Out and about with universal design

Street scene showing stepped entrance to a council building with a disabled access sign on the pillar.Valerie Watchorn et al from Deakin University have been researching environmental design in relation to social inclusion. Their latest upload to ResearchGate is Universal design of built environments: Making it happen. The 2014 study of was part of a larger inter-professional education study that introduced UD into the curricula of undergraduate architecture and occupations therapy students. Participants were people known to have expertise in UD and the built environment: access consultants, occupational therapists, disability service providers, and architects. Law, higher education, and health were also represented. 

The study revealed factors that might both restrain and facilitate that have direct relevance to planners, policy makers and educators of the built environment. To see the results and conclusions, download the paper from ResearchGate or the PDF version. The paper was published in the Journal of Social Inclusion in 2014. The authors acknowledge that few built environment professionals were included, but consider this to be a preliminary study with a view to further research. The sign on the pillar in the picture advises of a “disabled access ramp” which emphasises the language discussion in the article.

This article is a good follow up to my work and that of Margaret Ward into the barriers and facilitators of universal design. Jane Bringolf, Editor.