Sources to support campaign for disability-friendly city?
August 4, 2022 6:44 PM   Subscribe

I am talking with my mayor's office about making my city more friendly to disabled people. As part of that, I have sent this article. I have been encouraged to send additional relevant articles. Other than whatever is on the first page of Google hits, do you have suggestions for (1) sources, or (2) actions the city government might take?
posted by NotLost to Society & Culture (16 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer:
posted by aniola at 7:14 PM on August 4, 2022

Best answer:
posted by aniola at 7:23 PM on August 4, 2022

Best answer: City of Berkeley Commission on Disability Berkeley has been really progressive on total access for many years. This link should be a good research resource.
posted by effluvia at 8:28 PM on August 4, 2022

Best answer: The principles of Universal Design, applicable to any city building/resource/area:

Universal Design
posted by carlypennylane at 8:59 PM on August 4, 2022 [2 favorites]

Best answer: I love this. Can you book a 30-minute meeting with the mayor, blindfold them and take them on a walk? Maybe have them try to buy a coffee?
posted by bendy at 10:15 PM on August 4, 2022 [1 favorite]

Best answer: (2) actions the city government might take

When people think disability they often automatically think wheelchairs. Maybe blindness. And then they stop thinking. But there are a lot of other kinds of disability. For example I can walk fine, but I need benches, tons of benches. Like every few tens of feet. (Not a lot of people seem to think about extreme fatigue as a disability, even though it's the fate of most people once they get old, not to mention the many medical conditions it's a symptom of.)

So I think working on accessibility requires thinking from the ground up about the different types of activities a person should be able to carry out in the city - both necessary activities and leisure activities - and what capabilities those activities actually require. Since there will always be lots of blind spots, a dedicated contact or database for people to report the accessibility issues they experience, along with an awareness campaign for that, would be welcome.
posted by trig at 10:19 PM on August 4, 2022 [6 favorites]

Best answer: You can also look to Europe, where many times city governments do more with less than US equivalents:
posted by StrikeTheViol at 11:38 PM on August 4, 2022

Best answer: More than just a list of things to do (though they do need that - and more specifically, design guidelines for everything the city builds and maintains, that spell out exactly what to do to make those things accessible), one of the most beneficial things they can do is create something like a disabilities commission.

Most typically this would have a citizen appointee from each city council district, a relevant city staff person or two as liaison, and a city council member as liaison.

What they do specifically is:

- Develop and recommend the policy and design guidance for the city on these issues, and then updates to these as time moves forward.

- Review of every city project (so street, sidewalk, crosswalk, city building, etc) from an accessibility viewpoint - both early in the conceptual stage and then later when it is to detail design stage.

- Annual review & "grade" of progress and issues.

If done right, this will build planning, design, and accommodation for accessibility into the city's system, so that it becomes a regular part of what they do, not just a "bolt on extra" that they remember to include now and then, when convenient.
posted by flug at 3:12 AM on August 5, 2022 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Maybe check out the Institute for Human Centered Design.
posted by gudrun at 10:30 AM on August 5, 2022

Best answer: I've been compiling some for my urban planning classes.

Talk by Liz Jackson (of The Disabled List) who coined the term “disability dongle” to describe “solutions” like stair-climbing wheelchairs that are designed by non-disabled people.

“Guide to Making Temporary Events Accessible to People with Disabilities” by the ADA Network and the Event Accessibility Checklist

We need a better word than walkable, Treehugger post

This is more academic-y, but great! Mapping Access project has a toolkit. The faculty lead on the project gave a great talk too:“Making Access Critical: Disability, Race, and Gender in Environmental Design” talk given by Aimi Hamraie (Feb 2019)
posted by spamandkimchi at 1:15 PM on August 5, 2022

Best answer: Dark sky communities are good for people with insomnia. You can use yellow street lights at night instead of the white ones that trigger awakeness.
posted by aniola at 12:47 PM on August 6, 2022 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thanks so much for all this input.

My city does already have a commission on disabilities. I have started reading some of their minutes.

I think my contact at City Hall is serious. Whether she can con convince others is a different question.
posted by NotLost at 3:32 PM on August 7, 2022

I love this. Can you book a 30-minute meeting with the mayor, blindfold them and take them on a walk? Maybe have them try to buy a coffee?

Don't do this.

Here are some reasons why:

Crip for a Day: The Unintended Negative Consequences of Disability Simulations

The Perils of Playing Blind: Problems with Blindness Simulation and a Better Way to Teach about Blindness

I Won't Pretend That Disability Simulation Works

How Disability Simulations Promote Damaging Stereotypes
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 4:17 PM on August 7, 2022 [1 favorite]

DeafSpace article mentions these DeafSpace Guidelines
posted by aniola at 9:14 AM on September 1, 2022

Virtual meetings as an option, or ... something!
posted by aniola at 8:56 PM on September 1, 2022

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