Ecuentro America Solidario – June 11, 2012 Dr. Scott Rains firstname.lastname@example.org www.RollingRains.comWelcome to a continental conversation on disability and development.We are here to review the excellent work being done around us on disability so we can answerthe question, "What next?" For my part I want to suggest that the concept Universal Design bepart of whatever each of us does next.Universal Design is a process and framework for the design of places, things, information,communication and policy to be usable by the widest range of people operating in the widestrange of situations without special or separate design. Most simply, Universal Design is human-centered design of everything with everyone in mind.Universal Design imagines people with disability. It imagines them as citizens. It imagines themas customers. It imagines – and employs – them in all stages of the design process as experts ontheir own experience.Here today we may be policy makers, development professionals, project administrators or insome other role we steer the public life. To do that we look for answers in the ways we know how.Sometimes our logic is so tight, our worldview so complete, and our tools so refined that we onlysearch where we see the light. We are here to figuratively shine the lights gained from ourinitiatives for the benefit of each other. Let me start out with an example of what the world lookslike when we use Universal Design to facilitate the full inclusion of people who are color blind.Color blindness is a condition where ranges of color are indistiguishable for certian sightedpeople: [Play Video: Código de Color || ColorADD] http://youtu.be/QA9Ce8hvKuk (Time 2:05 minutes)What we have witnessed is the invention of an alphabet of color. Color blindness was not cured.The lasting value here is that barriers to social inclusion by those who are color blind wereremoved. Inventing the ColorADD system provides accessibility to colors and their relationships.It reveals at least some of the social meaning of color so that those who cannot directly perceivethose colors through their senses are able to manipulate color in ways that have been mademeaningful in their society.Is the subtle distinction clear? Coloblindness is not treated as a medical problem residing in anindividual who needs a cure. The "cure" lies on a social level in understanding the naturaldiversity of humans. Just inventing a symbol set to represent color provides access to newinformation for someone who is colorblind. Those who adopt the ColorADD symbols in consumerproducts and public spaces are actively engaged in the social inclusion of those who arecolorblind.The is another example of good information design that allows those who rely on senses otherthan sight to take in essential information. The solution was invented by Coco Raynes. She callsit the Raynes Rail. If you are ever in De Gaul Airport you will find them. They look like normalhandrails along the wall. They are not. On the backside is wayfinding information in Braille. Youread it as you walk along to your destination.
There is a story that used to circulate around Eastern Europe. A wise rabbi was seen down on hisknees on the side of the road one night under a streetlight. He was examining the ground intentlysweeping his hand over the ground in front of him as he slowly crawled around in the circle oflight. A group of villagers saw him and hurried up the road to ask, "Rabbi, what are you doing?"He looked up and said, "I lost my keys." The villagers joined him. Another villager arrived andjoined the group. Finally a woman came up and asked, "What are you doing?" They answeredher, "Looking for the Rabbis keys." She asked the Rabbi, "Where did you lose them?" Hestopped what he was doing, looked up, and pointed down the road in the darkness. "Over there,"he said. "Then, why are you looking here?", she asked. "Because the light is here", he replied.If we keep looking with the same strategies - or in the case of this story with the same senses-then we are doomed to live in the circle of light. But that is not who are presenters are. Each onehas reached outside the known to learn from the disability community. Each on has come backhaving solved some need and at the same time empowered people with disbilities to be theagents of control in their own lives.Governments have an essential role in guaranteeing equal rights for persons with disabilities byratifying the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disbilities and through programs such asEcuadors Manuela Espejo Project and Brazils "Viver sem Limites." Charitable organizations playan essential role in eduction and service provision with projects like Chiles teleton. Someanswers are not sustainable by governments or NGOs but require the business sector and theprofit motive to support themselves. Here is the story of two designers who decided to useUniversal Design as the foundation of their hugely successful business. The company is calledSmart Design. They sell their products under the brand OXO. The lesson here is that byimagining persons with disabilities as customers but insisting that their products have an estheticand emotional appeal to all customers this company was very successful. [Play Video: About OXO] http://youtu.be/G1btXbIQLfo (Time 2:05 minutes)The OXO video we just saw illustrates what are known as the Seven Goals of Universal Design.You hav seen them applied lets list them now:1. The design is accommodating of a wide a range of body sizes and abilities - Thats BodyFit2. The design keeps demands within desirable limits of body function and perception -Thats Comfort3. The design ensures that critical information for use is easily perceived - ThatsAwareness4. The design makes methods of operation and use intuitive, clear and unambiguous -Thats Understanding5. The design contributes to health promotion, avoidance of disease, and protection fromhazards - Thats Wellness6. The design treats all groups with dignity and respect - Thats Social integration7. The design incorporates opportunities for choice and the expression of individualpreferences - Thats PersonalizationOne way to express the core secret hidden in Universal Design is this: "Design for the extremesof human diversity." It should not be surprising that this inclusive approach would be the historiccontribution of the disability community through Universal Design inventor and quadriplegic, RonMace. It ought not surprise us also if we see some completely new policy approaches, socialprojects, or consumer products come as a result of the intimate knowledge of Ecuadors disabilitycommunity gathered through the Manuela Espejo Project. Universal design is a process thatrequires partnerships with representatives of the full range of human diversity throughout thedesign process.
