As we head in to the New Year, I would like to dell out some encouragement to help our readers welcome a strong and hopeful 2014.
Blind Architect, Chris Cowney, gave this incredible TED talk on designing cities with the blind in mind, and how this not only benefits the blind but also offers major advantages for the cities themselves.
My favorite take-aways from this talk are:
- It has been said that there are two groups of people in the world: those with disabilities and those who haven’t found theirs yet. I love this concept, as we all have something that we struggle with. Ironically, blindness just happens to be very visible to others, but think of all the invisible disabilities. Imagine if everyone had to walk around with their major life challenges tattooed to their foreheads for all to see.
- Chris Downey joked that whenever he feels blue, he just goes outside and walks down the street since people are so encouraging and kind seeing him with his cane. This is a good motivator for me, as I typically imagine people grimacing at me when I carry my cane. When I think about my interactions at airports and other public places, however, I remember how kind people can be. Chris talks about how some of his blind friends are offended by this, thinking people are pitying them, but he likes to think people are acting out of their shared humanity.
- If architects design cities with the blind in mind, everyone benefits, not just the blind. I think this is a really key point because I would venture to guess there are people who would frown upon designing a city with such a small percentage of the population in mind, forgetting that the types of designs that would help blind people would also make their city more pedestrian and envionmentaly friendly.
I am grateful for people like Chris, who use their talent and voice to speak on behalf of others.
As 2013 rolls into 2014, I plan to sit down and evaluate my own gifts and the ways my voice could benefit others. Please feel free to join me. 🙂
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