ST. LOUIS (KMOX) – They came as part of the Open World Leadership Delegation and the week long event brought nearly three dozen Russians to St. Louis.
The University of Missouri St. Louis and American Councils for International Education were among the sponsors of the program.
The group made up of Russian educators, government officials and members of the media rode Metrolink, toured Corex and listened to panel discussions about immigration, public health and science literacy. They also learned about disability laws in the U.S. and what’s called ‘universal design environments’ created for the able bodies that can be easily converted to spaces for the disabled.
Colleen Starkloff of the Starkloff Disability Institute says the U.S. isn’t the only country focused on it.
“Japan and Sweden and Norway and Korea, where there’s a lot of emphasis on design, and a lot of really creative design going on,” she says.
Starkloff gave the Russians a tour of Six North on Laclede Avenue, an apartment building that represents universal design.
“As a matter of fact, most of the people who live at Six North are not disabled at all, and don’t even know that the building’s universally designed. They just live there because it’s in a convenient neighborhood close to transportation, grocery stores, churches, stores, parking, and it’s really attractive,” she says.
The group also got a tour of Ferguson, a meeting with the mayor, city manager and police chief as well as a tour of Clayton High School.