate between
Washington and New York, and cited 11 of them for violating the
ADA. The Justice Department launched an investigation in October
2004. "We continue to work on it," spokeswoman Cynthia Magnuson
said last week.

Gathering evidence seems quick and easy to CoGo, who recently
called Todays to ask about wheelchair access. The man who answered
refused to give his name, but his answer was clear: "No
wheelchair."

To register a complaint, call the Justice Department, 800-514-
0301.


Source: The Washington Post
________________________________________________________________

For more transportation news issues, see:
http://www.aapd.com/News/transportation/indextrans.php

Posted by rollingrains at 03:42 PM

February 04, 2007

Pusan Daily News Interview

Scott Rains

This article appeared in the Busan ilbo ( Busan Daily News). I know what I said but, not being able to understand Korean, I have no way to know how it reads in the interview by Hyun-choong Paeck. I hope that the experiences and opinions that I shared will be of interest to Mr. Paeck's readers. It was a pleasure to work with him. I also hope that those readers who find the article of interest will feel free to contact me with questions or comments.

Posted by rollingrains at 01:33 AM

February 01, 2007

Nordic Co-operation on Disability : Universal Design as a National Strategy

Estonia and Lithuania will each be hosts to a promising consultation: on Universal Design as a National Strategy

The number of elderly and disabled in Europe is on the rise. However, the growth of a more accessible society is not increasing at the same rate. An increasingly large group of the population is therefore excluded from public places and service opportunities. They are prevented from taking part under equal conditions.



The Nordic School of Public Health (NHV) and Nordic Co-operation on Disability (NSH) are organising two seminars on Universal Design as a National Strategy in Estonia on 23 January and in Lithuania on 2 February.

The objective of the seminars is to discuss documents and initiatives from the Nordic Council of Ministers and the Council of Europe which promote better physical and social accessibility in society. They also aim to find out the best way that this can be implemented in the Nordic countries and the Baltic States.

One the major challenges for our society is to adapt environments, products and services so that they are accessible for all. The alternative is to offer solutions that are accessible and usable for everyone from the beginning. Whichever one chooses, long-term goals, a continuous process and an active upgrading are necessary.

Tanja Johansson, Project Assistent
tanja@nhv.se
+46 (0)31 693962

Source:
http://www.norden.org/webb/news/news.asp?id=6704&lang=6

Posted by rollingrains at 11:42 PM

January 29, 2007

When Green & Universal Design Combine

Near-Zero Energy Home

Once again sustainable, environmentally responsible Universal Design is making the news. A press release on the BASF Near-Zero Energy Home states:

The BASF Near-Zero Energy Home is 80% more energy efficient than the average home... not only does it save energy, with the integration of solar energy, it produces energy, as well. "There are many days that the electrical meter moves in reverse allowing the homeowner to sell the excess energy back to the utility company," Armstrong stated. "In this way the project represents a carbon-neutral model for residential housing nationwide."

Touting other benefits, Armstrong added, "The BASF Near-Zero Energy Home also delivers increased durability, affordability, ease of construction and improvements in indoor environmental health and comfort."

In the first quarter of 2007, the home will be donated to St. Michael's Housing Authority and then turned over to a family with a teenage boy who is living with quadriplegic paralysis. As such, the home was designed to incorporate elements of universal design, demonstrating BASF's commitment to providing real-life solutions for people with diverse needs.

Source:

http://www.emediawire.com/releases/2007/1/emw499752.htm

Posted by rollingrains at 12:33 PM

January 27, 2007

The Universal Design "Twofer"

In the document, the Rio Charter: Universal Design for Sustainable and Inclusive Development, green and Universal Design

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology House Research Consortium (MIT House_n) and Bensonwood Homes are building a series of four prototype homes through the Open Prototype Initiative, designed to bring innovation to the construction industry.

Source:

http://www.prweb.com/releases/2006/6/prweb402364.htm

"The universal design elements of the home will enable it to adapt quickly and efficiently to our client's needs, changing as their needs change or as their mobility or health improves through rehabilitation," said Don Shumway, president and CEO of Crotched Mountain. "What we learn from this house and subsequent prototypes is very important because as people live longer, the term 'disabled' has taken on new meaning, and having a home that can serve a person or a family's needs throughout their life is something more and more Americans are looking for." Open_1 will also demonstrate "green" building concepts such as energy-efficient wall, window, roof, and lighting systems, advanced tracking of energy use, and provisions for the best possible indoor air quality. The design and construction processes will also demonstrate the ways that buildings of the future will come together with integrated systems for plumbing, heating and cooling, exterior siding, and more.

As its name implies, the Open Prototype Initiative is an "open source" process in which knowledge is shared among industry participants. Unlike other concept or prototype homes, the Open Prototype Initiative will produce real homes that through everyday use will test the deployment of advanced designs, materials, systems and fabrication strategies, with a goal of showing how high-quality, sophisticated and personalized homes can be built more cost-effectively and in less time.

"The way the construction industry builds homes hasn't changed in more than 150 years. The Open Prototype Initiative will engage people at every level of the construction industry, electricians, plumbers, builders and designers to show that we can change the way homes are built, creating new standards, allowing us to build high-quality, environmentally friendly and energy efficient homes," said Tedd Benson, president of Bensonwood Homes.

Posted by rollingrains at 02:57 AM

January 24, 2007

George Braddock & Creative Housing Solutions

George Braddock, a general contractor whose business, Creative Housing Solutions, has done about 1,500 projects for people with disabilities.

"The disability movement had an advantage because it was so 'cross-cultural,' " Braddock says. "Disabilities can affect anyone at any time and at any level, and as a result it has attracted a fair amount of resources."

That attention intensified after 1990, when Congress passed the Americans with Disabilities Act, to prohibit discrimination in employment and public accommodation against people with disabilities.

"The ADA deserves a huge amount of credit for forcing the disabilities issue, but it's just a stepping stone," between public policy and the broader accommodations that allow disabled people to remain in their own homes, Braddock says.

Architectural and technological innovations developed especially to assist people with severe physical or mental disabilities also are finding new application in the "aging in place" movement that allows the elderly to remain in their own homes far longer than might have been possible just a few years ago, he says.



Posted by rollingrains at 09:49 PM

January 15, 2007

Seminar on Accessible Tourism Organized in Cyprus

This 2006 conference is scheduled to be repeated in 2007:

Mansystems (Cyprus), JBR Hellas (Greece) and ΜΗΙ Turismo (Spain) delivered succesfully the first seminar on Accessible Tourism in Cyprus. As highlighted in the seminar, Accessible Tourism is continuously increasing in importance due to, on the one hand, the improvement in the living standard of disabled people and, on the other hand, the aging population: disabled people in Europe, USA, Canada and Japan number approximately 110 million while the total number of disabled and aged people in Europe is approximately 130 million. For Cyprus in particular, the potential for Accessible Tourism from its main source markets is equal to approximately 50 mn people.

A sine qua non for the succesful development of Accessible tourism is to have a holistic approach. Through numerous examples based on the principle of "Design for All" including infrastructure (e.g. pathways, metro), buildings (e.g. hotels, museums) and means of transportation (e.g. buses, boats), it was clearly shown that it is possible to design in a functional and aesthetically pleasing way for all users. Furthermore, such improvements impact posititively on every day life of all citizens in the area where they are made.

Source:
http://www.traveldailynews.com/new.asp?newid=33238&subcategory_id=107

Posted by rollingrains at 04:53 AM

January 12, 2007

ADA Service Animal Provision Being Challenged by Restaurant

A blind woman was denied service at a North Miami Beach Jumbo Buffet restaurant. The manager was arrested. Restaurant management has filed a challenge. See the news video here.

Posted by rollingrains at 04:03 PM

January 10, 2007

50+ Housing Pioneers Universal Design

Susan Mack


50+ Builder Magazine listed their top 50 exectuives for 2006. Among them, not surprisingly is long-time Rolling Rains Report supporter Susan Mack, president of Homes for Easy Living Universal Design Consultants. Congratulations, Susan!

Will we see Universal Design so prominently represented among the top designers of hotels, resorts, and cruise ships at the end of 2007? Let's hope so.

Posted by rollingrains at 03:22 AM

January 07, 2007

Universal Design in the New York Times

Design for Everyone, Disabled or Not by Lisa Chamberlain brings Universal Design to an ever widening a audience.

She is correct, if you heed her caveat "large scale", that this is "the first large-scale residential building in the country where all the units were built using what are called universal design principles."

University Neighborhood Apartments in Berkeley takes the prize for being the pace-setting pioneer in the field however.

Now, when will see luxury hotels adoup a 100% Universal Design policy? Resorts? Cruise ships?

Posted by rollingrains at 01:50 AM

January 02, 2007

Segway on the Road in Ontario

Segway gets a real time test by people with disabilities in Canada:

Five years ago, it was billed as a revolutionary means of transportation that would one day make the automobile obsolete. Now, the two-wheeled gyroscopic scooter known as the Segway Human Transporter is finally getting an official test-drive in Canada.

A five-year pilot project is underway that makes London, Ont., the first Canadian city to allow the battery-powered Segways on sidewalks and streets, Ontario Transportation Minister Donna Cansfield said Friday.

People with disabilities over the age of 14 can now drive a Segway on any Ontario road, but London is the first municipality to allow the vehicles on sidewalks as well, to help gauge how well the Segway integrates into city life.



Source:

http://www.cbc.ca/cp/health/061020/x102048.html

Posted by rollingrains at 04:46 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

December 25, 2006

Call for Candidates: Create International Disability Rights Fund

Now here's some news to launch the new year!

Do you have the "right stuff" to set up a global fund that will make the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) a reality? Can you pull your credentials together to make a convincing presentation by January 15, 2007. If so, read on and write to the Fund for Global Human Rights.


Request for Services: Consultant to create international disability rights fund

I. Introduction
The drafting and adoption of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) has spurred the maturation and globalization of the disability rights field. Disabled people’s organizations (DPOs) from all over the world have strengthened their advocacy efforts and infused their work with a human rights framework. The Convention, which could enter into force as early as 2007, offers unique opportunities and challenges, as the disability rights field seeks to build human rights capacity around state ratification, implementation and monitoring of the treaty. The birth of a new core UN human rights treaty (the first in a decade and the first this century) presents an opportune moment for funders to support a burgeoning and energized human rights constituency, and the advancement of the UN’s institutional framework for human rights standards.
To leverage this opportunity, several funders would like to explore the establishment of a funding mechanism to support country-level disability organizations using rights-based approaches to implement the principles embodied in the CRPD. The initiative would be a vehicle for funders interested in supporting international disability rights as part of their larger human rights or disability portfolios. The fund would be a unique opportunity, limited in scope and duration, to support a rights constituency advocating for the implementation of a UN human rights treaty. Such efforts may include explicit work to ratify, monitor and implement the CRPD and may also include more general awareness raising and empowerment projects. The ultimate goal would be to build the human rights capacity of DPOs around the world to support the rights articulated in the CRPD.
To establish such a fund, critical institutional decisions around grantmaking strategy, governance, and process must take place prior to the initiation of targeted donor investments.
II. Consultant position overview
To make such an initiative a reality, a consultant is needed to undertake three critical activities:

1) Investigate trends in the disability rights field and grantmaking community
Thorough research is needed to design the overarching funding strategies including regional foci. A consultant will investigate the leading trends in the disability rights field around the Convention, the challenges, opportunities and needs of organizations, and the role that private funders can best play. The consultant may begin to meet with disability organizations and experts in the field to understand the work within regions and organizations and their potential match with the fund’s objectives. Such research may require international travel. Concurrently, the individual will consult with potential donors to the fund on their grantmaking interests and priorities. The consultant will integrate this research into a donor strategy to identify grantmaking priorities that match donors’ interest and address the critical needs of the disability rights field around the implementation of the Convention.

2) Assess donor interest and market a potential fund
The consultant will reach out to international human rights funders as well as disability funders who may be interested in this international endeavor. Over the last several years, the Disability Rights Working Group of the International Human Rights Funders Group has held semi-annual meetings, helping to educate donors on the issue. Several donors have expressed interest in the idea of a fund and look forward to seeing the outcomes and structures that the consultant would develop. However, a dedicated individual is needed to educate funders about the potential of such a fund, address questions and concerns and incorporate potential funders’ ideas into the structure of the fund.

3) Design the fund’s operational structure, including identification of an institutional home
Simultaneous to the marketing of the fund, the consultant will determine the primary operational details of the Fund. The consultant will be asked to identify and assess potential institutional homes. While the Fund for Global Human Rights will serve as the home for this initial phase, it will not necessarily serve as the permanent home. Working with interested donors, the consultant will coordinate the decision making process around determining the fund’s structure such as the minimum subscription level for launch (possibly $3 million-$5 million), duration of the initiative, details of governance, funding guidelines, grantmaking process and grants management.

III. Statement of qualifications:
The ideal candidate should demonstrate the following qualifications:
· Passion and commitment to advancing the human rights of people with disabilities;
· Familiarity with the community of DPOs and the drafting of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities;
· Knowledge of UN human rights systems and international human rights norms;
· Strategic vision for the development of a vibrant movement for the advancement the rights of persons with disabilities, including tackling multiple discrimination;
· Ability to drive and facilitate collaborative group decision-making processes;
· Experience in the field of grantmaking and/or demonstrated fundraising ability to attract donors to the fund;
· Excellent written and verbal communication skills in English. Other language proficiencies a plus;
· Ability to travel internationally, but based in the United States; and
· Self-directed with the ability to keep the project moving forward.

Compensation: Competitive, commensurate with experience.

Duration of assignment: Seeking full to half-time consultant for five to nine months (depending on time allocation) with the possibility of full-time employment if the fund is launched.

People with disabilities are strongly encouraged to apply.

IV. Submission requirements:
· Cover letter expressing interest
· Resume of qualifications

V. Submission deadline: January 15, 2007

Please email or mail your materials to:
Fund for Global Human Rights
Attn: Jerusha Burnham
1634 “I” Street NW, Suite 1001
Washington, D.C. 20006
info@globalhumanrights.org (no phone calls please)

We have tried to make this document accessible for persons with disabilities. If you would like this document in rich text format or Braille, please let us know.


Posted by rollingrains at 03:51 PM

Pick Up Some Tips on UD from Japan (Spanish)

Perfil.com of Argentina covers the Matsushita Eco House in Tokyo. Matsushita has a good track record with Universal design. Here they demonstrate a full-lifecycle home incorporating high technology and Universal Design in a smart home.

Recursos Sobre Eco House:

Diario de Yucatan

La Prensa Latina - Cuba

Posted by rollingrains at 05:15 AM

December 19, 2006

Report from the Ministry of Railways India

In India the legislation pertaining to the rights of persons with disabilities includes the Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act of 1995. Recently the Ministry of Railways issued a statement chronicling its compliance.

FACILITIES TO DISABLED, Ministry of Railways India

A Public Interest Litigation has been filed in the Honourable Delhi High Court wherein Ministry of Railways is one of the respondents.

In pursuance of implementation of the Persons with Disabilities (Equal
Opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act, 1995,
Railways have provided the following seven short-term facilities at 300
stations comprising all 'A' category stations and few 'B' category
stations. These facilities have been planned for remaining 'B' category
stations also.

1. Standard ramp for Barrier free entry,

2. Earmarking parking lots for vehicles used by Disabled Persons,

3. Non-slippery walkway,

4. Signage,

5. Toilets,

6. Water taps suitable for needs of handicapped person,

7. "May I Help You" Booth,

Besides, wheel chairs have been provided at important stations.

