There's plenty of pretty old buildings around but you know what they didn't have that modern buildings do?
I mean besides proper electrical wiring. They didn't have proper access for disabled people. I go to a gorgeous Georgian Revival building on a hilltop in my hometown and I leap up the stone staircase to the front door and I think wait a second, isn't this supposed to be a Senior Assisted Living Facility? How do they get in?
Another door, I guess.
I've been told that in England disability access isn't standard and people who need smooth gentle inclines to get here and there have a rough time of it at best. I wasn't paying attention to that when I went to England but I did run up and down the stairs of Edinburgh's Old Town and even at the time I thought man, if I was in a wheelchair I would HATE this place.
If I was going to go riding my bike in England I would probably hate it too because curb cuts are very useful to me when I want to get my bike onto the sidewalk quickly. If they don't have curb cuts then my life is worse. That's called the curb-cut effect. Disability access tends to make life better for everyone, expecially when we all get old and creaky.
But oh, a sweeping staircase looks so GRAND doesn't it?
I feel like the next big artistic architectural movement ought to take ramps as a central feature. As it is, maybe Europe has terrible disability access because they're keeping around all these lovely old buildings that were designed without disability access in mind.
Or maybe it's because they just don't give a damn. Let's hear it for the ADA!