Games Legacy Symposium recommendations

The benefits of holding the Olympic and Paralympic Games must be long lasting, and this aspect is key to being the winning bid to be the host city. So what kind of legacy can we expect from Brisbane 2032 Games? CUDA held a symposium to discuss the Games Legacy strategy which is titled, Elevate 2042.

The vision is to move to a more inclusive, sustainable and connected society with more opportunities for everyone. And to make the region better, sooner together through sport.

Text taken from Elevate 2042 which says, the vision for elevate 2042 is that my 2042 we will live in an inclusive sustainable and connected society with more opportunities in life for everyone.

Elevate 2042, is the product of collective effort of the Games delivery partners. It is promoted as a guide to maintain a collective focus on society, economy, connectivity and environment.

The Games Legacy Strategy is not about benefits for a few, or ideas that have nothing to do with the Games. It is about making bigger things happen sooner for the benefit of as many communities as possible. The concept of universal design was mentioned once in the document and on the very last page.

The Olympic and Paralympic Games is a great opportunity to embed a universal design approach into all the work leading up to the event. This would drive the access and inclusion agenda for everyone in a coordinated way. The purpose of CUDA’s symposium was to find ways to embed universal design thinking into the implementation plan.

Symposium recommendations

A panel of four speakers set the scene which fed into the workshop discussions with participants. Two key themes emerged from those discussions.

  • Embed universal design principles in all procurement processes including pre-procurement to develop appropriate scopes of works.
  • Embed co-design at the beginning of all decision-making processes at all levels and make the process mandatory. 
Aerial view of the Sunshine Coast Stadium showing a large field of green grass next to a river.

Universal design is a unifying concept

Universal design is three things: an ethical principle for inclusion of diversity; a vision of an inclusive society; and a unifying approach to policy and perspectives. It’s this last point that is of greatest value to the implementation of the Games Legacy Strategy.

With so many government departments and stakeholders involved, an abstract concept such as inclusion can fall between the cracks. Taking universal design approach across the development of all activities keeps inclusion at the forefront in transport, housing, planning, employment, communications, services, and tourism to name a few.

The draft recommendations are open for comment until 30 July. They cover active transport, planning and infrastructure, housing, tourism, and co-design.

Embedding a universal design approach at the concept stage of any undertaking using co-design methods, and continuing the concept through to completion, will add support to a sustainable and successful legacy for the Brisbane 2032 Games.

The goals of universal design

Steinfeld and Maisel devised the 8 Goals of Universal Design in 2012 as a way of making the 7 Principles more practical. That was more than 10 years ago. The concepts of universal design are evolving so it’s time to take another look.

A group of five passionate universal design campaigners in Poland have a great page on their website with their version of the goals of universal design.

Everyone constantly interacts with the space around them and relies on their senses. Our senses and physical abilities change, affecting the way we perceive, use and interact with the environment around us. 

  • Sight – what do we see?
  • Hearing – what do we hear?
  • Touch – what do we touch?
  • Cognition – What do we understand?
  • Movement – how do we move our body?
A woman in a bright yellow coat and black hat is walking away from the camera down a street.

A group of five passionate universal design campaigners in Poland have a great page on their website with their version of the goals of universal design. You might have to activate Google translate to get the page in English.

8 Goals refined

Here are the slight tweaks to the wording in Magdalena Storozhenko-Polak’s version compared to the original.

Magdalena Version

Body adaptation:  takes into account the different body sizes and abilities of users.

Comfort:  reduces the effort needed to use the product or space.

Readability : ensures that the most important information is easy and accessible to everyone to understand.

Intuitive:  makes project operation logical and easy to learn.

Well-being: promotes health and prevents disease and injury.

Social inclusion : ensures that all groups have the opportunity to use spaces and activities.

Personalization : gives users the ability to tailor the design to their individual needs and preferences.

Taking into account cultural diversity: designs solutions appropriate for a given cultural circle, respecting its values ​​and socio-environmental context.

