Welcome

Welcome to Centre for Universal Design Australia website

The aim of universalising design is to create a more inclusive world. Universal Design, as an endeavour in its own right, is being used internationally as a vehicle for bringing about wholesale change in design thinking throughout the design process so that all people are considered regardless of age, capability, or background.

Universal design is a design concept not a design product. The principles of universal design can be applied to concrete things like products, buildings and open spaces, to intellectual activities such as designing learning programs, and to conceptual things such as policies and practices.

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Museum has UD integrated throughout

A distant aerial view of the huge arch and the park and landscapingIntegrating universal design was a priority in the redesigning of the Gateway Arch Museum in St Louis. A gently sloping plaza, architecturally integrated ramps, and engaging exhibitions. An article in the St Louis online news gives a good run-down of the features. The touchable exhibits have been a great success with everyone. The universal design concepts allow people to interact with exhibits rather than just look at them. There are other enhancements for people with disability too. The arch and the park are now easier to access by foot or bike as well. The Archinet website features a brief overview by the architects, and pictures of the museum. The timelapse video of the construction is interesting because of the landscaping of the parkland around it. 

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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.” 

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Accessible Housing Options Paper: A response from ANUHD

The Australian Network for Universal Housing Design made their submission to the Australian Building Codes Board. It is a lengthy document following the Options Paper format. The document responds to these questions:

  1. What is the policy that drives the Project?
  2. Who needs accessible housing?
  3. What gets in the way of building accessible housing?
  4. How urgent is the problem?
  5. What level of access is necessary?

ANUHD takes a disability rights approach and points out the National Disability Strategy should be a driving force for change and that the Livable Housing Design Guidelines Gold level is the best way to achieve our obligations to the National Disability Strategy and the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. We all have a right to appropriate housing that is fit for purpose.

However, we can also take a universal design approach. The Livable Housing Design Guidelines mentioned in the Options Paper, take this approach. The Guidelines recognise that universal design features (accessible features) are just good design suited to everyone. It isn’t just about disability rights, it is also about home safety, productivity and economic gains for the community.

For more help on how to respond, see CUDA’s summary of the key points and a questionnaire with your comments that can be your submission, or part of your submission, to the Australian Building Codes Board. This is about our future homes and those of the ones we love. 

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A defining moment for housing: Have your say

Front cover of the Options Paper. Dark blue with white text.The Australian Building Codes Board has circulated a document for public comment: Accessible Housing Options Paper. Anyone can respond to the ideas in the document and have their say. The document is not easy to understand unless you know a lot about housing and house building. To save time and make it easier to respond, Penny Galbraith has put the key points on one page and provided a questionnaire you can fill out and send by email:    NCCawareness@abcb.gov.au

You don’t need to be a member of an organisation to respond – you can do it as an individual. After all, it’s your future home or that of your loved ones we are talking about.

Now is the time to act by submitting your response to the Australian Building Codes Board by 30 November. This is one of those moments in time where ordinary folk can make a difference – everyone counts and every response is counted.  

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You can make housing history: respond to the Options Paper

Front cover of the Options Paper. Dark blue with white text.You don’t need to be a member of an organisation to respond to the Accessible Housing Options Paper. After all, it’s your future home or that of your loved ones we are talking about.The Australian Building Codes Board has circulated a document for public comment. Anyone can respond to the ideas in the document and have their say. The document is not easy to understand unless you know a lot about housing and house building. To save time and make it easier to respond, Penny Galbraith has put the key points on one page and provided a questionnaire you can fill out and send by email:    NCCawareness@abcb.gov.au 

Now is the time to act by submitting your response to the Australian Building Codes Board by 30 November. This is one of those moments in time where ordinary folk can make a difference – everyone counts and every response is counted. We need everyone to respond to show that there is public interest in this topic.

