Are UD and ID rivals?

a series of black icons on white background depicting people of all shapes and sizes, including a baby in a stroller, a person with a can and a wheelchair userFrom the Editor: This week I came across an article by John Harding who writes about rivalry between universal design and inclusive design. While I have encountered people who believe there are nuanced differences, I cannot agree that the concepts are rivals, academically or otherwise. A rivalry point of view is contrary to the work of advocacy groups striving for more inclusive societies. Indeed, “universal design” is cited in the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disability as the means by which to create inclusion. It is also cited by WHO guidelines for age-friendly cities.

Harding, in his dense academic paper, appears to base his argument on universal design being about the “widest range of users”, whereas inclusive design is about “offering everyone access”.  He then goes on to claim that universal design is “first generation” and inclusive design is “next generation”. 

Using a study of transportation in UK, Harding proposes that the “rivalry” between UD and ID hasn’t helped the cause for inclusion. I believe the barriers to inclusion are far more complex than terminology. However, terminology is very important to academics if they want to compare their work. 

Whether you use universal or inclusive, the aim is to cater to diversity, and that includes diverse ways of explaining universal/inclusive design for an inclusive world. Most academics use the terms interchangeably and include “Design for All”.

The paper is open access on ResearchGate. Have a look and see what you think. The title of the paper is “Agent based modelling to probe inclusive transport building design in practice”. 

It should be noted that John Harding is based in the UK where they have stuck by the “inclusive design” term throughout, whereas Europe has favoured Design for All, and most other countries have followed the UN Convention and use universal design. Most academics recognise the convergence of concepts rather than rivalry.

Jane Bringolf

Conferences 2019-2020

bright pink seating in an auditoriumNew to this list: Open Learning Conference 26-27 November 2019, Sydney. Call for abstracts closes 7 July 2019. It would be good to see papers on Universal Design for Learning in this space.

Slips, Trips and Falls Conference 13-14 February 2020 Madrid. Call for Papers closes 31 July 2019.  Topics include architectural design, ageing, ergonomics, footwear, and safety standards as well as falls prevention and analysing accidents. Website is in Spanish and English.

International Conference on Disabling Normatives 1 – 3 October 2019, Johannesburg, South Africa. Call for abstracts closes 28 June 2019. Has an academic focus and is hosted by the Wits Centre for Diversity Studies. 

Here are the rest:

National Sports Convention has a major strand on Diversity and Inclusion in Sport hosted by Sport and Recreation Victoria. To be held in Melbourne 23-25 July 2019. Convention theme is, “Re imagining Sport: More people active with greater participation”. Registrations are open. One ticket for multiple events within the Convention.

Liveable Cities Conference, 12-13 August 2019, Adelaide. Key themes: Happiness, Health and Wellbeing, and Strategies, Planning and Design for People. See the program.

ACAA Access Consultants National Conference, Theme Inclusion by Design: Equality, Diversity and the Built Environment. 14-16 August 2019, Luna Park Sydney. Earlybird registrations open.

 iCREATe conference 26-29 August 2019, Canberra. Includes Global Student Innovation Challenge, and ATSA Independent Living Expo. Earlybird closes 31 May.

AAATE 2019: Global Challenges in Assistive Technology: Research, Policy and Practice. 17-19 August 2019, Bologna, Italy. Note that Universal Design is included in this conference. AAATE is sister organisation to Australia’s ARATA. See conference flyer for more information.

Planning Institute Australia NSW State Conference 19-20 September 2019, Parramatta. Theme: Fostering Resilience – the promise of a brighter and better future.

Constructing our World: People, Performance, Politics 18-20 September 2019, Four Seasons Hotel, Sydney. Joint hosts are the Institutes of Building of Australia, New Zealand and Singapore. Earlybird Registrations open now.

​​International Conference on ​Transport & Health – theme: Smart Cities. Disruptive Mobility. Healthy People. 4-8 November 2019, Pullman Melbourne on the Park. Abstracts re-opened from 31 May to 14 June.

52nd AAG Conference Sydney. Coming of Age Together: New Ways of Knowing and Acting. 5-8 November 2019. Topics include social engagement, environment, design, innovation and technology.  

International Conference on Urban Health: People Oriented Urbanisation – Transforming cities for health and well-being. 4-8 November 2019, Xiamen, China. 

International Urban Design Conference, 13-16 November 2019, Hobart Tasmania. Call for presenters closes 26 July 2019 with blind peer review for accepted papers. Several topics to choose from.

