Applying the principles of universal design at the formation stage of planning can lead to harmonious, accessible, sustainable and healthy cities. This is the conclusion of a European study.
The study looked at the design and development of city space from the perspective of the varying levels of human capabilities. The overall aim of the research was to raise the quality of urban planning, and to develop tools for healthy cities compatible with the principles of sustainability. You can download the PDF of Sustainable Urban Development: Spatial Analyses as Novel Tools for Planning a Universally Designed City, by Joanna Borowczyk.
Forgotten social sustainability
When it comes to sustainability, how many people think about social sustainability as well? Environments and people are inter-linked. The Sustainable Development Goals make this clear and one unifying factor is universal design. A new book chapter investigates the issues further.
The title of the chapter is, Forgotten sustainability: A socially conscious paradigmatic shift in design. The title of the book is Situating Design in Alberta. You can request a copy of the chapter from the authors who are from Queensland University of Technology. The webpage has this synopsis:
“In this chapter, Rieger and Iantkow discuss socially sustainable design, especially its emphasis on universal and inclusive design. They present a history of thinking on accessible design in Alberta, which has moved toward greater inclusion. They also explain the incorporation of these concepts in design education and a greater social consciousness toward the need for accessibility. However, they stress that this isn’t enough.
Local environments aren’t adequately accessible, which will become increasingly clear with the aging population. Like many other authors in this anthology, Rieger and Iantkow discuss local mind-sets toward design. They note that Albertans are becoming increasingly aware of accessibility issues and expect accessible environments, but that this could go even further. It is also important to encourage the population to adopt new ways of understanding the built environment and demand innovation and forward thinking in design.”
Sustainability from an ergonomic perspective
The focus of sustainability has been on energy efficiency and all things “green”. But sustainability should have a broader context argues Erminia Attaianese. She claims that this narrow focus is paradoxical as maximising the building’s efficiency is not always maximising the comfort and efficiency of the building’s occupants.
Taking a human ergonomic approach to design, the author argues for a better outcome for both the building and its users. Note, the paper looks as if it has been through a poor translation and is not easy to read. But the conclusions at the end are clear enough. The title of the paper is, Ergonomics of Built Environment i.e. How Environmental Design Can Improve Human Performance and Well-Being in a Framework of Sustainability