Universal design is a new approach of designing public spaces and public facilities. It is also called inclusive design and is similar to barrier free or accessible design.
There are seven principles that should be followed when planning inclusive design spaces. These spaces should be used equitable, flexible for the users and intuitive and simple. They should have information that is perceptible and of course tolerance for any error that could occur. Size and space of those spaces should be approachable and usable and with low physical effort.
The architect Ronald L. Mace was the first to use the term “universal design” to describe the concept of designing spaces and products which will be usable for all people, regardless of their status in life, age or ability. But it was Selwyn Goldsmith, who actually made that term and concept meaningful for disabled, in his work Designing for the Disabled in 1963. His greatest accomplishment was dropped curb, which is now a standard feature on the streets.
Nowadays architects and designers tend to be more open minded when it comes to designing spaces that are meant for everybody, disabled and non-disabled. More and more non-profit and profit associations are trying to increase awareness about spaces which don’t allow disabled people to have a normal daily routine. Public facilities and equipment in those facilities have to be easily accessible and usable for all.
Here you will find some interesting thoughts and a collection of articles about Universal design. No one is actually aware of how much impact Universal design has made on society and the environment. Still, there is so much that can and should be done, but humanity is on the right track when it comes to building spaces which treats everybody as equal. It is not just a nice thought, but a new way of thinking and transforming that thought into some kind of art.