Expressions of Interest for the Upcoming Universal Design Conference is Closing on the 31st May

Te Ao Tangata Universal Design Conference 2018 Logo

Te Ao Tangata Universal Design Conference 2018 Logo

AUCKLAND, NZ: Expressions of interest for the upcoming Universal Design Conference is closing on the 31st May.

The conference committee welcomes you to submit expressions of interest in oral, workshop or poster presentations at the Te Ao Tangata Universal Design Conference 2018.

Universal Design Conference
6 – 7 September 2018 
Victory Convention Centre, Auckland

Individuals or collaborative groups are invited to submit an expression of interest (EOI) to present for sessions that relate to the themes of the conference.

The themes for the 2018 conference is: Te Ao Tangata – Inclusive by Design

  • Housing
  • Neighbourhood
  • Tourism
  • Travel

The conference welcomes a range of projects at different stages of their development, from theoretical underpinnings, to conceptual designs, through to completed projects. How projects have collaborated with diverse users during the design process will be explored. This conference aims to inspire and innovate, all are welcome!

To submit your expression of interest, please visit their website to submit your EOI via their online form.


Visit the website to keep up to date with new information as it becomes available.

Re-posted with permission


New exhibition opportunities at the Australian Universal Design Conference 2018

AUSTRALIA: Australia’s third Universal Design Conference will be held from 4-5 September 2018, in Brisbane at the Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre and for the first time will officially have exhibition space to enable products and services to be showcased.

View of city of Brisbane

On the eve of the call for papers closing – closes 28 February, interested exhibitors are asked to contact Tannia Garces for information on participating.

The theme is “Home and Away: Creating Inclusion Everywhere”. In keeping with the theme we are seeking exhibitors with products relating to housing, home and neighbourhood, travel, tourism, destinations and events. As we are living in a digital world, ICT products are also encouraged, particularly if they relate to the theme. As universal design covers just about anything, all services are welcome including health and wellbeing.

The international conference is expected to attract more than 200 delegates and will be covering the principles and goals of universal design and goes beyond basic access compliance. Topics will include:
• Housing development and design
• Neighbourhood design
• Travel and transportation
• Tourism and destinations
• Inclusive events
• Community involvement in design processes
• Accessible digital communications

Take this opportunity to display your products & services to the leaders in Universal Design. Contact Tannia today on 02 8586 6193 or

For more information phone 1300 789 845 or

Universal Design Conference and Higher Education in Transformation Conference joining forces for 2018

IRELAND: Happy New Year! from the Universal Design and Higher Education in Transformation Congress.


The teams behind the Universal Design Conferences (UD 2012 Oslo, UD 2014 Lund and UD 2016 York) and the Higher Education in Transformation Conferences (HEIT 2015 Dublin, HEIT 2016 Oshawa) are joining forces in 2018 to host the UDHEIT2018 Congress – Universal Design and Higher Education in Transformation – in Dublin Castle from 30th October to 2nd November 2018.

This conference is bringing together experts and practitioners from industry, education, government and non-government organisations to share experiences on transforming our world through celebrating and integrating the best of diversity, design and education.

The Call for Papers for this Congress is open for submissions up to 30th January 2018. We welcome submissions for presentations or longer workshops based on academic papers or industry practices.

The Congress will be structured around three main themes that incorporate all that is good about Higher Education in Transformation and Universal Design. We are open to submissions that go beyond these specific themes while remaining broadly relevant to Universal Design or Higher Education or both.

Theme 1 – Systems-wide participation

  • Engaging local, regional and national perspectives towards designing and building a systems wide approach to enable full participation and independence for everybody.
  • System and Institutional Design and Transformation Partnerships
  • Internationalisation, Globalisation and Exchange in Higher Education
  • Supporting Student Access and Success
  • Cultural Diversity and Personal Identities

Theme 2 – Bridging the Implementation Gap

  • Moving from islands of good practice to effective delivery of national policy
  • Translation of guidance and standards into quality delivery of both commercial and public products, services, environments and technologies
  • Curriculum Development and Transformation: Skills, Learning Outcomes and Universal Design.