Regarding inter platform connectivity, trolley paths have been
provided at the end of the platforms of important stations which have been
authorized for use by handicapped persons on wheel chairs with escorts.

Concessions in fares are granted to four categories of
disabilities.

(1) Orthopaedically Handicapped/Paraplegic

(2) Mentally Retarded

(3) Blind persons - completely blind.

(4) Totally Deaf and Dumb and both afflictions together.

In addition to the above concession in single journey 50% concession in
first and second class season ticket fare is also admissible to above
categories of disabled people.

A Reservation quota of two sleeper class berths has been earmarked in all
trains running on non-suburban sections for handicapped persons performing
their journey on handicapped concessional ticket. The persons accompanying
the handicapped person as escort are also allotted the berth out of this
quota.

Indian Railways are manufacturing certain passenger coaches, which have a
separate compartment specially designed for wheel chair borne passengers.
These compartments have facilities like wider door-way, aisle and knee space
to permit easy movement of wheel chair, wider berths, toilet adapted to
needs of such passengers, arrangements for securing wheel chairs during the
journey etc.

The Railways are working to provide at least one non-AC Passenger Coach
which will have a separate compartment for wheel chair borne passengers in
every Mail/Express Trains within a period of two years.

The following 19 Major Stations all over Indian Railways will be developed
into world class stations which will be provided with lift/Escalators for
facilitating inter-platform transfer :-

1 Pune 2 Carnac Bunder, Mumbai 3
Howrah

4 Lucknow 5 Anand Vihar, Delhi
6 Bijwasan, Delhi

7 Amritsar 8 Chandigarh
9 New Delhi

10 Varanasi 11 Chennai
12 Patna

13 Secunderabad 14 Thiruvanthpuram 15
Ahmedabad

16 Bhubneshwar 17 Mathura
18 Bangalore

19 Bhopal


This information was given by Shri R. Velu, Minister of State for Railways
in a written reply to a question in the Rajya Sabha today.

http://pib.nic.in/release/release.asp?relid=23354

Posted by rollingrains at 11:24 PM

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 15, 2006

Catch a Kenguru

The New York Times recently caught up with the wheelchair accessible Kenguru designed by Zsolt Varga.

Most handicapped-accessible automobiles are designed for the general public and only later adapted for wheelchairs, resulting in awkward compromises, like the notoriously sluggish wheelchair lifts seen on public buses. But now there¹s the Kenguru, a snazzy mini-hatchback designed to give total independence to wheelchair users on the go.

kengaru.jpg

The Kenguru¹s hatchback flips open so a wheelchair can roll right in and lock into place, which means the driver doesn¹t have to climb into a driver¹s seat. Because the steering column is a joystick, paraplegics and those with limited arm range can steer. The car is powered by a rechargeable battery and has a peak speed of 25 miles per hour.

Source:
New York Times

Am I the only one seeing a pattern here or is there some sort of meta-message here? Rear entry: Vexel Quovis, Kengaru, Nextide shoe.

Maybe, "Good design is sneaking up from behind."

shoe.jpg

Further Reading:

Jalopnik

Medgadget


CoolBusinessIdeas

Posted by rollingrains at 12:56 PM

December 13, 2006

Shod: Universal Design for People Who Use Shoes

I have blogged on accessible trails, railways, ships, and trips - but never shoes!

nextide.jpg


There's always a first time. Thank you Jeff Staples and Shinji Sudo.

Nextide is moving into barrier-free fashion - Universal Design meets wearable style.

I would like to introduce our project NEXTIDEVOLUTION. This is the project which breaks the barrier in the mind for ordinary people and those with disabilities by using the creativity of an artist.

Usually Nextide makes graphics for T-shirts to express this message, but now the famous Japanese stores United-Arrows and Ships sell NEXTIDE items such as tee shirts, caps, bags and sneakers. We donate profits to UNIFA which is a non-profit organization for popularizing barrier-free fashion.

We have released two prototype sneakers. One is for 2006, the other is for 2007, but both are made by ASICS with NEXTIDE designs, and they are selling at the ONITSUKA TIGER SHOP.

They will also be selling at URBAN OUTFITTERS in New York next spring as well.

shoe.jpg

#1. Conceptual graphics: Aiko Nakagawa (FAILE in NY)
Notice the double zip the on back heel? This is so that people are able to put them on and off without using laces. It is very difficult for disabled persons to tie up their shoes, so they were forced to use velcro instead. The point of this item is that we propose this idea to ordinary people and prompt them to think about those with disabilities...

This project concept was created with Shinji Sudo, who is the general producer of NEXTIDE in Japan. He feels the difference between both disability persons and ordinary people since 1995, when his son was born with a disability.
Finally, he discovered the way to express his message with artists and fashion in 2003. Jeff Staple was creative director for three years and introduced designers all over the globe who made new standards of fashion and culture. From next year, Aiko of FAILE will join NEXTIDE as creative director and we hope more designers and creators will also become involved with this project.


Shinji Sudo

www.nextide.net


Source:
http://www.sneakerfreaker.com/article.php?id=837

Posted by rollingrains at 04:41 AM

December 11, 2006

The Rio Declaration & Independent Luxury Homes

ILH Logo.gif

Independent Luxury Homes gets the message about Green UD and has the social entrepreneurial spirit as well. What they are doing is in line with what we envisioned, a continent to the south and a few years earlier, in the Rio Declaration on Universal Design for Sustainable and Inclusive Develoopment.

For more on this worthwhile project see:

http://www.independentluxuryhomes.com/

Posted by rollingrains at 02:32 PM

The Korean Wave - Samsung Defines Design

As Universal Design diffuses it localizes. In Korea it has meant a reassesment at Samsung where the Tao of balance plays a part.

Samsung's instinct was to develop a design language that grew out of Korean culture.

Samsung's in-house school gave its designers the tools and confidence to risk thinking differently. But there remained an equally vexing challenge: The company lacked a universal design ethos* --a measurable, clearly defined set of principles that its designers could replicate and its customers could intuitively understand. Samsung's instinct was to develop a design language that grew out of Korean culture. But that proved equally hard to define. China's Han, Ming, and Tung dynasties, as well as the Mongols, Russians, Japanese, and even American missionaries had all left elements of their cultures on the peninsula. Unearthing a true Korean character proved difficult, but Samsung discovered it in the Tae Kuk--the yin-yang symbol found on the South Korean flag that represents the simultaneous unity and duality of all things. From the Tae Kuk, Samsung developed its touchstone: "Balance of Reason and Feeling."

"Reason and feeling are opposites, but they are essential to each other," says Sangyeon Lee, who heads Samsung's San Francisco design studio. "In design terms, 'reason' is rational, sharp-edged, and very geometric. 'Feeling' is soft and organic--it makes an emotional connection with the user. Taken together, reason and feeling give us a way to frame our design identity, which is always evolving."

A task force spent a year developing and perfecting a scale, with reason at one end and feeling on the other, which is now used to ensure that every single product design hews to Samsung's brand positioning. That generally falls near the scale's center--thereby striking a balance. Samsung did the same with two other key words: "simplicity" and "complexity."

* Note that this usage, "universal design ethos," does not refer to the seven principles of Universal Design but rather refers to an "integrated design approach" or "school of design" which Universal Design is decidedly not.

See:
The Seoul of Design
http://www.fastcompany.com/magazine/101/samsung.html

Posted by rollingrains at 12:22 AM

December 10, 2006

The Smithsonian is History: Losing to the Playbook of Wii

Ask any travel agent. The three keys to qualifying a travel customer are determining if they have the 1) desire, 2) money, 3) time.

You can generally presume that desire is present when the customer seeks you out to initiate the sale as I recently did with Smithsonian Journeys. Qualifications two and three - money and time - are adequately documented in Eric Lipp's regular surveys of the travel behavior of people with disabilities, Simon Darcy's seminal study that put this market on the map. A casual observation of the passengers on your cruise ship should give any doubter a hint that there is an underserved travel market among people with disabilities. Something major has shifted in the travel industry.

History will excavate the telltale remains of institutions that played possum through this transition.

To illustrate the power of this moment let me use a case outside travel & hospitality where Universal Design is literally "beating opponents to a pulp."

First, an underserved market was identified. It not only had no desire for the product but was typically scornful of it and professed to have no time for it whatsoever. What it did have was money.

And now Nintendo has a whole lot of that money instead.

Fergus Sheppard writes in the Scotsman.com, "Maxine got her first taste of Wii - the name is Japanese for "everybody" - in the Gamestation store in Princes Street, as the much-hyped console went on sale in the UK."

OK, nice start. Give the product an inclusive name. (Unfortunately, the author is incorrect. The word is a transliteration of the English word "we" and not Japanese. Nihongo-o hanashi imasen - but I know at least that much Japanese.)

The article continues:

She is typical of the kind of customer the Japanese games giant wants to attract. Nintendo has purposefully designed the game to be tactile, spatial and social - qualities it believes will appeal to women. It has advertised the Wii across women's titles including Prima, Glamour, New Woman, Closer and Heat as a communal fun activity - a world away, it suggests, from the closeted world of the PlayStation or Xbox fanatic.

Good next steps: identify the target market; isolate their characteristics & preferences.

The games it comes with - tennis, baseball, golf, bowling and boxing - involve standing and moving rather than the classic couch-potato position.

Classic strategy. Differentiate yourself from the competition.

Rob Lowe, Nintendo's UK product manager for home consoles, said: "The large majority of women don't play games at the moment, so we designed the controller so anyone can pick it up and play it; they don't have to learn 12 different button combinations and spend ten hours trying to immerse themselves in the game. We think women will play the Wii for shorter bursts of time and feel they have exercised a bit."

Hmmm, something from the Universal Design juggernaut here? A controller designed "so anyone can pick it up and play."

It's a bold marketing play to build a product for a customer who 1) doesn't want it and 2) doesn't have time for it.

It's a no brainer to build a travel product for a growing customer demographic that has all three - and actively communicates that it would buy more if not for an artificial shortage of product.

There are precedents that would allow Smithsonian Journeys to succeed - and an eager pool of candidates to fill one of their staff positions who have participated in Mobility International USA travel and leadership training.

Source:
http://news.scotsman.com/scitech.cfm?id=1828952006

Posted by rollingrains at 05:01 PM

December 07, 2006

Home Depot Escalates Universal Design to "Code Orange"

Home Depot is on message with Universal Design.

You better believe this is a hard-headed business decision and not a soft-hearted pity ploy when it comes from a company with as much to risk (and gain) as Home Depot.

Atlanta-based Home Depot (NYSE: HD) said its Home Hero brand is the first product line to come from its new "Orange Works" innovation and design venture with Arnell Group. Orange Works is tasked with working with vendors on proprietary innovation within Home Depot to meet the needs of emerging lifestyle and product trends.

And Universal Design is the right tool for the job:

"The cornerstone of The Home Depot is delivering distinctive merchandise at an attractive price," said Bob Nardelli, chairman, president and CEO of Home Depot. "Orange Works will drive unique product design and accelerate the speed to market with products that are best in class across the store. Knowing Peter Arnell and his expertise in innovation and design, I am confident that this unique venture will ensure we work closely with our vendor partners to develop and design unique and proprietary products to make living easier and more enjoyable for our customers."

Two more Orange Works innovations under development focus on universal design, Home Depot said. Easy Reach Storage enables a consumer to raise or lower cabinet shelving units with one hand, eliminating the need to stoop or stretch. The second item is a decorative chair rail molding system that doubles as a handrail, designed for consumers who need the support but do not want unattractive handrails in their homes.



Source:

http://atlanta.bizjournals.com/atlanta/stories/2006/11/27/daily19.html?surround=lfn

Posted by rollingrains at 11:42 PM

December 06, 2006

BlindConfidential Takes on the "Cool Quotient" and Other Orthodoxies

This blog is on a roll - and it's one worth tuning in on.

You have read here about the distinction between sterile (accessible without attention to the integrity of design) and style (successful application of Universal Design.) The December 2, 2006 post at BlindConfidential explores the roots of "cool", disability rights, and the current doldrum in Web design offering sage advice:

Other products that seem superfluously inaccessible because of an attempt by their authors to create a "cool" interface include spam filters, virus protection products and other security related programs. The only time a person with or without a disability cares to interact with such software is when they're installing it and when something has gone terribly wrong. Lots of flashy graphics, animations and other user interface elements intended to make the product look "cool" has nothing to do with the purpose of such products whose users rarely interact with them and, when they do, they may be in a total panic.

Of course, even the programs with the highest potential "cool quotient" with the most extremely nonstandard interface can be made accessible with a minimal amount of extra effort on behalf of its developers. When it comes to these programs I'm frankly quite sick and tired of hearing mainstream developers first say, "for our audience it has to be very, very cool..." and, even worse, "we'll build a separate, text only version for your people." Returning to Thurgood Marshall, "separate but equal isn't," so my advice to the mainstream developers of the world is to make your software or website as cool as you want but, follow the well-established accessibility standards and guidelines and learn principles of universal design and you can make super cool programs and websites that can be enjoyed by everyone -- with or without a disability.

Posted by rollingrains at 11:03 PM

November 28, 2006

Travel Impact Newswire

Imtiaz Muqbil in Bangkok writes Travel Impact Newswire.The current issue contains a report on the UK's recent sutdy on global warming:

Calling climate change the “greatest market failure” ever seen, a report prepared for the U.K. Treasury says the aviation industry is likely to be “among the fastest-growing” contributors to the problem by 2050. It has called for both the aviation and shipping industries to be slapped with a “carbon pricing” structure to curb emissions of greenhouse gasses.

Released with much fanfare in the U.K. earlier this week, the conclusions of the so-called Stern Report are sure to put the lifeblood industry of travel & tourism on the defensive to account for the environmental downside of deregulation, liberalisation and unbridled open-sky competition that has seen more people take to the air than ever before in recent years.


Source:


TRAVEL IMPACT NEWSWIRE -- Edition 73 -- Thursday, 02 November 2006

One might also hope that as environmental accountability comes into vogue so will human-centered design issues.

===================

ABOUT TRAVEL IMPACT NEWSWIRE

Set up in August 1998, Travel Impact Newswire is the Asia-Pacific’s first email travel industry news feature and analysis service. Mission Statement: Dedicated to reporting with Integrity, Trust, Accuracy and Respect the issues that impact on the Asia-Pacific Travel & Tourism industry. Distributed every week to senior industry executives, consultants, academics and media globally.

Interested in sponsoring future editions of Newswire, the region’s only no-holds-barred travel industry information service? Please contact me at 24 Soi Chidlom, Bangkok, Thailand 10330. T: (66-2) 2551480, 2537590. Fax: 02 2544316. Email: imtiaz@travel-impact-newswire.com

Posted by rollingrains at 12:46 AM

November 26, 2006

An Under-Reported Truth About Katrina's Neighborhood

Rebuilding along the Gulf Coast provides a "unique opportunity" to make housing, transportation and health care more accessible to the disabled, the National Council on Disability said...

"If you build for accessibility from the get-go, you won't shut people out from coming back from other states" if they left after Hurricane Katrina, said Martin Gould, director of Research and Technology for the agency.

The Gulf Coast area was mentioned specifically in the 160-page report because there is a disproportionate number of disabled people in the area, about 25 percent, he said

.

