Examples of universal design policy

picture of empty classroom showing wooden desks and a small blackboard. Examples of universal design policy.Here are three articles on universal design policy at national, state and local levels. In 2016 the Victorian Government decided to incorporate universal design principles into government procurement processes. New schools were the first examples of Victoria’s universal design policy. 

All new schools in the state of Victoria must be sustainable, minimise maintenance, and be universally designed. The article from Fifth Estate explains in more detail. A second article on this topic focusing on the universal design principles was found in Sourceable. The Victorian Government updated their policy in 2021

Planning Policy at a national level

Front cover of the book. In 1999 Norway turned the notion of universal design upside down. Gone is the idea that it is just about the design itself or the responsibility of the disability officer. Instead, universal design principles were placed at the heart of the planning process. That means everyone has to take responsibility. Their landmark approach to universal design still holds today.  

Olav Rand Bringa’s story on how this was done in Norway is reported in a 2007 publication. The title of the book chapter on page 97 is, “Making universal design work in zoning and regional planning: A Scandinavian approach”. The book is, Universal Design and Visitability: From Accessibility To Zoning

Bringa’s work is the forerunner to the landmark document “Norway Universally Designed by 2025“. He followed up with another update at a UD Conference in 2018 titled, “From Visions to Practical Policy: The Universal Design Journey in Norway. What Did We Learn? What Did We Gain? What Now?”  It was written with almost twenty years of experience and has guidance for others. 

Example for local government

Front cover of the policy statement.Having a universal design policy statement to go beyond access compliance is a relatively new thing. And it is a lot of work to start it from scratch. Fortunately Hobsons Bay Council in Victoria has a good example to refer to. Their Universal Design Policy Statement for council buildings and the public realm is comprehensive and nicely written in 18 pages. It covers cost (or lack thereof), the regulatory framework, applying universal design principles and advocacy with business and governments.  

CUDA also has a generic universal design position statement as a model for others to use. There’s also a plain language version.