Original Version

Body fit: accommodating a wide range of body sizes and abilities

Comfort: keeping demands within desirable limits of body function and perception

Awareness: ensuring that critical information for use is easily perceived

Understanding: making methods of operation and use intuitive, clear and unambiguous.

Wellness: contributing to health promotion, avoidance of disease and protection from hazards.

Social integration: treating all groups with dignity and respect.

Personalization: incorporating opportunities for choice and the expression of individual preferences.

Cultural appropriateness: respecting and reinforcing cultural values and the social and environmental context of any design project.

(Steinfeld, Maisel, 2012)

Magdalena’s website explains each of the goals in more detail with photographic examples. There is a lot of other useful information on this website in blog posts. Check for Google translate.

However the goals and principles are devised and written, they should be taken in context of co-design and co-creation processes with users. They are a guide, rather than a checklist for designers.

Adapting the goals

The Everyone Can Play guide is a good example of adapting the goals to suit the context of the project, in this case, playspaces.

The six guiding design principles are: Find, Fit, Choose, Join In, Thrive, and Belong

Six design principles of Everyone Can Play: Find, Fit, Choose, Join In, Thrive, Belong.

Brisbane Symposium Panel Session

The panel session speakers gave participants plenty to think about at CUDA’s Brisbane Symposium focused on legacy planning for the 2032 Games. There were four topics of discussion: Housing, Transport, Tourism, and Local Government.

The aim of the symposium was to find ways to embed universal design thinking into the Implementation Plan for the Games Legacy Planning. Four speakers set the scene: Malcolm Middleton, Kevin Cocks, Melissa James and Rebecca Arnaud. You can access their biographies in the links below.

Thanks to live captioning every word was captured in a transcript. This gave plenty of material for the edited highlights which follow after the bios below.

Image shows the captioner in the foreground with the speaker panel in the background.

Symposium panel speakers left to right, Malcolm Middleton, Kevin Cocks, Melissa James and Rebecca Arnaud. Captioner Bernadette sits in the foreground with her stenographer equipment.
Head shot of Malcolm Middleton.

Malcolm Middleton, OAM, former Queensland Government Architect, addressed the topic of housing. 

Kevin is wearing a dark blue jacket and a light blue shirt. He has a short beard.

Kevin Cocks AM, Department of Transport and Main Roads addressed the topic of transport.

Melissa is wearing spectacles with a black frame and is smiling. She is wearing a white shirt and a black jacket.

Melissa James, Inclusive Tourism Australia addressed the topic of tourism.

Head shot of Rebecca Arnaud. She has light hair tied back and blue eyes. She is wearing a royal blue jacket.

Rebecca Arnaud, Brisbane City Council’s Manager, Legacy and Games Planning took a local government perspective.

Malcolm Middleton, OAM

Malcolm Middleton discussed the importance of good governance, because without it nothing gets done in government. So what is governance? It’s a mix of politics and management and trying to “influence different people at different times in different settings to do the right thing”.

Malcolm spoke about his role when Queensland was getting ready to adopt the Livable Housing Design Standard and how having the right person in the room at the right time made a difference to the outcome. His advice was that if you want something done, or to change, you have to be determined, political and plan the way to get governance in place.

Read more of what Malcolm had to say in the edited transcript about Queensland adopting the Livable Housing Standard and his thoughts on governance in government.

Kevin Cocks, AM

Kevin began with comments about the exclusion of people who are deemed inferior and the structural and institutional challenges posed by governments and their policies which continue this injustice. Governments have control of three major areas of our lives that are fundamental for citizens to build the platform for self-determination. They are transport, housing and education. These three areas have the power to include or exclude.

Kevin made the point that bringing about change when everyone wants business as usual is not limited to government. People revert to old behaviours and practices – the ones they are comfortable with. Working towards an inclusive society includes working towards an inclusive workforce – that’s part of change management.

Taking a universal design approach also means using co-design methods and Kevin explained TMR’s relationship with Queenslanders with Disability Network (QDN). TMR also worked with QUT to develop a universally designed AV people mover. TMR have developed an Access and Inclusion Strategy, and at its core is universal design. The outcome is to build an inclusive workplace and produce inclusive products, goods and services for staff and customers.