Source:

http://www.sunherald.com/mld/sunherald/news/local/15898377.htm

Posted by rollingrains at 12:59 PM

November 25, 2006

Disabled Parking Violators: A Thanksgiving Sting in Chicago

The Chicago Sun-Times reports on a small step toward making Chicagoland an Inclusive Destination:

The signs, stripes and wheelchair logos painted on the pavement make it obvious the spots are earmarked for disabled drivers. But motorists eager to park close to a store or restaurant frequently ignore those warnings.

"It's a total disregard for anything,'' said Bill Bogdan, the disability liaison for Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White who uses a wheelchair himself.

Bogdan said it's hard not to get angry when he sees motorists illegally grab spots for the disabled.

"You wouldn't believe the blatant arrogance,'' he said.

That's why Secretary of State Police run regular stings like those conducted Friday -- to nab motorists who flout the law.

Other disabled drivers at malls where stings were conducted this week said they were pleased with the ongoing investigation into whether those in the designated spots were entitled to be there.

"I got a really bum knee, and it's hard to walk -- so it's nice that they're out here checking,'' said a disabled Joliet woman shopping at Oakbrook Center on Friday who asked that her name not be used.

Source:

http://www.suntimes.com/news/metro/149085,CST-NWS-hcapbar25.article

Posted by rollingrains at 03:35 AM

November 22, 2006

The Rolling Rains Photo Sharing Site

Have you seen the photos at Rolling Rains - Travel With a Disability? There are over 200 and they come from all over the world.

The Flickr sidebar here on the blog serves up a sample every time you come to Rolling Rains. Feel free to add your own photos to these:

http://www.flickr.com/groups/rollingrains/pool/

Instructions are at:

http://www.flickr.com/groups/rollingrains/discuss/72157594222938958/

Posted by rollingrains at 08:24 PM

November 21, 2006

Disability Rights Advocate José Antonio Isola de Lavalle

José Isola of Peru is co-author of the first history of accessible tourism. He has been a longtime advocate for Universal Design and all the areas advocated here at the Rolling Rains Report: Visitability, Inclusive Destination Development, and Inclusive Travel.

As of yesterday he is also an elected offical:

It's an honor to announce to you all that by democratic and popular elections, held yesterday in Peru, I have been elected a Town Councilman for the District of San Isidro, where I have lived almost all my life. The team led by Mr. Antonio Meier was elected by more than 45% of the votes and we will take office on January 1 st 2007.

In times like these the only thing I can think of is to deeply thank all those friends that in one way or another have supported my activities in favor of people with disabilities over all these years.

Thanks to you all.

José A. Isola

Es un honor anunciarles que en elecciones democráticas y populares, realizadas el día de ayer en el Perú he sido elegido como Regidor del Distrito de San Isidro, lugar en el que he vivido la mayor parte de mi vida. El equipo liderado por el Sr. Antonio Meier fue elegido con más del 45% de los votos y tomará el mando del Distrito el 1ero de Enero del 2007.

En momentos como este lo único que puedo hacer es agradecer a todos los amigos que de alguna manera han apoyado mis actividades a favor de las personas con discapacidad a lo largo de todos estos años.

Gracias a todos,

José A. Isola

Posted by rollingrains at 01:24 AM

November 18, 2006

Universal Design Comes in Handy for Homeowners

"Valerie Cooper thought the special features in her new Venice home would come in handy some day. She had no idea that day would come so soon" writes Victor Hull in the Herald Trubune.

Cooper, 62, had insisted that the design of the couple's retirement dream house include aging-friendly features, including wider doors and hallways, and larger bathrooms with grab bars. She wanted to be sure she and her husband, Wayne, could live there in their old age.

Soon after the house was finished, Cooper's mother came to live there, immediately making use of the features. And within a few years, Valerie and Wayne would both find the features invaluable, too, as they were temporarily disabled by surgeries.

Source:

http://www.heraldtribune.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20061108/NEWS/611080383/1006/SPORTS


"I was able to be totally independent, which was really wonderful," said Valerie Cooper, who used a wheelchair while enduring a broken foot, three foot surgeries and knee surgery.

The Coopers' Everglades Estates home near the Jacaranda Boulevard exit of Interstate 75 incorporates several principles of universal design, which aims to make life easier for people of all ages.

Basics include entryways without steps, levers instead of knobs for doors or faucets, doorways wide enough for a wheelchair, electrical outlets that are higher above the floor and rocker light switches.

The universal design philosophy has been around for more than 20 years, initially focusing on promoting building accessibility for the disabled. But the concept is gaining more traction as architects, builders and homeowners themselves see the implications of aging.

More people today are living longer. Over the next 25 years, the population of people 65 and older is expected to double, with many living beyond age 80, when problems with sight and mobility can make routine tasks more challenging.

Universal design features can make homes more livable for people as they get older, whether that means being able to open a door with an arthritic hand, get a wheelchair through the front door or sit down while taking a shower. The features can make the difference between someone living at home longer or moving prematurely into a more costly assisted-living facility or nursing home.

"We've built houses that disable people by their design," said Bob Black, who has a Southwest Florida remodeling business and teaches universal design concepts to builders and contractors across the country. "We need to design homes to enable people. People who live in their own homes are happier and healthier than in an institution."

Despite the benefits, few designers and builders make universal design features standard in new homes. Many are reluctant to turn off potential buyers, who don't want to face their own advancing age or mistakenly think making a home more aging-friendly means sacrificing aesthetics.

People like Cooper, who planned ahead for potential frailty in old age, are the exception. Most of the 1 million-plus homes built in a typical year do not incorporate universal design, said Richard Duncan, a senior project manager at the Center for Universal Design at North Carolina State University.

"It's a problem because the demographics are pretty clear to everyone," he said. "I think we're losing ground year by year now."

Backers see opportunity in region

Valerie Cooper hopes to help reverse that course. She and others believe that Southwest Florida, with its high concentration of people 65 and older, could raise public awareness of, and demand for, universal design features in homes, and set a standard for the nation.

Cooper is featured in a documentary film, premiering Monday in North Port, about an area civic project aimed at making the area a better place for people to live as they get older. The film was produced by the nonprofit organization SCOPE, which stands for Sarasota County Openly Plans for Excellence.

"People have to start looking at this," said Cooper, who works in commercial lending at a Bank of America branch in Venice.

"If you have your home prepared, you're ready for anything that happens down the road."

Cooper learned about universal design from Black through their service together on the local home builders' board. When she and her husband began planning for their new home in 2000, she contacted Black.

"We did this for way down the road," Valerie Cooper said of her home design decisions. "This was going to be our last home. We don't want to leave here."

Wayne Cooper, 67, was more skeptical, worried about how it might look.

"I didn't want to admit I was getting old enough to need something like that," he said.

Shortly after they moved in, Cooper's mother's health deteriorated, and she moved in, too.

The extra large shower and grab bars, the absence of a ledge or doors to the shower, the ramp from the garage into the house -- all made life easier in caring for Cooper's mother.

And within a year, Cooper broke her foot.

She found she could still navigate throughout her home, including the kitchen, in a wheelchair.

In 2003, Wayne had hip replacement surgery.

"Here we are using it at a much younger age," Valerie Cooper said.

Access without loss of style

The Coopers' home looks anything but institutional as subtle universal design features blend with the home's soaring open spaces.

Visitors don't see a handicap-accessible shower; they see a spacious one. They don't recognize extrawide hallways but comment on comfort.

"We get the 'wow' factor a lot," Valerie Cooper said.

Sarasota architect Joel May, who incorporates universal design into many of his projects, said the key is combining function with aesthetics.

Countertops can incorporate grab bars that look nice and add safety. Lower countertops, drawers that pull out from cabinets and wider doors don't scream "institution," but make life easier for people of all ages, he said.

"It has to be done carefully," May said. "People think, 'I'm not disabled, so this house isn't for me.' People are afraid of aging. They don't want to be reminded of it. Especially among baby boomers, people don't want to admit that they're aging or need assistance."

Likewise, he added, builders worry that they will scare away homeowners if they add design features that might communicate that the house is only for an "older" buyer.

The irony, Black said, is that the features simplify life for people of all ages.

Who wants to get on their hands and knees to reach into a lower cupboard when a rollout drawer would work, he asks?

Devices to prevent showers from scalding and grab bars in bathrooms are safer for children as well as older adults, he said.

"It's convenient for everybody," said Black, who owns Access of Sarasota, Inc. "I call it grand living: It's for everyone from grandkids to grandparents."

And it's not expensive. When incorporated in new construction, the features typically add anywhere from nothing to 5 percent to the construction cost, depending on how extensive they are, said the Center for Universal Design's Duncan. Remodeling costs can be higher, from the hundreds to thousands of dollars.

For example, a bathroom remodel might require tearing a wall out to the studs to add lumber to support a shower bench. Changing from round doorknobs to easier levers is cheaper.

Some homeowners are going for even bigger upgrades, to kitchen cabinets that can be raised and lowered electrically.

Julie Cotton, an interior designer who splits time between Sarasota and California, calls it "lifetime design."

She said she discusses with clients where they envision living when they grow older to help them consider features they may want in their home.

"I have people in their 70s and 80s saying, 'I don't want to think about that yet,'" said Cotton, who runs a business called A Roomful of Possibilities.

"They've restricted their lives. I'm trying to keep people young and active and engaged, but realistic enough to know there are going to be physical limitations that make life harder at some point."

Posted by rollingrains at 10:32 PM

November 13, 2006

A Custom Carribean Cruise

junior suite

If you were having someone plan your vacation wouldn't you choose someone knowledgable and experienced? Here's your chance. Cruise the Caribbean this Fall with the person I turn to when I have a tough question about accessible travel -- Candy Harrington.

Emerging Horizons Celebrates 10th Birthday with Accessible Cruise

Ripon, CA November 9, 2006 --Travel hasn't always been as accessible as it is today. In fact, 12 years ago wheelchair-users and slow walkers had pretty limited travel options. That's when Emerging Horizons editor, Candy Harrington began plans to publish a magazine about accessible travel. A few years later, Emerging Horizons was born. And with the release of the December 2006 winter issue, Emerging Horizons will begin its tenth year of publication.

"I've seen a lot of improvements in accessible travel," says Harrington. "Ten years ago I had to search hard for accessible transportation, lodging, tours and even shore excursions, but today it's a different story. As the Baby Boomers age tourism providers are becoming more sensitive to the needs of disabled travelers, so today there are lot more choices. From accessible safaris and dive resorts to taxi tours and even balloon rides, there's something for just about everyone."

And those aging Baby Boomers have helped bring Harrington's niche into the mainstream. Not only does she write several columns on accessible travel, but she's currently penning her third title on the subject, "101 Accessible Vacations; Vacation Ideas for Wheelers and Slow Walkers". "I've covered a lot of accessible destinations over the last decade and I'm eager to share them with my readers in this new title," says Harrington.

So now it's time to celebrate, and as Candy puts it, "What better place to have the party than on the newest and most accessible cruise ship afloat?" So, Candy and her travel photographer husband, Charles Pannell are inviting their readers to join them on the Emerging Horizons Celebration Cruise next fall. Sailing from Miami on September 29, 2007 on Royal Caribbean's new Liberty of the Seas, this Eastern Caribbean getaway will jointly celebrate Emerging Horizons' 10th birthday and the release of 101 Accessible Vacations.

There will be lots of fun things to do aboard the ship, including an Emerging Horizons birthday party with gifts for everyone. "And of course everyone will come home with a copy of my new book and a one year subscription to Emerging Horizons," adds Candy. The cruise will be planned by an accessible cruise specialist so accessible airport transportation and shore tours will be available. "Everyone will be able to participate," says Harrington. "So if you've ever thought about cruising but were concerned about access, then come and join us because we'll take care of everything."

Candy also reminds folks to plan ahead, "It's important to book early for the best choice of accessible cabins, because they sell out quickly. So as an added bonus I'm giving away a free copy of one of my other books, "Barrier-Free Travel" or "There is Room at the Inn" to folks who book before January 15, 2007.

For more information about the Emerging Horizons Celebration Cruise visit www.EHcruise.com or contact the Connie George Travel Agency at (610) 532-0989. "Come and celebrate with us," urges Candy. "After all, you only turn 10 once."


For more information, contact:
Candy Harrington
(209) 599-9409
candy@emerginghorizons.com

Posted by rollingrains at 03:00 AM

November 11, 2006

Canada Examines Airline Discrimination

Good start: The Canadian Transportation Agency is holding public hearings on additional air travel costs paid by persons with disabilities.

TORONTO, Nov. 10 /CNW Telbec/ - The Canadian Transportation Agency will
hold its second phase of a public hearing in Toronto beginning November 14,
2006 to continue its investigation into three complaints with respect to air
travel costs. These complaints concern the fares and charges of domestic air
travel for persons with disabilities who require additional seating to
accommodate their disabilities, whether for themselves or for their
attendants. Members of the general public and media are welcome to attend as
observers.

<<
The second stage of the hearing is to be held:

Date: Beginning on Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Time: 9:00 a.m. (Eastern time)

Place: InterContinental Hotel
Barclay Room
220 Bloor Street West
Toronto, Ontario


BACKGROUND INFORMATION

Three complaints were filed by the late Eric Norman, Joanne Neubauer and
the Council of Canadians with Disabilities against Air Canada, Air Canada Jazz
and WestJet with respect to air fares, and against the Gander International
Airport Authority and the Air Transport Association of Canada with respect to
airport improvement fees.
The issues surrounding the fares and charges levied on persons with
disabilities in air travel are long-standing and complex. In this case, the
Agency determined that a public hearing would be the most effective way to
gather the evidence it needed to thoroughly and accurately assess if these
fares and charges represent undue obstacles to the travel of persons with
disabilities.
The hearing was divided into two stages to hear and consider the evidence
and to allow the parties themselves adequate time to prepare their positions
as well as to challenge the other parties' positions.
The first phase of the oral hearing was held in Toronto from May 30 to
June 3, 2005 where facts, information and preliminary evidence was gathered
from the applicants and air carrier respondents. Phase I concluded with a
one-day oral hearing on October 14, 2005 to gather further evidence from
parties. Since then, the parties have filed additional materials and expert
reports in preparation for Phase II.
Following the second phase of the hearing, which is expected to end no
later than December 1, 2006, the Agency will determine if these fares and
charges represent undue obstacles and if so, should the Agency order
corrective measures. A decision is expected to be issued in 2007. When making
decisions, the Agency must balance the interest of consumers and those of the
carriers. The weighing of those interests is carried out in a fair and
transparent manner.

The Canadian Transportation Agency is an independent Government of Canada
quasi-judicial tribunal. Its mandate includes the responsibility to eliminate
undue obstacles to the mobility of persons with disabilities within the
federal transportation network. Its mission is to administer transportation
legislation, regulations and Government of Canada policies to help achieve an
efficient and accessible transportation network.

IMPORTANT NOTE TO ASSIGNMENT EDITORS

The Canadian Transportation Agency has, in law, all the powers, rights and
privileges of a Superior Court. Due to the quasi-judicial nature of the
hearing, panel members will not answer reporters' questions. Reporters may try
to interview participants or their representatives before or after the day's
session, or during breaks and lunch. A spokesperson for the Agency will be
available on site to answer general questions about the Agency and the hearing
process.
The Agency will permit cameras in the hearing room, to take still photos
or footage of the panel members and participants. Reporters may stay
throughout the duration of the hearing and may tape-record the proceedings.
>>


For further information: Lyne Giroux, Senior Communications Adviser,
(819) 953-8926; The Canadian Transportation Agency is online at www.cta.gc.ca;
To keep up-to-date with our latest news releases and other information, use
our subscription service available on our home page under "subscription".

