These persons with disabilities (PWDs) tap into digital technologies to make the world more accessible for them.
A conversation with Joseph Chua De Bao used to involve writing on notepads. Born deaf, and unable to adjust to hearing aids or lip-read accurately, Joseph’s only way of communicating with others was in writing — that was until he got his first smartphone, an Apple iPhone in 2007.
“The challenges of communicating with people via pen and paper are lack of patience and time,” writes the freelance software developer in an e-mail interview. “When I noticed the Notes app, it jolted my ideas because it was paperless so I used this technology to communicate with people.”
For urban dwellers – and that’s over half of the world’s population, according to the United Nations – trekking in a nature reserve is a respite from the concrete jungle. Trees are unrestricted by regulations for height and gross floor area. The variety of species is not defined by land-use or conservation guidelines. Greenery is not a single shade, but a palette of textures and hues. Encountering this natural order of growth is a striking reminder (by way of comparison) of how much effort goes into designing, building and maintaining a city.
While city making has traditionally meant concreting over nature, this has given way in recent times to more environmentally friendly ideals. ‘Green buildings’, ‘sustainable architecture’ and entire ‘eco-cities’ are just some examples of how urban planners and architects have acknowledged and even embraced nature by planting more greenery, designing energy-efficient buildings, and investing in blue-green infrastructure. But beyond thinking for nature, cities can be like nature, and step into the wild.
Over the past decade, Singapore’s local booksellers and publishers have worked to put the city-state’s literary scene on the map. Now, amid a revival of book and magazine publishing, its young creators take stock of the progress that’s been made and ready themselves for the challenges of the future.