Read more of what Kevin had to say about his role at Transport and Main Roads and his thoughts on privilege and the exclusion of people deemed inferior.

Melissa James

Melissa began with the issue of disability not being an attractive proposition to tourism operators. She supported this comment by pointing out that advertisements very rarely show people with lived experience of disability. She added that even when disability is addressed by operators, their concept of ‘accessible’ is often misleading. That’s why her initial idea of having a website of accessible accommodation and attractions wasn’t going to work.

In her work as a consultant she found that operators didn’t think there was a ‘disability market’ to explore. However, when the Queensland Government offered funding, some people became interested. The Commonwealth Games provided opportunities for education and workshops to build capacity within the tourism industry. The outcome of course, is that if you make a place accessible for visitors, you make it accessible for locals.

It requires several things to get more accessible places and experiences: government funding and backing, education of operators, and building capacity. Some operators don’t know they have accessible features because they don’t know what accessibility is. Providing ongoing support to businesses to improve accessibility will help make it happen.

You can read more from Melissa’s edited transcript about her personal experiences.

Rebecca Arnaud

Rebecca’s background is in urban planning, and she emphasised the role of local government as the place where the action happens, albeit quietly. She spoke about her role as Manager of Legacy and Games Planning. She explained that the host city has to demonstrate that any new buildings or sports venues are needed for the community, not because of the Games.

Most events will be held in existing venues because new venues are not encouraged . However, this brings its own problems for accessibility because you don’t have a brand new venue to work with.

Image shows Rebecca Arnaud speaking with her words captured on the captioning screen.

Symposium Panel speaker Rebecca Arnaud sits to the left of Melissa James. Above them is the captioning screen which shows what Rebecca is saying about the Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Rebecca explained that the Games Legacy Plan, Elevate 2042, was devised by several stakeholders with their own interests. However, the next phase of Elevate 2042 is to pull together the first-generation implementation plan and there is an opportunity to contribute to this. Rebecca encouraged feedback and constructive ideas for the implementation plan.

You can read more from Rebecca’s session in her edited transcript about Brisbane’s role in the 2032 Games.

The captioner is sitting at a table near the speakers with her hands on the stenotype machine. Two speakers are seated in the background with the captioning screen above them.

Thanks to Access Captions for sponsoring the live captioning and providing the transcript.

Design in strategy and strategy in design

An international group of adults stand behind a big board. It says, Make Things Happen. There are lots of coloured post it notes on the board. Design in Strategy.How do we solve big problems such as pandemics, climate change, and unemployment? Linear step by step processes are no longer the way to address these complex challenges. Something else is needed. Jan Auernhammer discusses the issues in his latest article, Design in Strategy and Strategy in Design.

Auernhammer proposes that complex problems require collaborative processes and capabilities. People with diverse perspectives work on solutions together to come up with the best possible solutions. In other words, co-design processes work best. 

Auernhammer first clarifies the vocabulary that’s needed to make sure everyone is talking about the same thing. He then presents three perspectives. First, is a method that uses tools, models and plans. Second, is learning through collective reflection from intent and action. Third, where design and strategy emerge from creative and collaborative processes. 

Put simply, the first perspective follows established logic, the second is where designers think about it, and the third is co-design. The third perspective is about deep engagement in a psychologically safe and free environment. This might be in the design studio itself with other designers, or with stakeholders in a community engagement process. 

From the summary

“Integrating Strategy and Design requires building collaborative and comprehensive design capabilities. These collective capabilities have the potential to respond to emerging complex challenges with strategic intent and through sophisticated design capabilities enacted in everyday practice.”

The title of the article is, Strategic Design: The integration of the two fields of Strategy and Design.

From the abstract

This article outlines the evolution of Design in Strategy and Strategy in Design and discusses the differences and similarities. Examination of the evolutions reveals three different perspectives on integrating Strategy and Design in both fields.

The article provides a nuanced understanding of Strategic Design by purposefully establishing the vocabulary of each perspective.

The first perspective is a planning practice containing strategic tools and design methods to create conceptual models and plans. The second perspective is a learning practice through collective reflection from intent and action.

