Commenced in January 2007
Frequency: Monthly
Edition: International
Paper Count: 4

universal design Related Abstracts

4 The Concept of Universal Design in the Independent City Life of Disabled Individuals

Authors: Berfu Guley Goren, Ayse Lale Berkoz


The aim of the study is to analyze the concept of universal design and accessibility to make the city which allows equality and independence for individuals. In the content of the study, literature researches and observations of samples in Istanbul, Turkey are analyzed. As a result proposals are going to be developed to create the cities which are designed for everyone. In globalization process, in cities, population have been increasing dramatically with social and economic activities. Medical developments have been effective in prolonging human life and the disability that comes with aging has also increased in parallel with the disabled population. Nowadays disability is an important phenomenon. Because approximately 1 billion people live with disabilities. The heterogeneous structure formed by the rapid gathering of individuals with different social, economic and physical characteristics in the cities creates great spatial diversity and richness in the cities with different needs brought together. Unlike the cultural and physical wealth in these places and the potential to integrate and diversify the urban people, unfortunately, the designs in practice cause the urban areas to break apart, the urbanities to tear themselves apart, to interfere with their communication and interactions. The social and physical structure of the city is important to feel belonging to the urban society. In most cities when an observation is made, obstructions for people with disabilities can be seen in urban physical structure and design. With these obstructions, people with disabilities cannot live in urban space, and they are desolated in urban life. The city, which offers equal opportunity, the relation between economic development, social justice and built environment must be planned synchronous. Isolation and stigmatization must be abolished by regulations, activities of awareness and universal urban design. Without regard to social, economical and physical features every individual has the same right, which is using the freedom of movement. Supporting freedom of movement of every individual may be ensured by universal design and its principles. So urban spaces are going to be for every individual. For equal opportunity in urban services, urban design must be the focus on every individual including people with disabilities. In built environment practices, democratic suitable spaces should be created. In this respect, urban planners, architects, political decision-makers and other relevant actors should work together and should think very versatile.

Keywords: urban Design, Disability, Equality, universal design

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3 Analyzing the Effectiveness of Elderly Design and the Impact on Sustainable Built Environment

Authors: Tristance Kee


With an unprecedented increase in elderly population around the world, the severe lack of quality housing and health-and-safety provisions to serve this cohort cannot be ignored any longer. Many elderly citizens, especially singletons, live in unsafe housing conditions with poorly executed planning and design. Some suffer from deteriorating mobility, sight and general alertness and their sub-standard living conditions further hinder their daily existence. This research explains how concepts such as Universal Design and Co-Design operate in a high density city such as Hong Kong, China where innovative design can become an alternative solution where government and the private sector fail to provide quality elderly friendly facilities to promote a sustainable urban development. Unlike other elderly research which focuses more on housing policies, nursing care and theories, this research takes a more progressive approach by providing an in-depth impact assessment on how innovative design can be practical solutions for creating a more sustainable built environment. The research objectives are to: 1) explain the relationship between innovative design for elderly and a healthier and sustainable environment; 2) evaluate the impact of human ergonomics with the use of universal design; and 3) explain how innovation can enhance the sustainability of a city in improving citizen’s sight, sound, walkability and safety within the ageing population. The research adopts both qualitative and quantitative methodologies to examine ways to improve elderly population’s relationship to our built environment. In particular, the research utilizes collected data from questionnaire survey and focus group discussions to obtain inputs from various stakeholders, including designers, operators and managers related to public housing, community facilities and overall urban development. In addition to feedbacks from end-users and stakeholders, a thorough analysis on existing elderly housing facilities and Universal Design provisions are examined to evaluate their adequacy. To echo the theme of this conference on Innovation and Sustainable Development, this research examines the effectiveness of innovative design in a risk-benefit factor assessment. To test the hypothesis that innovation can cater for a sustainable development, the research evaluated the health improvement of a sample size of 150 elderly in a period of eight months. Their health performances, including mobility, speech and memory are monitored and recorded on a regular basis to assess if the use of innovation does trigger impact on improving health and home safety for an elderly cohort. This study was supported by district community centers under the auspices of Home Affairs Bureau to provide respondents for questionnaire survey, a standardized evaluation mechanism, and professional health care staff for evaluating the performance impact. The research findings will be integrated to formulate design solutions such as innovative home products to improve elderly daily experience and safety with a particular focus on the enhancement on sight, sound and mobility safety. Some policy recommendations and architectural planning recommendations related to Universal Design will also be incorporated into the research output for future planning of elderly housing and amenity provisions.

Keywords: Sustainable built environment, Innovative Design, elderly population, universal design

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2 Universal Design Building Standard for India: A Critical Inquiry

Authors: Sushil Kumar Solanki, Rachna Khare


Universal Design is a concept of built environment creation, where all people are facilitated to the maximum extent possible without using any type of specialized design. However, accessible design is a design process in which the needs of people with disabilities are specifically considered. Building standards on accessibility contains scoping and technical requirements for accessibility to sites, facilities, building and elements by individual with disability. India is also following its prescriptive types of various building standards for the creation of physical environment for people with disabilities. These building standards are based on western models instead of research based standards to serve Indian needs. These standards lack contextual connect when reflects in its application in the urban and rural environment. This study focuses on critical and comparative study of various international building standards and codes, with existing Indian accessibility standards to understand problems and prospects of concept of Universal Design building standards for India. The result of this study is an analysis of existing state of Indian building standard pertaining to accessibility and future need of performance based Universal Design concept.

Keywords: Accessibility, Building Standard, built-environment, universal design

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1 'Light up for All': Building Knowledge on Universal Design through Direct User Contact in Design Workshops

Authors: E. Ielegems, J. Herssens, J. Vanrie


Designers require knowledge and data about a diversity of users throughout the design process to create inclusive design solutions which are usable, understandable and desirable by everyone. Besides understanding users’ needs and expectations, the ways in which users perceive and experience the built environment contain valuable knowledge for architects. Since users’ perceptions and experiences are mainly tacit by nature, they are much more difficult to express in words and therefore more difficult to externalise. Nevertheless, literature confirms the importance of articulating embodied knowledge from users throughout the design process. Hence, more insight is needed into the ways architects can build knowledge on Universal Design through direct user contact. In a project called ‘light up for all’ architecture students are asked to design a light switch and socket, elegant, usable and understandable to the greatest extent possible by everyone. Two workshops with user/experts are organised in the first stages of the design process in which students could gain insight into users’ experiences through direct contact. Three data collection techniques are used to analyse the teams’ design processes. First, students were asked to keep a design diary, reporting design activities, personal experiences, and thoughts about users throughout the design process. Second, one of the authors observed workshops taking field notes. Finally, focus groups are conducted with the design teams after the design process was finished. By means of analysing collected qualitative data, we first identify different design aspects that make the teams’ proposals more inclusive than standard design solutions. For this paper, we specifically focus on aspects that externalise embodied user knowledge from users’ experiences. Subsequently, we look at designers’ approaches to learn about these specific aspects throughout the design process. Results show that in some situations, designers perceive contradicting knowledge between observations and verbal conversations, which shows the value of direct user contact. Additionally, findings give indications on values and limitations of working with selected prototypes as ‘boundary objects’ when externalising users’ experiences. These insights may help researchers to better understand designers’ process of eliciting embodied user knowledge. This way, research can offer more effective support to architects, which may result in better incorporating users’ experiences so that the built environment gradually can become more inclusive for all.

Keywords: Architecture, Design Process, universal design, embodied user knowledge

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