Universal Design Principles and The Built Environment Jean Salzer

Universal Design Principles
The Built Environment
Jean Salzer
Accessibility Resources Center
(formerly Student Accessibility Center)
Physical Environment
Committee Charter:
(2) Functions. Makes recommendations for the development of the
physical environment of the University campus’ and off-campus facilities,
including built- to-suit leased facilities consistent with the mission and with
the present and future academic programs of the University.
a) Recommends a master plan for the development of the campus
reflecting priorities in accordance with guidelines established by
the committee.
b) Recommends the location of new buildings, their interrelationships and aesthetics and their functional and architectural
c) Recommends remodeling needs and identifies desirable or
undesirable features relevant to future construction.
d) Recommends parking and transportation policies.
e) Recommends appropriate names for buildings pursuant to
established guidelines.
Sorry, there is no list
Universal Design is: “the design of of products and
environments to be usable by all people, to the greatest extent
possible, without the need for adaptation or specialized
It represents an ideal, and recognizes that nothing can be made
fully usable by every person.
O The design process of Universal Design indicates the process is
proactive, not reactive.
O There are seven principles developed by architects, environmental
designers and engineers.
*(Ronald Mace, Center for Universal Design, North Carolina State University)
The Seven Principles
1. Equitable Use
2. Flexibility in Use
3. Simple and Intuitive in Use
4. Perceptible Information
5. Tolerance for Error
6. Low Physical Effort
7. Size and Space for Approach and Use
Examples of Universal Design
O Ramps
O Curb Cuts
O Adjustable Height Tables
O Speaker Phones
O Motion-detector Faucets
O Voice recognition Software
O Automatic Door openers
O Built-in Text-to-Speech Software
The UD Process
Identify the application
Define the universe
Involve consumers
Adopt guidelines or standards
Apply guidelines or standards
Plan for accommodations
Train and support
(As identified by Sheryl Burgstahler, DO-IT Director, University of Washington)
The Built Environment
O A building that has a ramp next to stairs is
considered accessible design
O A building that has no stairs and a sloping
entrance everyone uses is universal design
O The difference between accessible design and
universal design is that with UD there are no
‘special’ or ‘separate’ facilities, all can use the
same facilities
O “The main function of a campus built
environment is to provide a place where all can
learn, work and live successfully” (Burgstahler, 2007)
O Planning, policies and evaluation: consider
diversity issues as you plan and evaluate the
O Appearance: design the space to foster
campus climate that is inclusive of all
O Entrances, routes of travel: make physical
access welcoming and accessible to people
with a variety of ages, abilities and sizes
O Fixtures, furniture: provide fixtures and
furniture that can be used by all employees,
students and visitors
More Strategies
O Information resources, technology: ensure
that information and technology is
accessible to everyone
O Safety: design the space to minimize the
risk of injury
O Accommodation: develop a system to
address accommodation request for
individuals who are not automatically
provided access
Strategies taken from Universal Design in Higher Education: From Principles to Practice,
ed. Burgstahler, 2008
A universally designed classroom
begins with questions
O What is its purpose?
O Who will be using the room?
O How can we incorporate active learning for
all students?
O What should seating look like and how
should we expect people and seating to
O What kinds of technology do we want made
available to instructors and students?
O North Carolina State’s Center for
Universal Design – expansive resource
O Edutopia – Universal Design in the
Classroom: Do it Once, Do it Right:
O R2D2 Center website, Roger Smith, OT
faculty: http://www.r2d2.uwm.edu/