Theme 3 – Tools of the Trade

  • Educating all stakeholders (government, education, industry, public) to deliver the optimal solution
  • Universal Design of Teaching and Learning in a Digital Context
  • Work life, Careers and Professional Development
Please consider making a submission for a presentation or workshop under any of these themes before the deadline of 30th January 2018 at
We look forward to meeting you in October 2018 in Dublin Castle for this important and enlightening event.
Important Dates:

Call for Abstracts & Workshops:
Deadline: January 30, 2018
Notification of Outcome: February 28, 2018
Full Paper Submission Deadline: May 31, 2018

Early Bird Registration Deadline: May 31, 2018

Notification of Full Paper Submission Outcome: July 31, 2018
Camera Ready Copy Due: August 31, 2018


Please visit the Congress website for further information:

Local Grant Brings Universal Design Closer to the Valley

HARRISONBURG, VIRGINIA (USA)  A local Harrisonburg couple is working toward bringing Universal Design to the Valley.

Close-up view of a person's feet in footrest of wheelchair

Universal Design

Universal Design makes plans for homes, communities, and activities inclusive for everyone. It focuses on people with physical disabilities, mental disorders, and aging in general. Universal Design also sets the stage for homes and buildings if someone were to have an accident, so modifications would not have to be made specifically for them.

Scott and Sarah Pruett just received a grant from Share the Cheer Foundation, which is matching every dollar up to $2,000 donated to the non-profit until December 31, 2017.

“It feels great to have the local support to say, ‘Hey, we see there’s potential in what you’re doing and we want to contribute to it, so it’s exciting, it’s encouraging, and it’s giving us a little bit more motivation to keep moving,” said Scott.

They are using the money from the grant as part of an awareness campaign. They are interviewing people who are impacted by disabilities, to hear their stories and find out what their biggest needs are, so they can implement those needs into the Universal Design plans.

So far, they have done eight interviews, and plan to do 25 by June 2018.

Donations can be made to the Universal Design Project at any time, and you can learn more here.

By: Marina Barnett

Source: WHSV

DMU Annual Conference 2017 – Universal Design for Inclusion

UK: The experience of students with disabilities following substantial changes to the Disabled Students’ Allowances system will be the primary focus of this year’s De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) Annual Conference 2017.

Universal Design for LearningThis important subject matter will build on other significant topics discussed at previous DMU conferences as part of its sector-leading drive to make higher education accessible to all and to encourage further development of inclusive practice.

The event, entitled Universal Design for Inclusion, takes place at the university’s Hugh Aston Building, Vaughan Way, Leicester, on Wednesday 7 June from 9.15am until 4pm.

It will be of interest to anyone in the higher education sector and will consist of a mixture of whole-conference sessions as well as interactive workshops, with plenty of time for networking and sharing ideas.

DMU has been at the forefront of developing inclusive approaches to teaching and learning through its innovative Universal Design for Learning framework. It is the product of decades of research into how people learn and based on more than 800 different research studies.

This approach has received extensive praise from, among others, the Higher Education Funding Council for England and the Department for Education, the latter of which asked DMU to contribute to its ‘Inclusive teaching and learning in higher education as a route to excellence’ guidance document.

The conference will explore subjects such as institution-wide approaches to inclusion, managing student referrals, ensuring students have an input into programme content, how apps can help students, and giving people the opportunity to hear about DMU’s adoption of the principle of Universal Design for Learning into all teaching and learning approaches.

The day will be opened by Jo Cooke, DMU’s Associate Chief Operating Officer and Executive Director of Student and Academic Services, who will introduce the university’s Vice-Chancellor Professor Dominic Shellard and the keynote speaker Bettina Rigg.

BCA Universal Design Award winners showcase facilities for users with mobility disabilities

SINGAPORE: Wheelchair accessible weight machines at the gymnasium, staggered platforms with handrails at the swimming pool, extensive braille indicators, step-free entrances to units and bathrooms.

These are just some of the features that won serviced residence Ascott Orchard Singapore and Cairnhill Nine condominium the Universal Design (UD) Mark Platinum award, given out by the Building and Construction Authority (BCA).

