Cultural background – your hidden bias

A globe atlas of the world sits on a desk and lined up in front are small dolls representing different countriesWe need to be aware of our biases if we are to become more inclusive in our thinking, designing and planning. Dr Belina Liddell argues that culture may affect the way your brain processes everything. And that is important. The term “culture” is a very complex web of dynamic systems – beliefs, language and values, and also religion, socio-economic status and gender may play a part too. Dr Liddell says, “Broadly speaking, Western-based cultures focus on an independent and unique self that values autonomy, personal achievement and an analytical style of thinking. This is known as individualism”. But non-Western cultures value collectivism. The article goes on to explain how culture makes a difference to the way we not only perceive things intellectually, but visually as well. All this is from the emerging field of cultural neuroscience.  Now we have new acronym to deal with, WEIRD – Western, Educated, Industrialised, Rich, Democratic. The article also discusses refugee populations. See the ABC science website for more on this interesting article. 

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Service design done with UD principles

Distored digitised picture of young people sitting in a group.Most people think of universal design as being something for the built environment, but it is much more than that. Service design is an important factor in access and inclusion. There have been major disruptions in how we shop, get take-away food, share our accommodation and our cars. Universal design thinking processes have a major role to play in service design. This is the thinking of Airbnb and other similar platforms. The article in FastCompany lists a few things to think about. Here are the headings:

  1. Let a user do what they set out to do
  2. Be easy to find
  3. Clearly explain its purpose
  4. Set the expectations a user has of it
  5. Be agnostic of organizational structures
  6. Require as few steps as possible to complete a task
  7. Be consistent
  8. Have no dead ends
  9. Be usable by everyone, equally
  10. Work in a way that is familiar
  11. Make it easy to get human assistance
  12. Require no prior knowledge to use

Some of these aspects could be applied in other situations too.

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Case study of a UD home

Sliding doors opening to a decked area but also having level entry.There’s a nice case study in Lifemark’s latest newsletter on a home built with universal design in mind. This is a key phrase, keeping it in mind. That means you can be creative with the design without focusing on a particular type of design or standard. The family home was also designed and built with wheelchair access in mind. When asked to name a favourite space, the wheelchair user said he didn’t have a favourite place, but he did like the “flow-through – in the morning it is bedroom, bathroom, dining table, without any sharp turns or back-tracking up hall. That would not be possible in any other house.” However, the flush level entry was greatly appreciated as well as level entry to the alfresco. Lots of pictures in the article and a note that it cost no more than a standard build. The title of the article is Everything Works Better for Everybody. There are more case studies on the Lifemark website. Photo courtesy Michael Field.

Auckland Council will be holding their universal design conference 6-7 September. Find out more on their conference website. 

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Latest UD Conference news

A tile showing all the logos of conference supporters.This conference is about the built environment, housing, and tourism destinations and businesses. Speakers include: Allen Kong, Richard Bowman, Margaret Ward, Penny Galbraith, Emily Steel, Elise Copeland, Thea Kurdi, Queenie Tran, Bill Forrester, Lorraine Guthrie, Tom Bevan, Apeksha Gohil, Chris Maclean, Cathryn Grant, Michael Small, Diana Palmer, Jill Franz, Theresa Harada, Liz Ainsworth and Michael Bleasdale. You can read their abstracts and biographies

Keynote speakers are: Nicki Hutley, Partner, Deloitte Access Economics; Amy Child, Associate, Transport and Cities, Arup, and Chris Veitch, Tourism Consultant, Access New Business, Nadia Feeney, Australian Tourism Data Warehouse, Bill Forrester, Travability, and Kieran O’Donnell, Australian Building Codes Board. Lenna Klintworth will be our Master of Ceremonies. Their biographies and presentation outlines will be available soon.

The program is jam-packed with information and practical examples for house and home, for tourism, travel and getting out and about. There will be Table Topics during an extended lunch break on the first day. This allows everyone to get involved and a good way to network. Want to showcase something – why not host a lunchtime Table Topic?  Send an email for more information about Table Topics.

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The future of kitchens

A kitchen with white cabinetry and a bar extension showing two place settings and chairsIt is often quoted that the kitchen is the heart of the home, and that part probably won’t change in the future. But what people might doing in the kitchen could change significantly. A blog on a product website lists five key design features trending for the future: connectivity, sustainability, ease of use for all, the rise of professional products, and the kitchen is more than just cooking. Below is a video where researchers and designers from around the world were asked how they thought kitchens will evolve. Their ideas on the future are worth looking at. There are some neat ideas at the end of the video. One of the designers, Patricia Moore, says, 

“We must be able to choose at all times what suits us. Some people have to work sitting down or in a wheelchair. A small child should be able to help Mom and Dad prepare food. And our grandparents, who will experience reductions and have less physical strength and mental capacity, should be able to prepare a meal with comfort and safety.” 

