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Saturday, November 28, 2020

WE ARE THANKFUL FOR:

A FUTURE WHERE DIVERSITY IS EMBRACED FROM THE WHITE HOUSE TO THE SMALLEST TOWN COUNCIL

Equity inclusion, accessibility, environmental justice: these are not just words on a page.

They are basic rights for all.

All design, housing, parks, policy -- must serve all equally.

Disability is my closest window to the minority experience.

But each day, especially in these turbulent times, we ALL must focus on leveling the playing field.

All of us must ensure a fair shake is being given regardless of disability, race, ethnicity, gender, gender preference, income, age, etc.

As the Thanksgiving weekend draws to a close, I am thankful for the many people working to make inclusion a reality to set policy that ensures equity to create master plans that address environmental justice.




Friday, November 27, 2020

THE ADA TURNED 30, BUT THE BUILT ENVIRONMENT IS STILL FAR FROM INCLUSIVE (PART 12)

While many cities have shown efforts to implement accessible design since the 1990 adoption of the American Disabilities Act, more must be done

American Society of Interior Designers: 

create prototypes of flexible spaces that accommodate people with a wide range of physical abilities.

Publish articles and white papers that prove that accessible design can be beautiful and timeless. 

Create living spaces that allow people to age in place.

Thursday, November 26, 2020

THE ADA TURNED 30, BUT THE BUILT ENVIRONMENT IS STILL FAR FROM INCLUSIVE (PART 11)

While many cities have shown efforts to implement accessible design since the 1990 adoption of the American Disabilities Act, more must be done

American Planning Association: sponsor webinars and research papers that explore how to better involve the disability community in planning. 

It says here that nothing is more sustainable and durable than a community that addresses the needs of all.

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

THE ADA TURNED 30, BUT THE BUILT ENVIRONMENT IS STILL FAR FROM INCLUSIVE (PART 10)

While many cities have shown efforts to implement accessible design since the 1990 adoption of the American Disabilities Act, more must be done

American Society of Landscape Architects: 

Look at resilient design, an answer to climate change that also improves accessibility. 

People with disabilities where I live, in Miami, are afraid that raised roads, buildings on stilts and other answers to sea level rise will create more barriers than they face now. 

Do something to resolve that.

Tuesday, November 24, 2020

THE ADA TURNED 30, BUT THE BUILT ENVIRONMENT IS STILL FAR FROM INCLUSIVE (PART 9)

While many cities have shown efforts to implement accessible design since the 1990 adoption of the American Disabilities Act, more must be done



American Society of Civil Engineers: hold a design competition – for both professional and student members – to come up with a simple solution to removing a barrier.

Hint: the fewer gadgets, the better. 

Complex solutions with dozens of moving parts = just one thing breaks and the outdoor lift stops serving people with disabilities for ages.


Monday, November 23, 2020

THE ADA TURNED 30, BUT THE BUILT ENVIRONMENT IS STILL FAR FROM INCLUSIVE (PART 8)

While many cities have shown efforts to implement accessible design since the 1990 adoption of the American Disabilities Act, more must be done

Speaking of housing, fewer than one percent of single-family homes in America are move-in ready for a wheelchair user -- a staggering fact considering that more than half of Americans live in single-family houses.

So, I am talking to you, both national office and hundreds of local chapters of the AIA – get in gear to stage some kind of online and in print exhibit or observance that teaches your  members about the ADA. The landmark 30th anniversary was July 26, 2020.


Sunday, November 22, 2020

THE ADA TURNED 30, BUT THE BUILT ENVIRONMENT IS STILL FAR FROM INCLUSIVE (PART 7)

While many cities have shown efforts to implement accessible design since the 1990 adoption of the American Disabilities Act, more must be done


This is not about special privileges. 

This is about removing barriers – tens of thousands of them, that continually make people with disabilities the most under- and unemployed of any minority group.

Those unacceptable employment figures rarely are because of a person’s disability. 

They exist because even in the 21st century, the built environment makes it difficult people with disabilities to access education, transportation, healthcare, recreation, nature, culture, shopping and housing essential to finding work equal to their capabilities.

Saturday, November 21, 2020

WHEELS ON CAMPUS

A GUIDE TO WHEELCHAIR-FRIENDLY HIGHER EDUCATION

I am proud to be a major contributor to Wheels on Campus, published by New Mobility Magazine.

I wrote three stories about the pop 20 universities for: access, accommodations, housing, extracurricular activities and study abroad.


Supported by United Spinal, the groundbreaking guide ran my profiles of the University of Florida, Auburn University and Texas A&M University.

