‘We just want to facilitate people to do whatever they want to do… I want our users to have a wide range of genuine choices and be able to build any kind of travel experience they want, irrespective of their background or physical ability.’
In June 2015, British entrepreneur Srin Madipalli co- launched an app with an extraordinary vision: ‘To enable anyone to go anywhere.’ Accomable, hailed as an air b’n’b for adjusted travel, has already revolutionised a neglected space, and currently connects a community of around 40,000 users to quality-assured properties around the world. Part of the second wave of specialised apps to harness the power of the sharing economy, Accomable looks set to soon provide a seamless travel experience, providing everything from cars to insurance to medical equipment through one simple app.
By any standards, Accomable is impressive, and not only because of the remarkable drive and vision of its 29-year old co-founder, whose own experiences as an intrepid traveller with Spinal Muscular Atrophy inspired him to create a simplified experience. But the true power of this concept lies in the possibility it offers to liberate individuals in a way that goes well beyond leisure. Across the developed world, struggling with productivity and ageing, simple tech like this can help us become a fitter, more productive, more inclusive society; empowering two key demographics – the disabled and the elderly – to participate more easily in the world of work and play, and more platforms are sure to follow.
The same spirit of transformation is also underway in our physical spaces, which, under the NHS healthy cities scheme, may soon become truly connected environments: combining specialist built design with medical technology and behavioural science for spaces that holistically cater to needs of the elderly and disabled while also optimising our general health. NHS England is currently helping to design 10 pilot ‘Healthy Towns’, across the country, alongside leading clinicians, designers and tech experts. The virtues of healthy design, and its necessity, has long been advocated by the urban design community: RIBA’s 2013 City Health Check report found that healthy design in England’s 8 ‘Core Cities’ – Birmingham, Bristol, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle, Nottingham and Sheffield – would deliver savings to the NHS of £900m a year.
Learn more about how New York is tackling its obesity crisis with Active Planning here.