Tessa Eidelman drew upon geospatial data, participatory research, urban cartography, and new mobile technologies to map sites and strategies for accessibility on the Vanderbilt campus. The premise of this project was that mapping the accessibility of the Vanderbilt campus environment can both provide necessary information for navigating between buildings and can also provide knowledge and insight into the concept and practice of accessibility more generally. According to the late-twentieth century universal design movement, features of the built environment that benefit disabled users also benefit non-disabled users. For instance, curb cuts designed to enable wheelchair users to access streets and sidewalks also enable bicyclists and people pushing carts or strollers to navigate these spaces. Universal design goes beyond the narrow approach of accessibility compliance offered by laws such as the Americans with Disabilities Act to capture a broader range of built forms that enhance the experience of built environments for all users.
Tessa A. Eidelman is a PhD student in the Community Research and Action program at Peabody College. She is interested in the fields of urban studies, critical geography, and qualitative research methods. Her research interests include the social justice, policy, and governance issues bound up with processes of urban change and urban renewal and how meaning is made around acts of resistance pertaining to claims on space. Tessa is from Cape Town, South Africa. Prior to pursuing her doctoral studies at Vanderbilt she worked as an occupational therapist for several years.
Fellowship: Mapping Access