Ascott Orchard Singapore, a 220-unit serviced residence that operates with a hotel licence, and Cairnhill Nine, a 268-unit condominium, make up the integrated development which sits atop a multi-storey carpark and the Al-Falah Mosque on Cairnhill Road.

It is the only project to win this top award out of the 30 awardees this year, the BCA said on Monday (May 15) during a viewing of two selected projects.

Introduced in 2012 by the BCA, the annual awards — which rate projects in increasing order of performance from Certified, Gold, Gold PLUS, to Platinum — give recognition to projects that incorporate user-friendly features to build an inclusive living environment.

Mr Andy Tan, 57, who has been on the wheelchair for the last three years and a former guest at Ascott Orchard Singapore, said that a gym with equipment for people on wheelchair is “an amazing idea”.

“I don’t know why they don’t have (such a design) earlier, because it’s exactly the people (who) are injured and weak that need to exercise more,” he said. Mr Tan is a regular patient at Paragon Medical Centre, and the integrated development is connected to the centre via a step-free link-bridge.

It is not just wheelchair users who can benefit from the development’s thoughtful features. Braille indicators are used extensively at navigation points to help people with vision disabilities find their way, as opposed to being just in elevators, the way it is in most residential areas today.

Mr Eng Tiang Wah, vice president of product development and design in CapitaLand Limited, the project’s developer, said: “Wherever we can add in little elements of universal design, we did it… From the towers, to the surroundings… down to even the benches that we sit on.”

Kallang Trivista, a public housing development comprising three blocks of 808 homes, was also awarded the Universal Design award (Gold PLUS), with facilities and spaces that catered to all age groups.

Ms Goh Hui Hoon, senior architectural associate at Surbana Jurong Consultants, the architectural firm of the project, said:
“Universal design means to think about the user first… We had to think about the facilities and amenities users would appreciate… and incorporate them into the design.”

The features were embraced fully by Madam Lee Peck Kiow, 61, who lives in a one-bedroom studio apartment at Kallang Trivista. She had been living in a three-room flat at Rochor Centre for 30 years before it was acquired by the Government.

Besides what she called the “million-dollar view” from her new home, with vistas of the Singapore Sports Hub, Kallang River, and the Singapore Flyer, Madam Lee is also pleased with the variety of amenities within the residential area. “There’s a Senior Activity Centre, childcare centre, 24-hour supermarket… it’s all so good,” she said, adding that she visits the activity centre to exercise and take part in taiji classes.

Other features at Kallang Trivista’s elder-friendly units include cabinets mounted at a lower height for wheelchair users, step-free bathrooms fitted with grab-bars, as well as an alarm alert system. When activated by pulling a string, the alert system notifies the Senior Activity Centre on the first floor. The resident’s unit number will also be displayed on a signage just outside the lift lobby on that floor, notifying neighbours who will be able to render help.

Madam Lee, who lives with her 58-year-old husband, said: “It’s very good because we never know what will happen to us. We may just fall ill or faint and we need urgent help.”

Source: todayonline

Center for Real Life Design launches with an emphasis on universal design and sustainability

Muted colors and matte finishes create a soothing environment for children with autism. A slate-gray cooking surface on a cream porcelain countertop provides contrast for those with vision disabilities. And a low, shallow sink eases kitchen work from a wheelchair.

see caption

The Universal Design Kitchen features design principles and appliances intended to accommodate people with mobility and cognitive abilities. Photo: Virginia Tech

The Virginia Tech College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences has reenvisioned its residential-design demonstration studio to reflect an expanded focus on universal design and sustainability principles. The newly launched Center for Real Life Design now offers faculty and students a multifaceted laboratory for exploring design and technology solutions for people with a range of physical and cognitive abilities and consumers who want to be environmentally responsible.

The studio — which replaces a kitchen-design space that opened as a collaboration between the university and the kitchen industry in 1998 — is launching with a broadened mission as well as two new kitchens furnished with appliances and other products donated by a range of corporations in the residential design industry.

GE Appliances, a major donor to the original space, has contributed appliances to the new center as well. In advance of the opening, the company’s president and chief executive officer, Chip Blankenship, will offer a College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences Executive Insights Interview. Blankenship, who earned his degree in materials engineering from the Virginia Tech College of Engineering in 1988, will present People and Their Homes: Launching the Center for Real Life Design on May 4 at 2 p.m. in the Fralin Auditorium at 360 West Campus Drive.