Posted by rollingrains at 04:23 AM

November 07, 2006

Will Bill Gates Bring Universal Design to Luxury Lodging?

Micrsoft's Bill Gates is poised to buy into ownership of the Four Seasons Hotel.

Given his philanthropic accomplishments through the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation one would hope so. However, there are no public indications that he has a leadership vision that includes Visitability. Past performance of his business partner, Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, who owns Fairmont Hotels & Resorts does not include an emphasis on Inclusion. Apparently the business case for Inclusive Destination Development needs to be made more strongly.

Investment tip to Bill: You could own the hotel industry operating system by building out the Universal Design infrastructure of your lodging empire.

Posted by rollingrains at 03:54 PM

November 06, 2006

Stillborn Arguments for Exclusion

The bankruptcy of the medical model of disability as a base for social policy is starkly exposed today in the work of Britain's Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecology.

Promoting discussion of the death of children with disabilities as medicine the College's report includes the statement, "A very disabled child can mean a disabled family" - a false sentence in that the definition of disability is a lack of function. Handicap is the condition experienced by the family and the child with the disability.

A disability - a medical condition - may or may not be cureable by medicine. A handicap - a soclal consequence of exclusion due to a medical condition - is a social practice that is "cureable" by non-medical means.

One such manifestation of non-lethal approaches to resolving handicaps is the application of Universal Design in various markets such as Visitability in housing and Inclusive Travel and Inclusive Destination Development in transport and leisure.

Britain's Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecology may succeed in fomenting the discussion on the topic of euthanasia. It is unfortunate that it has initiated the conversation with a vocabulary inadequate to the argument.


Readings on the Social Model of Disability:


International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF)
http://www.rollingrains.com/archives/000513.html

Implementing the Social Model of Disability
http://www.birmingham.gov.uk/GenerateContent?CONTENT_ITEM_ID=1196&CONTENT_ITEM_TYPE=0&MENU_ID=1815

Manchester City Council: The Social Model of Disability

http://www.manchester.gov.uk/disability/policies/model.htm

The Social Model of Disability
http://inclusion.uwe.ac.uk/inclusionweek/articles/socmod.htm

The Social Model of Disability Explained
http://www.southamptoncil.co.uk/social_model.htm

Disability Issues: the Social Model
http://www.equality.salford.ac.uk/disability/social_model.php

Canada: Defining Disability
http://www.sdc.gc.ca/asp/gateway.asp?hr=/en/hip/odi/documents/Definitions/Definitions003.shtml&hs=oxf

Diary of a Goldfish
http://blobolobolob.blogspot.com/2006/04/social-model-of-disability.html

Posted by rollingrains at 03:13 PM

November 05, 2006

Olegario D. Cantos on Travel with a Disability

On August 14, 2006 the information reported here at Sight Community News was presented by Olegario D. Cantos, U. S. Associate Director for Domestic Policy:

http://www.tabinc.org/blog/archives/2006/08/over_the_last_2.html

Posted by rollingrains at 02:46 AM

November 01, 2006

Connections 4 All

C4All_logo

Polibea Turismo is an important global voice for Inclusive Tourism. Based in Spain their travel and tourism advocacy grew from their established work serving the broader needs of people with disabilities.

Here is an announcement of CTCNet's Connections for All training and grant program. It is specifically targeted to Community Technology Centers (CTCs) that hope to better serve people with disabilities but I include it here on the principle that there may be CTCs in the US poised to make a contribution to the travel & leisure information needs of people with disabilities -- maybe something on the order of Polibea's excellent publication.

The centerpiece of the C4All program is the Accessibility Grant. Following a competitive grant application process in early spring 2007, CTCNet will award 14 organizations with $20,000 Accessibility Grants. Funding can be used to address issues in the areas of assistive technology, staff training and development, community outreach, program enhancement, and facilities improvements. Also included is 30 hours of technical assistance from the Alliance for Technology Access (ATA).

The AccessNow Award is another way that C4All can help your CTC expand access. These $1000 awards allow CTCs to quickly implement simple and cost-effective measures to make programs more inviting and accessible to people with a broad range of abilities.

To be eligible for these funding opportunities, you must attend a C4All Accessibility Institute. Offered in 10 cities in 7 different states, these trainings are a valuable way to learn how to assess, plan for, and implement strategies to make your CTC more accessible, and they are an important step in preparing for the grant application process.

Visit www.ctcnet.org for more information about funding eligibility, as well as Institute locations and schedule.

Posted by rollingrains at 02:36 PM

October 27, 2006

Universal Design Competition at University of Tennessee Center for Universal Design

You learn something new every day:


Some examples of Universal Design are the football huddle, originally created for players with hearing impairments, and foil seals on modern coffee cans, which replaced tops that were hard for people with arthritis to open with can openers.


Source:


http://dailybeacon.utk.edu/showarticle.php?articleid=50705

As part of Disability Awareness Month, the Office of Disability Services [at the University of Tennessee] organized a competition to make students more aware of what Universal Design is and get students involved with designing objects, tools and practices for everyone. Any group of no more than four full-time undergraduate students was eligible to participate, provided they had a faculty sponsor. About 100 students entered the competition, bringing the number of projects entered to 27, Springer said.

http://dailybeacon.utk.edu/showarticle.php?articleid=50705

Posted by rollingrains at 01:29 AM

October 21, 2006

ASID Promotes Universal Design

Furniture world logo.jpg

Recognizing that the majority of Americans want to remain in their homes as they age, the American Society of Interior Designers has established a volunteer council of noted experts to look at how design solutions can enhance and support residents throughout the life span. The Council will draw upon its vast experience and networks of professionals to provide the ASID Board of Directors with recommendations on information, research and education efforts that the Society should undertake to better prepare designers and consumers to meet the challenges that come with the normal process of aging.


“It is inevitable that we will all age,” says council member Leslie Shankman-Cohn, ASID, an award-winning designer from Memphis, Tenn. “Whether we do so gracefully or otherwise, we all deserve to be treated with dignity and respect and to ‘age in style.’ We should not be isolated from the day to day activities that make our lives worthwhile. It is essential that designers continue to learn all they can about age-related changes and social and psychological needs to create better environments for older adults. It is equally as important to look beyond the immediate needs of one sector of the population and provide a smooth transition for living needs throughout one’s life and physical abilities.”


Source

http://www.furninfo.com/absolutenm/templates/NewsFeed.asp?articleid=6828

Posted by rollingrains at 11:59 AM

October 17, 2006

Universal Design in Homes Comes of Age in Oregon State

The coming of age of Universal Design on a populist level is the thrust of the argument behind Randi Bjorns''s article Accessible Design Turns A Corner: Baby Boomers are Among Those Grasping the Keys to Independence.

Quoting George Braddock of Creative Housing Solutions we hear an astute summary of how we arrived at this point which continues to buoy Inclusive Destination Deveopment:

Braddock says people with disabilities have been "pioneers of a sort" in the development of universal design, a movement that focuses on building design that accommodates wide swaths of the overall population, from those still able-bodied to people temporarily or permanently disabled by illness or injury. advertisement

"The disability movement had an advantage because it was so 'cross-cultural,' " Braddock says. "Disabilities can affect anyone at any time and at any level, and as a result it has attracted a fair amount of resources."

That attention intensified after 1990, when Congress passed the Americans with Disabilities Act, to prohibit discrimination in employment and public accommodation against people with disabilities.

"The ADA deserves a huge amount of credit for forcing the disabilities issue, but it's just a stepping stone," between public policy and the broader accommodations that allow disabled people to remain in their own homes, Braddock says.

Editors note: For the record, the depth of George Braddock's "person-centered design" practice is grounded in keen observation of his clients and a thorough grasp of Universal Design in practice. For more information:

George Braddock, Braddock Construction and Creative Housing Solutions, LLC
George Braddock Construction, 910 Coburg Road,o Eugene, OR 97401,
(541) 342-3478
Mr. Braddock has extensive experience in design, development and construction of homes for persons with developmental disabilities. George and his company have completed over 1,400 projects for individuals with disabilities. Mr. Braddock provides consulting services nationwide to states and organizations developing housing for individuals with disabilities.


excerpt:


AWARDS RECOGNIZE OUTSTANDING CONTRIBUTIONS IN AFFORDABLE HOUSING

Salem, Oregon (April 24, 2002)

SPECIAL HOUSING

George Braddock of Creative Housing Solutions

George Braddock has been a leader in the area of special needs housing in Oregon for many years. During his career, he has participated in the design and construction of numerous communities where persons with developmental disabilities are now able to live fulfilling lives. With the closure of the Fairview Training Center, Mr. Braddock was involved in all facets of the Community Integration Project that designed and constructed community housing for former residents of the Center. At this time, he is working with the state of California on a similar effort.

Utilizing his experience in developmental disabilities, Mr. Braddock led the development of Design for Safety: A Technical Assistance Manual, a project sponsored by Oregon OSHA and the Office of Developmental Disability Services. This publication catalogs and describes the design considerations for persons with developmental disabilities for every room of a house, as well as decks and ramps.

Recently, George and Creative Housing Solutions have experimented with designs or “soft” environments where persons with developmental disabilities at-risk for self-injury can live successfully. The wall materials are soft but cleanable and durable, all corners are rounded, window glass is tempered and thickened, electrical outlets are protected. He is currently designing bathrooms where autistic children can experience the calming effects of water play without risk of injury or damage to the environment.

The task of successfully addressing the housing needs of developmentally disabled persons within a community continues to be a challenge. Meeting these needs is not a simple task, and as a result, many nonprofit agencies seek the guidance of Creative Housing Solutions to solve housing problems. Creative Solutions provides leadership in addressing the needs and dreams of individuals who are developmentally disabled to live successfully in the community.

Nominated by: Gerald Stolp, Department of Human Services –Seniors and People with Disabilities

Posted by rollingrains at 10:12 PM

October 13, 2006

Camping Tent for Wheelchair Users

eureka_freedom_tent.jpg

“The Freedom Tent is the first tent of its kind to offer, as its name implies, freedom and independence for campers with disabilities,” said Linda Grebe, product manager of Eureka! tents. “We are proud to have worked with Blue Sky Designs to help deliver this innovation to the market and pleased to be recognized by the NMSS for our efforts to provide safe, reliable and comfortable tents to the disabled community.”

The Eureka! Freedom tent sleeps two and features a pole, sleeve and grommet design which allows easier set up from one side of the tent or from a wheelchair. It has a combination side entry door/window in the sleeping area that provides extra ventilation and allows for a side transfer to a cot. Its roomy vestibule provides room for wheelchairs, gear, chairs, or sleeping space for the family dog. The patent-pending zipper-less vestibule fan door opens easily and is operated with minimal dexterity and reach. To learn more about the Freedom Tent visit www.eurekatent.com or www.blueskydesigns.us."

Source:

http://www.seakayakinstructor.com/

Posted by rollingrains at 04:09 AM

October 07, 2006

Universal Design Unites Arch Rivals?

Well, maybe off the football field anyway!

Purdue and Ohio State Universities learn together about Universal Design.

Posted by rollingrains at 07:12 AM

October 04, 2006

Jimmy Goddard and Mount Kilimanjaro

Kilimanjaro 2006 Logo

Some people take sports to extremes! Meet Jimmy Goddard.

http://www.pushinghigher.com/

http://www.jimmygoddard.com/index.asp

Posted by rollingrains at 11:30 PM

September 27, 2006

Home Arcihtecture Built for the Future

This home, while not wheelchair-friendly from the outset, was built with adaptability in mind:

While Thompson’s client was reflecting on her past experience with a Modernist home as she and the architect set the program for the house, she was also considering a future when elderly parents would move in with the family. In the guest wing, handicap accessibility includes a wheelchair accessible shower off the guest bathroom, while the hall allows for a future ramp to be integrated to negotiate the changing floor levels of the main house. “The house was designed to create a continuum, and this family wants to stay here through retirement and beyond,” says Thompson. “It is truly a home for living.”

Source:

Geothermal House in Boston
http://construction.com/NewsCenter/Headlines/ar/20060831r.asp

Posted by rollingrains at 12:32 PM

September 25, 2006

Challenge Air Gives Hope On Ground

Take Flight for Kids gets off the ground on September 30th in Hayward, CA. Theron Wright ready:

"The magic is when you put them in that co-pilot seat, and you let them take the controls, and you challenge them to challenge themselves, say, ‘look, you're flying this airplane, what can’t you do?,’" Wright says.

http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2006/09/21/eveningnews/main2031612.shtml


See the videos:

Flight Gives Hope on the Ground
http://www.cbsnews.com/sections/i_video/main500251.shtml?id=2032166n

Challenge
http://www.cbsnews.com/sections/i_video/main500251.shtml?id=2032190n

Posted by rollingrains at 02:53 AM

September 23, 2006

Adventure Travel

British retirees are increasingly seeking more adventure on their breaks, according to new research.

A fifth of so-called golden age packers intend to fly to far-flung countries such as China and Australia, says AA Travel Insurance.

Almost a quarter of retired people want to try risk-filled pursuits such as hot air ballooning, while another 18 per cent favour safaris.



In addition, six per cent say they already go adventure holidays, with one in ten keen on the idea of learning to fly a plane.

"Exotic destinations are much more accessible now and older people aren't letting age get in the way of having a good time and exploring the world," said Alison Crossley, manager of AA Travel Insurance.

However, some retirees may find that they pay more for their travel insurance than they did previously, with Moneysupermarket.com claiming that premiums increase by over 100 per cent once the policyholder hits the age of 66.

Source:
http://www.justtheflight.co.uk/news/17677754-retirees-planning-for-adventurous-holidays.html

Posted by rollingrains at 03:45 AM

September 19, 2006

More on Mario Walenda's Skywalk

Update;

He made it:

http://www.iht.com/articles/ap/2006/09/19/america/NA_GEN_US_Flying_Wallenda_Chicago.php

There are a few news stories accumulating in anticipation of Mario Wallenda's aerial "wheelchair" maneuvers today over the Chicago River:

WLUP (The Loop 97.9) Covers Skycycle Ride
http://www.fmqb.com/Article.asp?id=273717

ABC 7 Chicago
http://abclocal.go.com/wls/story?section=websites&id=4574490

http://abclocal.go.com/wls/story?section=local&id=4564603

Posted by rollingrains at 01:07 AM

September 17, 2006

G-Mark in Japan Sets Excellence in Universal Design as a Goal

This review of Japan's "G-Mark" system revelas a hopeful future:

Japan's G-Mark program is the successor to the "Good Design Selection System" established in 1957 by the former Ministry of International Trade and Industry, and is Japan’s only comprehensive system for evaluating and awarding design. During its 50-year history, G-Mark has handed out Good Design Awards or G-Marks to 30,000 products....

To position Japan as leading the international standards, the G-Mark system held out as its next objective to set the global standards in terms of interactive design (design involving a dialogue with users); universal design (design that is non-discriminatory when used); and ecological design (sustainable design with green considerations).

Source:


Japan's Good Design Award (G-Mark) Celebrates 50th Anniversary
http://news.cens.com/php/getnews.php?file=/news/2006/09/07/20060907101.htm&daily=1

Posted by rollingrains at 12:42 PM

September 15, 2006

Yuka: (Entrevista em Portugues)

Desde 9 de novembro de 2001, o músico e compositor Marcelo Yuka, 39 anos, vive numa cadeira de rodas. Marcelo Yuka Baleado com 9 tiros durante um assalto na Tijuca, zona norte do Rio, ficou paralisado da cintura para baixo. A vida profissional também parou. Saiu de O Rappa, precisou recuperar a vida para só então retomar o trabalho. Uniu-se a três novos músicos – o cantor carioca Maurício Pacheco e dois percussionistas pernambucanos, Jam e Garnizé. Juntos, eles formaram a F.UR.T.O (Frente Urbana de Trabalhos Organizados) e lançam agora o primeiro CD, Sangue Audiência.

