Toward the first shopping mall specifically adapted to persons with a physical handicap

January 11, 2012

This release is available in French.

Intelligent wheelchairs that automatically guide you to the correct store while avoiding obstacles, specific colors on the walls and stairs in order to obtain better contrasts which would likely prevent potential falls, personal guides with special training for different types of disabilities... These scenarios could soon become a reality at Place Alexis Nihon due a new ambitious research project in rehabilitation involving some of the best Quebec researchers in this area.

Living Laboratory

Place Alexis Nihon, one of the largest shopping malls in downtown Montreal, will soon transform into a real living rehabilitation laboratory during the next few months. Several pilot projects will begin shortly thanks to the collaboration of CANMARC REIT Management Inc., who has graciously accepted to suspend future renovation plans until after these researchers have provided their insight and recommendations.

This innovative project, financed by the Fonds de recherche du Québec-Santé (FRQS) in the amount of 350 000$, could ultimately change the face of shopping malls.

"In Quebec, approximately 17% of the population has a physical disability. This proportion dramatically increases to 48% for Montreal residents over the age of 65 years. Too often, we forget the numerous obstacles faced by people with a physical disability. We hope our research will encourage the social participation and inclusion of these people, particularly across activities taking place in shopping malls," explained Dr. Bonnie Swaine, Scientific Director of the Centre for Interdisciplinary Research in Rehabilitation of Greater Montreal (CRIR) and a professor at the University of Montreal's School of Rehabilitation.
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University of Montreal

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