There is no legislation within Australia to guide the design of sporting or leisure activities that enable participation by everyone at a level that suits them. Universal Design: Integrating the Principles into Camp Activities outlines the importance of universal design and ways in which environments, activities and programs within residential camps can be used by everyone. It shows how to apply the seven principles of universal design to all aspects of camp activities. Sport and Recreation Victoria and YMCA have made this report available to increase awareness and applicability of universal design in residential camps. The image shows how anyone can enjoy the flying fox on the “Skyrider”.
DISABILITY & DEVELOPMENT: How to include persons with disabilities in development cooperation.
Although this manual is aimed at people working on aid programs in developing countries, there are many aspects that could be applied in the Australian context.
The first chapter covers the inclusion of persons with disabilities in the development process supported by the international cooperation. The second chapter relates the collection and analysis of inclusive development appropriate practices based on RIDS members’ experience. The manual ends with a series of recommendations aimed at promoting an effective inclusive development process. The case studies are from many different parts of the world. The manual was published in Italy and translated to English.
The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade have also produced a handbook for Universal Design Principles for Australia’s Aid Program.
Professor Rob Imrie posed this question at the ACAA/UD conference. His presentation posed the contention that access panels or committees are seen as a means of community participation. However, in reality the structure and processes of meetings often prevent full discussion and participation. Using the access panel set up before the London Olympics as an example, he and his research partner Dr Kim Kullman investigate the thoughts and actions of this panel. One participant bemoans, “Constructive dialogue… ‘you’ve got a team of architects that come along, giving up valuable time to try and work with the group, and what they do is they get it in the neck and their first reaction to that when they walk out the door is “never again”’. Scroll half way down the presentation slides to get the case study.
While this book chapter is about assistive technology (social acceptance of walking aids and devices) it focuses on the importance of acceptable design so that they will be more universally acceptable to both the user and others. Walking aids are essential for keeping people on their feet safely and comfortably. However, the stigma attached to these usually unattractive object prevents people from using them. Assistive technology intersects with universal design – in some cases both are needed – the walking aid as well as the step free entrance for full access and ability to participate. Andrew Mcneill and Lynne Coventry explored the issues and the solutions. The chapter can be dowloaded from Research Gate.
Lee Wilson covers some of the current issues related to public toilets. He says, “Gender neutral toilets cater for people who for many reasons feel uncomfortable using a toilet that is designated as either male, female or unisex. In the future, we will see an increase in these amenities”. He continues, “These people find themselves in gender minority groups that comprise people who may define themselves in a number of ways, including being either intersex, gender neutral, third gender, agender, Mx, genderqueer, genderfluid, non-binary, transgender, or bi-gender. They may also find themselves in a situation where they find performing a bodily function that most people take for granted a stressful event.” With the Changing Places campaign also running, it might be time to take a look at the whole accessible toilet situation to see if it might be improved.
Michael D W Richards presents an interesting article on the need to standardize zoo signage, particularly DO NOT FEED signs. He concludes, “To achieve this goal they should utilise a design which is reliant on both imagery and text to convey a message, with imagery at the forefront of the design. A human hand, an item of food and an image of an animal should be displayed. … When imagery and text is displayed on feeding restriction signs, all visitors benefit. This form of provision should not be seen as excessively catering for the needs of marginal groups. Rather it should be viewed as an approach that represents a heterogeneous society, increasing access to information and enjoyment for all, through engaging signage.” This article is a part of a series about zoo accessibility.
This article by Vickie Gauci and Anne-Marie Callus has open access and is free to download. It discusses access and inclusion from the perspective of Stephen Hawking as portrayed in the recent film, The Theory of Everything. As Hawking says, “In twenty years, men may be able to live on the Moon. In forty years we may get to Mars. In the next 200 years we may leave the solar system and head for the stars. But meanwhile, we would like to get to the supermarket, the cinema, restaurants.”
Abstract: This article looks at the representation of scale in the 2014 film The Theory of Everything, identifying moments that relate to three concerns: firstly, how disabled people experience scale issues at an all too practical level in daily life; secondly, how Hawking’s experience of scale at the level of both body and mind is (a)typical of the way it is experienced by disabled people generally; and, thirdly, how a focus on the film can prompt some rethinking of perspectives both within disability studies and within the conceptualisation of scale more broadly.
This article comes from the Scandinavian Journal of Disability Research.
Abstract: Dwarfism is commonly defined as anyone 4ft 10″ (147.32 cm) or below and whose short stature involves a medical condition [Adelson, M. B. 2005. The Lives of Dwarfs, xv. NJ: Rutgers University Press]. Whilst it recognized that the built environment is unsuitable for dwarfs [see Kruse, R. 2002. “Social Spaces of Little People: The Experiences of the Jamisons.” Social and Cultural Geography 3 (2): 175–191, Kruse, R. 2010. “Placing Little People: Dwarfism and Geographies of Everyday Life.” In Towards Enabling Geographies, edited by V. Chouinard, E. Hall, and R. Wilton, 183–198. Surrey: Ashgate; Shakespeare, T., M. Wright, and S. Thompson. 2007. A Small Matter of Equality: Living with Restricted Growth. Newcastle: Newcastle University], this paper critically examines how spaces and facilities designed with other users in mind, including disabled people and children, can have unintended consequences for dwarfs. The data used in this paper are taken from semi-structured interviews and photo elicitation exercises conducted with 22 dwarfs living in the UK. Overall this paper shows the spatial experiences of dwarfs, which are a result of the unintended consequences of disabled child spaces and facilities, and suggests how Universal Design may be a more appropriate design concept. You will need academic library access for the full paper or it can be purchased. Here is the link.
The next universal design conference (hosted by Association of Consultants in Access Australia – ACAA) is coming up on 7-9 October in Melbourne. Here is a reminder of one of the panel presentations from the 2014 conference in Sydney.
Mark Relf traced the history of disability access and universal design in Australia. His presentation, Universal Access is not Universal Design, provided an excellent context to the position of universal design today. The transcript of his presentation is included in the Panel session on Day 2 of the conference: Panel Session Day 2 in Word; Panel Session Day 2 PDF.
This publication contains a chapter on page 97 by Olav Bringa. His work is the forerunner to the landmark document “Norway Universally Designed by 2025“. It gives an overview of the change processes needed to bring about a change in attitude from inclusion being a “social services job” to “everyone’s job”. Other chapters cover different areas. Although it was published in 2007, most topics are still current due to the slow movement on the issues. Included within the 9 chapters are: The Seven Principles of Universal Design in Planning Practice; Universal Design in Transportation; and Inclusive Housing and Neighbourhood Design.