Results matching “visitability”

Over at Wheelie Catholic somebody is asking the right question. When will Visitability ("Universal Hiousing" in Australia) bring joy to the holiday season?

Every holiday, I receive invitations to go to parties at friends and families' homes. The bottom line is that I can't get into these events because no one's home is accessible. It isn't a matter of just getting in the front door, although that can be daunting in itself - I'm getting flashbacks here of using pieces of plywood to roll up eight concrete steps - but once inside, the hallways may not be passable and of course, the bathroom may not be accessible.

My friends with disabilities have accessible housing by necessity so I can always be with them, but they live many miles away. It is discouraging as a person who works toward inclusion to discover that the friends I have who are not disabled might as well be living in a castle with a moat with alligators in it!

Read more:

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

Amory Park del Sol: Tucson


The Rio Declaration on Universal Design as Sustainable Development endorses the alignment of Universal Design and energy efficiency that is exemplified by Tucson's Amory Park del Sol. Read about their approach to to access & visitability. Projects such as this can significantly contribute to the next step -- Inclusive Destination Development.

Universal Design continues to be the design approach of choice as lack of vision about the lifecycle of homeowners and the desire to allow Visitability spreads. here is a notice about a professional response in Canada:

Royal LePage Real Estate Services announced the launch of the Royal LePage Seniors Real Estate Specialist (SRES) Designation Program. The SRES designation is a North American real estate recognized designation, and Royal LePage will be the first organization in Canada to become a certified supplier, making it available to its Realtors in response to the changing housing needs, desires and options available to the 50-plus market.

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.

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.


Concrete Change is the flagship promoter of the concept "Visitability."

Ragged Edge magazine has also developed a valuable online resource at So has SUNY-Buffalo's Center for Inclusive Design and the Australian Network for Universal Housing Design. The Center for Universal Design at the University of North Carolina keeps a listing of Visitability-related events here.

Home Accessibility in Oregon State, USA

Last year, the Legislature of the State of Oregon instructed the Oregon Construction Contractors Board to develop a list of accessible features that contractors may offer to clients when building or remodeling private residences. The complete list contains 60 items, including:

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
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.


Points of Light Foundation Conference


The Points of Light Foundation coordinates local & national volunteer initiatives in the US. The 2006 conference was held in Seattle.

Inclusion was one of the themes running through the week. The National Service Inclusion Project made several presntations. The topic of inclusion was raised in disaster preparedness workshops. Ability Awareness was there to let everyone know about Universal Design, Visitability, and service through its Ability House project.

Grant's Pass, Oregon

"Rascals" is the name of a booming computer support group by and for seniors in this charming town along the Rogue River. As a river runs through it the town has at least the start of Venice's alternate transportation system - but you might find a gondola's performance not to your liking in the white water. Kayaking is the sport here.

In town on business I flagged down a fellow in a three wheeled scooter navigating the surprisingly congested downtown maze. After checking in with various social service and voluteer groups like RSVP (Retired Senior Volunteer Program), and those savvy Rascals, I followed a lead on a residential development incorporating Universal Design.

On Visitability

Eleanor Smith of Concrete Change and Roberta Null of Common Place Design will be featured at the Morten Kesten Summit during the Universal Design and Visitability: From Accessibility to Zoning a conference next month at Ohio Stae University.

Freedom of the Seas is one big ship!

Royal Carribean, not opting for Universal Design but still dead-in-the-water with affirmative active set-asides, has put the extra deck space to good use. Michael Cole writing in the naples Sun Times reports,

The ship also features a six-person wheelchair accessible family stateroom (423 square feet with a 120 square foot balcony), featuring a curtained-off sleeping alcove with bunk beds, sleeper sofa, an accessible bathroom and shower, and accessible closets. Also, look for 10, six-person family oceanview staterooms; four, six-person promenade family staterooms and two, six-person inside family staterooms to make life on the high seas more enjoyable than ever.

The proper ratio would have been inverted of course 18 wheelchair accessible staterooms with only one inaccessible cabin for those families that want the freedom to discriminate and have an ethical issue with Visitability.

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.

July 13-14, 2006 will be the Universal Design and Visitability: From Accessibility to Zoning Conference.

The event is sponsored by the Ohio State University in collaboration with the National Endowment for the Arts, the John Glenn Institute for Public Service and Public Policy, the Kirwin Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity, are sponsoring a two-day seminar on universal design and visitability. Planners, designers, planning commissioners, elected officials, disability professionals and the general public all can benefit from this conference.


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.

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 St.Hilaire and published in the Arlington Advocate. And one by Kimberly Seldon of Design for Living.

As Universal Design continues into the mainstream publications like MSN (first article) make mistakes like confusing it with accessible design.

The Hottest Remodeling Trends for 2011

Universal Design Makes Homes Useful for Every Stage of Life

Latest New American Home Has a Lot of `Wow'

The last time I wrote about hotel beds I received hearty encouragement from Eleanor Smith, founder of the Visitability initiative. My search for the "just right" bed will never have the worldwide impact of Visitability. In fact, it may put a few people to sleep. But that's not a bad thing.

Many who travel using wheelchairs or with parents having mobility difficulties have lamented the trend toward "skyscraper beds." These extra high beds may make for enticing promotional photos with their long legs and impressive display of mattress-top quilting and padding. Short of installing step ladders for entry or taking a flying leap to mount them they remain out of reach for many.

The Marriott Suites Hotel in Anaheim, California has hit the "Goldilocks Zone" with more than its sensible height bed in Room 1401.

Call for Papers: Universal Design

Call for Papers: Universal Design & Visitability: From Accessibility to
Zoning Conference

The Ohio State University is organizing the Universal Design & Visitability: From

Accessibility to Zoning Conference (July 13-14, 2006).

Visit(ability) North Dakota!

"If you build it, they will come but they have to be able to get in," reminds Katina Tengesdal in yesterday's Minot Daily News. She interviews Eleanor Smith, promoter of Visitability and founder of and reports on the movement toward Universal Design on North Dakota. Touching on issues of the cost savings of correctly designed homes, the ability they offer for their owners to age-in-place, and the increased resale value of universally designed homes she lays out arguments that the NoDak tourism & hospitality sector would do well to heed.

Making Homes Accessible to All

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