World Engineers Convention – theme is Engineering a Sustainable World: The next 100 Years. 20-22 November 2019, Melbourne. Call for papers has closed.

Space International Conference 2019 on Housing: 29 November – 1 December, London, UK.  Call for papers closes 19 August 2019. Aim: to discuss recent advances and research results in the fields of Housing as well as architecture, policy studies, education, interior architecture, city planning and urban studies, social sciences, and engineering.

Florida State University AMPS Conference: Experiential Design – Rethinking relations between people, objects and environments. 16-17 January 2020, in Tallahassee. Abstract submissions close 20 June 2019  

Logo for Universal Design ConferenceUD2020. The next Australian Universal Design Conference will be held 13-14 August 2020 in Melbourne. Save the Date! A call for papers will be made in September 2019. 

ICT, AI and older people

An older woman sits at a table in a room with a tv behind her.The Digital Age has brought us Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Ambient Technologies, but can people and policies keep up with the pace of development? The 5G network brings additional promises, but will designers consider the diversity of the population, especially in algorithms? A keynote paper presented by Liz Mesthenos gives a thoughtful overview of the state of play regarding this technology and older people.

It is interesting to note that the EU “appears to be keen on free access to the internet to ensure non-exclusion…” Mestheneos cautions the use of sensors used via smart phones, web cameras, etc., for family carers to monitor a relative. Ensuring they are non-intrusive and data remain private will be a continuing issue. AI products will have to ensure they are accessible as well as secure, and are not based on existing human prejudice and assumptions.

The title of her paper is, “Reflections on Older People in Relation to ICT-AI” and covers: the importance of co-creation, system usability, justice, fairness, privacy, safety, and inclusive design. A well thought out paper. But it is not readily available. Let me know if you want a copy.

ABSTRACT: Can ICT e.g. AAL, AI, Ambient Living technologies, really help the growing numbers of older people live better, more fulfilling lives? Or are these technologies primarily being developed for the interest of health and welfare systems and tech development experts? Have we genuinely listened to the needs of older people and reacted to their problems and needs, or are the driving forces behind innovation state budgetary limitations and the management of new and ever expanding problems? Even in the context of management, can these ICT technologies be effective or are they marginal to the management of living with dependency, long term illnesses and alone. Can and in what way do they help make older people’s lives more connected, meaningful and richer? Ensure that older people do not become objects, presenting technical problems to be solved, but people who have capacities which technology can help support. The presentation will concern the limitations of current approaches and suggest ways forward to genuinely support older people. 

Updates to 2019-2020 Conferences

Rows of orange and black chairs at a conference venue.New to this list: International Urban Design Conference, 13-16 November 2019, Hobart Tasmania. Call for presenters closes 26 July 2019 with blind peer review for accepted papers. 

Abstracts re-opened from 31 May to 14 June for the International Conference on ​Transport & Health – theme: Smart Cities. Disruptive Mobility. Healthy People. 4-8 November 2019, Pullman Melbourne on the Park.

Slips, Trips and Falls Conference 13-14 February 2020 Madrid. Call for Papers closes 31 July 2019.  Topics include architectural design, ageing, ergonomics, footwear, and safety standards as well as falls prevention and analysing accidents. Website is in Spanish and English.

International Conference on Disabling Normatives 1 – 3 October 2019, Johannesburg, South Africa. Call for abstracts closes 28 June 2019. Has an academic focus and is hosted by the Wits Centre for Diversity Studies. 

Here are the rest:

National Sports Convention has a major strand on Diversity and Inclusion in Sport hosted by Sport and Recreation Victoria. To be held in Melbourne 23-25 July 2019. Convention theme is, “Re imagining Sport: More people active with greater participation”. Registrations are open. One ticket for multiple events within the Convention.

Liveable Cities Conference, 12-13 August 2019, Adelaide. Key themes: Happiness, Health and Wellbeing, and Strategies, Planning and Design for People. 

ACAA Access Consultants National Conference, Theme Inclusion by Design: Equality, Diversity and the Built Environment. 14-16 August 2019, Luna Park Sydney. Earlybird registrations open.

ATSA Independent Living Expo: Canberra on 27-28 August as part of iCREATe conference.

AAATE 2019: Global Challenges in Assistive Technology: Research, Policy and Practice. 17-19 August 2019, Bologna, Italy. Note that Universal Design is included in this conference. AAATE is sister organisation to Australia’s ARATA. See conference flyer for more information.