Read the essential stories at https://www.newmobility.com/wheels-on-campus/



Friday, November 20, 2020

THE ADA TURNED 30, BUT THE BUILT ENVIRONMENT IS STILL FAR FROM INCLUSIVE (PART 6)

While many cities have shown efforts to implement accessible design since the 1990 adoption of the American Disabilities Act, more must be done

When planning for accessible entrances, hallway, bathrooms, offices, work spaces, break rooms, exercise rooms and more – is done at the 11th hour – nothing good comes of it.

That is why I am calling on all professional organizations that impact the built environment to celebrate the ADA. 

Millions of their cumulative members can be inspired to build beautiful, graceful, human-scaled design that will make life more equitable for people who have mobility, sight, hearing and intellectual disabilities

Thursday, November 19, 2020

THE ADA TURNED 30, BUT THE BUILT ENVIRONMENT IS STILL FAR FROM INCLUSIVE (PART 5)

While many cities have shown efforts to implement accessible design since the 1990 adoption of the American Disabilities Act, more must be done


As an advocate for inclusive design, I see the self-fulfilling negative prophecy – from inception to epic failure. 

If the professional’s attitude is anti-ADA…their designs come out complicated, costly, confounding and non-compliant.

These same masters of their fields have awards on their walls for innovative projects. 

Projects that dealt with myriad fire, HVAC, flood, wind, life safety, commercial/residential building and zoning codes – but were still able to be creative, signature works. 

But toss the ADA at them and they feign that it is impossible to integrate human-friendly design into their master work.

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

THE ADA TURNED 30, BUT THE BUILT ENVIRONMENT IS STILL FAR FROM INCLUSIVE (PART 4)

While many cities have shown efforts to implement accessible design since the 1990 adoption of the American Disabilities Act, more must be done


 

The New York City American Institute of Architects chapter dedicated virtually all of its recent Oculus quarterly publication to exploring issues of accessible design. 

Renown writers, expert in design and disability, shared vivid words and images on progress, challenges, pitfalls and trends. 

A topic very important to Familia Wright was explored: how to create design that is so universal, so creative, so seamless – that it doesn’t look like institutional “ADA" architecture.

In a nearly four-decade career as a journalist, public policy researcher and marketer – I have worked with hundreds of architects, planners and designers. Some rather famous. 


Tuesday, November 17, 2020

THE ADA TURNED 30, BUT THE BUILT ENVIRONMENT IS STILL FAR FROM INCLUSIVE (PART 3)

While many cities have shown efforts to implement accessible design since the 1990 adoption of the American Disabilities Act, more must be done


My wife and I are only in our mid 50s, but we remember many buildings at the state university we attended being totally inaccessible to wheelchair users. 

This was in the mid-1980s. And some of the worst offenders were not old red brick halls from the early 20th century – they were modernist monstrosities of inaccessibility built not long before we went to college.

The ADA made things better, but it did not wave the magic wand.  

Despite billions in explosive real estate development that could have supported desperately-needed redesign and retrofitting, only a fraction of New York’s subway is accessible. 

Even those frequently have broken down elevators – and what use is a system that has an accessible station near your apartment, but none close to where you work?

Monday, November 16, 2020

THE ADA TURNED 30, BUT THE BUILT ENVIRONMENT IS STILL FAR FROM INCLUSIVE (PART 2)

While many cities have shown efforts to implement accessible design since the 1990 adoption of the American Disabilities Act, more must be done


Buildings, streets, crosswalks, trains, buses, parks, natural trails, city halls, schools, malls, libraries and much more have been made more accessible because of the 1990 adoption of the ADA.

We still have a long way to go toward removing old barriers and approaching accessible design in a creative way, but we certainly are ahead of the game compared the way life was before the ADA.



Sunday, November 15, 2020

THE ADA TURNED 30, BUT THE BUILT ENVIRONMENT IS STILL FAR FROM INCLUSIVE (PART 1)

While many cities have shown efforts to implement accessible design since the 1990 adoption of the American Disabilities Act, more must be done

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) turned 30 this summer.

Everyone whose work impacts the built environment – architects, engineers, urban designers, town planners, landscape architects, interior designers and the public officials who oversee their work in the public realm – should be scrambling to do something to observe this landmark federal civil rights legislation.

While the ADA is not a building code or some kind of zoning that can be ignored via variance (though I could fill a large room with designers who seemed willfully ignorant in perpetuating that false assumption) – its biggest impact by far has been on the civic realm.




