Accessible Exit Signs – new designs

accessible-exit-sign-project-exit-signEgress signage is evolving.  The introduction of the ‘Accessible Means of Egress Icon’, or ‘Wheelie Man’ onto accessible exit signage changes the current discriminatory approach to exit signs in buildings and presents a fully inclusive universal design. The figures in the icons move in unison. They display the same urgency and motion. They appear to be travelling at the same speed. This is an inclusive design. Find out more about the project at the following links:

Accessible Exit Signs Project

Accessible means of egress icon in the press

Signage project – Global Alliance on Accessible Technologies and Environments (GAATES)

Accessible Exit Signs – Interactive Accessibility website


Senior Playgrounds and Universal Design

Cover-Image_Senior-PlaygroundsIn this item from Sourceble by Lee Wilson, the outdoor gym is described as a playground. He states, “This is something we really ought to be planning for in new housing estates and developments, with suitable outdoor spaces that promote social interaction, exercise and enjoyment for people in their later stages of their lives.”  He goes on to list factors to consider for “seniors playgrounds”.


Brothels: Weighing Disability Access, Dignity and Safety

No-Disabled-Access-Brothel-StairsThis article discusses the movement for equal access to sex workers, and gives some basic tips for designing brothels for access by people with disability. The point is made that both sex workers and people with disability are marginalised when it comes to relationships. The film “The Sessions” based on a true story and starring John Hawkes and Helen Hunt was a breakthrough in changing attitudes about people with disabilities engaging in sexual activity.
With the roll out of the NDIS, it is likely that more brothels will need to make themselves accessible. The article has links to other online references. 


Why do they keep designing stuff like that?

Negotiating place: the challenge of inclusive design

This short negotiating inclusive designarticle written by Charlotte Bates, Goldsmiths, University of London, was posted on the Universalising Design website in the UK  and begins, 

In my more miserable moments I think we’ll never get it right, and people just ignore it, and building control officers don’t implement it, and we still see buildings where somebody says it’s accessible, and it’s not accessible at all. We’re still designing public spaces with cobbles, brand new public spaces with cobbles and seats that have got no arms or backrests, and they don’t understand that an older person can’t get up off a concrete stone bench. Why do they keep designing stuff like that?” (access consultant x).

You can also access the article directly from Discover Society website.



A day in the life of a wheelchair user: navigating Lincoln

Distance picture of Lincoln Cathedral showing the mighty towers above the townSophia Bannert decided to hire a wheelchair and see what it was like to get out and about in the historic cathedral town of Lincoln in England. Her award winning essay relates her many experiences, not least was failing to get into an accessible toilet with the wheelchair. This essay deserves to be shared with the architectural and urban design community.

Sophia Bannert says, “In the words of Raymond Lifchez, ‘Architecture can be empowering, only if architects develop empathy.’ This quote rang true in my mind after being denied the use of the disabled toilet in the University of Lincoln’s architecture building. Whether the architect, Rick Mather, lacked empathy towards disabled users or whether he was designing according to poor minimum standards, the standing reality is that the disabled toilet was too slim to manoeuvre a wheelchair inside and close the door. In my opinion, minimum standards need to be raised to prevent faults such as this occurring.”