Margaret Ward: Words that succeed, policies that fail. This presentation provided an overview of the status of the National Dialogue on Universal Housing Design, and the current lobbying activities attempting to overcome the inaction in policy implementation. You can also read the full transcript and audience questions.
Abigail Elliott: STEP Up – Shape your space. The Victorian Government has been proactive in implementing universal design in sport and recreation. This presentation has good information and explanatory graphics that can be applied in other situations.
Anthony Hogan: Acoustic Accessibility: The issue of controlling social noise. Understanding speech is what keeps people socially connected. The presentation at the conference included simulations of what speech sounds like to people with hearing loss thereby explaining why acoustics are an important consideration in building design.
Emily Steel: Beyond Ramps and Signs – design for neurodiversity. Community understanding about cognitive differences is improving. Emily’s presentation outlined barriers and facilitators for inclusion of a neurodiverse population, which of course, is good for everyone.
Linda Martin-Chew and Bianca Opasinis: Designing streets for all. The City of Whittlesea has linked universal design and active living. This presentation outlines the process the City went through to come up with optimum solutions in the urban environment. A written paper is also provided.
Helen James: Universal Housing Design – the New Zealand experience. Lifemark is a not-for-profit group working to influence the design of homes in New Zealand. This presentation shows their progress to date and collaborations with industry.
Lindsay Perry: Angelman Syndrome: How can the built environment offer inclusion? Lindsay uses the Angelman Syndrome as a perspective or lens for assessing the design of the built environment and provides good case study solutions that suit the wider population as well.
Cobie Moore: Aesthetics, Design and Disability. Cobie wants to see more thought going into the designs of some basic assistive technologies, such as pen grippers and walking frames. Designers fail to consider the notion that people with disability also appreciate attractive designs. Their designs might be functional, but ugly designs are stigmatising and therefore do not meet with the concept of inclusion. She takes us through the steps of “designing with aesthetic appreciation” and collaborative design. Cobie is a design student and says her study is informed by her disability.
Lee Wilson: Universal Design meets the Exit Sign. Emergency egress is an important factor in building design. No-one wants to get left behind. Lee presented the process of advocating for and designing exit signs that could be understood by the majority of people. Exiting a building during an emergency can be a fraught and frightening process for wheelchair users and people with mobility difficulties particularly when the only way out seems to be a stairway. People who are deaf or hard of hearing, and people who are blind or have low vision were also included in his presentation.
Nicholas Loder and Lisa Stafford: Moving from the margins in design education. Nick and Lisa focused on “spatial justice” in their presentation. They also gave an overview of some research on design students and their approach to universal design. They conclude that most design degrees do not embed universal design in full degree courses, that is, if they introduce the concept of inclusion at all. Usually it is taught as a disability compliance factor.
Simon Darcy: Beyond the Front Gate: Universal mobilities and the travel chain. Simon presented a keynote address focused on tourism and transportation and how the travel chain needs to be seamless. People with disability travel as much as the rest of the population and for the same reasons. The only area where people with disability travel less is to employment. Simon presented some interesting graphs comparing the rates of travel by people with disability and those without, as well as some of his own travel experiences as a wheelchair user. But just being able to go from home to the local tavern is also just as important as global travel.
Di Winkler & Justin Nix: An innovative housing and support project. The Summer Foundation is progressing the concept of inclusion with specialised accommodation and support for people with significant disabilities. While this project is not an example of universal design per se as the dwelling design is a specialised design, it does meet the concept of inclusion in terms of placing this accommodation type throughout a particular neighbourhood or multi-unit development. The presentation provides many photographs of two major projects. The Summer Foundation was set up in response to young people being inappropriately accommodated in aged care facilities.
Evan Wilkinson: Design for Everyone Guide. The Guide is practical, free to use and caters for a range of design skills and backgrounds. The Victorian Government makes universal design principles a key part of their funding requirements. Evan gives several examples with lots of photos of sporting infrastructure. The presentation included a video which is very useful as it shows an architect, Peter Maddison, explaining the reasons for designing universally. It also includes other senior people, including the Government Architect, Jill Garner commenting on the benefits of UD. The six minute video, Design For Everyone: A Guide To Sport And Recreation Settings is captioned.
Professor Gerrard Goggin’s Keynote presentation: Communicating Universal Design Across Virtual and Built Environments discusses the issues around web accessibility and how virtual and built environments merge in terms of design and accessibility. And how new and old forms of communication have always left some people out. The transcript is in a Word document.
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