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Symbol for disability or for access?

four white figures on a blue background showing a man and woman with a square head and a man and a woman with a misshapen head“Does the universal symbol for disability need to be rethought”? is the title of an article in the FastCompany blog. First question this raises is, “Is it a symbol for disability or a symbol for access?” The article proposes a variety of symbols for different disabilities. But do we need more symbols and if so, what purpose would they serve?  Some people might like to have a symbol they can relate to if they are not a wheelchair user. But could another symbol further stigmatise? For example one of the proposed symbols shows a person with half the head missing. Another shows a square head. Currently the universal and international symbol for access is more about buldings meeting legislative compliance than trying to send a message about different disabilities. The aim of universal design is to not need more symbols and labels, but to need them less. Have a look at the article and see what you think about the proposition of a multitude of symbols.

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Universal Design: Revolution or Evolution? A breakfast event

Flyer picture of three Barangaroo towers with the title of the event.CUDA and Lendlease have organised a breakfast event at Barangaroo in Sydney. Three great speakers, a light breakfast and networking all for just $10.

Jason Barker, Principal, Design for Dignity, will discuss how universal design was embraced during the development of Barangaroo. Chris Veitch, Access New Business (UK) will bring his international experience of inclusive destinations and tourism and the development of Visit Britain website. He will be fresh from the UD Conference in BrisbaneFiona Morrison, Commissioner Open Space and Parklands, NSW Department of Planning, will talk about inclusively designing guidelines for inclusive playspaces. Annie Tennant, General Manager, Sustainability and Culture, Lendlease, will chair the event. Download the flyer or register to attend using the links below. Our thanks to Lendlease for their support for this event.

12 September 2018 8:00am to 9:30am

Register:  https://udaustralia.eventbrite.com.au

Enquiriesevents.udaustralia@gmail.com or call 0431 345 235 for access enquiries.

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Thanks for your support

A tile showing all the logos of conference supporters.Thanks to all our conference supporters for promoting our upcoming conference. Is your association logo there? Perhaps you could get CPD points for attending.  Looking forward to seeing you all at the conference – only three weeks to go! 

For more detail and to register see the conference website. The theme is Home and Away: Creating inclusion everywhere. This is a conference for the people who make the decisions that create inclusion. So anyone involved in housing and built environment, destination planning, tourism and place making should come along. It’s a great program!

  • Two day registration is $675.00 + GST
  • One day registration is $400.00 +GST
  • Student registration is $350.00 + GST

Missed the earlybird rate? Email Jane udaustralia@gmail.com.

Logos include: ARATA, AIB, ANUHD, LGNSW, Philip Chun, SCAAN, RICS, ATDW, QAUHD, Touched by Olivia, SCAAN, University of Cambridge. Hosted by COTA Queensland and CUDA, and organised by Interpoint Events.

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Can everybody hear me? Protocol for meetings and events

Front cover of the protocol for meetings and events. People who can’t hear well at meetings tend to avoid them. This means their voices are left out of focus groups and community consultations. Consequently, hearing issues are not heard or catered for (excuse pun). It also means they don’t go to group events at restaurants or even family gatherings because it gets frustrating and also tiring when trying to concentrate on listening all the time. Ideas for Ears in the UK is actively advocating for people with hearing loss and has developed the Hearing Access Protocol for meetings and events. it provides guidance on how to run meetings and events so people with any hearing ability can hear and follow them. The Protocol was developed by people with hearing loss. You can download the PDF version of the Protocol. People with hearing loss should be able to participate in civic events and activities on the same basis as others.

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ACAA Newsletter focuses on education

front cover of access insight magazine.The topics in this issue of Access Insight focus on educational facilities and students. “Equitable Design in Educational Architecture” covers some of the basics in designing schools. Avoiding ramps by integrating grades into landscape features, creating visual cues for students and teachers with low vision, and wayfinding enhancements are discussed. “Primary school hearing of primary importance” discusses some of the issues with open plan spaces and student group work when it comes to hearing and speech intelligibility. Is it possible that such designs work against the intent of the Disability Discrimination Act? “Tertiary Education Facilities and Access Challenges” looks at all the work going on with the extensions to university campuses and how they can better meet the requirements of students and teachers with disability. In a separate piece, the Supreme Court of Victoria’s ruling on the Owners’ Corporations is outlined. 

 

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