The last perspective is the enablement of a comprehensive design practice in which tangible design and strategy emerge from the messiness of creative and collaborative design practice.

These three Strategic Design practices require different organization and design capabilities and produce distinctive outcomes. The integration of Design and Strategy is becoming increasingly imperative as there is the need to address the more complex, interrelated socio-technological and economic-environmental challenges. 

Co-design in research: shifting the power

People with disability are often left out at the beginning of the research process when organisations want research done quickly. This reduces the level of power they have as members of the research team. For co-design in research to be effective, people with disability must be in decision-making positions before research proposals are developed.

People with disability are expected to be involved as researchers and decision-makers in research projects. But co-design methods require respect for the process from the outset.

A man in a blue check shirt is sitting in front of a laptop on a desk and is writing with his left hand in a notebook.

Researchers have to navigate tensions inherent within research institutions when involving people with disability from the beginning of the process. Improving the quality of the research is one of the aims of co-designing with people with disability. It also gives an opportunity to employ people who might not otherwise find a job.

A research team led by Flinders University use a case study to show how to engage with prospective co-designers. They looked at the different factors or conditions that enable or constrain co-design work, and how they relate to each other. The funding of commissioned work has an effect on the internal dynamics and relations within the team. They also found that authority and power can shift and change depending on how these components interact.

Clearly there is more to simply gathering a group of people with disability within a research team and thinking co-design will just happen. Factors such as institutional requirements, and authoritarian hierarchies can have a significant impact on co-design processes.

The title of the article is, Shifting power to people with disability in co-designed research.

People with and without disability need to work together to resist when co-design work is not treated with respect by people or systems.

Two pairs of women sit at a table with paper and pens. One of the pair looks to be explaining something to the other.

From the abstract

This paper explores tensions navigated by researchers and project leaders when involving people with disability as experts in co-design and in the core team. Part of an evaluation aiming to improve paid employment of people with intellectual disability is used to consider this work.

Structural conditions of funding and institutional support were foundational to the co-design. These included accessible practices, core roles for people with disability and resolving ableist conditions.

Power shifts were easily undermined by institutionalised norms that disrespected the co-design contributions. The value of co-designing research was centre to articulating key issues, methodology and analysis.

Brescia Declaration for Universal Design

The Brescia Declaration for Universal Design is a statement of the state of play in universal design and the need to progress the concepts further. It is written in the context of the COVID 19 pandemic which revealed the gaps in equity and inclusion. The Declaration is on the downloads page of the UD2022 conference website. Organisations that agree with the final Declaration can show their support by providing their logo.

The Brescia Declaration is underpinned by the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and the 7 Principles of Universal Design. It is a lengthy statement with reference to national obligations related to international conventions. It promotes the inherent values of universal design in all design disciplines and provision of services, and concludes with a list of actions.

Dr Ger Craddock, Chief Executive, Centre for Excellence in Universal Design in Ireland drafted the document for presentation at the Universal Design Conference in Brescia, Italy – UD2022. Image of rural Brescia

A hilltop view over the city of Brescia showing low rise apartment buildings sitting nestled in the surrounding hillsides.

CUDA believes we have moved beyond the 7 Principles to a shared view of design based on co-design processes. We present a short plain language version of the call to action and a list of principles. Organisations can adapt this version for their own policy statements.

A call to action

For a more equitable, inclusive and sustainable world, and for the benefit of all, we call for collaborative action based on a universal design approach.

Principles for embedding a universal design approach

  • Apply co-design methods in all design disciplines and all aspects of human activity
  • Embed a universal design framework for all policy making and policy guidance
  • Embed the concept of universal design in all procurement processes
  • Promote the concept of population diversity to minimise exclusion and marginalisation
  • Engage a diverse range of users in design processes from the outset of all projects
  • Develop performance based standards in disciplines that rely on regulations
  • Promote a culture of inclusion by integrating universal design into compliance commitments and requirements
  • Ensure that universal design principles work effectively with the aims of sustainability
  • Invest in research and development of equitable and affordable products and services
  • Embed universal design in all education programs and disciplines
  • Promote universal design in learning (UDL) in all aspects of teaching and learning
  • Embed the ethics of equity and inclusion in school-based learning
  • Provide equitable access to all services including digital services
  • Respond to changing needs and insights with flexibility
  • Invest in workforce training and education on why a universal design approach is important
  • Apply universal design across the lifecycle of all projects and ongoing management.

