The American Foundation for the Blind (AFB) recently presented 2003 Livable Community Awards to honor the best places to live in the United States for people who are blind or visually impaired. The awards, a component of AFB’s Livable Communities Project (LCP), recognize cities and towns that have developed solutions for facilitating the participation of blind or visually impaired people in community activities.
AFB presented Charlotte, NC with its 2003 Most Livable Community Award. Five other U.S. cities received awards for the accessibility they provide their blind or visually impaired residents. Corning in second after Charlotte was Berkeley, CA followed by Kalamazoo, MI and New York City. LaCrosse, WI and Louisville, KY tied for fifth place.
The LCP documents environmental features–such as the “walkability” of a city, availability of public transportation, cost of living and availability of jobs at various skill levels–that create or limit access for blind or visually impaired people.
Said AFB president and CEO Carl R. Augusto, “By identifying communities that have found creative solutions for promoting community access, the Livable Communities Project will bolster those who are advocating for equal access to a community’s resources for all of its citizens, including those who are blind or visually impaired.”
An estimated 10 million Americans are blind or severely visually impaired. This figure is expected to grow as baby boomers age, so it is critical that cities and towns across the country have programs and features in place to enable visually impaired people to lead independent lives.
The American Foundation for the Blind–the organization to which Helen Keller devoted her life–is a national nonprofit whose mission is to eliminate the inequities faced by blind or visually impaired Americans.
For additional information on the LCP, please visit: www.afb.org/livability.asp.