Saturday, November 14, 2020

FIVE WAYS TO PLAN FOR MORE ACCESSIBLE HOUSING

HONORED TO CONTRIBUTE A KEY STORY TO PLANNING, THE MAGAZINE OF THE APA

At least 25 percent of U.S. residents will experience a disability that impacts their daily life. 

How can we better prepare America's housing stock?




Friday, November 13, 2020

JEMAA EL-FNAA (12)

    THE TOWN SQUARE OF MARRAKECH


The square at night is filled with sights, smells, sounds and intrigue.

It’s not the 21st century.

It would be some point in the ancient history of this trading crossroads.

Thursday, November 12, 2020

JEMAA EL-FNAA (11)

   THE TOWN SQUARE OF MARRAKECH


Red, purple, orange and yellow illuminate the sunset at Jemaa el-Fnaa.

All the tourist trinkets.

All the tour guide touts.

All the pushy vendors.

Melt away from memory.

You are in photography paradise.

Wednesday, November 11, 2020

JEMAA EL-FNAA (10)

  THE TOWN SQUARE OF MARRAKECH


Dusk in Jemaa el-Fnaa is inspiring.

But interesting to nefarious things are likely taking place on the square and all around its fringes.

Or at least that’s the places many short story tellers take you in Marrakech Noir.

Akashic Books published the finely-crafted volume of dark stories, translated from Arabic, French, and Dutch.

http://www.akashicbooks.com/catalog/marrakech-noir-morocco/

Monday, November 9, 2020

JEMAA EL-FNAA (8)

 THE TOWN SQUARE OF MARRAKECH


Grab a seat at any of the dozens of multi-terraced cafes.

Order a simple tajine or cous cous.

Watch the food vendors assemble like time lapse before your eyes.

Sunday, November 8, 2020

JEMAA EL-FNAA (7)

  THE TOWN SQUARE OF MARRAKECH

Barbary Macaques are the only primate species endemic to Morocco and Algeria.

The have been categorized as “endangered to extinction.”

It is prohibited to sell or keep them as pets.

Despite the restrictions, Barbary Macaques are used as photo props for tourists

Saturday, November 7, 2020

STRATEGIES FOR TRANSFORMING NEIGHBORHOODS

ON COMMON GROUND MAGAZINE FEATURE STORY

I am honored to have my Strategies for Transforming Neighborhoods story published in On Common Ground Magazine. 

The article details how REALTOR associations, land banks and nonprofits address vacant, abandoned and deteriorated properties.

http://www.oncommonground-digital.org/oncommonground/fall_2020__recovering__rebuilding__rebalancing/MobilePagedReplica.action?pm=2&folio=32#pg32

BYE MAFIA DON

Let the healing begin…

..about 9 a.m. Monday.

Till then, I'm gonna gloat like hell over the deplorables that gave us a 4-year nightmare of degradation.

White Supremacists, bigots, elites, bullies, affordable care act destroyers, haters of people with disabilities, enemies of democracy:

Screw off and go to hell.

#BidenHarris2020 

Friday, November 6, 2020

JEMAA EL-FNAA (6)

  THE TOWN SQUARE OF MARRAKECH

Koutoubia Mosque is the largest mosque in Marrakech.

It was founded in 1147 and entirely rebuilt around 1158.

It cuts a gorgeous figure over the main square, especially when the sun sets behind it.

Enjoy the mosque from the outside – unless you are Muslim, you are not allowed to enter.

Thursday, November 5, 2020

JEMAA EL-FNAA (5)

  THE TOWN SQUARE OF MARRAKECH


Goat heads seem to be a popular item at the food stalls.

Locals far outnumber tourists at the stalls.

Pick a place that looks crowded with locals and try something.

The prices are so low, you will not be losing much money if you don’t clean your plate.

Wednesday, November 4, 2020

JEMAA EL-FNAA (4)

THE TOWN SQUARE OF MARRAKECH

Every day of the year.

From dusk till past midnight.

Smoke fills the air.

Grills are filled with meats.

Stews and soups boil and bubble.

Food vendors fill the square.

Tuesday, November 3, 2020

JEMAA EL-FNAA (3)

 THE TOWN SQUARE OF MARRAKECH


You read about it in the guide books.

You’ve seen it in old movies.

It’s even been depicted in countless cartoons.

But when you are walking and gawking and almost stumble across cobras…it gives one a jolt.


Monday, November 2, 2020

JEMAA EL-FNAA (2)

THE TOWN SQUARE OF MARRAKECH

Dozens of cafes have multiple terraces that overlook the main square.

Some are top restaurants favored by wealthy locals.

Many are tourist traps with decent tajines.

A few are once grand, but now faded French-themed dowagers.


Sunday, November 1, 2020