UD, social sustainability and interior design

Applying Universal Design concept in interior design to reinforce the Social dimension of Sustainability

This paper provides an overview of universal design applications in interior design promising results for a better future for social sustainability. The way in which universal design is presented and discussed has a particular clarity. For example, 

“Accessible, adaptable, transgenerational, and universal design Universal design is always accessible, but because it integrates accessibility from the beginning of the design process, it is less likely to be noticeable. Universal design sometimes employs adaptable strategies for achieving customization, but it is best when all choices are presented equally. Some universal design is transgenerational, but the approach is inclusive of more than just age-related disabilities. Universal design is sometimes adaptable and sometimes transgenerational but always accessible. Universal design, adaptable design, and transgenerational design are all subsets of accessible design. Sometimes a design can be considered to be two of these subsets, and some designs are all three. Not all accessible design is universal. Universal design is the most inclusive and least stigmatizing of the three types of accessible design because it addresses all types of human variation and accessibility is integrated into design solutions.”

The conclusion of the paper is, “The students in all schools of architecture, interior design, landscape architecture and urban design should become aware of the values, concepts and philosophy of universal design at every level of their education program, beginning from the early stages of design education to the graduate and also post-graduate level. Use techniques to create the understanding and demand of Universal Design concepts by educating the politicians of the need to create environments that encourage independence.”

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Ideas for re-modelling from USA

Be the Solution: A universal design primer.

kitchen with skylight above“The most attractive designs seamlessly integrate spatial relationships with built-in features and extend the same mindful attention used with interior layouts to the design of the site, building envelope, and mechanical, electrical, and plumbing systems. For example, a ramp added to an older house facilitates entry but may also broadcast the residents’ vulnerability. A better solution consists of gently grading the site to an entry landing flush with floor level.

This article by Debra Pierce in Remodeling includes an interesting idea for an alternative to grab bars around the toilet that might suit some people who really do not want grab bars.  See also Invisia bathroom products for more ideas.

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UD and graphic identity: a research method

Alex Bitterman and Beth Tauke undertook a world-wide survey in 2007 in an effort to establish a universal design icon that could be used and interpreted regardless of language or culture. Australia was included in their original research. The process they used is documented in a more recent publication by Alex Bitterman arguing that this method could be applied to the development and design of places, spaces, services and products. Download Alex’s paper here.

Abstract: Data, both qualitative and quantitative, which represents the physical, cognitive and situational abilities of the global population are inconsistent and are not centrally collected by any one international source. Moreover, the definition of ‘disability’ is relative and is linked uniquely to culture. This fluidity makes difficult the standardization of a definitive definition of disability, problematic to quantify and the goal of universal design elusive. Some statistical estimates place the number of disabled persons between 20 and 60 per cent of the world population, the normalization and aggregation of disability statistics remains a low priority for most international governing bodies and this gap in knowledge impacts the ability of designers to adequately consider the needs and abilities of all users when designing places, spaces, products, services and systems. This research note puts forth one potential testing model for systems of visual communication and information-based graphics and graphic systems for a universal design identity system as well as a discussion of the results from the first use of this testing model.

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Fast Food Restaurants and Universal Design

The IDeA Center at Buffalo, New York has produced a series of videos explaining their research using real participants in real situations.  This one describes the experiences of a range of people undertaking nine regular tasks in four different restaurants.  The video is open captioned.

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Inclusive design in manufacturing

Inclusive design drivers and barriers: a manufacturing perspective from Pakistan

This article published by Loughborough University in UK supports other research in USA, USA and Japan. However, compared to other studies, this study found designers are not as concerned that inclusive design will compromise aesthetics.

ABSTRACT: Developing countries contain a large proportion of the global population and the percentage of older people and people with disabilities is increasing. The demographics are discussed in the context of inclusive design and the drivers and barriers to inclusive design have been identified. Data was collected from 50 manufacturing-related individuals from various industrial sectors in Pakistan. Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) relates to inclusive aspects of products, environment or service design, but most respondents either did not know about CSR or did not have a CSR post in their organizations, but 64% had awareness of inclusive design terminology. Continue reading Inclusive design in manufacturing

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Speechless – a talking glove

Lorm HandThis YouTube video shows a wonderful new invention. It is a glove that “talks”. While it is specialised design and not universal design, it reminds us how deaf blind people can extend their ability to participate in everyday activities if and when the rest of the world is designed to include everyone. The video has closed captioning in English.

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Libraries for all types of reader

Every Reader a Library, Every Library its Reader: Designing Responsive Libraries for Our Communities

Overhead view of library shelvesThe National Library Board of Singapore is embracing new ways of reading, learning and creating knowledge. Their aim in revamping their libraries is to be inclusive of learning styles as well as being physically accessible.  

The article includes a case study with illustrations of the re-modelling of an existing library.

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