UD in Architectural Education

buffalo uniBeth Tauke, Megan Basnak, and Sue Weidermann from the University at Buffalo presented their research on the incorporation or otherwise of universal design in architectural education at the 3rd International Conference on Design Education Researchers. The paper can be downloaded from ResearchGate.

Abstract: The World Health Organization estimates that over one billion people, or 15% of the world’s population, have some form of disability. Despite changing demographics and an aging world population, it seems that architecture programs in U.S. universities have been slow to incorporate universal design (UD) into their curricula. In an effort to gain a better understanding of the current state of UD content in architecture curricula, researchers distributed an online survey to architectural educators and administrators in 120 U.S. institutions with accredited degree programs. The study, sponsored by the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR), consisted of qualitative and quantitative questions that sought information related to the understanding, attitudes, and incorporation of UD into each participant’s curriculum. Reponses were obtained from 463 participants representing 104 of the 120 surveyed schools. Quantitative analyses found relationships between perceived attitudes of administrators, faculty, and students and the effectiveness of UD components. Results also showed great variability across schools in terms of how, when (course level), and the degree to which UD aspects were incorporated into programs. Qualitative findings revealed valuable insight into potential ways to increase the relevancy of UD in architecture curricula.

“Universal Design in Architectural Education: A U.S. Study” was published in The Proceedings of the 3rd International Conference for Design Education Research Vol 2, which has many other articles on the topic of design education.