Sofi De Lesantis is Manager of Metropolitan Community Facilities at Sport and Recreation Victoria. Her team works in partnership with local government to plan and invest in new and improved sport and recreation facilities that aim to meet the needs of all users across metropolitan Melbourne.
Sofi discusses how universal design thinking and principles can be applied in the sport and recreation sector, such as procurement and planning processes to influence design outcomes and how its use can lead to more active and engaged communities.
Abstract: As Australians, sport and recreation forms an invaluable part of our cultural fabric. At the elite level it is a source of pride and unity, and at the grassroots level it is in many cases the heart of entire communities.
For people to participate in sport and recreation–as players, coaches, officials, volunteers, or supporters, we need quality facilities that encourage people to participate.
Sporting facilities at both the elite and community levels share a commonality in that people come from all walks of life to participate: whether young or old, tall or short, with differing levels of ability and from countless different cultural backgrounds. In many instances sporting facilities also serve as a social hub, providing non-sporting-related community groups with a place to meet, interact and hold events.
Through the development of high-quality facilities, the principles of universal design can provide an opportunity like no other to facilitate inclusion. By incorporating universal design principles, we can ensure that not just some people, but all people, can feel included and share in the same experience without the need for differentiated or specialised/adapted features. Universal design has been implemented with tremendous success across many sporting facilities across Victoria and has played a key role in ensuring equitable access and an inclusive environment for all who come together to share their love of sport and recreation.
This presentation will encourage practical, insightful, and informative discussion about applying universal design thinking and principles in sport and recreation, from procurement and planning process to influencing design outcomes for a range of users and abilities, and how its use can lead to more active and engaged communities.