“Activism” and “social innovation” may not be the first words that spring to mind when parking is mentioned, but for USGBC member Impark and Canadian nonprofit The Forward Movement, parking facilities have become an essential platform for a larger dialogue about accessibility and inclusivity.
Founded in 1962, Impark is one of North America’s leading parking management companies. It currently maintains the largest Parksmart project portfolio of any parking operator in the world, including Pioneer properties Silver Spring Metro Plaza in Montgomery County, Maryland, and 1250 Connecticut Avenue in Washington, D.C.
Earlier this year, Impark Canada announced a nationwide collaboration with The Forward Movement, an advocacy and awareness group championing the legal adoption of the Dynamic Symbol of Access (DSA) as an alternative to the International Symbol of Access (ISA), the wheelchair symbol traditionally found in accessible parking spaces across the globe.
The DSA reframes the way people with disabilities are depicted by shifting focus away from the wheelchair and onto the person. The symbol is designed to challenge the way society at large views and interacts with persons with a disability, encouraging a shift in perception that focuses more on what we can do than what we cannot do.
Members of Impark, The Forward Movement and Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital paint the new symbol of access at a parking facility in downtown Toronto, Canada.
Since the launch of The Forward Movement in January 2017, the organization has gained the support of over 70 disability charities and 12 cities and jurisdictions in Canada.
Impark was introduced to The Forward Movement by one of its key clients, Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital, and is now collaborating with The Forward Movement by adopting the DSA as standard for all new Canadian facilities. Impark will also update existing symbols as repainting work is required.
The Forward Movement continues to work with municipal and provincial governments to mandate the symbol for future use in places like parking lots, bathrooms and building entrances.
Watch a video about the project:
Impark’s adoption of the DSA demonstrates how facilities can meet Parksmart’s innovation criteria by embracing community-driven initiatives beyond traditional sustainability measures.