Universal Design Conference: Something for Everyone


Banner showing the title of the venue the Victoria Pavilion.

The theme for the 2021 Universal Design Conference ‘Thriving with Universal Design: Everyone, Everywhere, Everyday’ is reflected in the speaker program with topics relevant to government policy makers at all levels from built environment practitioners to designers and academics working in this field. Presenters at the conference come from academia, state and local government, architecture, education and community services. Overseas speakers originally scheduled for the 2020 date will be live-streamed to the venue.

Victorian Health and Building Authority executive general manager, Stefano Scalzo will open the conference. The Authority is responsible for planning and delivery of the Victorian Government’s multibillion-dollar health infrastructure program including $16.6 billion in managed assets and $7.84 billion in planning and delivery.

“Our work includes planning and building new hospitals and ambulance stations, aged care and mental health facilities, redeveloping existing hospital facilities, as well as replacing and upgrading engineering infrastructure and medical equipment,” Scalzo said.

Conference topics include:

    • The latest research on mobility scooters and how the built environment creates barriers to inclusion
    • Tackling housing design from policy and practice perspectives
    • Design of play spaces and the design process
    • Teaching and learning about universal design.

Cross cultural awareness, cognition, public toilets, communication and accessible events will also be covered in the speaker program.

‘Table Topics’ lunchtime discussions will provide a great opportunity for networking, Centre for Universal Design Australia chair, Dr Jane Bringolf told F2L. “This session is always popular with delegates as it takes place during the extended lunchtime on the first day.” An informal discussion in a small group, delegates take their lunch to the table with the discussion leader and topic that interests them.

“There will be three workshops: childhood education and universal design for learning, creating short videos on universal design and knowing your users.  Tourism will also be the subject of a panel session and a case study on accessible holiday parks,” she said.

Professor Philip Taylor from the Federation Business School, Federation University Australia and Institute for Employment Research, University of Warwick will deliver a keynote on: ‘Debunking the Myths Around Ageing and Work’. Visit the conference website to register.

Banner for conference with a background aerial view of a city.The conference will take place on May 17-18 at the Melbourne Showgrounds and coincides with the ATSA Independent Living Expo, Australia’s largest display of assistive technologies. The Expo is free to attend, and delegates will have the opportunity to visit over 130 exhibits including those with new home modification options.