Livable Communities Throughout the Life Course


  • Elaine Gerber
  • Corinne Kirchner



Blind and visually impaired, environment, life stages


What constitutes truly livable communities for people who are blind or visually impaired (B/VI)? Proponents of a social model of disability have identified the source of disablement in the environment; yet, methodologies that systematically document and are able to measure environmental factors have been challenging to develop. This research continues that of other scholars, which locates the experience of blindness in the physical and social environment and cultural milieu: we are particularly interested in how individuals who are B/VI in the United States achieve full cultural citizenship through 'accessible' communities. What makes somewhere 'livable' varies according to one's needs, as well as by geographic region, size of the community, and perhaps most importantly, through major phases in the life course. Using a participatory action paradigm, data were analyzed according to life stages, considering what is important for students, mid-life adults, and seniors. The findings identify criteria that people who are B/VI in the United States use to rate livable communities.




How to Cite

Gerber, E., & Kirchner, C. (2003). Livable Communities Throughout the Life Course. Disability Studies Quarterly, 23(2).