AndreyPopov via Getty Images
Inclusion is about sharing our abilities, making the world a classroom that treasures diversity and teaches us to live together. In Whitehorse, Yukon people of all ethnicities are coming together with Punjabi Bhangra dance. Gurdeep Pandher is the man behind the movement.
In a world where a two-way exchange between government and citizen is the goal, it's encouraging when we see it actually happening. Since September, there have been a number of calls for insights from citizens. The end goal is to create the first ever comprehensive culture strategy for the province of Ontario.
I loved TV, so to enjoy the adventures of (the bionic) Steve Austin or Jim Rockford or Fonzie and the Cunninghams, I had to endure the obvious social-engineering messages that reminded me I was an outsider.
Then along came David Letterman.
There has never been a more critical and opportune time to take control of Toronto's development plans. Our city is in the middle of a development boom, yet we face a housing crisis. Despite this grim reality, there is still the opportunity to do better for our city. In fact, we are well-positioned to build a beautiful city that is vibrant, inclusive, and more mindful of the environment.
The quest for a more inclusive accessibility symbol continues. The re-worked designs will be featured at next year's DEEP Conference -- which will be held in conjunction with The Accessibility Conference hosted by Guelph University -- for the delegates' input.
The nub of my and others' unease with the current International Symbol of Access is that it excludes over 97 per cent of people with disabilities, because it is all about wheelchairs, rather than accessibility. To those who fear that the competition I've launched is aimed at throwing the proverbial baby out with the bathwater and getting rid of the wheelchair symbol altogether: this is definitely not the case. What I'm asking is for designers to reimagine the concept of accessibility and to come up with a revised symbol or set of symbols that will be more inclusive.
In 1969, the universal symbol for accessibility -- a blue square overlaid in white with the stylized image of a figure in a wheelchair -- made its first appearance. But the symbol is still built around a stick figure -- not a person. But the most important problem with the International Symbol of Access is this: it is exclusionary. The symbol is all about the wheelchair -- even though the majority of disabilities are not mobility-related. That is why, with the enthusiastic co-operation of the Ontario College of Art and Design University, I have launched an international competition to find a contemporary symbol.
We'll drive, copilot, change the tunes, serve up the beverages, adjust the heat and ensure government doesn't fall asleep... but someone has to open the doors so we can get in the car. Unlock the doors of government and let citizens in, that is the mantra of imagineCalgary, now firmly in the hands of hardened bureaucrats. The language of imagineCalgary is not their mother tongue and they are struggling with just the basic translation, let alone the incredibly lofty and epic targets found within the imagineCalgary tome.