**Human beings change things in ways no other animal does. We see patterns in the world aroundus and we recognize them. We invent new patterns and we impose them to make a new world.The process we go through to intentionally change things is called design. Design requires a littlebit of engineering, a little bit of art, and a lot of imagination.At some moments designing is intensely solitary. At other moments it can hardly be distinguishedfrom play. Disneyland, which likes to think of itself as the world’s playground, made up its ownword to capture this seriously playful process -- “Imagineering.” With the word they are trying tosignal the atmosphere they want – an atmosphere of delight. A magic place where all areincluded through design.You pass into the Magic Kingdom – Disneyland - and you are comfortable. You feel included. Insome unexpected way you are home. What you experience makes you surprised and delighted.You are a temporary citizen of a space and a culture that is … one of the most stable andprofitable enterprises in the world? Wait! A company that sells the temporary experience ofparticipation as a citizen makes a profit and even grows?There is a secret here to be discovered. Disney wants to design the experience of surprising acustomer by meeting, then surpassing, their expectations. That is delight and it is the secret towinning loyalty and its profits.As you have heard I work in the area of tourism. We know we have achieved our destinationmangement goals when we can present travelers with that experience of delight, as I must admitmy friend Juan Francisco Maranon has done the past few days at his Huasquila Lodge in theNapo Amazon region. We believe Universal Design is a greatly underutilized strategy fordevelopment and inclusion of those with disabilities. One of the unexpected results of researchdone in 2002 and repeated in 2005 was the sheer size and dynamism of the market. Surveyingonly Americans with disabilities it was discovered that they were spending $13.6 billion per yearon travel and lodging. In addition, those suveyed reported that the key changes that would enticethem to travel more frequently had less to do with phyical accessibility of the built environmentand more to do with travel industry staff gaining a basic idea of the life experience of people withdisablities in order to allow them to seamlessly participate in society through travel. Put simply,what we want more than physical access is social inclusion.The rallying cry of the disability rights movement of the 1970s and beyond was, "Nothing about uswithout us." Demands were made by persons with mobility impairments to be taken seriously ascitizens. Immediate access to buildings and transportation were priorities yet "Nothing about uswithout us" also evolved into a much more inclusive demand. Over time it became clear thatproviding the best accessibility for some really meant "Design for the extremes of humandiversity." That needed to be done in such a way that everybody was served together withoutmarking one particular group as outside what was considered normal. So, part of the "Whatnext?" that we need to cover through this Encuentro is how to insert our collective focussedknowledge of persons with disabilities to create solutions that serve all people. We do thaT byevaluating our knowledge with a Universal Design approach or, known as it is known by its othernames "Design for All," "Lifespan Design," or "Inclusive Design."Universal Design is unvoidably a progressive and democratic process because it engages with amarginalized population that crosscuts all levels of society. It reveals patterns of inequality ofopportunity and privilege even in such seemingly non-political activities as tourism. Engaging inthe process of Universal Design helps identify barriers and understand the nature of thechallenges to be overcome. If we want to understand why an idea so practical and powerful asUniversal Design is not universally applied we need to look at the purpose served its opposite –design for exclusion.
