Follow by Email

Saturday, June 29, 2019

ESSAOUIRA, MOROCCO -- 2

FAMOUS FISHING BOATS



"The port was known as the “Port of Timbuktu ” because most African products for export ended up there.

Sultan Ben Abdellah promoted free trade policies by reducing customs and encouraging the settlement of rich merchants and Jewish people who handled trade with Christians.

A quarter for foreign merchants was also established.


ESSAOUIRA, MOROCCO -- 1

FAMOUS FISHING BOATS


It is said that the port of Essaouira was founded by the Sultan Sidi Mohammed Ben Abdellah to punish the city of Agadir, where rebellions against the leading power took place.

Soon after its foundation 1770 until the first half of the nineteenth century, the port was the most important trading port between Europe, Africa and the Americas. 

Mogador is the old port of Morocco but when Casablanca grew up to the North and Agadir to the South, it lost its status.


Friday, June 28, 2019

SMALL, OLD APARTMENT BUILDINGS CAN BE MADE WHEELCHAIR ACCESSIBLE -- 3

This Little Havana 6-Unit Complex Footsteps from Calle Ocho
Proves Barrier-Free Can Be Beautiful




We do not know who upgraded the building at 833 SW. 8th Avenue, but the person deserves an award.

A ramp on the side, by the park, now provides access to at least 2 of the ground floor units.

The ramps are part of a sleek façade re-do that features lots of sleek railing that brings out a partly Art Deco look worthy of Miami Beach.


Kudos to the team that preserved small, attainable units and added accessibility while cleaning up the curb appeal of the 1939 building.



Thursday, June 27, 2019

SMALL, OLD APARTMENT BUILDINGS CAN BE MADE WHEELCHAIR ACCESSIBLE-- 2

This Little Havana 6-Unit Complex Footsteps from Calle Ocho
Proves Barrier-Free Can Be Beautiful



The old, affordable buildings meet the wrecking ball and while the new stuff is cleaner, it often prices the old tenants out of the neighborhood.

We have very mixed feelings, also, because most of the old buildings have little or no barrier-free access for renters with disabilities.


We have always told our developer friends that wheelchair access can be added – without breaking the bank…and without making the building look out of place.





Wednesday, June 26, 2019

SMALL, OLD APARTMENT BUILDINGS CAN BE MADE WHEELCHAIR ACCESSIBLE -- 1

This Little Havana 6-Unit Complex Footsteps from Calle Ocho
Proves Barrier-Free Can Be Beautiful



We know the building well.

For as long as we’ve lived in Little Havana, it is on the lot next door to a dirt cheap meal for 4 – the 8 piece pizza at Little Caesars at Calle Ocho and SW 8th Avenue. 

While we praise it for its apparent affordability, the eight-decade-old building looked shabby and in need of a sprucing up.


Sadly, very few people save old buildings in Little Havana.

Before photo below:

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

RIAD DAR EL PACO -- 7

BEST PLACE TO STAY IN ESSAOURIA MOROCCO



Dar El Paco provides guided tours of the souk, just 150 feet away. Local activities also include horse or camel riding and kitesurfing.

This is our guests' favorite part of Essaouira, according to independent reviews.

This property also has one of the top-rated locations in Essaouira! Guests are happier about it compared to other properties in the area.

Couples in particular like the location – they rated it 9.7 for a two-person trip.

This property is also rated for the best value in Essaouira!

Guests are getting more for their money when compared to other properties in this city.

-Booking.com

Monday, June 24, 2019

RIAD DAR EL PACO -- 6

BEST PLACE TO STAY IN ESSAOURIA MOROCCO



Located in central Essaouira, this traditional Moroccan bed and breakfast is 1,000 feet from the beach. 

It offers individually decorated rooms with free Wi-Fi and mint tea upon arrival.

Each room overlooks the medina and features a shower. 

Dar El Paco also provides a living room area.

