A Team of Academics Redesigns an Icon
By PAUL BASKEN
PARKING LOTS, public bath- rooms, and entry ramps all have that same familiar char-
acter. It’s the blue-and-white stick
figure in a wheelchair, leaning
slightly backward in comfortable
repose, on signs that mean “handi-
The image looks passive, even
helpless. For years there have been
scattered efforts to replace it with a
more active representation of peo-
ple with physical limitations.
That may finally happen, thanks
to several years of pushing by a
motley collection of determined
activists at Gordon College, a small
Christian institution in eastern
Their breakthrough is that the City
of New York, in a move that could
spark similar updates worldwide, has
now agreed to use a Gordon-inspired
logo that shows the stick figure with
active arms, leaning forward, a participant rather than a dependent.
“It’s such a forward-moving
thing,” said Victor Calise, commissioner of the New York mayor’s Office for People With Disabilities,
who plans this summer to begin
putting the new logo all over the
nation’s largest city.
Similar attempts at changing
the logo have had limited results,
said Brian Glenney, an assistant
professor of philosophy at Gor-
don, who led the effort. New de-
signs have been adopted by some
retailers, a college campus, even
some smaller municipalities. But
none, clearly, the size of New
York. “There’s finally reception
for the idea,” he said.
to envision a new
being adopted by
New York City.
M. SCOTT BRAUeR FOR THe CHRONICle
don’s version as a possible model.
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