Papers from the 2022 conference are open access and ready for download from the conference website.

Lavender coloured banner for the UD2022 Conference in Brescia.

It’s not about economics. It’s about power

For anyone who doubts the influence the housing industry has on government, an article in The Fifth Estate spells it out clearly. The article is in the context of the dumping a new planning policy that would have delivered many benefits to the people of New South Wales. It also indicates why NSW has refused to adopt the access features in the National Construction Code. It’s not about economic arguments, it’s about who has the last word.

A calculator and a bank statement are sitting on a desk. Economics

An independent economic cost benefit analysis concluded benefits to society would be $1.40 for every dollar spent.

The NSW Greens eventually forced the NSW Government to release documents related to their dumping of their long awaited planning policy. It was during a lunch meeting with developers that the Minister for Planning agreed not to progress the new planning policy. And unlike other ministerial speeches, this speech was kept secret. The eventual release of this speech brought forth many other documents.

…it was apparent that the Benefit Cost analysis concluded benefits derived by the society and community to be $1.40 for every dollar spent by the developer! But the dollar is being spent by the developer!! What benefit do they get for expenditure of this money?”

Urban Taskforce CEO Tom Forrest in The Fifth Estate
Three piles of gold coins at different heights with the tallest having a little gold house on top.

The documents

The Fifth Estate has published the letters and emails between the Minister and developers. It makes for interesting reading. The developers’ argument is that they get nothing for these changes while the community gains. This, of course, is debatable. Regardless, any additional developer costs are passed on to consumers so it is difficult to understand this argument.

The documents reveal the close relationship between industry and NSW Government and help explain other decisions. The NSW Government has flatly refused to adopt recent changes to the National Construction Code for housing. These changes are based on the Silver level of the Livable Housing Design Guidelines. They are basic access features that would benefit everyone especially people with reduced mobility. However, other states and territories are ready to adopt these changes. Where will that leave developers in NSW? More importantly, where will it leave householders?

If you are interested in the whole story The Fifth Estate has laid it out in a simple story. The title is, “When people notice what we have done” – documents expose how developers killed the NSW Design and Place SEPP.

Are shopping malls ageist?

Older supermarket shoppers need a positive attitude from employees, functional shopping trolleys, and appropriate placement of products on shelves. Retail stores are public space and they should look good and be functional. Therefore a universal design approach can prevent shopping malls from being ageist.

Key design elements are: seamless outdoor to indoor access, easy to use shopping trolleys, seeing, finding and reaching products, reading product contents and price tags, and a smooth payment process.

View inside a shopping mall showing shops on each side of a walkway. Are shopping malls ageist?

Apart from helpful staff and functional equipment, there are other elements to consider.

  • Circulation systems and spaces: ramps, elevators, escalators, hallways and corridors
  • Entering and exiting: identifying and approaching entrances and exits and moving through them easily
  • Wayfinding: Graphical text, pictograms, maps, photos, diagrams, obvious paths of travel, nodes, edges, zones and districts
  • Obtaining products and services: service desks waiting areas and shops
  • Public amenities: toilets and seating
  • Ambient conditions: noise control, non-glare lighting, adequate temperature and humidity

A paper titled, Design Failure in Indoor Shopping Structures: Unconscious
Ageism and Inclusive Interior Design in Istanbul
explains more. The authors use the 7 principles of universal design as a guide and add another 4. The additional four principles are related to aesthetics, social participation, sustainability and equity. They also found that toilets and seating within supermarkets could do much to improve the shopping experience for older people.

As older adults’ need for toilets increases, the time spent in the supermarket declines. So they choose medium or small-sized supermarkets within walking distance of home.

overhead picture of the fresh food section of a supermarket.