Breakfast is served daily.

You can relax on the rooftop terrace and admire a panoramic view of the medina and sea.

-Booking.com

Sunday, June 23, 2019

RIAD DAR EL PACO -- 5

BEST PLACE TO STAY IN ESSAOURIA MOROCCO



We will be there to answer all your questions, recommend you placed to visit, restaurants to eat and of course, tell you some general information about the city and culture.

We are happy to guide and assist you during your stay. 

El paco has an agreement with the kite surfing schools, riding schools and hammam. Storage are also available.

Shuttle service to and from Marrakech and Essaouira Airport can be arranged at an extra charge

To ensure you a better service we would kindly ask you to communicate us the arrival time in Essaouria by e mail or what’s up, the day before or the same day of arrival.

Benvenuti!

Saturday, June 22, 2019

RIAD DAR EL PACO -- 4

BEST PLACE TO STAY IN ESSAOURIA MOROCCO



Guests may also relax on the terrace and admire a panoramic view of the Medina and sea. 

Book a hammam and a massage in the spa at the side of our house.

You will be greeted by us Giovanni & Lara, the owner of the house, we are Italian and we speak French, Spanish and English.

With us the gentle lady Wafaa who is fluent French, English and Italian.

The house is perfectly secure, you will be free to take your room key and the main door key with you just like being at home.

--Dar El Paco Facebook Page

https://www.facebook.com/riaddarelpaco/

Friday, June 21, 2019

RIAD DAR EL PACO -- 3

BEST PLACE TO STAY IN ESSAOURIA MOROCCO




Riad Dar el Paco is a small peaceful house in the heart of the Medina. Close to the souk, but on a quiet little side-street in the Mellah. 

Everything is in walking distance and everything is possible.

El Paco offers 5 comfortable rooms individually decorated with private bath, shower and hairdryer. 

In 4 rooms we can accommodate 3 people (with a small extra charge).

A Moroccan breakfast is served every morning and lunch and dinner are available on request in a typical restaurant near the Riad.

--Dar El Paco Facebook Page

https://www.facebook.com/riaddarelpaco/

Thursday, June 20, 2019

RIAD DAR EL PACO -- 2

BEST PLACE TO STAY IN ESSAOURIA MOROCCO



I ran into Dar El Paco’s owners in the souk and mentioned I was looking for the perfect gift for my wife. 

They walked me around the corner to an English-speaking atelier who spent a ton of time finding a great, Moroccan-made present.

When I was concerned that I was getting a little disoriented as far as walking from the Medina to the bus station for the coach back to Marrakech, they again walked me to my destination.

Perfect Place, perfect people.

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

RIAD DAR EL PACO -- 1






I loved staying at Dar el Paco in Essaouira, Morocco.

In the heart of the Medina, it features an amazing location at an astoundingly great price.

The room was beautiful, the night was quiet, the bed was super comfy and the space very well-designed for serious travelers.

The great hosts served a sumptuous breakfast (included) and had great recommendations for restaurants – including fresh grilled fish as Chez Ahmed, where they walked me to while orienting me with Essaouria’s countless charms.

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

CITIES MUST ENFORCE LAWS THAT PREVENT SCOOTERS FROM BLOCKING PATHWAY OF PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES


Most Urban Sidewalks Are Already Too Narrow -- Scooters Make It Worse
Three documented blocked pathway incidents & I'd revoke company's license.

Heavy fines for first 2 violations = $ for ADA fixes.

The blockading scooter in Heidi's way was on same block as City of Fort Lauderdale's Transportation and Mobility Department, of all ironies.

“Keep your damn kiddie scooters off the sidewalks. Wheelchair users need sidewalk access, too!” says Heidi Johnson-Wright.





