Recode: The tech world needs to think bigger about its residential landscape
A new study suggests that tech companies and government agencies are doing a poor job of educating residents on the risks of building on public land, and are neglecting to make their own public spaces more welcoming to those with disabilities.
In the study, published Wednesday in the journal Environmental Research Letters, the Urban Land Institute, a Washington, D.C.-based think tank, and a coalition of tech companies such as Airbnb and GitHub found that while many people understand the risks, many have been “silently, or not even publicly, engaged with the challenges of their communities.”
According to the report, which was funded by the National Science Foundation and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, just 10 percent of people interviewed said they’d built a public space on their own property in the last decade.
In addition, only 25 percent of the people surveyed reported that they had “actively participated in the creation or maintenance of public spaces” in the past three years.
To address the lack of accessibility, the report recommends that tech and government entities should be more active in educating people about their public spaces.
It recommends that:In addition, tech companies “should be more proactive in identifying and actively engaging with the public in their communities,” and should build more accessible public spaces on their sites.
For example, the authors recommend that tech sites should:1.
Offer a curated list of accessible public places, such as bike trails or walking trails2.
Provide a more accurate list of where people can find information about accessibility3.
Include information about disability-specific public spaces in their app design and content4.
Include more accessible information in their user guides.
The study also calls for the inclusion of accessibility tools in existing technology platforms, such for:1) providing accessible seating2) creating accessible public space3) allowing people with disabilities to access resources and activities.
The report recommends “a commitment to make public spaces accessible to people with disability” and “a public conversation about the accessibility of public space.”
In addition to the study’s findings, the tech industry is working to educate the public about how to build public spaces that are accessible.
For instance, Airbnb, a company that offers accommodation on-demand and through mobile apps, has made accessibility a core value and a key part of its design philosophy.
Airbnb has partnered with the National Association of Home Builders and the National Disability Rights Network to create a “shared accessibility space” called the Airbnb Accessibility Center.
The Airbnb Accessible Room, which hosts a large array of accessible furniture, is available for free.
Airbnb is also offering accessible dining rooms and lounges for guests with disabilities, and has launched a program called the Open Bedroom Program.
The Open Bedrooms program allows people with accessibility-related disabilities to use their beds at restaurants and bars without having to leave the Airbnb suite.
Airbnb also offers a program to provide accessibility services to customers with disabilities at its restaurants.
The company is also working to make its own public space accessible, and is developing an accessible restaurant in San Francisco.
Airbnb announced a partnership with the University of California, Berkeley to provide access to its campus, and it recently announced a $250,000 grant for an “accessibility and community education program for students.”
In the U!
app, which Airbnb developed to make it easier for users to book accommodation, guests can use a map to find available accommodations in their cities and cities across the country.
Airbnb added a map search feature for users who are visually impaired, and the company has launched an accessibility program for its hotels.
The company is developing a smartphone app that would make it easy for users with disabilities access its online reservation system, the company announced in March.
In a statement, Airbnb said it has been working with the U!.
app to ensure that its app “will make our app accessible to the visually impaired.”
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