Entrevista completa:

‘‘Tenho uma vergonha enorme de mim’’

http://www.terra.com.br/istoegente/305/entrevista/index.htm

Posted by rollingrains at 03:44 PM

September 09, 2006

Farmington: Community Action for Livable Communities

Michael Shaw, executive director of New Horizonshas a vision for community-based Universal Design. Read Disabled Don't Want To Be Forgotten by Gregory Seat at the Hartford Courant.

Contact info:

New Horizons, Inc.
Michael Shaw, Executive Director
37 Bliss Memorial Road
Unionville, CT 06085
Phone: 203-675-4711
Fax: 203-675-4369

Posted by rollingrains at 12:21 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 concern now. International monitoring of the convention and international cooperation in the implementation process have been two of the most difficult issues to agree on during the eighth session of the convention committee. This is possibly an even bigger concern in Africa than in other parts of the world, because of the lack of capacity and funds at the national level. Many Africans worry that the convention will be just another document not put into practice by their governments. The money issue is the predominant concern here too. Putting the provisions of the convention into practice will be costly. Concerns have been raised that lack of money will hinder states to meet even the most urgent obligations. All countries will face costs, but it will be hardest for developing countries.

International cooperation must play an important part in this, Ambassador Don MacKay, who chairs the Ad Hoc Committee on the convention at the United Nations, says, for example in incorporating into development cooperation programmes elements to assist with disability related matters.

A worry is also that the DPOs are expected to monitor the governments in the implementation process, but many of these organisations in many countries are simply too weak. Training programs are taking place, but the problem remains. Much more capacity building and better structures are needed. In the five pilot countries of the African Decade Disability Program, [1]Decade Steering Committees (DSCs) have been established, comprised of representatives of government ministries, DPOs, civil society, media, experts on disability and international organizations. The private sector in the countries has been invited to participate. A partnership between the public and the private sectors is crucial for job creation and effective resource mobilization.

The major functions of the National Decade Steering Committees include playing a key role in the preparation of a comprehensive national plan and in the development of national policy. The committees also monitor the implementation of policies and programmes for persons with disabilities in their countries. The African Decade Secretariat’s plan is to facilitate the establishment of new committees in at least 15 other African countries by the end of 2009. [2] The mission of the Secretariat is to empower governments, DSCs, DPOs and development organisations to work in partnership to include disability and persons with disabilities into policies and programs in all sectors of society in Africa. This means that the emphasis is on capacitating these actors to work together. One of the Secretariat’s strengths is that we are able to learn from initiatives in one country, and bring them to (or avoid them in) another.

We are also engaging large international organisations in the struggle for mainstreaming. Our experience is that it often only takes one meeting, a small effort that brings large results if we manage to get them on board. One current new initiative is collaboration between the Secretariat and UNESCO, to train African journalists in how to report on disability issues in a way that respects their human rights and does not reproduce common stereotypes. Another is to collaborate with UNICEF to ensure that children with disabilities are included in their programs.

Prejudice, exclusion, stigmas and a tendency to still view disability within a charity perspective or a medical model, rather than within the human rights discourse, are all very real barriers to participation for persons with disabilities in Africa today. Combined with a high level of poverty, the African disability movement is facing an uphill struggle. There are positive signs and opportunities, however. The topic of disability and development has been featured in the development discourse for a couple of decades now. Many global and regional discussions and pledges abound to ensure that policies, programs and resources are accessible to persons with disabilities and inclusive of everyone.

Some ten African countries, e.g. Ghana, Malawi, Kenya and South Africa, have developed White Papers on national disability strategies. These are model documents for the mainstreaming of disability. The African Union has taken important and promising initiatives in recent years, such as proclaiming the African Decade of Persons with Disabilities. However, Africans with disabilities are increasingly frustrated by the beautiful words, and want action. For this reason the establishment of the Secretariat of the African Decade of Persons with Disabilities is an important step from talk to implementation.

The Decade was proclaimed in 1999. We only started our work at the Secretariat in 2004. We can regret the delay, but we choose to focus now on our role as facilitators of the implementation of the Continental Plan of Action, capacity building, awareness raising, continued struggle for mainstreaming of disability and against the poverty and exclusion of disabled Africans. Now we will be enforced with a new and important tool, the first-ever human rights convention for persons with disabilities.

* Lina Lindblom, communications officer at the Secretariat of the African Decade of Persons with Disabilities.

* Please send comments to editor@pambazuka.org or comment online at www.pambazuka.org

Notes:

[1] The pilot countries are Ethiopia, Kenya, Mozambique, Rwanda and Senegal.
[2] Some African countries, e.g. Mali, Mauritania, Guinea Bissau and the DRC, have also set up their own Decade Steering Committees outside of the Secretariat’s programme.

For more information, see:
http://www.un.org/News/
http://www.un.org/esa/socdev/enable/rights/ahc8.htm

Posted by rollingrains at 04:15 PM

September 04, 2006

Monday Movies: The Wheelchair Backflip

Tipping over backwards in a wheelchair is a relatively common experience. Performing an aerial backflip in a wheelchair was only first done in July 2006. Not the usual mode of travel-with-a-disability presented here the following URL links to what the skateboard generation is doing to push the boundaries of mobility.

A word of caution, the first several tricks go awry and end with bone-jarring lack of grace. If you can make it through the fiascos you will see the backflip:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d0slMHXbUUI

Posted by rollingrains at 01:09 AM

September 03, 2006

Bob Coomber: California Mountain Man

From the Contra Costa Times:


Bob Coomber powered his wheelchair smoothly along a rugged dirt trail in the Mount Diablo foothills until he struck a hidden rock.

The man with arms of steel shuddered to a halt like a ship running aground.

He instantly popped his front wheels in the air like a kid on a bicycle and skimmed over just one more barrier to his quest to conquer rugged California hill and mountain trails where no one else has wheeled before.

For the full article see:

Willpower on wheels supplies strength

Posted by rollingrains at 06:05 PM

Recent News on Universal Design

Imagine 2106 in the Back to the Future Youth Contest sponsored by the Canadian Association of Independent Living Centres to celebrate its 20th anniversary. The contest is open to anyone — able, disabled, whatever — aged 16 to 29. See by Helen Henderson's Contest crafts future with no limits

As home bathrooms become spas, Universal Design moves onto center stage. Read this article in the Arkansas Democrat Gazette by Catherine Rdgers, Awash in Choices and come back next week for herpiece: Ways and means of implementing the principles of universal design.

David Fischer, writing in the Herald Today, reports on the use of Universal Design in public spaces in Group tries to make playgrounds accessible for the disabled. What is especially noteworthy here is the clear distinction made between ADA compliance and Universal Design.

The group mentioned, Boundless Playgrounds, " address not only barriers for children with physical disabilities, but also developmental, cognitive and sensory disabilities." That is the power of Universal Design -- and the weakness of unimaginative, up-to-standards-and nothing-more design.


For more see:

The National Center for Boundless Playgrounds: http://www.boundlessplaygrounds.org

Freedom Playground: http://www.freedomplayground.org/

Posted by rollingrains at 05:28 PM

September 02, 2006

Disabled Traveler Survey

Hard data from surveys such as this 2005 study done by Microtel allows hospitality industry professionals to reinforce their anecdotal evidence that Universal Design is good business. If you are in a professional position to advocate for such a study consider doing so.

Posted by rollingrains at 03:39 PM

September 01, 2006

More on Malaga - Universal Design Recognized by the Queen

Spain continues its push toward municipal Universal Design. Here Malaga celebrates its recognition by Queen Sofia.


http://www.malagaes.com/noticia.asp?id=1385

http://www.laopiniondemalaga.com/secciones/noticia.jsp?pIdNoticia=72074&pIdSeccion=2

Posted by rollingrains at 03:40 PM

August 31, 2006

Helen Henderson on Accessibility & Airline Security

Helen Henderson has done a good article exploring new airline security practices from the perspective of a traveler with a disability.


Long before the sunscreen and the mouthwash and the duty free were banned from the cabin, air travellers who use electric wheelchairs knew only too well what it's like to be buried in pre-flight restrictions.

Wheelchairs as air cargo have always meant a maze of red tape — the planning, the booking, the checking, the re-checking, the worry that no matter how careful everyone tries to be, one of your most precious possessions may come to grief at the hands of strangers in the belly of a jumbo jet.

See Wheelchair users struggle to get airborne

Posted by rollingrains at 08:11 PM

August 30, 2006

Apoie essa idéia..!

logo_mao_na_borda


Surf Especial are making waves in Brazil!

You may need Google and a Portuguese dictionary to catch the finer points but the overall story is that Robson Careca, after paralysis from an automobile accident in 1998, has launched a disabled surfers association in Brazil.

Inclusive Tourism and Accessible Adventure Travel is establishing itself. Surf Especial is just one more example of the new wave!

Posted by rollingrains at 10:18 PM

August 24, 2006

Life IS Full

Here's a double introduction.

Life IS Full is a disability lifestyle magazine celebrating a year of publication. The first autobiographical piece you will find there is on Monica Bascio.

Posted by rollingrains at 02:06 AM

August 23, 2006

Agreement on Accessibility Issues with the Madonna Inn

From USNewsWire.com:

WASHINGTON, Aug. 18 /U.S. Newswire/ -- A settlement agreement reached with Madonna Inn Inc. under Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) will make the landmark roadside Inn more accessible to people with disabilities, the Justice Department announced today.

"People with disabilities too often face unreasonable barriers to enjoying many things most of us take for granted, such as traveling and staying in a hotel or motel," said Wan J. Kim, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division. "Today's settlement is a positive step towards ensuring that persons with disabilities enjoy fully the freedom to travel."

Each of the 108 rooms in this well-known lodging facility located just off the 101 freeway on California's Central Coast is uniquely decorated with a special theme and color scheme, including the five designated accessible rooms (Golfer, Vintage, Mt. Vernon, Rose, and Desert Sands). The Inn has agreed to remove barriers to access in each of the designated accessible rooms. In the future, should the Inn grow and expand, the settlement requires additional accessible rooms to be added in compliance with the agreement. The Inn will also provide different bed types in three of the rooms (or two rooms that adjoin from the inside for the price of one); equipment to make rooms accessible to individuals with hearing and vision disabilities; and it will provide additional amenities such as a patio or fireplace in at least two of these rooms.

In addition, the agreement will provide greater access to other spaces and elements throughout the Inn and restaurant. The agreement also provides that the Inn will modify its guest reservation policies to provide more opportunities for people with disabilities to stay at the Inn.

Anyone interested in finding out more about the ADA or the agreement can call the Justice Department's toll-free ADA Information Line at 800-514-0301 or 800-514-0383 (TTY), or access its ADA Web site at http://www.ada.gov.

http://www.usnewswire.com/

Source:
http://releases.usnewswire.com/GetRelease.asp?id=70962

Posted by rollingrains at 07:53 PM

Medical Tourism on the Rise

I predict an uncomfortable intersection of industry trends here -- airine cost-cutting and ADA rollback policies colliding with aging Boomers and the institutionalization of "Medical Tourism."

But, with profits to be made by those in the Medical Travel niche, a new constituency will align itself as allies of Universal Design in the travel & hospitality industry (Inclusive Travel). The downside to monitor will be the reassertion of handicapping attitudes, policies, and procedures under the rubric of the medical model. Perhaps a public health approach to that pernicious, and highly contagious model may be the best strategy.

For a glimpse into the niche:


More travel agencies are jumping on the medical tourism trend as about half a million Americans will go abroad for medical treatment this year alone. Global Choice Healthcare is a leading provider of cost-saving medical procedure packages throughout the world and has now announced a partnership with two large travel agencies, Rio Grande Travel in Albuquerque and Solimar Travel Experience based in Washington, DC. GlobalChoice works with a network of world-class hospitals in Singapore, Costa Rica and India with access to more than 100 medical procedures. Costs can be more than 50% to 70% less overseas than in the US so a medical package can make economic sense. For more information visit globalchoicehealthcare.com.

Source:
ARTA E-News for August 23, 2006

There is need for an open and ongoing patient/consumer, medical service provider & travel industry dialogue on an international level.

See also:

Getting the Design Right

Posted by rollingrains at 05:12 PM

Lex Frieden and the National Council on Disability

A strong voice for the social & policy impact of Universal Design has been "reassigned." Lex Frieden will not be reappointed to lead the National Council on Disability.

As reported in Independence Today:

Frieden said he is proud of the work NCD has done promoting the concept of livable communities. "It's equivalent to the concept of universal design," he said. "The idea is, when we start to build communities, we do so with the assumption that the communities include people with disabilities. So everything from the ground up is going to be designed for all people. The whole issue of disability accommodation becomes superfluous."

Source:
http://www.itodaynews.com/ITNews--FRIEDENOUT072007.htm

Sometimes the simplest truths are the hardest to see.

Posted by rollingrains at 04:46 PM

August 17, 2006

Reviving the Katrina & Disabilities Conversation

The New Standard has published a good overview of what we all watched happen in realtime after Katrina -- but the major news sources systematically overlooked. If basic accommodation of people with disabilities are so poor when the entire government of the United States turns its attention to a problem can there be any doubt that accessible tourism has a bit of improving to do?

Disabled People 'Left Behind' in Emergency
© 2006 The NewStandard

Aug. 15 – During Hurricane Katrina, Benilda Caixeta, a New Orleans resident with quadriplegia, tried for two days to seek refuge at the Superdome. Despite repeated phone calls to authorities, help never arrived for Caixeta. Days later, she was found dead in her apartment, floating next to her wheelchair.


"Benilda need not have drowned," testified Marcie Roth before the US House of Representatives Bipartisan Disabilities Caucus in November 2005. Roth, executive director of the National Spinal Cord Injury Association, had personally placed calls to prompt Caixeta’s evacuation.

"People with disabilities are not in good hands," Roth said.

While there are no concrete estimates of how many people with disabilities died as a result of Hurricane Katrina, 71 percent of the 1,330 victims were older than 60, according to a 2006 report by the White House, suggesting people with special needs suffered disproportionately.

Disabled-rights activists have been calling for inclusive disaster-preparedness plans for years – from wheelchair-accessible transportation to closed-caption emergency messages on television. But despite some progress on both the federal and state levels, and even a 2004 Executive Order to strengthen preparedness plans to serve people with disabilities, critics say recent disasters illustrate how disabled people are still being left out of evacuation plans.
Disabled-rights advocates say traditional evacuation plans, which often rely on at least some walking, driving, seeing and hearing, are not appropriate for many people with disabilities.

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990 requires that emergency preparedness and response programs be accessible to people with disabilities. But critics say there is currently no standardized federal preparedness plan for disabled people, and many state and local emergency management offices do not have appropriate plans in place to account for special needs.

"There isn’t ownership clearly defined by the federal government as to who is responsible for disability planning," Hilary Styron, director of the Emergency Preparedness Initiative for the National Organization on Disability, told The NewStandard.

While President Bush’s executive order created the Interagency Coordinating Council on Emergency Preparedness and Individuals with Disabilities, the council is only instructed to "encourage" state and local jurisdictions to consider special needs in its planning.

The ADA defines a disability as a "physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more of the major life activities of such individual." There are an estimated 50 million people living with disabilities in the United States.