Monday, June 17, 2019

MAYA, A VERY SPECIAL KITTY

SHE CAN TEACH US A LOT ABOUT HOW WE TREAT 
PEOPLE AND ANIMALS WITH DISABILITIES




Someday, hopefully in my lifetime, people will redefine "normal"

Normal most certainly does not mean "free of disability" as many seem to think it does.

All agree that nature is beautiful and every element of nature -- weather, plants, animals and people -- has an incredibly diverse range of shapes, sizes, events and manifestations.

So having a disability, be it related to mobility, hearing, vision, cognitive or dozens of other things -- is as normal as can be.

We can love, ease pain, teach, support and give comfort to those with a disability.

We should not try to "fix" them. Because they are NOT broken.

The public realm, attitudes -- those need fixing, like real quickly and drastically. Because they are hateful, discriminating and inhospitable to living things with a disability.

I hope all who read this will forward my post to 10 friends.

We live in hateful, divisive times. We need to love people and critters of all genders, races, orientations and abilities.

I hope this short video -- which brought tears (of joy, not pity) to my eyes will inspire you to remind others that "normal" includes every living thing that deserves our hugs and love.


Sunday, June 16, 2019

TODAY WE CELEBRATE 200,000 READERS -- AND A THIRD OF A CENTURY WITH SOULMATE HEIDI

HARD TO BELIEVE THAT IN LESS THAN A DECADE, 
MORE THAN 200,000 UNIQUE VISITORS ARE READING THIS BLOG


We have published more than 2,300 stories with pictures.

We have posted these daily to Twitter and Facebook, to boost exposure.

More than 500 of the articles have focused on human rights, such as advocacy for people with disabilities.

Nearly 1,000 have explored urban design, planning, zoning, architecture, landscape architecture and transportation engineering issues.

We are nearing our 1,000th story on travel – to Turkey, France, Africa, Spain, England, Italy, Argentina, Uruguay, Panama, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Nicaragua, Guatemala, Mexico, Canada and far beyond.

We couldn’t have done this without the support of our partner of more than three decades – Heidi Johnson-Wright.  

She is my cherished wife, travel partner and advocate for a better quality of life for wheelchair users.

She has contributed more than 10 percent of the articles in this blog, ranging from travel pieces to memoir-like essays to music and book reviews.



Visit her blog at:



Saturday, June 15, 2019

CLEVELAND: THE WORLD’S MOST BARRIER-FREE CITY -- 6

ZERO THRESHOLD DESIGN COMPETITION IS A GREAT FIRST STEP


So yes, why not Cleveland as American’s best barrier-free city?

A good transit system can be strengthened to provide people options to get around without having to own a car. 

Old city streets in need of water/sewer/repaving upgrades – can be redesigned as complete streets – places where pedestrians, cyclists, folks who use wheelchairs and transit riders are safely accommodated (along corridors where speeding, dangerous automobiles were once king).

We would argue that barrier-free design is sustainable design that is even more crucial than design for climate change. 

Beautiful, barrier-free design is a great equalizer. It does not care if you are black, white, Hispanic, Asian, male, female, LBTQ, religious, not so religious, rich or poor. 

It simply aims to create a better built environment – from the place you sleep to the way you get around town to where you work, go to school and shop – that promises better quality of life for all.

Final registration and submission deadline is July 15, 2019 -- so hurry up and get details at:

Friday, June 14, 2019

CLEVELAND: THE WORLD’S MOST BARRIER-FREE CITY -- 5

ZERO THRESHOLD DESIGN COMPETITION IS A GREAT FIRST STEP



Does well-crafted barrier-free design destroy re-sale value, does it “condemn” a home to only being appealing to another person with major mobility issues?  

Not at all. Google aging in place. 

It’s the biggest thing in town design. 

It means having a home that ages with you. 

So when your body doesn’t get around like it used to, you have better options than leaving your beloved neighborhood to relocate to some strange senior housing compound where you don’t know any of your neighbors. 

A bedroom suite on the first floor of a two-story house, a bathroom that is accessible, a kitchen that can be adapted for better access, a barrier-free entrance into your home:.