Constructing our World: People, Performance, Politics 18-20 September 2019, Four Seasons Hotel, Sydney. Joint hosts are the Institutes of Building of Australia, New Zealand and Singapore. Earlybird Registrations open now.

​​International Conference on ​Transport & Health – theme: Smart Cities. Disruptive Mobility. Healthy People. 4-8 November 2019, Pullman Melbourne on the Park. Abstracts re-opened from 31 May to 14 June.

52nd AAG Conference Sydney. Coming of Age Together: New Ways of Knowing and Acting. 5-8 November 2019. Topics include social engagement, environment, design, innovation and technology.  

International Conference on Urban Health: People Oriented Urbanisation – Transforming cities for health and well-being. 4-8 November 2019, Xiamen, China. 

International Urban Design Conference, 13-16 November 2019, Hobart Tasmania. Call for presenters closes 26 July 2019 with blind peer review for accepted papers. Several topics to choose from.

World Engineers Convention – theme is Engineering a Sustainable World: The next 100 Years. 20-22 November 2019, Melbourne. Call for papers has closed.

Space International Conference 2019 on Housing: 29 November – 1 December, London, UK.  Call for papers closes 19 August 2019. Aim: to discuss recent advances and research results in the fields of Housing as well as architecture, policy studies, education, interior architecture, city planning and urban studies, social sciences, and engineering.

Florida State University AMPS Conference: Experiential Design – Rethinking relations between people, objects and environments. 16-17 January 2020, in Tallahassee. Abstract submissions close 20 June 2019  

Logo for Universal Design ConferenceUD2020. The next Australian Universal Design Conference will be held 13-14 August 2020 in Melbourne. Save the Date! A call for papers will be made in September 2019. 

Staying put and walking more

An older man and woman are walking away from the camera down a street. They are wearing backpacks and holding hands.A new Australian study found that older people who live in separate houses walk more than those in retirement villages. The Curtin University study accounted for several factors before coming to this conclusion. It adds to the literature that for most people, staying put in your own home is the best way to age. Of course, we need homes and neighbourhoods designed to support this. While the study has some limitations, it is another angle on staying put versus age segregated living arrangements.

The title of the article in Sage Publications is The Potential Importance of Housing Type for Older People’s Physical Activity Levels. You will need institutional access for a free read. 

Abstract: Limited research has investigated the effect of housing type on older people’s physical activity, and the small amount of work to date has relied on self-reported activity levels. The aim of this study was to assess whether housing type is associated with objectively measured physical activity among community-dwelling older people. In total, 430 Australians aged 60 years and older completed a survey and wore an accelerometer for a week. Controlling for a range of confounding variables (age, gender, physical health, neighborhood walkability, and the density of open spaces in the local area), participants living in separate houses were found to engage in higher levels of activity compared with those living in retirement villages. In addition, those living in separate houses and apartments were significantly more likely to meet the physical activity guideline of 150+ min/week compared with those living in retirement villages.

Program: Design for All Week 8-12 April Brisbane

Design for All Week is hosted by Queensland University of Technology Design Lab. Check links for details and campus locations. All events are free.

Monday 8 April
2 – 5 pm Industry Engagement:  Symposium and Panel Discussion Vis-ABIITY through DesignThis symposium reflects upon the added value of Design for All (DfA) as a strategy for inclusion. It is lead by a line-up of international speakers
5 – 7 pm TouchABLE imageries exhibition opening from Belgium
Tuesday 9 April
9 am – 12 pm Education and Training: Co-design workshop with international experts on creating tactile imagery with the QUT Art Museum for the Vis-ability exhibition.
12.30 – 1.30 pm Exchange: In Focus curator and artist talk at the QUT Art Museum
Wednesday 10 April
9 am – 12 pm Education and Training: Co-design workshop with international experts on creating tactile imagery with the QUT Art Museum for the Vis-ability exhibition.
5 – 8 pm International Engagement: EIDD-DfA Europe Keynote Lecture and Design Exhibition at The Cube.
Thursday 11 April
9 am-12 pm Education and Training: Co-design workshop with international experts on creating tactile imagery with the QUT Art Museum for the Vis-ability exhibition.
Friday 12 April
6 – 8 pm Community Outreach: International Inclusive Film Screening and Moderation at The Hall (Kelvin Grove). Discussion lead by international experts
Close of the Design for All Week.

To see all the events and the details in one list, and to register, go to the Design for All Week webpage.

