Here are the description about my lecture in The 3rd International Conference forUniversal Design in HAMAMATSU. You can see the insight about Denmark from Japanese designer. Enjoy it!
■ Date and Venue
November 2, 2010 (Tuesday) 10:33 -
ACT CITY Hamamatsu
International Association for Universal Design (IAUD)
Acceptance of Diversity and Rights to Self-Determination in Denmark
Ayumu Isomura (President, Gradie Corp.: Japan)
There is much to emulate from the examples of Denmark, an advanced welfare state placing special emphasis on the environment. Much of the country's efforts are based on its values. Our efforts to emulate and introduce Denmark's examples cannot be sustained without accurate understanding of their values. Without it, we may easily err by making decisions based on our values and terminating the efforts midway when pressed to make a choice. I will try to illustrate the 'relation between people and objects' from the perspective of Danish values. This I will do based on long-term ethnography of Egmont Højskolen, a Danish folk high school accepting students with severe disability; Krogerup Højskolen, a Danish folk high school accepting students from different countries; and Svanholm, an eco-village where people of all ages, from toddlers to the elderly, live as a community. It will also be based on my visits to local kindergartens, folk schools, old people's facilities, and assistive technology centers in Denmark. Finally, I will make proposals on what Japan will need to do in the future.
1. Danish Self Decision and Assistive Tool
2. The Possibility of The Diverse Tool
3. The Approach for Diversity
4. Conclusion - The Things We hove to learn -
You can see all slides in English on Scribd (url above)
1. Danish Self Decision and The Assistive Tool
Egmont Højskole where I have enrolled was quite unique. Over 60 students among 160 students were disabilities. Egmont Højskole has an accommodation for all students, So they learn and study together but also live together all the day. And then they took advantage of many different kinds of assistive tools and took it for granted for that.
When I stayed at Copenhagen, There were so many elderly using the assistive tool such as the walker, the electric cart and so forth. In the exhibition for the assistive tool, Many companies were tried to develop new use like an electric wheel chair with 4 wheel drive system for the outdoor, a holding electric cart for travel, a bicycle with the carrying function for wheel chair and so forth. I was so impressed at that.
The Background of these circumstance would be an abundant budget of welfare than Japan. Public Social Expenditure of the GDP per capita in Denmark is $2,419. Japanese one in $278. And The definition of normalization would be different between them. The Rate of Disabilities in denmark (2005) is 18.5%. Japan is 4.4%. Moreover, I guess that the philosophy for self decision in denmark is one more background of it.
When I visited at the kindergarden, All children can do anything by their own decision. In case of the primary school, All students can arrange the layout of their desk in order to make them be comfortable. In the center for elderly, They can bring their furniture to their room, eat and drink anything in anytime along their self decision.
In order to maintain Self Decision in their society, The society need to confirm what the person want? And the person have to mention what I want. Then, society have to arrange some options and alternative ways for self decision by person. These circulation is the essence of self decision. Probably, It can relate the sense of value of the assistive tool in Denmark. The society ask what you need to the disabilities. Disabilities need to react, then the society have to develop and arrange the many different kinds of the assistive tools.
Japanese society are focusing on the quality rather than the variety. One of background is insufficient budget of welfare. 2nd one is the competitive industry. It must put pressure on company to develop new functions and make products more comfortable rather than new market. 3rd one is the dislike against the assistive tool.
2. The Possibility of The Diverse Tool
When I stayed at Copenhagen, I could see so many bicycles on the street. The public space for bicycle like the bicycle road and a train which commuter can ride with the bicycle can include other personal mobilities. This circumstance can occur any positive possibilities such like cutting co2 (from car to eco-friendly mobility), Social connection (it can stimulate elderly go outside), Activation of rural economy (purchase in rural area by elderly using the electric cart) and Activation of the industry in Japan (New market for car companies).
3. The Approach for Diversity
There are some ideal diverse communities in Denmark. Egmont Højskole is school but it has various functions. Students can learn and study but also students with disability can be helped by the class mates and students helping the class mates with disabilities can earn money. It seems to be the nursing home.
All the students at this school have to live in the dormitories. Disabilities are using any assistive tools in their daily life. Then some researchers, planners, designers and architects are visit at this school in order to research how the disabilities are using tools. Moreover, some projects such like the user driven innovation supported by Danish govern are progressing in there. It seems to be the laboratory.
Egmont Højskole containing the various functions such like The School, The Nursing Home and The Laboratory can attract many people from all the world. Many visitors visited at Egmont Højskole. It can activate Egmont Højskole.
In case of the eco village called svanholm, It's also the ideal diverse community. They are living together, so it's just The Neighborhood. They can share anything, for instance, cars, clothes, books, bicycles, bags, shoes and so force. And they have own organic farm and stable, so they are The Company. As the company, it has a employee's dinning hall. It's very convenience for young families with the children especially both couple are working. They are the typical sustainable community. They are generating all the electricity and the heating system by themselves. Then, Many researchers visit at there in order to research what's going on in svanholm. It just like The Laboratory. And moreover, there are a kindergarden, a medical office, a concert hall and so force. It just like The Municipality. They have a various functions like The Neighborhood, The Company, The Laboratory and The Municipality and also a various people like "from child to elderly as the neighborhood" and "employer and employee as the company" and "Researcher, Planner, Architect and designer as the laboratory" and "Doctor, Social worker and Visitor as the municipality". These situation can attract people from the outside and also it can occur the possibilities new mutual aid. It definitely the ideal diverse community.
Our traditional family composition is beginning to collapse like a nuclear family. And The death alone of elderly in Japan became the serious social problem. In order to solve them, We have to consider the new way to build the new community instead of the traditional family. Egmont Højskole and Svanholm is the great inspiration for us, And the ket element is the function layer to activate the community.
4. Conclusion - The Things We have to learn -
"Danish Self Decision and The Assistive Tool", "The Possibility of The Diverse Tool" and "The Approach for Diversity" are relating The Danish Philosophy "Self Decision".
Japanese Industry has succeeded after WW2. Fortunately, Our characteristic such like Discipline, Co-operation, Humble and Dedicate Sensitivity have contributed our success for High Quality Products. But our planet are confronting negative climate change. We have to change our attitude, Our previous success in industry must not be useful from now on. And also, we are suffering the unstable labor market. We used to believe the stable life thanks to company, nowadays nobody believes the stable life even if working at the big company. We have to overcome the dependent nature.
The Danish Philosophy "Self Decision" is the great inspiration for us. We have to consider "What We Need", "What We Have to Do", "How to measure the happiness" by ourselves. That's the most important things we have to learn from Denmark.