Gold and Silver for Grocon!

Aerial view of the park with a helix shaped sculpture circling a multicoloured saucer shaped water feature. Blocks of apartments surround the park. Each block is a different colour - yellow, orange, red.Grocon has finished building the Parklands project which will be the athlete’s village for the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games 2018. All the apartments are to the Livable Housing Design Gold Level and above, and the townhouses are to Livable Housing Design Silver Level. And Grocon says it cost no more to do it. Grocon has also factored in environmental considerations. This means the development is both socially and environmentally sustainable.  So time to get going and do it for all new dwellings in Australia! 

Photos courtesy Grocon are of the bathroom, kitchen and the lever door handle. You can see more pictures of the development site on the Grocon Parklands website including a video of a fly through and a time lapse video. All dwellings will be available for rent after the Games in 2019.  

Editor’s note: I have it on good authority from the registered assessor that the dwellings do in fact meet the LHA Guidelines, give or take a centimetre here or there.

Facebooktwitterlinkedin

Do we need another form of Braille?

The picture shows a book in landscape with large red icons of the Elia Frames system and a person's hand touching the raised icons.People who are born blind are introduced to Braille from an early age. But what if you become blind at a later age? Is Braille the most suitable system for accessing text, and even if it is, how easy is it to learn? This is a tricky area to navigate in terms of design and policy. However, someone has come up with a tactile system that is based on the alphabet that sighted people know and is easier to learn later in life. It has one an award for innovation. In the article, The Complicated Quest to Redesign Braille, readers are taken through the story and the rationale for the development. The developer claims the new tactile markers are easier and quicker to learn than Braille. Of course, there is no reason why both systems can’t co-exist – the universal solution. The point is also made that the digital world has changed much for people who are blind with products and services such as talking books and podcasts.

The article was found on the Fast Co.Design website.  

Facebooktwitterlinkedin

Destinations for All: Get ready

The photo was taken in the Flower Dome at Gardens by the Bay in Singapore. A woman in a red dress stands looking at plants and behind her is a man in a hat sitting in a wheelchair and moving along the path between the plants. The glass windows can be seen above.Brussels will be hosting the 2nd World Summit on Accessible Tourism next year. It will present the innovations and best practices for the development of the accessible tourism chain. Abstract submissions open November 2017 and close end of March 2018. The date of the summit is 1-2 October 2018.

You can read more about the first summit held in Montreal in 2014 where 360 participants from 31 countries shared their expertise and experiences. At the end of the summit, they adopted the declaration “A world for all”. Available in 10 languages, the declaration includes 40 concrete measures to implement the recommendations of the UNWTO for inclusive tourism. The declaration is a genuine action plan at the local, national and international levels, promoting the accessibility of tourist infrastructure, buildings and services.  Proceedings from the first summit are also available and worth a look.  

Facebooktwitterlinkedin

Make Way Day

An older woman in a powered wheelchair struggles to get past a bicycle chained to a pole. The front wheel of the bicycle is at a ninety degree angle to the path of travel. She is putting a red Make Way Day sticker on the wheel of the bicycle.Getting along a footpath isn’t always easy especially when some people act either illegally, or without thought for others. Make Way Day in Ireland is creating awareness of the common footpath obstructions that people with disability and pram pushers face every day. On Make Way Day volunteers put “Make Way Day” stickers on the obstacles in their path of travel. This brings attention to the issues for the offender as well as other footpath users. See the link for the examples and a video of obstacles that people have to deal with. There is also a Twitter feed for this.

Editor’s note: This looks like a great project for Australian councils to support by having the stickers printed for volunteers to use and also announcing a Make Way Day to bring attention to it.

Facebooktwitterlinkedin

Smart Grid and the Internet of Things

Graphic showing silhouetted city outline showing links to homes, factories, offices, transport and other city servicesSmart cities is the new buzzword. But what does that mean? Is universal design considered smart? Darren Bates writes on his blog site that accessibility is a key aspect of a smart city. He covers transportation, community space, playgrounds, city culture, and smart apps. Although he hasn’t discovered anything new, it is good to see the message getting out in mainstream content and linked with innovation. You can read his article on smart cities built for everyone.

 

 

Facebooktwitterlinkedin

Better world with Google Maps

A cartoon drawing with figures with wheels - wheelchair, wheelie walker and a woman pushing a baby strollerSmart phones have changed many things about the way we live.There are apps for almost anything. Some are of particular benefit to people with disability and create greater convenience and independence. Smart phone owners will be familiar with Google Maps for navigating both short and long distances. The maps also contain additional information about parking, places to eat, toilets, and more. For people with wheels, knowing the level of accessibility is critical to their journey and destination planning, whether its a holiday or a local restaurant. Google is encouraging people to sign up to their mapping project that will expand their database of accessible places, spaces and points of interest. You can find out more about this project and see two really interesting videos. One is a wheelchair user in Chicago, and the other is in Indonesia – she uses a modified motor bike to get around. There is also a short introductory video with the key points.

Of course, parents with strollers or anyone with wheels, or with difficulty walking will find this map information useful, so this is taking us closer to a universally designed world. 

Facebooktwitterlinkedin

Designers! – A Call for Papers

Logo for the conference in bright pink with white wavy lines and white text for the call for papersThe Design Research Society is a global multi-disciplinary research community. Their next conference is set for 25-28 June 2018 in Limerick, Ireland. There is an inclusive design track: Designing for Diversity; Inclusive Design as a catalyst for change?  The call for papers seeks to go beyond disability, ageing and physical accessibility to include fields that have not previously received much attention, for example, neurodiversity, mental health, and obesity. The call for full papers closes 6 November 2017. There is also a call for workshops.

The conference home page says “Design shapes are daily lives, influencing how we interact with each other and with our environment. When at its best, design is a powerful catalyst for change. DRS2018 Limerick, invites designers to explore these relationships across an exciting four day conference from 25th-28th June 2018”.

Editor’s note: The next major International Universal Design Conference will be held 30 November to 2 December 2018 in Ireland (probably Dublin). More information to come shortly. This conference follows the one in 2016 in Lund, Sweden. The 3rd Australian Universal Design Conference will be held in Brisbane between late August and mid September 2018 – planning is well under way.

Facebooktwitterlinkedin