Those are the kinds of things that allow families to stay in the house they worked so hard to pay off. Major organizations, including the AARP, are advocating for universal design that allows people to age in place. 


Final registration and submission deadline is  July 15, 2019 -- so hurry up and get details at:

Thursday, June 13, 2019

CLEVELAND: THE WORLD’S MOST BARRIER-FREE CITY -- 4

ZERO THRESHOLD DESIGN COMPETITION IS A GREAT FIRST STEP


News flash: not only can barrier-free living be beautiful, but it also can be beneficial for non-disabled people.

Ramps are preferable to steps when bringing in groceries.  They’re also great for parents pushing strollers and folks using roller bags.

Doorways widened for wheelchair maneuverability – well, the fridge delivery guys said we would have had to cancel the sale model we bought and buy something else had or doorways not been widened for other purposes, that also happened to fit the new, wider model. 

We know some folks who have increased accessibility with pocket door or cool, barn door style sliding doors – both hallmarks of hip décor.

We may have enlarged our bathroom for turning radius for my wife’s power wheelchair – but who doesn’t want a bigger, more comfortable washroom?  

We’ve had dozens of people ask for the design plans for our walk-in shower because they are tired of hopping in and out of a tub-shower. 

Final registration and submission deadline is  July 15, 2019 -- so hurry up and get details at:

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

The National - 'Carin at the Liquor Store'


You helped us reach 200,000 unique blog visitors.
So here's treat from the National.
What do we have in common?
We're all from Ohio.

Airline Drops, Then Loads Power Wheelchair On Its Back at Miami Airport



Beyond shameful.

Can you imagine if they broke 2,000 legs and arms in the first quarter of 2019 -- every elected official, reporter, activist and person in America would be calling for change.

But rob the mobility of a person with a disability when they are most vulnerable -- far from home -- and no one seems to care.

CLEVELAND: THE WORLD’S MOST BARRIER-FREE CITY -- 3

ZERO THRESHOLD DESIGN COMPETITION IS A GREAT FIRST STEP


When people visit our nearly 100-year-old, 1,300-square foot home in Little Havana, they see an eclectic combination of an aircraft aluminum sleek ramp and old hardwood floors replete with graded thresholds. 

They enjoy the beauty of tropical painted walls sporting fresh electrical outlets at wheelchair-charging heights and a walk-in shower as inviting as a spa bath in a 4-star hotel. 

Our widened doorways and accessible master suite – all on one floor – are adorned with symbols of are artistic eccentricity gathered on trips to Europe, Asia, Africa and beyond.

So there is no reason why houses in Cleveland cannot feature barrier-free access. Just as thousands have found value in buying and fixing up old houses in inner-ring city neighborhoods such as Tremont and Ohio City, there is incredible value in the existing housing stock in Old Brooklyn. 

Old Brooklyn is a great choice for a program intended to go citywide. It has stable housing at a good entry price point, connectivity to the rest of the city and unlimited potential for a rebirth and renaissance. 

Final registration and submission deadline is  July 15, 2019 -- so hurry up and get details at:

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

CLEVELAND: THE WORLD’S MOST BARRIER-FREE CITY -- 2

ZERO THRESHOLD DESIGN COMPETITION IS A GREAT FIRST STEP



We were gratified and inspired when we read an early May Cleveland Plain Dealer online story about North Coast Community Homes (NCCH) launching Zero Threshold, an international design challenge aimed at creating the most innovative, visually appealing and forward-thinking barrier-free designs for living.

Having worked with foundations to create a better built environment, we were equally thrilled to learn that the Cleveland Foundation is funding the design competition that “strives to change the paradigm in thinking that accessibility is only for the disabled.”

My wife and I have spent a great deal of our careers trying to explain that ramps, wide doorways, roll/walk-in showers -- and a host of other elements that boost accessibility – do not have to be dreary, painted battleship gray and have all the curb appeal of an abandoned hospital. 