Physical exclusion by design is what society does to criminals through prisons and for those whoare ill through hospitals. Historically architects borrowed from prisons and hospitals to designspecial institutions to house people with disabilities. In all cases someone is being protected andsomeone isolated even when they are the same person “isolated for their own protection.” Western civilizations have historically used charitable institutions to care for people with disabilities. However, when people with disabilities are confined to institutions, they are rarely found in public spaces or living in residential neighborhoods; thus, it appears that it is unnecessary to provide accessibility to the community outside the institutions. Not only is the inmates’ spoiled identity reinforced by the message that they cannot take care of themselves or participate productively in society, but the lack of accessible environments in the outside community also reinforces the belief.~ From Chapter1: Barriers and the Social Meaning in Universal Design: Creating InclusiveEnvironments p. 17The error perpetuates itself because those who are stigmatized are not imagined as users,citizens, neighbors, or customers.What is a “spoiled identity?” Sociologists use the word “stigma” to mean the same thing. From apragmatic perspective stigmas are socially created and thus can be eliminated. Universal Designis about becoming aware of the stigmas and strategizing ways to eliminate them.Erving Goffman, one of the most influential sociologists of the twentieth century, defined stigmaas: The phenomenon whereby an individual with an attribute is deeply discredited by his/her society [and] is rejected as a result of the attribute. Stigma is a process by which the reaction of others spoils normal identity. (Goffman, 1963).Gerhard Falk, author of more than fifty scholarly works, wrote in Stigma: How We TreatOutsiders: All societies will always stigmatize some conditions and some behaviors because doing so provides for group solidarity by delineating "outsiders" from "insiders" (Falk, 2001).The book, Unraveling the Contexts of Stigma, by Catherine Campbell and Harriet Deaconsummarize Goffmans ideas of stigma as universally including persons with these characteristics:■ Overt or External Deformities■ Deviations in Personal Behavior such a mental illness■ Tribal stigma such as raceThey go on to suggest three main ways to challenge stigma: 1. Educate individuals 2. Legislate 3. Mobilize the publicEach way suggests a primary actor: 1. Non-stigmatized individuals becoming informed 2. Government legislating 3. Stigmatized and non-stigmatized individuals joining in public solidarity
Today I am emphsizing a fourth actor: Business. Produce products designed from the expectationthat there will be greater interaction between abled and disabled people. Find the need in themarket and sustain yourself through profit.Let non-stigmatizing products, like OXO, redefine societal and cultural attitudes toward peoplewith disablities.In societies where a Universal Design philosophy has been adopted Drs. Steinfeld and Maiselnote this: There is a typical trajectory in architecture as societies develop more advanced perspectives on disability. The first stage is the architecture of exclusion, usually by neglect. The second is one of dependence through development of a legal framework and physical environment that eliminates discrimination and removes barriers to independence. We are now moving toward a new stage in many societies: the architecture of social participation, with the goal of equality in opportunity through universal design. ~ From Chapter1: Barriers and the Social Meaning in Universal Design: Creating Inclusive Environments p. 17We can take what we know in our fields and apply that knowledge to "Design for the extremes ofhuman diversity."We know that we are one the right path when we look from the long perspective.Many cenuties ago Vitruvius wrote about architecture. Leonardo da Vinci summarized theVitruvian Man with his famous sketch. [Vitruvian Man]Ron Mace invented Universal Design and inspired us to re-draw the sketch. [Homem Vitruviano]If we are going to take the tremendous knowledge that is locked away in various academic fieldsand shape it into places, things, information, communication and policy to be usable by the widest
range of people operating in the widest range of situations without what we produce stigmatizingthem we need to know much more about what they want, what they do, even, what they look like.Let’s end with some images that help us imagine. Take a look at how some real people withdisabilites define their identities once given the opportunity: [Play: Quem Disse Que Nao Sou Capaz?] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q_3M8RZC7fU Set at Full Screen Mode (Time: 2:21 ) - end -