Friday, 29 March 2013

Continuity better than piecewise linearity

This is going to be a short post, as my entire past week was spent interviewing potential future doctoral students which was tiring, emotiomally and physically draining and slightly depressing. In the middle of this week,  I was asked by our registrar about making  a decision regarding what needed to be done about rendering our auditorium more accessible.

And that got me dreaming:

One has often heard it said that the wheel is one of Man's greatest inventions. The very circular smoothness of the wheel is in stark contrast to the abrupt contours of the stairway. It is tempting to say, dually that the step is Man's most non-inclusive brain-child. Life would have been so simple for us if people had built slopes rather than steps.

Just imagine a row of chairs, built with the rear leg just that much shorter than the front leg so that the seats were horizontal and the floor sloped continuously. Why can't architects of the future adopt this simple principle in future constructions so somebody on a wheelchair could go straight up to her seat? To complete the inclusivity, there should be periodic gaps (satisfying international standards for widths of wheel-chairs in the rows of chairs, and there would be sufficient space between rows so people could wheel their chairs into their spots without having some flunky help them ostentatiously thereby denying the sense of independence of the person in the wheel-chair). It is said accurately that there are no handicapped people but people who are handicapped by an inconsiderate environment with barriers.

1 comment:

  1. Don't litter, don't spit on the street, don't pee by the roadside...when will the message be loud and clear? When will it be enough? Never. I would like to believe that it’s not will or intent that is wanting but awareness, awareness and awareness. People don’t know better. It is a long road ahead but is surprisingly barrier-free, so wheel away merrily to keep others on their toes :) Warm regards, Shefali