From the abstract

People consciously or unconsciously make older adults feel less important than younger citizens. Older people may experience social and economic stress as well as anxiety, hopelessness, isolation, and depression. Almost all industries are disproportionately focused on developing technological innovations for younger people, but not for older adults.

Although there is research on aging populations, research on the indoor design problems that older people encounter every day is scarce. Shopping is a good opportunity for older people to get involved in the community and we should aim to prevent architectural barriers.

A questionnaire was administered to 198 participants about their experiences in supermarkets. The results showed that as the need for rest areas and toilets increases, the time spent by older adults in supermarkets declines.

Additionally, checkout counters and product display shelves show design problems that constitute indoor accessibility issues. This study concludes by looking at issues in the design of indoor shopping area that contribute to ageist attitudes. We call for inclusive shopping environments to address spatial justice and to eliminate ageism.

Shopping for All: Inclusive Retail

Photo of wide shopping corridor at Barangaroo. Inclusive retail experiences.

Designing with people with disability in mind results in greater convenience for everyone. That’s why we need businesses to think about inclusive retail experiences and strategies.

The Australian Network on Disability, and Design for Dignity produced an excellent resource for retail outlet designers. The key is for designers and retail outlets to understand the level of their missed business by ignoring population diversity. Graphs and statistics are used to highlight the lost opportunities.

Guides for retailers

graph of people using mobility and hearing devices

The guide is aimed at retail business owners, service providers, shopping centre owners and managers, designers, builders and certifiers. There is also a Design for Dignity microsite with the information in a web-based format with more detail.

Readers are reminded that disability is more than wheelchair users. The use of other mobility devices and communication aids is shown in the graph above. 

The business of age-friendly

A clothes store with jackets hanging and a table with other clothes.

Many businesses would like to expand their customer base to include older people and people with disability, but not sure how to do it. Utilising a checklist is one way to start thinking about it. Several organisations have produced checklists and other information to help businesses understand what they can do. Much of it costs little or nothing. Here are just three.

COTA TAS has a checklist that has a rating scale from excellent to needs work. It covers external environments, shop entrances, safety, comfort, and staff training, and much more. It’s nine pages and easy to read.

AgeUK has a more comprehensive document that provides the reasoning behind some of the “Top Tips’. These include telephone interactions, websites, and resolving complaints. The report is based on consumer workshop consultations.  

Establishing a centre for universal design in Australia

Transforming our World Through Design, Diversity and Education | IOS Press. Front cover.From the Ground Up: Establishing a Centre for Universal Design in Australia charts the establishment and development of CUDA. This paper was presented at the UD Conference in Ireland held at the end of 2018. Here is the abstract – the full paper is available online.

Abstract: The universal design movement arrived in Australia well before the turn of the century. A handful of individuals, often working as lone voices, are doing their best to incorporate the concepts into their everyday work and promote the concepts more widely.

As is often the case elsewhere, the term “universal design” is misunderstood and confused with special and separate designs for people with disability rather than inclusion for everyone. Compliance to legislated disability access standards has created further confusion and as a consequence many myths about universal design have emerged. Such myths have held back the implementation and understanding of universal design and inclusive practice.

Australian governments at all levels have shown little interest in promoting universal design principles, save for a casual mention of the term in policy documents. This is despite changes to disability and ageing policies promoting more autonomy and independence for individuals. When political leadership is absent, leadership often defaults to the community, or to be precise, to a handful of people with a passion for the cause.

In 2013 a chance meeting of two unrelated individuals set the wheels in motion to establish a centre for universal design in Australia. This paper charts the development and progress of the organisation through volunteer effort, harnessing community support, maintaining international connections, using social media, and establishing a resource-rich website and newsletter. 

Become a member!

Show your support for Centre for Universal Design Australia and the cause of social and economic inclusion by becoming a member.  Your membership contribution will help show the widespread support and interest in Universal Design that exists across Australia and globally. It will also support us to maintain the website and regular newsletters. Join now and you will be paid up until 30 June 2019. The membership fee is $33.00 including GST.


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