Universal Design

Hi all,

What do you all think about Universal Design? Adaptive design…??? What is the scope of work in this area in the USA… i say this not in terms of monetary income but in terms of on going work and research…in the area.

I am really passionate about design for social cause (well, i think all designers are/should be doing that) and hence want to know more about UD ;I have done various projects in the past which involves ‘design for all’ approach and successful outcome. I really wish to know more about stuff going on in this area…and am hoping to get some help regarding conferences?, journals?, publications?.. universities? (i know NCSU), NGO’s /firms working in this area and even big names in UD… …around the globe.

I suggest to the moderators that UD be a topic of discussion under special areas of interest in the core77 forum…as a separate section.


I just found a resource full of info…about related links…http://www.design-for-all.org/

this is a link to the IDSA professional interest section on universal design


definitely check out adaptive environments if you haven’t already - http://www.adaptiveenvironments.org/. they have a pretty extensive list of resources, events, etc. on their site.

from their site -
AE has been the lead organization in the international Universal Design movement, having hosted or co-hosted five international conferences (New York -1998, Providence -2000, Yokahama – 2002, Rio de Janeiro – 2004, Kyoto – October 2006) as well as international student design competitions, smaller regional meetings and publication of web and print materials.

a couple months ago i heard valerie fletcher, ae’s ex. director, speak and she was so inspiring. she handed out business cards and encouraged people multiple times to contact her. when i wrote to her, she got back to me in a day…i was really impressed. if you have specific questions, i would definitely ask her, because she is very much into outreach.

Valerie Fletcher
Executive Director
617-695-1225, x26 (v/tty)

one interesting point she made was that univeral design is an emerging field, so there aren’t necessarily a multitude of programs and jobs already available. many people are currently forging their own path and you might have to do so as well.

one firm that she mentioned, which is doing some universal design is design continuum in boston. i’m not sure what they have done recently, but i read an interview on core with gianfranco zaccai, co-founder of dc and it was interesting - Core77 interview with Gian Zaccai. i liked his (obvious) point about how “if you design something expressly made for someone elderly or disabled, then they’ll try not to use it for as long as they can, since it stigmatizes them.”

also, you may want to check out the universal design handbook. i just came across it, so i can’t comment on the contents too much, but it is co-authored by elaine ostroff, the founder of adaptive environments -

good luck!