Carol interviewed for a position at Temple University's Institute on Disabilities back in 1994. In response to her expressed desire to move to Berkeley, the Institute on Disabilities' Executive Director, Diane Bryen, responded, "Why can't we make our own Berkeley here." Make Philadelphia into a Berkeley? What could that possibly mean? Philadelphia has a very distictive urban gritty flair, one well-captured by its blogging community, including some very creative photojournalists. Here is just a small sample of their work.
- Five Years in Review
- Rindelaub's Row (Set): Albert Yee
- Pennsylvania Avenue CSX Tracks (Set): Mike Webkist; Judd C; Albert Yee; Steve Weinik
Where to begin? How about an inaccessibility tour of the city? This isn't a new idea of mine; it emerges from my background and contacts as an urban social geographer, as well as my current employment at the Institute on Disabilities. I collected my first inaccessibility photoset back in 1992 while I was a masters student at Penn State University, inspired by access maps that were being produced at a number of different universities. Penn State's access map at the time, printed just after the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act, was very colorful, but was not presented in such a way that it could be used as a practical guide for students on campus. Instead, we found that it was being distributed as a recruiting tool! Local disability activists were particularly perplexed by a key that designated buildings 'accessible,' 'inaccessible' and 'partially accessible.' What is 'partially accessible' about buildings with step at the front entrance?
Strategies for accessibility photojournalism have shifted with the expanded capabilities of the web. In Barcelona, Spain, people with disabilities take pictures of unaccessible places and then post them to a site where they are linked to a map of the city. The 'treehugger' blog offers a brief description of the site, linked to a gallery exhibit at the Centre d'Art Santa Mónica, la Rambla 7, 08002 Barcelona until the 5th March 06.
Of course, it is one thing to document barriers and another thing to undertake a public campaign for their removal. John Kelly shares an apparent successs story on his blog called, aptly enough 'NAG: Neighborhood Access Group'. Or at least we hope that this is the case, since posting on the site stopped after they were successful in getting the City of Boston to agree to remove and replace a bricked stretch of Huntington Avenue near Massachusetts Avenue.
Tempted to dart into that handicap parking space?
Just when you convinced yourself that "I'll only be here a minute" and besides "Nobody will even notice" ... Click!You've been outed from the driver's seat by the driver whose spot you're in! Pictures are posted on a 'moblog' called 'Gimp Eye for the Clueless Guy'.
Similar photodocumentary and accessiblity projects have been been pursued for many years by in the fields of urban planning, geography and urban studies scholars. I have collected numerous examples from the United States and Great Britain, and would love to learn more about yours!
-- Many thanks to Scott Rains, Jim Marston, Ph.D., and Mary Johnson sharing the sites listed above.
technorati tags: disability, gis, inaccessibility, Disabisability and Geography International Network, GEOGABLE Listserv