If you have a disability and
are living on your own in Los Angeles, you are no longer alone.
As of March 19, you became part of a community in cyberspace with
a Web site to help you live independently, a place where you can
find the nearest wheelchair repair shop or publicly subsidized,
accessible apartments for rent.
Alan Toy, who oversaw the development
of the site at UCLA, explains how those with disabilities
can use it.
UCLA and the Westside Center for Independent Living
(WCIL) have unveiled a groundbreaking online resource for people
with disabilities, bringing together interactive mapping technology
with grassroots knowledge and government databases to promote
The Living Independently in Los Angeles (LILA)
information system (http://lila.ucla.edu/) enables users to navigate
the city and learn about vital community resources. A public
demonstration and launch took place recently at the WCIL in
Through a collaboration of public, private and
academic institutions, LILA was developed by WCIL and the Advanced
Policy Institute of the School of Public Policy and Social Research,
in partnership with the City and County of Los Angeles.
"LILA provides a one-stop resource center and a
virtual community for people with disabilities to gather and share
information online," said Alan Toy, UCLA project director who is
overseeing the development of LILA. "It is a tool to take people out
of their homes and into the community."
"What makes the project truly dynamic and
interactive is that people with disabilities throughout Los Angeles
County will be able to input their own experiences and knowledge
into the site," added WCIL executive director Mary Ann
The Web site provides access to disability-related
information such as equipment needs, adaptive technology, medical
services, recreational programs, accessible trails and beaches,
social clubs and support networks. Ultimately, users will be able to
find the access features of public buildings or to map bus stops,
blue parking curbs and curb cuts to pinpoint accessible paths of
travel, Toy said.
The site also features a public forum and an
advocacy section to generate discussion and action around disability