Disabled-rights advocates say traditional evacuation plans, which often rely on at least some walking, driving, seeing and hearing, are not appropriate for many people with disabilities. Activists have been pushing for more responsive plans, and for governments to include people with disabilities and their advocates in the planning process. Although some states have adopted measures that have begun to account for the needs of people with disabilities, such as a reverse 9-1-1 system and more accurate records on the locations of people with disabilities, gaps still exist.
“What happens if you lose your wheelchair and then you’re placed in a shelter? You can no longer get up to go to the bathroom by yourself. People lose their independence.”

Styron said emergency managers have difficulty planning for people with disabilities because there is no "one-size-fits-all approach."

She also said many states have seen emergency management funding cut in recent years. According to the National Emergency Management Association, a national nonprofit that produces the only report to examine state-level emergency management funding, there is currently a $246 million shortfall in the government’s Emergency Management Performance Grant Program. The program is the primary federal funding source for states and local jurisdictions’ emergency management programs.

A three-year study completed in 2006 by the Research and Training Center on Independent Living at the University of Kansas investigated 30 randomly selected counties, cities or boroughs in the US that had recently experienced a natural or man-made disaster. Researchers found that only 20 percent of the emergency managers had specific guidelines to assist people with mobility impairments during emergencies.

Additionally, the study discovered that 57 percent of emergency managers did not know how many people with mobility impairments lived in their jurisdiction, and only 27 percent of managers reported completing a course offered by FEMA to help emergency responders understand the needs of people with disabilities.

"People [with disabilities] are being left behind," said Cat Rooney, project coordinator for the study.
“If you have a disability, you could be dependent on medical equipment. You could have a special diet. You could have medication that you have to take. You don’t just need a house; you need an accessible house.”

FEMA and emergency management offices in Louisiana, Arizona, Florida, California and Delaware that were part of the University study, did not return TNS interview requests.
Disability un-preparedness

Jeanne Abide, complaints specialist for the Advocacy Center, a disabled-rights organization in New Orleans, said there simply was not appropriate assistance for people with disabilities after the hurricane. According to the National Council on Disability, 155,000 residents living in the three cities hardest hit by Katrina – Biloxi, Mississippi; Mobile, Alabama; and New Orleans – were disabled and over the age of five.

Abide told TNS that the preparedness problems specific to people with disabilities in New Orleans included a lack of appropriate transportation and emergency housing. In February, the Center filed a lawsuit against FEMA, alleging that five months after the hurricane, the agency was still not supplying accessible trailers to people with disabilities.

Disabled-rights advocates say that people with disabilities have a host of concerns that non-disabled people may not consider during emergencies. Groups say many people with disabilities in New Orleans were evacuated without their medicine, medical equipment, wheelchairs and even guide animals.

"What happens if you lose your wheelchair and then you’re placed in a shelter?" said Rooney. "You can no longer get up to go to the bathroom by yourself. People lose their independence."

Dr. Glen White, the principal investigator for the University of Kansas study also stressed the needs of people with mental impairments. "If someone has schizophrenia and they’re put in a great big shelter with all these other people around them, and they don’t have medication, that can cause a lot of problems," White told TNS.

Other recent disasters have also put the shortfalls of emergency preparedness and response for those with disabilities in the public eye.

A 2004 report by the California State Independent Living Council (CALSIC) found that the emergency response plan for people with disabilities floundered during the 2003 wildfires, in which 730,000 acres of the state burned. The report said that many people with impairments were unable to see approaching danger, or hear announcements to evacuate, which police sometimes made over loudspeakers. There was a lack of transportation for people who were unable to drive themselves, and power outages meant that emergency responders could not access computerized lists of disabled people. Finally, emergency telephones set up at evacuation sites were not equipped for people who were deaf, and were not within reach of people in wheelchairs.

"There’s just so many tiny things that people don’t think about," White said. "Are these all going to go away? No. But the more planning we can do, the better we can make it for people."

Filling the gaps

As local, state and federal planning fails, people with disabilities and their advocates are doing their best to compensate.

Susan Fitzmaurice, who uses a mobility scooter and has a child who is disabled, was concerned about the temporary housing being offered to Katrina victims, with no mention of the special needs of people with disabilities. Although she lives in Michigan, Fitzmaurice was determined to help. Within days of the hurricane, she set up a website, KatrinaDisability.info, to provide much-needed resources.

"With a typical able-bodied person, you could snatch them up out of their house, take them to a motel room and say, ‘Here’s $50 to get you through the next couple of days,’" Fitzmaurice told TNS. "But if you have a disability, you could be dependent on medical equipment. You could have a special diet. You could have medication that you have to take. You don’t just need a house; you need an accessible house."

Fitzmaurice’s site has now become a clearinghouse for disability-preparedness information, and includes links to local and national emergency response information for Louisiana. She has made similar sites for 30 other states.

"It’s wonderful, but then on the other hand," she said, "I’m like: ‘I shouldn’t be doing this. The federal government should be doing this.’".

Members of the Central Virginia Post-Polio support group are also taking matters into their own hands by inviting speakers to discuss disaster planning at their meetings. Dr. Henry Holland, a polio survivor who uses a wheelchair, and a member of the support group, told TNS that people with disabilities have to become self-reliant.

Holland said the threat of a disaster for someone with a disability is "scary." He said a good support network and generator at his home made him well-equipped if a disaster hit.

"But what about people who can’t afford that or don’t have access to help?" he said.
Addressing the needs

As some people with disabilities and their advocates take matters into their own hands, Styron and others are still pushing federal and local governments to adopt adequate emergency preparedness measures.

Styron said she would like to see a disability coordinator at the federal level, a coordinator assigned to every FEMA region in the country, and a designated official within each state responsible for disability planning.

She is also advocating for state and local jurisdictions to integrate people with disabilities and their advocates into the emergency planning process.

"If you don’t even know the population that you’re dealing with, you’re never going to get there," she said.

Source;
The News Standard. Reprinted with permission.
http://newstandardnews.net/content/index.cfm/items/3537a

Posted by rollingrains at 07:26 PM

August 15, 2006

Monica Interviews Josh Blue at Disability News Radio

You can hear Monica Moshenko, Host of DisAbility News & Views Radio Network, interview Josh Blue winner of NBC’s “the Last Comic Standing 4” on Wednesday, August 16 at 7PM ET

Tune in at:
www.disabilitynewsradio.com http://www.disabilitynewsradio.com/

Posted by rollingrains at 07:11 PM

August 09, 2006

NPR on Your Vacation: The Importance of Being There

National Public Radio airs an interview with Jared Sandberg on the long term consequences of differing vacation styles. Making the Most of Your Vacation.

Posted by rollingrains at 01:59 AM

August 05, 2006

The White House website does not comply with Section 508

White House
Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act
(http://www.usdoj.gov/crt/508/report2/index.htm)
"require[s] federal agencies to ensure that EIT [electronic
information technology] they procure is accessible to people
with disabilities
(http://www.usdoj.gov/crt/508/report2/summary.htm)."
That includes websites.

The White House website does not comply with Section 508.

A review (located:
http://thinkprogress.org/wp-content/uploads/2006/07/
Watchfire%20WebXACT%20disabilities.pdf

http://thinkprogress.org/wp-content/uploads/2006/07/
Watchfire%20WebXACT%20government.pdf

http://thinkprogress.org/wp-content/uploads/2006/07/
Watchfire%20WebXACT%20kids.pdf)

of three pages on http://www.whitehouse.gov found 49
instances of Section 508 violations
www.section508.gov/index.cfm?FuseAction=Content&ID=12#Web

Most notably, these White House pages don't provide alternative
text for all images. A blind person surfing the Internet uses a
program that searches for text that identifies images. Many
images on the White House site have no associated text in the
web code and leave a person with disabilities unable to tell
what the image is.

Contact Linda Sites (linda.sites@oa.eop.gov) and Linda
Tolkan (ltolkan@oa.eop.gov) in the Executive Office of
the President and ask why the White House website isn't in
compliance and what steps, if any, are being taken to fix the
problem. (Check out American Progress's letter to the EOP
http://thinkprogress.org/wp-content/uploads/2006/07/
section%20508%20protest.pdf.)

Source: Justice for All Network

Posted by rollingrains at 06:49 PM

August 03, 2006

Pleach and Plash - Green Homes Built by Nature?

pleach house

Excuse me, but did MIT just invent the Visitable Treehouse? Looks like a zero-step entrance to me! It even has handrails on the ramp to the front door.

Three from MIT envision grow-your-own home from PhysOrg.com
In the future, homeowners may grow their houses instead of building them. That's the vision of MIT architect Mitchell Joachim of the Media Lab's Smart Cities group.

[...]

Posted by rollingrains at 01:34 AM

August 02, 2006

Are We Really, Really, Ready Yet?

logo for really ready disabilities section

Today the Federation of American Scientists launched ReallyReady.org, a comprehensive emergency preparedness website developed in nine weeks by FAS intern Emily Hesaltine. Modeled after the Department of Homeland Security's Ready.gov, ReallyReady.org addresses the inaccuracies and incomplete information on the DHS site.

Federation of American Scientists, August 1, 2006

The first thing you may notice is that one of the three top level sections at ReallyReady.org deals with disability -- Really Ready Disability. Not so at the governement's multimillion dollar site. Makes me wonder? Is Emily Hesaltine a Rolling Rains reader?

NOD emergency preparedness logo

It seems that one of the hidden heroes behind this site is Hilary Styron Director of the National Organization on Disability’s Emergency Preparedness Initiative.

For the full Federation of American Scientists press release: http://www.physorg.com/news73661502.html

sample Rolling Rains entries on Katrina:

Katrina Recovery Watch: People With Disabilities on Point Positions

"New" Mississippi Gulf Coast is going to be a "Disability Free" Zone?

Katrina, Trailers, and Universal Design

Posted by rollingrains at 12:55 AM

August 01, 2006

Passports Required: A Reminder to US Citizens

Travel regulations for US citizens have become more stringent in recent years. This article gives an update on upcoming changes. (Registration at Chcago Tribune site required.)

Posted by rollingrains at 12:42 AM

July 30, 2006

Universal Design Promotion in Spain

Spanish disability groups and the government of Spain have developed new guidelines for the implementattion of Universal Design in transportation infrastructure, buildings, public facilities, and public services. The proposal includes retrofitting construction by the Instituto de la Vivienda (Ivima) to remove architectural barriers. (Article in Spanish.)

Posted by rollingrains at 04:12 PM

July 24, 2006

Vasi's Site is Up & Going - and So is He!

On July 7 I mentioned Vasile Stoica's trek and his site. His site is now up -- and looking very good!

Vasi Stoica

On the 7th of July 2006, Vasile Stoica launched a new challenge, starting a new journey in the wheelchair. Therefore, he will cross Europe, from the symbolic 0 km marking point of Romania to Cabo Finisterre, Spain’s most western point. The legend tells that Cabo Finisterre represents in fact the end of the world, and who reaches this point can overcame his/her limit. From ancient times, Cabo Finisterre is referred as the end of a journey and pilgrimage for the hopes of all the civilizations that passed the Old Continent.

Suggestively entitled “The journey to the end of the World”, this campaign is aimed to encourage the disabled persons, being initiated and supported financially by Medrom, represented by its president of honour, Prince Maximilian von Habsburg.

Source: press release

From his site:

To Land’s End, by wheelchair

Over 5000 km, beyond the boundaries of handicap, in search of human limits.


Vasi Stoica is one of the twelve Romanians that are recorded in the Guinness Book of World Records. And he is maybe one of the most remarkable character that represents the disabled people’s community in Romania. The destiny wasn’t very kind to him, being born with a congenital paraplegia, but he fought back against his handicap. He is now a man of challenges. By the end of this autumn, he will have crossed Europe by manual wheelchair, on a 5000 km tour.This tour represents more than simply proving his outstanding spirit, more than excelling his own limits, it is a pilgrimage of hope for all disabled people.

With every step he makes and every spirit he conquers in this long journey, the world-wide community of disabled people will be one step closer to a normal life and a more rapidly integration in our society.
The final destination of this tour it is not chosen randomly: Cape Finisterre. Or more commonly known as Land's End. Cape Finisterre is the most western point of Spain, a rock-bound peninsula in west Galicia, situated in the tempestuous waters of the Atlantic. Ever since antiquity, this point represented the final destination for many civilizations that passed trough here. The legends tell us about Finisterre's status as the edge of the world, as we all know it. It is believed that who reaches Cape Finisterre can overcome his/her limits. Namely, precisely what Vasi is trying to achieve.

So – in a symbolic act, which envolves a major effort - Vasi is trying to match the performances of those who enjoy a normal life, reckoning only upon his spiritual force. This is the gift Vasi will return with, from his journey. His wish is to share it with all the members from the comunity he proudly represents.

Ultimately, his story is the proof that anybody can realize a dream. Even if having a disability, he is setting as an example for all disabled people in Romania and abroad so that they start to wish more from their life, to become more hopeful, because, why not admit that nowdays our society is not trying very hard to give them the life they deserve.

For further information, please contact:

Valentin Petcu

PR Consultant
Ph.: 0723 361 812
E-mail: valentin@troutandpartners.ro

Posted by rollingrains at 05:21 PM

July 21, 2006

Google Promotes Information Access

braille google logo


Travel information became much easier to find with the advent of the web. Google is making it even easier with Google Accessible Search. Leave it to T. V. Rahman to keep pushing digital frontiers for our community!

Posted by rollingrains at 01:31 AM

July 20, 2006

The Disabled Vet Factor -- Setting Trends for Inclusion

The war in Iraq is sending home injured soldiers who may represent a future wave of elite disabled athletes. Injured troops are given sports training as soon as possible. The military and medical communities believe sports not only rebuilds confidence, but also pushes injured veterans to re-learn physical skills that war took away from them.
Michelle Hiskey, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

A quick Google locates stories illustrating the breadth of activity involving travel and recreational activities that this niche is involved in.

Posted by rollingrains at 01:39 AM

July 07, 2006

A First in Bus Travel Comes From Canada

northern british columbia

Northern Health Connections provides transportation to medical services. Their territory, northern British Columbia, covers 600,000 square kilometers and includes 300,000 people. What is particularly farsighted about the assisted travel program that they will launch this month is the extent to which they have made their busses accessible.

The service will have custom-fitted coaches and buses. All of the new vehicles will be wheelchair accessible. Highway coaches will also have wheelchair accessible washrooms, a first in North America.

This region is a beautiful part of Canada. Integrating Universal Design into the regional healthcare system will be a boon to residents -- permanent as well as summer -- and provides a powerful impetus to the local travel & hospitality industry to become inclusive.

Northern Health Introducing Assisted Travel

By Opinion 250 News
Friday, July 07, 2006 12:02 PM

Northern Health is almost ready to begin phasing in a low-cost travel program for those who must go to larger centres for specialized health services. The new program is part of the Province’s commitment to expand access to health services for rural residents.

"The hope is the start of this service will make a real difference to Northern British Columbians, particularly seniors and people with limited incomes for whom travel for specialized health services has been a problem," says Deputy Premier/Prince George Mount Robson MLA Shirley Bond.

The new service will be gradually introduced to communities, to give time to work out problems and to get feedback on the service, says Northern Health CEO Malcolm Maxwell.

The service will have custom-fitted coaches and buses. All of the new vehicles will be wheelchair accessible. Highway coaches will also have wheelchair accessible washrooms, a first in North America.

