Results matching “visitability”

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

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

Stweardship remodeling.jpg

Mike Vowels of Stewardship Remodeling has just published an article on sustainability's triple bottom line for the Eastside Business Journal - Sustainability and Remodeling your Home.. He observes that "Only in the past five years, however, has sustainability become a catchword capable of capturing the attention not only of environmental scientists and activists but also of (some) mainstream economists, other social scientists, and policymakers.'

He goes on to succinctly make the case. Note his approach. It's quotable:

Potentially, sustainability can have a three-prong effect on the remodeling plans for your home, as follows:

* Environmental Sustainability (e.g., Green Remodeling Practices). * Economic Sustainability (e.g., Return on Investment & future Marketability of your home). * Social Sustainability (e.g., your design changes enable you to live in the comfort and safety of your home much longer).

“Universal Design is also called Inclusive Design, Design-for-All and Lifespan Design. Universal Design focuses on Social Sustainability which relates to basic needs such as freedom, happiness, safety and dignity.”

Occasionally the question arises, "What's with the interest in home design when the main topic here is travel?"

The answer is, "Because trends in home design are currently our best demonstration of future trends in hospitality design." Terms like "livability" are arising to measure the desirability of communities. The immediate post-WW II push to sell home appliances on the appeal of convenience has the following generations thinking bigger. They are evaluating the architecture of their entire domestic envelope -- home, neighborhood, and destinations of choice

The demographic bulge in aging is driving a boom in home design using Universal Design. That population contains the prime candidates for travel. Hotel, resort, and cruise ship businesses are responding by incorporating Universal Design to attract this demographic - although at a painfully slow pace in many cases.

Below is a speech by Chris Hansen, Group Executive Officer of State and National Initiatives at AARP from 2005 hitting all the key themes of this opportunity: Universal Design, Visitability, and Livabiity

Design for Human-Centered Living

The goal of our work is "inclusion."

It's the perfect work. The goal is universally appealing. By the time you have succeeded nobody can understand why the world would have ever been otherwise.

That is why these reviews of universally designed homes are so illustrative. They document the cultural shift towards the "new common sense" approach to the built environment.

One by one people all over the world are making a lifestyle change. As homes are redesigned for owners to live in them for much longer periods (aging-in-place) they also naturally become available as places of hospitality for those with disabilities who are currently excluded by design (Visitability.) As domestic standards of comfort and socializing turn toward environments that accept social inclusion as fundamental commercial environments such as hotels, resorts, and vacation vehicles feel the market pressure to do the same.

This review of a universally designed home in Virginia tells the story of one more step toward the human-centered approach to hospitality.

Did you know that "60% of ALL HOUSES built today in the United States will have at least one resident with a “long-lasting, severe mobility impairment” at some point in the lifetime of the house?"

None of us did until publication of the article cited below.

Gordon Rattray of Able Travel is first out of the gate in publishing a new type of resource for hoteliers. The document, Making Your Property More Inclusive: Basic Guidelines for African Safaris, is only one example of a new generation of results-oriented advice flowing from the kind of thinking evident at the Second International Conference on Accessible Tourism held at the UN campus in Bangkok, Thailand.

The core concepts are "Social Inclusion" and "Visitability."

While mere accessibility addresses usability of basic infrastructure by all, social inclusion (or simply "inclusion") refers to the availability of the activities and social interaction taking place in any space. Inclusion is the more powerful and adaptive concept. In terms of the tourism industry "accessibility" is equivalent to a building having indoor plumbing and running water -- so basic as to be a non-issue -- unless it is absent!

Visitability is a specific application of the seven principles of Universal Design to the minimum requirements for usability of the built environment by persons with mobility impairments. The concept of Visitability has been developed by Eleanor Smith and, until now, exclusively applied to private residences.

However, we know that concepts of "home" and "hominess" migrate into the hospitality industry at a rapid pace. Visitability as a hotel design trend is arising simultaneously in Europe, South America, Africa, and Asia. It will be a topic of hallway discussions at the ASEAN Tourism Forum (ATF-2008) in Bankok next month.

Building for a Lifetime

There are some people who should be put out of business. Take the RV Care-A-Vanners group.

Don't get me wrong these folks do fantastic work and some chapters of Habitat for Humanity have learned the value of Universal Design and adopted it. If UD - or at least Visitability - was standard practice then maybe the mn mentioned in this article never would have been seprarted from his family -- and the Browns and Vandevelds could go fishing (or build some new homes instead of doing emergency retrofits.)

Inclusive Tourism: Some Definitions

When does travel - moving from point A to point B - become tourism?

Webster says that tourism is:

Function: noun
1 : the practice of traveling for recreation
2 : the guidance or management of tourists
3 a : the promotion or encouragement of touring b : the accommodation of tourists


Wikipedia elaborates with:

Tourism can be defined as the act of travel for the purpose of recreation, and the provision of services for this act. A tourist is someone who travels at least fifty miles from home, as defined by the World Tourism Organization (a United Nations body).

Maslow, Marketing, & Maturity Revisited

Abraham Maslow postulated a hierarchy of human needs in his 1943 paper “A Theory of Human Motivation.” He further refined the idea through his lifetime.