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ATSA Independent Living Expo 2019

Advertising banner for ATSA independent living expos in Sydney and BrisbaneSponsored Content. Australia’s premier assistive technology, daily living aids and equipment show will be back and bigger than ever in 2019!  One of the most comprehensive events for people with disability, older people, allied health professionals, rehabilitation providers and the public, the ATSA Independent Living Expo will take place in Sydney on 8-9 May, Brisbane on 15-16 May, and in Canberra on 27-28 August as part of iCREATe conference.

The expos are set to bring together a number of assistive technology providers and suppliers under the one roof to showcase the latest equipment and services for the disability sector. A key feature of the expo is the free conference program, which is held in rooms conveniently located next to the exhibition floor. The program provides an excellent opportunity for allied health professionals, including occupational therapists and physiotherapists, to broaden their practical and theoretical learning. Seats are expected to book out well in advance of the event.

ATSA Independent Living Expo is open to visitors of all ages, including those with a disability, older people and their families, friends, therapists and carers. For more information, visit www.atsaindependentlivingexpo.com.au.  

This post is sponsored content.

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ATSA Independent Living Expos 2019

Advertising banner for ATSA independent living expos in Sydney and BrisbaneAustralia’s premier assistive technology, daily living aids and equipment show will be back and bigger than ever in 2019!  One of the most comprehensive events for people with disability, older people, allied health professionals, rehabilitation providers and the public, the ATSA Independent Living Expo will take place in Sydney on 8-9 May, Brisbane on 15-16 May, and in Canberra on 27-28 August as part of iCREATe conference.

The expos are set to bring together a number of assistive technology providers and suppliers under the one roof to showcase the latest equipment and services for the disability sector. A key feature of the expo is the free conference program, which is held in rooms conveniently located next to the exhibition floor. The program provides an excellent opportunity for allied health professionals, including occupational therapists and physiotherapists, to broaden their practical and theoretical learning. Seats are expected to book out well in advance of the event.

ATSA Independent Living Expo is open to visitors of all ages, including those with a disability, older people and their families, friends, therapists and carers. For more information, visit www.atsaindependentlivingexpo.com.au.  

This post is sponsored content.

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Access Insight Newsletter

Front cover of magazine showing a Sydney Ferry with the Sydney Harbour Bridge in the background.The latest issue of the Association of Consultants in Access Australia newsletter is all about transportation. Airports, Sydney Light Rail, Bus Stops, and Ferries are included. Transport sociologist, Claudine Moutou, discusses changing expectations of public transport and how it needs to be more convenient for everyone. Farah Madden reports on the TransAlpine Railway in New Zealand, and Francis Lenny compares accessible transport provision with Australia and Europe. You can view online or download a PDF (9MB)

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Annual Report 2017-2018

The 2017-2018 Annual Report on CUDA’s activities is available for download in Word. Key points are:

  • Website views increased by more than 11,000 to 39,300, and is now averaging between 3000 to 4000 views per month.
  • Newsletter had 360 subscribers at the end of June 2017
  • Online learning course, Introduction to Universal Design attracted 171 students with 78 completing the course
  • Seven conference and seminar presentations were made 
  • Ten sector consultations/roundtables were attended 
  • Social media continues to be a efficient way to promote universal design and inclusive practice

You can also download the member announcements made at the 3rd Australian Universal Design Conference held in Brisbane 4-5 September 2018.  

The 2016-2017 Annual Report is also available for download

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CUDA News Update

Newsletter Advertising: The Board of Directors have decided that one post per newsletter can be made available for advertising. The cost is $55.00 for CUDA members and $110.00 for non-members. Advertising content should be relevant to universal design and inclusive practice.  Contact the Editor for more information by email: udaustralia@gmail.com

Membership Types: Membership is a tangible way you can support the work of CUDA. 

  • Individual Membership is $33.00 for the financial year.
  • Liftetime Individual Membership is $110.00 so that you only sign up once and no need to renew each year. 
  • Corporate Membership is $220.00 for up to ten staff. 

All members are eligible to use the CUDA logo on their digital stationery. Members also receive preferred rates for any CUDA events and learning programs. 

You can download the full Member and Supporter Update with extra detail.

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