Most long distance routes will have a minimum of two round trips a week. Short distance routes will have one same-day, round trip per week, letting a patient from a small community to travel into a larger center in the morning, receive health service, and return later that day.

The service will be available for any Northern BC residents who need a physician-referred health service that isn’t available in their home community. Fares will range from $20 return for short distance routes, to between $40 and $80 return for long distance routes, depending on the length of travel. Patients can find out specific travel dates and fares or reserve a seat by calling 1-888-647-4997. Information is also on-line at www.northernhealth.ca/nhconnections.

Source:

http://www.opinion250.com/blog/view/2992/3/northern+health+introducing+assisted+travel

Other bus news:

Singapore has modified 100 bus stops and purchased 10 accessible buses through its Land Transport Authority. Quoting Minister for Community Development, Youth and Sports Vivian Balakrishnan "Getting on a public bus is just step one. The real objective is that they can go to work, to schools and enjoy recreational activities."

Meanwhile, in the west of England the Greater Bristol Bus Network nods to Universal Design by incorporating improved passenger i nformation on low-floor busses.

Key features of the proposed showcase bus corridors will include: more dedicated bus lanes, priority for buses and enhanced traffic signals, improved passenger information, modern low-floor buses, plus significant improvements in road safety, as well as specific measure to improve access for cyclists and pedestrians.

Source:
http://www.24dash.com/content/news/viewNews.php?navID=2&newsID=7836

Posted by rollingrains at 11:20 PM

Something You Already Knew

Universal Design and barrier free homes used to be reserved for senior housing and nursing homes, but now it's the design trend for the future.
So says NBC News in Madison, Wisconsin.

It's the right design trend for hotels, motels, and cruise ships too.

Posted by rollingrains at 01:10 AM

June 20, 2006

Last Call: UD and Automotive Design RFP

The deadline to submit Proposal Abstracts for NineSigma RFP 30421-04-17, "Application of Universal Design Concepts to Automotive Design" is this Friday, June 23, 2006. The RFP and associated documents can be accessed online at http://www.ninesigma.com/mx/30421-04-17.

To receive our newsletter that lists all active projects, register online at http://www.ninesigma.com/registration_form.

Posted by rollingrains at 06:10 PM

June 08, 2006

Call for Artists

Recently we posted notice of VSA's art competition sponsored by Volkswagen. This is just in on Shared Visions 2006, the second annual juried art exhibit by artists who are blind or legally
blind.

The topic at Rolling Rains is often Universal Design for persons of various differing abilities. Here is a chance to participate in experiencing design by people with a range of visual abilities.

Calling all Artists! Submit your artwork for display at the Eye Care
Center of the Southern California College of Optometry. Shared Visions 2006,
the second annual juried art exhibit by artists who are blind or legally
blind.

Works selected will be exhibited in the Eye Care Center for a period of
one year. Artists may also offer their work for sale.

A pdf brochure is available at:
http://www.ocusource.com/campaigns/Call_to_Artist_Flyer_6jun06.pdf
THE DEADLINE FOR ARTIST SUBMISSIONS: MONDAY, JUNE 19, 2006.

Download the 2006 Submission Pack:
http://scco.edu/Shared%20Visions/SV%20Artist%20Application.pdf

Forty-five works of art by blind and legally blind artists have been on
exhibit at the Eye Care Center at the Southern California College of
Optometry since last fall. "Shared Visions 2005," an exhibit of
paintings, photography, ceramics and mixed media works by blind artists, welcomed
over 200 local residents to the reception. Much of the 2005 artwork can be
viewed at the following website, as well as interviews with the artists:
http://letsgoexpo.com/art.cfm

Obtain application packets for 2006 submissions:
Website: www.SCCO.edu
Email: SharedVisions@scco.edu
Phone: 714.449.7462

Mail: Eye Care Center, Southern California College of Optometry Shared
Visions: 2575 Yorba Linda Blvd., Fullerton, CA 92831

Media accepted: Paintings, drawings, photographs, sculpture, and mixed
media
pieces.


The OcuSource Team
(888)299-6657 x701
ocusource@ocusource.com
www.ocusource.com

Submitted by Marcie S. Thank you, Marcie!

Posted by rollingrains at 10:07 PM

June 06, 2006

Katrina: Lessons Never Learned

Those who followed the coverage of the Indian Ocean tsunami the the Rolling Rains Report know that an international network of Rolling Rains readers was formed to study previous disaster cases and communicate best practices to relief staff on the ground in the affected areas. Internationally known Universal Design specialists were generous without reserve in assuring that everything possible was done to see that devastated regions were provided with the technical support necessary to rebuild the damaged areas in ways that guaranteed inclusion.

Our focus was on the travel & hospitality infrastructure because that is the focus of this blog but public infrastructure and private housing cannot be overlookd as decades of work on accessible transit and home Visitability have demonstarted.

So there was simply no excuse whatsoever that, overlooking the serious mistakes during Katrina evacuation that cost the lives of some and injured other residents with disabilities, that FEMA-funded housing provided after the storm was not 100% wheelchair visitable. No excuse.

The National Journal reports on continued mismanagement. Here in the form of the apparent "can do" attitude riding rough shod over Daniel Sutherland's systemic approach that would generate both written policy and adequate resourcing for disaster services for citizens with disabilities.

The bottom line? Among other things, Universal Design is still not used in federally subsidized post-disaster housing. Visitability, requiring only a simple, zero-cost tweak to the handful of manufactered home templates used to crank out thousands of taxpayer-funded trailer for Katrina survivors, is not mandated. The built envronment created after Katrina is at least as, and in some cases significantly more, inaccessible than the original.

No wonder Jeff Rosen speaks for human rights advocates everywhere when he voices the ubiquitous frustration.


"All that we have heard is verbal commitments," said Jeff Rosen, policy director for the National Council on Disability, an independent federal panel that advises the White House and Congress on disability policy. "Secretary Chertoff made a commitment to changing the infrastructure of DHS, especially FEMA, to better serve people with disabilities, but we haven't seen anything yet. There have been some important incremental steps that have been taken, but these issues are in no way able to be dealt with in incremental ways."

The seven principles of Universal Design are a proven solution for creating appropriate, space, products, and policy. The best practices are documented and disseminated.

They are being ignored.

Source

http://www.govexec.com/dailyfed/0606/060206nj1.htm

For another god analysis see The Long-Term Care Weblog

Posted by rollingrains at 10:53 PM

June 03, 2006

Java Update

While the country with the largest economic and military resources in the world continues to abdicate responsibility for its citizens with disabilities after Katrina, third world nations like Indonesia availa themselves of best practices in Universal Design to assure that rebuilding in the tourist sector is more inculsive than what preceeded it.

See the Java Media - Tourism Crisis Centerhttp://www.javacrisismediacenter.com/index_e.php

Posted by rollingrains at 11:33 PM

June 02, 2006

Request for Proposals: UD in Automotive Design

This just in:

Hello-

I am contacting you to make you aware of NineSigma Request # 30421-04-17, "Application of Universal Design Concepts to Automotive Design". Our client (General Motors Corporation) is seeking partners for the application of Universal Design concepts to automotive design. The submission date for Proposal Abstracts is June 23, 2006. The request and more information is available online at http://www.ninesigma.com/mx/30421-04-17.

If you are interested in submitting a proposal or would like more information, please contact me directly. To receive our newsletter that lists all active projects, register online at http://www.ninesigma.com/registration_form.

Sincerely,


Charles Roe, Ph.D.
Program Manager
NineSigma, Inc.
23825 Commerce Park
Cleveland, OH 44122
roe@ninesigma.com


Posted by rollingrains at 03:38 PM

June 01, 2006

Katya is on to Something at Broken Clay Journal

Head on over to Katya Stokely's Broken Clay Journal to watch the spread of the backlash against airline accessibility. Starting with Quantas' urban myth about luggage handlers injuring themselves by handling wheelchairs and certain European discount airlines taking up the retrograde banner the strategic front moved to Canada and continues to spread.

Read the latest More on Virgin Blue

You can keep up with this and similar stories through Darren Hillock's Get Around Guide

Posted by rollingrains at 07:45 PM

May 28, 2006

From the Tourism Ministry of Indonesia

Thamrin B. Bachri, Director General for Marketing of Indonesia's Ministry of Culture and Tourism has issued the following statement on the aftermath of the earthquake:


The most affected area is Bantul, indicated by the casualty rates due to home collapses. To
date, there have been no report on hotel collapse, but some
minor damage happened such as wall cracking and tiles.
Further, there has been no injured or overseas tourists nor
casualties.

Yogyakarta airport, which part of building was
slightly affected, is expected to resume normal operation on
Sunday, 28th afternoon. Once open, the airport will be used
primarily for transporting relief-related goods and personnel.
All Yogyakarta linked flights are redirected to Solo and
Semarang, the closest airport locations from Yogyakarta.

Posted by rollingrains at 04:47 PM

May 27, 2006

Earthquake in Indonesia

eTurboNews reports on the recent Indonesian earthquake:

More than 3,000 people have been killed and thousands more injured in a powerful earthquake which has struck central Indonesia. Homes and hotels have been flattened in the ancient royal city and tourist centre of Yogyakarta.

eTN spoke to the Hyatt Hotel in Yogyakarta. The Hyatt is in the north of the city and the hotel and all guests are ok.

According to the Hyatt the Sheraton Yogjakarta and Accor Ibiz hotel is in the south of the city and may have been destroyed. eTN was unable to reach anyone at the hotel and repeated calls to Starwood Corporate Communication in New Jersey were unanswered. Also no response from Accor...


eTN talked to Mr Thamrin B. Bachri, vice minister of tourism. The Ministry of Culture and tourism sent its own team to Yogyakarta and did not yet get a report. The airport in Yogyakarta is closed and flights operate to Solo (100 km away from Yogyakarta).

At present the eTN report is not posted online.

Posted by rollingrains at 06:51 PM

May 26, 2006

Happy Birthday RollingPix!

RollingPix Logo

Well yes, RollingPix celebrated one year on March 25, 2006... March, May, they both begin with "M." (As you can see I keep the "belated birthday card" industry turning a profit.)

With a passion for wheelchair sports Ralph of RollingPix writes:

This project of mine is celebrating it's 1st birthday this week, and what a great year it's been. Rollingpix has opened so many doors for me. I have travelled, met great people and hopefully opened some eyes with my photography and journalism about chair athletes.

Visit Rollingpix at http://rollingpix.blogspot.com/

Posted by rollingrains at 06:35 PM

May 24, 2006

Boomer Retirement Trends Include Travel and Home Remodeling

A new survey by Commonwealth bank is revealing about the retirement plans of Boomers:http://www.thematuremarket.com/SeniorStrategic/dossier.php?numtxt=7054&idrb=5 Home remodeling (a niche for Universal Design) and travel figure high in their plans.

Notice this trend also.

Baby Boomers are set to change the face of retirement as they plan to travel, take up new hobbies, spend time with family and work at least part time, according to a survey(2) released by the Commonwealth Bank.

The Bank’s Lifestyle Aspirations survey also revealed that not only do almost 60 per cent expect their retirement lifestyle to be better than their parents’, more than two thirds (68 per cent) believe they will be able to afford to live the lifestyle they want.

Tim Gunning, General Manager Commonwealth Financial Planning, said, "Unlike their parents, this generation sees retirement as the chance to live life to the full and do the things they put off earlier in life due to other commitments. When it comes to financing these plans, a significant proportion of Baby Boomers are already making preparations to see them on their way."

According to the Bank’s Lifestyle Aspirations survey, in anticipation of their retirement, Baby Boomers are actively taking control of their finances: 56 per cent are building assets such as shares and property, 44 per cent are making regular additional superannuation contributions, the same percentage have sought advice from a financial planner and 43 per cent are making additional savings outside of their super.

They plan to spend their savings in retirement on things such as home renovations (40 per cent), upgrading possessions (40 per cent), eating out more (40 per cent) and their grandchildren and children (44 per cent). Travel and hobbies also feature heavily in the plans. Eighty five per cent expect to travel within Australia or overseas and 73 per cent plan to take up a new hobby.

Source:
http://www.thematuremarket.com/SeniorStrategic/dossier.php?numtxt=7054&idrb=5

Posted by rollingrains at 05:43 AM

Young? Disabled? Want to Travel?

Here is a chance to say something artistically.

The contest "Destination Anywhere" holds out $60,000 in prizes for fifteen artists with disabilities. Read the announcement below by VSA arts and Volkswagen of America.

Who knows, maybe you can get a ride in this cool Volkswagen!

volkswagen

Contact: Marcia Rhodes/VSA arts (202) 628-2800 ext. 3883 marciar@vsarts.org

VSA arts and Volkswagen of America Call for Entries:
"Destination Anywhere" - a national exhibit for young artists
with disabilities.

Postmarked deadline: July 14, 2006

VSA arts and Volkswagen of America are seeking artwork from
young artists with disabilities, ages 16-25, living within the
U.S. "Destination Anywhere" challenges artists to consider the
picture plan as a destination, a place where the viewer might
take a trip they never expected. Fifteen finalists will be
awarded a total of $60,000 during an awards ceremony on Capitol
Hill and artwork will be displayed in a nation-wide touring
exhibit that will debut at the Smithsonian Institution in
Washington, D.C.

Artwork may illustrate a destination. Abstract work that
relates to feelings or emotions, or an experience of living
with a disability and its role in shaping or transforming the
destination is also encouraged. Art must be an original work
that has been completed in the last 3 years. Eligible media
includes: paintings, drawings, fine art prints, photography,
computer generated prints, and mixed media. Artwork must be
presented in two dimensions and should not exceed 60 inches
in either direction. There is no fee to apply.

Visit www.vsarts.org/VWcall for additional information
and entry instructions or contact Jennifer Colaguori, Visual
Arts Coordinator, at jenniferc@vsarts.org or 800-933-8721 ext.
3885. Alternative formats of the call for entries are available
upon request.

VSA arts is an international nonprofit organization founded in
1974 by Ambassador Jean Kennedy Smith to create a society where
all people with disabilities learn through, participate in and
enjoy the arts. VSA arts provides educators, parents, and
artists with resources and the tools to support arts
programming in schools and communities. VSA arts showcases the
accomplishments of artists with disabilities and promotes
increased access to the arts for people with disabilities. Each
year millions of people participate in VSA arts programs
through a nationwide network of affiliates and in more than 60
countries around the world. VSA arts is an affiliate of The
John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.

Marcia Rhodes
Media Relations Specialist
VSA arts
818 Connecticut Avenue NW, Suite 600
Washington, DC 20006
tel: 202 628-2800 ext 3883
fax: 202 429-0868
www.vsarts.org

Posted by rollingrains at 01:55 AM

May 23, 2006

Three Beacons of Universal Design at the Municipal Level

Congratulations to Malaga, Valencia and Tenerife for their achievements in inclusion of citizens -- and tourists -- with disabilities. Málaga, Quart de Poblet (Valencia) and Breña Alta (Tenerife) were winners of the Premio Reina Sofía de Accesibilidad Universal 2005.

From Fundacion Once:

La reina Sofía preside hoy la entrega de los Premios de Integración de las Personas con Discapacidad Maribel González/ Madrid-23/05/2006

La reina doña Sofía presidirá hoy en el Palacio de la Zarzuela el acto de entrega de los Premios Reina Sofía 2005 de Rehabilitación e Integración de las Personas con Discapacidad y de Accesibilidad de Municipios, que concede anualmente el Real Patronato sobre Discapacidad.