Establishing a UD Centre in Australia

Logo for Centre for Universal Design AustraliaFrom the Ground Up: Establishing a Centre for Universal Design in Australia charts the establishment and development of CUDA. This paper was presented at the UD Conference in Ireland held at the end of 2018. Here is the abstract – the full paper is available online.

Abstract: The universal design movement arrived in Australia well before the turn of the century. A handful of individuals, often working as lone voices, are doing their best to incorporate the concepts into their everyday work and promote the concepts more widely. As is often the case elsewhere, the term “universal design” is misunderstood and confused with special and separate designs for people with disability rather than inclusion for everyone. Compliance to legislated disability access standards has created further confusion and as a consequence many myths about universal design have emerged. Such myths have held back the implementation and understanding of universal design and inclusive practice. Australian governments at all levels have shown little interest in promoting universal design principles, save for a casual mention of the term in policy documents. This is in spite of changes to disability and ageing policies promoting more autonomy and independence for individuals. When political leadership is absent, leadership often defaults to the community, or to be precise, to a handful of people with a passion for the cause. In 2013 a chance meeting of two unrelated individuals set the wheels in motion to establish a centre for universal design in Australia. This paper charts the development and progress of the organisation through volunteer effort, harnessing community support, maintaining international connections, using social media, and establishing a resource-rich website and newsletter. 

From the Editor: Season’s Greetings

Christmas banner with red and white baubles.

Dear Members and Subscribers

I hope you have enjoyed the variety of posts throughout the year. Remember, all posts are housed on the website and you can find topics under the left hand menu or by doing a search. We currently have more than 800 posts for you to choose from.

Please let me know if there is a topic you would like covered, or if you have something you think is worthwhile sharing with others.

I will be back in January with the next newsletter. Meanwhile, I wish you and your friends and family a safe and happy holiday season.

Jane Bringolf, Editor.

Christmas banner with red and white baubles.

CUDA’s Reponse to Accessible Housing Options Paper

A modern single storey home.Friday 30 November was the cut off date for submissions on the Accessible Housing Options Paper. You can download CUDA’s submission, for reference. For quick reference here is the Executive Summary of CUDA’s response:

“Australia needs housing that is fit for purpose. The preparation for a Regulatory Impact Assessment for a change to the National Construction Code provides a timely opportunity to meet our policy commitments also create housing that suits people across their lifespan. Housing is an important factor in determining our health outcomes and accessibility is recognised by the World Health Organisation as a major element.

Apart from increased size, Australian housing design has changed little in the last 50 or so years, save for fashionable cosmetic changes. Population demographics, community expectations, and the way we live our lives, have changed. Now is the time to be more inclusive in our mass market designs and consider all households – without the need for specialised design. Indeed, the inclusive, universal design approach, underpins the Livable Housing Design Guidelines – the guidelines that were developed by the housing industry.

Taking a disability-only approach as suggested in the Options Paper will discount the other beneficiaries when counting costs and benefits. In the early 2000s researchers called for a change in housing design to reflect an ageing population and our commitment to people with disability. They make the point that designing for these two groups includes convenience for many others, and that costs, if any, are minimal if considered at the outset.

The attempt to effect change through voluntary guidelines has failed. This is not surprising for an industry that relies on mandatory regulation to keep the fragmented house building system running smoothly and to maintain an industry-wide level playing field.

Finding the right terminology will be critical to finding the right outcomes. Misunderstandings about “accessibility” prevail. This term is quickly translated to “disabled design”. When improved access features are included in the NCC, it will become standard Australian Housing and no particular term will be needed. If a particular term is needed for the process of discussing change, we recommend the term “liveable” as in liveable cities. Alternatively we can jump straight to what it is, Australian housing.

The Building Ministers’ Forum (BMF) has asked that the Livable Housing Australia Guidelines at Silver and Gold levels be assessed. These Guidelines are well researched and tested over eight years and are referenced in many government publications and policies. For this reason, we recommend that the Gold level form the minimum requirements for inclusion in the NCC. Many of the elements over and above Silver level are cost neutral, are easy to apply and technically substantiated.

Gold level is framed around mobility issues (mobilising, reaching, bending, grasping).  Other disabilities can be incorporated within these spatial elements.  As these elements are based on the earlier Landcom Guidelines (2008), which were costed, we suggest that these costings be sourced and if necessary, updated.

Housing lies in a complex and contested landscape. While it is important for the industry to make a profit for shareholders, it is also important that they add value to the community from which they draw that profit.”