Universal Neighbourhood Design:

UD-logo-200x200Making place for multi-generations of all abilities

Assoc Prof Lisa Stafford discussed the need for building an agenda for universal neighbourhood design to cater for multi-generational use, using three studies: children, older people, document analysis of neighbourhoods. 

Contact Lisa Stafford directly if you are interested in this presentation.

Abstract:  Neighbourhoods play an integral role in facilitating both individual and community wellbeing.

They have been associated with engendering cohesive and healthy communities (Thompson & Magnin, 2012; Mees, 2012), sustainable mobility (William, 2005; Schenier & Kasper, 2003), and physical activity (Hume, Salmon, Ball, 2005). However, studies have also suggested that poorly planned neighbourhoods are unfriendly towards children (Horelli, 2007; UNICEF, 2012), people with disabilities (Stafford, 2013, Gleeson, 2001, Imrie, 1996) and older people (Baldwin et al, 2012; Judd, 2012, Judd et al, 2010; Vine et al. 2012). Despite this knowledge and known problems, the neighbourhood scale continues to receive inadequate consideration from a universal design perspective. In Australia, the 2011 enactment of the Design for Access to Premises Standards (2010), underpinned by Disability Discrimination Act (1992) and supported by Design for Access and Mobility Australian Standard suite (AS1428), resulted in the requirement of universal access to public buildings. Whilst, private homes (class 1A structures) were not included in this standard, along with public spaces, there is, however, intense advocacy and well-defined guidelines and programs promoting universally designed housing. However, there is little guidance for planners, developers and designers about how to make neighbourhoods accessible for multiple ages and abilities.
This presentation argues for the need to build an agenda for universal neighbourhood design, and an understanding of the foundations that are required to create neighbourhood environments that are friendly and inclusive of the diversity of ages and abilities. The presentation supports this through the discussion of findings from three studies: 1.a participatory study of seniors in south-east Queensland (SEQ) (Baldwin et al., 2012), 2. a person-environment study of children with physical disabilities and their families’ participation in urban spaces in SEQ (Stafford, 2013), and 3. document analysis of neighbourhoods, UD and planning relating to multi-generations and abilities (Stafford, Baldwin and Beazley, 2014).

The paper was co-authored by Dr Claudia Baldwin and Dr Harriot Beazley from University of Sunshine Coast.