Doña Sofía estará acompañada por el ministro de Trabajo y Asuntos Sociales, Jesús Caldera, y por la secretaria de Estado de Servicios Sociales, Familias y Discapacidad, Amparo Valcarce.

El Premio de Rehabilitación y de Integración ha sido en la categoría española para la Unidad de Atención Temprana y de Rehabiltación Infantil del Complejo Hospitalario Universitario Juan Canalejo de La Coruña, por ser una unidad pionera en España y por coordinar desde una institución pública a todos los agentes implicados en el desarrollo personal de los menores.

Esta unidad ofrece un servicio de atención integral dirigido a los niños con trastornos en su desarrollo y a sus familias, haciendo un seguimiento permanente y apoyando esta labor en todo momento.

En la candidatura de países iberoamericanos, el premio ha recaído en el padre Jesús Jaime Álvarez Benjumea, director del proyecto social Cebycam-CES, llevado a cabo en la localidad ecuatoriana de Penipe, Este galardón reconoce el trabajo solidario de los habitantes de esta localidad afectados por la carencia de yodo y por problemas de salud física y mental.

El jurado ha valorado la capacidad del padre Álvarez de hacer partícipe a todo el pueblo en esta tarea y la posibilidad de llevarlo a otros lugares que vivan situaciones similares.

ACCESIBILIDAD DE MUNICIPIOS

Los municipios de Málaga, Quart de Poblet (Valencia) y Breña Alta (Tenerife) han sido los galardonados con el Premio Reina Sofía de Accesibilidad Universal 2005, destinado a reconocer la labor de las ciudades españolas en la eliminación de barreras arquitectónicas y virtuales.

En la modalidad de municipios de menos de 10.000 habitantes, Breña Alta, en la isla de La Palma (Santa Cruz de Tenerife), ha sido galardonado por desarrollar actuaciones tendentes a la accesiblidad integral.

En cuanto a los municipios de entre 10.000 y 100.000 habitantes, el de Quart de Poblet (Valencia) ha sido premiado por desarrollar un programa de actuaciones tendentes a la accesibilidad al entorno urbano, a las tecnologías de la información y la comunicación, así como a la integración social y laboral de las personas con discapacidad en el campo educativo, ocupacional, de ocio y tiempo libre y cultural.

Entre los municipios de más de 100.000 habitantes, el jurado ha premiado a Málaga, por desarrollar una labor basada en los principios del diseño universal, transversalidad de las acciones y mejora de la accesibilidad de los servicios públicos.

En este municipio se han llevado a cabo programas diseñados para la integración social y laboral y para la accesibilidad a las nuevas tecnologías, al transporte, al entorno urbano, a los edificios y servicios públicos, a la información, a las ofertas culturales y a las actividades de ocio.

Source:
http://solidaridaddigital.discapnet.es/paginas/nacional/EJA06052302.htm

More:
http://www.malagaes.com/noticia.asp?id=1385

Posted by rollingrains at 03:56 AM

May 17, 2006

News from Ararat, Australia

Public accessible transportation is at least as important to visitors with disabilities as their local cousins. Planners forget that universal design has the added fiscal impact of allowing travelers with disabilites to discover a place.

Here's a news bit from Ararat, Australia.

Is my geography off or didn't Ararat used to be closer to where Noah disembarked from his famous cruise?

Posted by rollingrains at 10:01 PM

Inclusive Travel Goes Mainstream in the Disability Rights Establishment

Press Release: May 17, 2006

National Council on Disability Calls for Tougher Standards for Accessible Airline Self-Service Kiosk Systems

(Comtex Business Via Thomson Dialog NewsEdge)WASHINGTON, May 17, 2006 (U.S. Newswire via COMTEX) --National Council on Disability (NCD) today released an NCD Position Paper on Access to Airline Self-Service Kiosk Systems -- http://www.ncd.gov/newsroom/publications/2006/kiosk.htm -- calling on the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) to adopt an updated Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA) standard for accessible design applicable to these kiosk systems and that DOT then initiate settlement negotiations with covered air carriers and airports to bring their kiosk systems into full compliance.

According to NCD chairperson Lex Frieden, "U.S. air carriers and airports have obligations under federal accessibility laws and regulations to provide cross-disability access to their kiosk systems. Those carriers and airports operating kiosk systems not in conformity with the Americans with Disabilities Act's standard for accessible design, which is also ACAA's standard, are out of compliance."

"Advances in information technology (IT) have enabled the airline industry to improve the quality and efficiency of its services delivery while reducing operating costs. But the airlines would leave travelers with disabilities out of the IT loop, failing to offer them the same benefits and convenience of service available to other travelers. The airlines' resistance to providing customer services through fully accessible kiosks and Web sites disregards the capacity of accessible IT to empower people with disabilities to do for themselves," Frieden concluded.

Kiosk technology is an essential component of the IT-based customer self-service business model that is pervading the air-travel industry. Automated kiosks employed by the industry (frequently called self-service or check-in kiosks) are networked peripheral IT devices whose interfaces give consumers direct access to companies' centralized customer-service systems.

The air carrier industry has failed to acknowledge its legal obligations to provide equal access to passengers with disabilities, advances in access technology, and the significant economic benefit the industry derives from air travelers with disabilities.

Although no airline-kiosk vendor serving the U.S. market has included accessibility among its product features, vendors confirm that they foresee no significant technical obstacles to development and deployment-using existing access technology-of fully accessible kiosk systems. A leading authority on accessibility technology estimates that the costs of access hardware and software modifications for a fully accessible system would not exceed one to two percent of the overall cost. However, the airline industry has yet to acknowledge the need for such a product.

For more information, contact Mark Quigley at 202-272-2004 or 202-272-2074 TTY.

Posted by rollingrains at 12:27 AM

May 14, 2006

Still Time for Stuttgart and the Mercedes-Benz Museum Opening

If you are able to get to the May 18, 2006 opening of the the Mercedes-Benz Museum in Stuttgart the staff there is certain you will find it wheelchair-friendly.

Auotweb.com.au notes:

The seven Legend rooms, which guide visitors through the history of the automobile and its times in chronological order, are linked by an around 80-metre long, smooth ramp. This is designed to be equally convenient for the handicapped, with numerous imperceptible transitions to level sections so that wheelchair users are safely and comfortably conducted through the building. With the exception of the first and last, which are devoted to the invention of the automobile and motor racing history, all the Legend rooms are laid out on the same principles: along the outside of a curved, clover-leaf wall, the ramp sweeps down to the vehicle display in its historical context. While the visitor is already able to see down to the exhibits, a chronological table on the left wall illustrates events in corporate history in the light of their historical period. This gallery shows the background against which epoch-making innovations in automobile engineering were made.

Source:
http://autoweb.drive.com.au/cms/A_106732/newsarticle.html

Posted by rollingrains at 10:52 PM

May 05, 2006

Accessible Housing Intended for Multigenerational Living

If its on the Internet and its about Universal Design eventually it comes to my desktop. Even with that constant flow of information certain articles stand out.

Lynda Guydon Taylor caught my attention with her concise description, "...Universal Design, which means accessible housing intended for multigenerational living." Read her whole piece, Home Showcase: Comfort in a Rustic Ranch House at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

If you read Spanish you may appreciate this announcement of an upcoming event (May 6-7) published in Alto Aragon:

Barbastro debatirá sobre la accesibilidad de las ciudades para la tercera edad

HUESCA.- El urbanismo y, en especial, el enfocado a hacer las ciudades más accesibles para las personas mayores y, en general, para todos los que vivimos en ellas, será uno de los protagonistas de las Jornadas Técnicas que se celebrarán de forma paralela a “Ilusionarte” 2006, el Salón de los Mayores en el Medio Rural, que se celebrará en el recinto ferial de Barbastro los días 6 y 7 de mayo.

“Entorno urbano y rural accesible” es el título de la ponencia que pronunciará el arquitecto Mariano Calle Cebreros, miembro del Colegio de Arquitectos de Madrid y autor, entre otros muchos estudios, del ‘Libro Verde sobre la accesibilidad’. Calle Cebreros es un especialista en la accesibilidad y el diseño universal de las ciudades para eliminar elementos que puedan originar situaciones de peligro: pavimentos, aceras, señalización, así como otros objetos del mobiliario urbano.

No obstante, las barreras no están únicamente en las calles, sino también en nuestras casas. Rosa Regatos, arquitecto técnico del Centro Estatal de Autonomía Personal y Ayudas Técnicas, CEAPAT, centro tecnológico dependiente del IMSERSO, dará algunas sugerencias de cómo convertir nuestro hogar en una vivienda accesible, es decir, la adaptación funcional de nuestro hogar. Se trataría, por ejemplo, de una serie de adaptaciones técnicas para mejorar la adaptabilidad de un domicilio, cómo hacer el baño, la cocina, el salón...


Source:

http://www.diariodelaltoaragon.es/noticias/detalle.php?id=166756

Posted by rollingrains at 11:29 PM

May 04, 2006

Baby Boomers and the Challenge of Generations X & Y

The Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) has some observations about travel industry trends:

The Baby Boomer segment of the travel market, in terms of expenditure, will continue to grow over the coming decades, while Generation X is fast becoming a driving force.

The smaller Generation Y tends to stay at home, having become "slaves to the screen".

Delegates to the 55th Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) Annual Conference learned this during the April 25 plenary session on "Baby Boomers and the Challenge of Generations X & Y", moderated by Editor of PATA Premier Partner magazine TIME International.

Asian Demographics CEO & Director Dr Clint Laurent said Asia is not a "young market", as many may think. For example, China (PRC)'s one-child policy has created a numeric imbalance between older and younger generations in the same way that the Baby Boomers generation has in Japan.

Dr Laurent said the region holds multiple segments based on age and affluence, and he grouped countries with similar demographics:

** Japan has the largest and most affluent Baby Boomer market

** The over-40 segment in Hong Kong, Chinese Taipei and Korea (ROK) is climbing the fastest

** 1% of China's 200 million Baby Boomers have a "reasonable sum of money and time"

** India has the youngest market.

Japan Travel Bureau Foundation Managing Director-Marketing Mr Hidetoshi Kobayashi presented statistics for the Japanese market that show Baby Boomers and Generation X driving the country's outbound travel. Mr Kobayashi said Generation Y is less eager to travel, preferring to purchase goods. Travel must compete with home entertainment and the Internet for the attention of Generation Y, he said.

High-yield Australian and New Zealand Baby Boomers spend AU$200-AU$300 per person, per day, according to Roy Morgan Research International Director-Travel, Tourism & Leisure Ms Jane Ianniello. Though they mostly travel to English-speaking countries, Ms Ianniello said that conversion rates for Asia Pacific destinations are very high, because they are close.

DERTOUR Director-Africa/Middle East/Asia Pacific Ms Petra Fraatz said that German Baby Boomer travellers to the Asia Pacific require flexibility, as they prefer to create their own holiday packages. She said generations X and Y are more difficult to predict.

Ms Fraatz said that population development over the next 30 years shows a growing Baby Boomer market, while the younger market is continuously shrinking.

SOURCE: www.PATA.org

Posted by rollingrains at 11:00 PM

May 01, 2006

"Universal Design...is Anything but Universal"

Alex Cukan writes about the best shower of her life -- a luxuriously large, universally designed one at the Ramada Renaissance in Washington, DC. Home builders, contractors, and realtors all know that the "home spa" approach to bathrooms is here to stay and is one of the best returns on investment when remodeling a home for resale.

Wouldn't standardizing hotel showers as roll-in size begin to meet guests' expectations of comfort? I have had travel agents tell me that cruise ship passengers have faked disabilities just so they can get the wheelchair-sized showers. Why not make comfort and style ubiquitous?

Posted by rollingrains at 10:33 PM

April 28, 2006

Hong Kong's Dragon Cruise

Cruise lines and water-based touring companies face design questions that are unique to their situation. A thorough rethinking of ship design and water-based travel products is in order using the principle of Universal Design. Here is a report on First Travel's new 'Hong Kong Dragon Cruise'. While they have not undertaken such an integrated approach they have acknowledged some of the basics.

See:

http://www.marinelog.com/DOCS/NEWSMMIII/MMIIINov25.html

Posted by rollingrains at 08:55 PM

April 23, 2006

Universal Design in Homes in India

While much of the press that is easily available to me here in the US emphasizes the near ubiquity of Universal Design in new home construction and in remodeling this piece by Vivek Sabherwal tells the rest of the story. Universal Design is global good sense.

Read Ageing, with Comfort: http://www.financialexpress.com/fe_full_story.php?content_id=124661

Posted by rollingrains at 04:49 PM

April 16, 2006

International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health: Photo Contest

Entry closed on March 31, 2006 for the current "ICF Photo Contest - Images of Health and Disability." Keep a creative eye open for images to submit next year as you examine the work of previous winners:

2002
2003
2004

Posted by rollingrains at 05:13 PM

April 12, 2006

New Dehli: First National Conference on Accessible Transportation

This conference sought to bring the government service providers, stakeholders and user groups on one platform to address the concern of senior citizens and persons with disabilities. Five international experts also addressed the conference. Of them Ling Suen of the International Centre for Accessible Transportation, Canada recommended enactment of a National Transportation Act in India like that in Canada besides a complaint resolution mechanism and redress system to make the roads, buildings and other public places more accessible to the elderly and the disabled.

Source:
http://www.hindu.com/2006/03/19/stories/2006031910640400.htm

Posted by rollingrains at 12:50 AM

April 09, 2006

Susan Fornoff Captures the Dilemma in "Age of Denial"

Even as Universal Design gains popularity this ancedote opening Susan Fornoff's SF Chronicle article captures the tension:

Meri-K Appy can't forget the look on the face of her neighbor, a fit and athletic Baby Boomer, who reacted to the phrase "grab bars" as if someone should have bleeped out the two seemingly innocuous four-letter words.

Read Age of Denial for a look into why it is so essential to differentiate between "accessibility" and Universal Design.

(Full Disclosure: There are no grab bars in my remodeled Universal Design bathroom either!)

(Fuller Disclosure: I had an outstanding deisgner who came up with excellent solutions that unstylish accessiblity products unneccessary.)

Posted by rollingrains at 08:58 PM

April 04, 2006

Global Tourism Renewable Energy Alliance Announced

Green building & Universal Design go together. In commercial building Universal Design & LEED certification go hand in hand. In home design and remodelling Boomer UD retrofits fill the news as do industry stories on energy efficient smart homes.

So it is encouraging to see travel industry organizations such as Green Globe 21and ICTP partner with innovative businesses such as Green Global Village and Mondial Energy.

Travel Wire News reports:


Alex Winch, President of Mondial Energy Inc. announced an alliance with Green Global Village to target the tourism sector with Mondial’s innovative solar financing mechanism.

Winch said that Mondial has developed a financing structure that allows for no capital outlay, low operating cost energy solutions using high quality equipment and long term, stable energy prices. The link with tourism – one of the world’s largest and most energy reliant sectors – opens up immense market opportunity. He added that it would also help the tourism industry do the right thing at the right time for global climate change solutions.

Source:
http://www.travelwirenews.com/news/03APR2006.htm

Posted by rollingrains at 12:50 PM

April 03, 2006

Recent Articles on Universal Design

Pat Ferrier, writing in the Coloradan, tells an interesting story - with a bit of edge - on the impact of visitability while making appropriate distinctions between disability, handicap, universal design, and accessible design. (But note Visitability founder Eleanor Smith's notes below.*) Read Homes for All Abilities. The piece is reminiscent of the warning issued post-Katrina -- "Will We Learn From Our Mistakes?"

Here is another good piece. This one is by Maureen