Final registration and submission deadline is  July 15, 2019 -- so hurry up and get details at:

Monday, June 10, 2019

CLEVELAND: THE WORLD’S MOST BARRIER-FREE CITY -- 1

ZERO THRESHOLD DESIGN COMPETITION IS A GREAT FIRST STEP


I can see the headline now.

Perhaps it is aspirational at the moment. But all great ideas start as aspirations.

And the tag line sure beats “Mistake on the Lake,” that made me cringe through the 70s and 80s and I’ll take it over the well-intended, but failed “Cleveland’s a Plum” re-branding effort launched in 1981.

Perhaps I am biased. My wife, Heidi Johnson-Wright, a suburban Cleveland girl who appeared on the Morning Exchange and other consummate local programs as a poster child for the Arthritis Foundation, has used a wheelchair for her mobility for more than four decades.

Familia Wright, residents of Miami’s Little Havana since the dawn of the 21st century, has a long history of advocating for people with disabilities. 

The idea that our old hometown – looking as resilient and inviting as it ever has when we visited less than a year ago – would become the barrier-free place to be.

Final registration and submission deadline is  July 15, 2019 -- so hurry up and get details at:




Sunday, June 9, 2019

REBUILD NOTRE DAME PARIS FOR ALL


BILLIONS BEING RAISED CAN FUND GRAND RE-OPENING FEATURING UNMATCHED ACCESS FOR PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES AT ONE OF THE WORLD’S GREATEST & MOST-LOVED BUILT MONUMENTS
We would start with these four easily-achievable upgrades:

1) Main entrance wheelchair-accessible with no steps & wide door

2) Unisex accessible restroom

3) Ramp access to ambulatory & side chapels

4) Elevator to top of bell towers





Saturday, June 8, 2019

Dr. John - Goodnight Irene


Listening to Dr. John and smiling/weeping at the same time.
Thinking about first time I discovered him -- in Last Waltz Movie before I was old enough to drive -- to last time saw him live Tipatina's Dec. 2017.
RIP Night-tripper:

RIAD TAGHAZOUTE, MEDINA, MARRAKECH, MOROCCO - 6

GREAT VALUE, GREAT LOCATION, GOOD ROOM, GOOD STAFF -- 
PACK YOUR EAR PLUGS AND REQUEST A BETTER LOCK ON THE DOOR


The other catch at Taghazoute is noise. Marrakech is a noisy place. 

The street just a few paces from the riad was super noisy -- it's sort of part of the charm of being near the main square in the ancient Medina.

But there were lots of shop keepers and others talking in the little alley outside the riad. 

Also, was one floor above the check in area, right on the stair case. 

That meant even sounds from the desk person jabbering with neighborhood friends, plus other guests climbing the stairs -- were perfectly loud and clear to me.

I cranked up the fan on the AC -- not enough. Plugged in my white noise machine -- still tossed and turned. 

Finally, I found my industrial grade ear plugs. 

That and realizing the old Medina is not a quiet place till maybe 2 a.m. or later (I'm an early to bed, 10 p.m. guy) and just dealing with the local atmosphere -- finally made things tranquil. 

Some sound proofing would go a long way.

http://www.riad-taghazout.com/portal.php

Friday, June 7, 2019

Accessible holiday destinations.


Spot advice from my new friend Emily Yates, kindred spirit and tireless advocate for a better built environment -- on the road and and home -- for people with disabilities.

RIAD TAGHAZOUTE, MEDINA, MARRAKECH, MOROCCO -- 5

GREAT VALUE, GREAT LOCATION, GOOD ROOM, GOOD STAFF -- 
PACK YOUR EAR PLUGS AND REQUEST A BETTER LOCK ON THE DOOR


XThe room had no safe, so I was concerned about my passport, camera and spare cash. 