Just where does tourism intersect with Maslow’s hierarchy of needs? Maybe not where you think.

Often represented as a pyramid with the base being physiological needs Maslow observed an impulse toward satisfying ever higher needs. Deficit Needs were his name for the first four needs: physiological, safety, belonging, and esteem. The remainder which he called Growth Needs. He noted that Deficit Needs were so fundamental that each prior need must be satisfied in order for a person to progress to the next.

The tourism industry can be a vehicle for disability rights.

This is the fundamental assertion of the Rolling Rains Report. The Report gleans evidence daily from around the world to fulfill its tag line, "Precipitating dialogue on travel, disability, and Universal Design." Universal Design, as applied to policy and services - as well as to place, publication, and product - is the primary strategy it promotes.

The International Council for Building Research and Innovation (CIB) Working Commission 084 “Building Comfortable Environments for All” invites you to submit high quality research papers for the International Meeting in 2008 in USA.

“Building Comfortable and Liveable Environments for All”

May 15- 16, 2008, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, USA

In the US AARP has taken leadership in promoting Universal Design for homes through their Social Impact initiatives. Prince Williams County, Virgina in the US has a Universal Design demonstration home. A project is underway at the Universal Design Living Laboratory in Columbus, Ohio. In Brazil Sandra Perito has been doing so for several years at Universal Home.

In Australia Alex and Desiree have come at the field from the consumer standpoint and offer a unique voice as they disseminate Universal Design thinking by turning their home into a demonstration project at Universal Design Renovations.

visitability cover

Announcing a free e-book for environmental designers, planners, and others
interested in universal design.

Jack L. Nasar, & Jennifer Evans-Cowley (Eds.) (2007). Universal Design and Visitability: From Accessibility to Zoning. Columbus, OH: John Glenn School
of Public Affairs. (Funded in part by the National Endowment for the Arts
Universal Design Leadership Initiative).

You can download the pdf file for free at:

It's official. It's a megatrend! Universal Design, Visitability, lifespan architecture have broken the generational delimiters and surmounted the stigmas of age an disability. But don't believe me that, "Barrierefreies Leben ist nicht nur für ältere Menschen wichtig - auch Jüngere bevorzugen den Komfort, den diese Wohnungen bieten." Read the opinion of Thomas Beyerle, chief researcher at Allianz-Immobilientochter Degi, in the Financial Times Deutchland article, "Ohne Treppen und Schwellen".

Traveling With Attendants

The older leadership of the disability rights movement has been reminding the gerontology profession and senior care industry that we are "beta testers for aging." Changes to policy, product, legislation, and lifestyle that we have achieved over the past 30+ years have become so mainstream that AARP could hold a conference on diversity touting Universal Design, lifespan homes, Visitability and never once mention the word disability or include a PwD as a presenter!

An article in Myrtle Beach Online talks about seniors bringing their attendants on vacation with them. Will we delay in order to reinvent the wheel or are lifestyles and strategies of resilience and self-efficacy developed by the Disability Community about to become legitimized?

At the core of Disability Culture is an affirmation that life is communitarian; that interdependence is more adaptive, sustainable, and resilient than popular images of independence. Does Disability Culture scale?

In the past, some vacationers with disabilities hired medical transport services to assist them with air travel, such as moving through airport security and getting on and off the plane. But now, "it has absolutely broadened," says Elinor Ginzler, who oversees projects on mobility and housing for AARP in Washington, D.C. Now nurses are not only helping travelers on plane trips; they also are staying in hotels or cruise ships with them - often in the same room.

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:

Gratitude and Inclusive Travel

Stacy Ellingen, writing in the Fond du Lac Reporter manages to touch on both Visitability and Inclusive Tourism in one short commentary:

Traveling when you have a physical disability can present different challenges. From simple things, such as finding an accessible restroom to dealing with places where there are only flights of stairs, traveling anywhere when you're in a wheelchair can prove interesting.

I have both a power wheelchair and a manual wheelchair. I use my manual chair when we go to relatives' houses (because they're not accessible) and when we fly places. When I was a lot younger, we used my manual chair more than we do now because it was a lot easier for my parents to move me around — I was smaller, and I was young enough that freedom wasn't an issue.

You can find the entire article here.

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.

The seed is here at Adaptive Environments:

Universal Design is also called Inclusive Design, Design-for-All and Lifespan Design. It is not a design style but an orientation to any design process that starts with a responsibility to the experience of the user. It has a parallel in the green design movement that also offers a framework for design problem solving based on the core value of environmental responsibility. Universal Design and green design are comfortably two sides of the same coin but at different evolutionary stages. Green design focuses on environmental sustainability, Universal Design on social sustainability.

Two expressions, growing out of Designing for the 21st Century in Rio de Janeiro, are the documents, The Rio Charter on Universal Design for Sustainable and Inclusive Development and 2004 Rio Declaration on Sustainable Social Development, Disability & Ageing.

Now it appears that the American public might almost be ready to hear the message. Living on Earth interviewed Professor Daniel Esty, director of the Yale Center for Environmental Law and Policy. A study undertaken by his center finds that, "A new survey shows that 63 percent of Americans are as concerned about climate change as they are about terrorism."

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.

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