Film Series

  • Planes, Trains, and Canes
    Mona Minkara

Mona Minkara, Waiting on a bridge train platform in Oshino Hakkai Japan for “Planes, Trains, and Canes,” 2019. Digital photograph. Courtesy Mona Minkara. Photo: Natalie Guse

City planning and systems of public transportation impact individuals with disabilities by either facilitating or preventing the opportunity to experience solo travel in diverse communities around the world. Through examining how we perform cultural perceptions about disabilities, such as blindness, through city planning, uncovering how social norms influence infrastructural systems across the world via via public transportation, and opening critical dialogue about city planning and public transportation, Planes, Trains, and Canes enables us to think about architecture from the lived experience of a blind traveler.

Mona Minkara is an assistant professor in the Department of Bioengineering at Northeastern University, leading the Minkara COMBINE (Computational Modeling for BioINterface Engineering) Lab. Minkara uses computational methods to study biological interfaces at the atomic and molecular scales. Her current research examines pulmonary surfactant, the complex protein-lipid substance lining the alveoli. After losing her sight at a young age, Minkara is a passionate advocate for accessibility and inclusion. As a blind scientist, adventurer, and storyteller, Minkara hopes to inspire individuals to reflect on society’s city planning and public transportation systems. Through Planes, Trains, and Canes, she brings light to the hidden assumptions architecture and city planning may carry about individuals with disabilities.