I was assured there are cameras everywhere and the riad is so safe that many people leave their keys at the front desk each morning (within easy reach of other guests or whoever else walks in from the Medina. 

I really became concerned when I realized I could not lock the room properly. 

It is a very old (and beautiful) double door. 

You have to secure the one door with sliding levers so you can lock the other with the key. 

The second day, I bumped into the secured door...and that's all it took to move the levers -- the room door swung open without my even needing to turn the key. 

So I carried my cameras, extra cash and passport with me everywhere -- not ideal, but safer than risking it...once I realized any thief could subtly jostle the door enough to release the levers at will.

I confess, I did not bring this up to the staff during my stay.





Thursday, June 6, 2019

On Common Ground Now Available as Mobile App

On Common Ground Now Available as Mobile App: NAR's free, semi-annual magazine presenting a wide range of views on smart growth issues, is now available as a mobile app for Apple and Android.

My resiliency/sea level rise/climate adaptation story is featured in the current edition.


RIAD TAGHAZOUTE, MEDINA, MARRAKECH, MOROCCO -- 4

GREAT VALUE, GREAT LOCATION, GOOD ROOM, GOOD STAFF -- 
PACK YOUR EAR PLUGS AND REQUEST A BETTER LOCK ON THE DOOR


The bed was large and super comfortable. 

Best bed I've ever had for an exotic world city, at such a low price point. 

There was a small bed in the room, so another person could stay with you and then you'd be paying only 25 bucks per night. 

There was a nice desk, a TV over it, a little couch, table and armoire. 

The AC/heater worked fabulously.

Fresh towels were delivered.

http://www.riad-taghazout.com/portal.php

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

RIAD TAGHAZOUTE, MEDINA, MARRAKECH, MOROCCO --3

GREAT VALUE, GREAT LOCATION, GOOD ROOM, GOOD STAFF -- 
PACK YOUR EAR PLUGS AND REQUEST A BETTER LOCK ON THE DOOR


The bathroom was plenty large and the flush toilet worked great, despite what must be old plumbing. 

The shower was hit and miss, with one night being ice cold (despite running 5 minutes as advised, to let the warm kick on).

One night, the shower water turned ice cold about 2 minutes into shower/

There were a pair of tepid temp nights and the other 5 nights being warm to hot like I like it. 

The room has beautiful old wooden features. 

One electrical socket was half hanging out of the wall, but I charged my phone and camera batteries every night and never got shocked and never burned up my electronics.

http://www.riad-taghazout.com/portal.php

Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Ara Guler: The Eye of Istanbul | Exhibitions | Showcase


Check out the book I helped edit on Guler
https://www.amazon.com/dp/1543129447
Photojournalist, by Nezih Tavlas, provides a compelling and in-depth look into the life of Ara Güler (1928-2018)

RIAD TAGHAZOUTE, MEDINA, MARRAKECH, MOROCCO -- 2

GREAT VALUE, GREAT LOCATION, GOOD ROOM, GOOD STAFF -- 
PACK YOUR EAR PLUGS AND REQUEST A BETTER LOCK ON THE DOOR



The front desk folks are very kind and they try hard. 

One person speaks very good English. 

The other is trying and was super polite about telling me he wasn't keeping up with everything (I'm a fast talker who uses slang) I was saying, but the other fellow would be better at English. 

It was good to have English speakers at such a small and unique place. 

The room was beautiful. 

Fairly large for the price.

http://www.riad-taghazout.com/portal.php

Universal Homes: Episode 3 Part 2 - "Architectural Features"


Universal Design is the most sustainable way of building. hashtagaccess4all hashtagsocialjustice hashtaghumanrights hashtagurbanplanning hashtagarchitecture hashtagsustainability hashtagurbandesign hashtagequality hashtaguniversaldesign hashtaggaad hashtagaginginplace hashtagada hashtaginclusivemobility