Following Blankenship’s presentation, three events will take place across the street in Wallace Hall: an introduction to the design concepts and solutions used in the new kitchens at 3 p.m., a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 3:45 p.m., and a reception in the new space at 4 p.m. The Virginia Tech community and the public are invited to all four events.

“The reenvisioned center reflects our expanded commitment to all types of residential design,” said Julia Beamish, head of the Department of Apparel, Housing, and Resource Management, which houses the center. “While kitchen design remains a key component in faculty research and student learning, other spaces in the home also need study to ensure they meet the needs and lifestyles of today’s families and consumers.”

The signature space — the Universal Design Kitchen — is intended to accommodate multigenerational households. The kitchen was designed by residential environments and design students, who incorporated planning for aging-in-place and variations in physical and cognitive abilities into their layout and product selection .

The main sink includes racks to provide adjustable depths for users of various heights. Cabinets raise and lower with the press of buttons. A cabinet for trash and recycling opens with just the coax of a finger or — when a cook’s hands are dripping with raw chicken juice — the touch of a knee.

Beamish points out that following universal design standards from the outset saves the need for later renovations and helps maintain property values.

The second renovated space, the Loft Kitchen, reflects an urban, sustainable, and multifamily lifestyle. The kitchen includes Energy Star appliances and ecofriendly materials. The sustainable cabinets qualify for LEED credits, a standard for green building design. The countertops are made from recycled glass, mirrors, porcelain, earthenware, and vitrified ash. The sink is scratch-resistant to preclude the need for frequent replacement, and the porcelain-tile backsplash was chosen to help brighten the kitchen, which uses LED lights throughout.

The Center for Real Life Design includes four additional demonstration kitchens, a classroom, a laundry area, and a small library.

In addition to GE Appliances, corporate donors for the new kitchens include Advanta Cabinets, Alberene Soapstone, Back to Nature Construction, Blum Hardware, Building Pro, Cosentino, Floored LLC, Johnson Granite, Kohler Company, Liberty Hardware, Lutron by French Inc., Mockett, MS International, Philips Lighting, Plain and Fancy Cabinetry, Seagull Lighting, and State Electric.

“The center is intended as a hands-on learning environment for activities related to universal design and residential design,” said Beamish. “Students learn to evaluate spaces and products that everyone can use.”


Universal Design

Universal Design approach aims to benefit all students

Faculty, educators and staff from various Wichita State entities participated in a Universal Design of Instruction (UDI) workshop, hosted by the Wichita State University College of Health Professions (CHP).

Sheryl Burgstahler speaking UDI is a scientifically based concept that emphasizes inclusive practices to maximize student success, including those with ranges in ability, disability, age, learning style, language, race and ethnicity.

Examples of UDI practices include ensuring physical access to facilities, arranging classroom seating for clear lines of sight, providing materials in accessible electronic formats and captioning and transcribing videos. UDI can be applied to all aspects of instruction, including classroom environment, delivery methods, information resources and technology, feedback and assessment.

Sandra Bibb, dean of the College of Health Professions, says Universal Design of Instruction is about progressive positive change, and the CHP is moving forward in transforming their culture and how they think about instruction.

“Incorporating all these things without singling people out makes the Universal Design approach ideal for supporting diversity,” says Bibb. “We want to raise awareness regarding diversity that is invisible, in terms of learning needs, while continuing our focus on the importance of arranging for accommodation.”

Sheryl Burgstahler, affiliate professor in the College of Education at the University of Washington, designed and facilitated two small group discussions and a large workshop. In all three forums she emphasized that a universal design approach to curriculum can contribute to a more inclusive university culture.

“Most disabilities are invisible, and a student’s strengths and weaknesses are not always obvious,” she says. “We need to ask ourselves what we can do to be proactive and not just responsive.”

Burgstahler’s teaching and research focus on the successful transition of students with disabilities to college and careers and on the application of universal design to physical spaces, student services, technology and learning activities. She is also the founder and director of the DO-IT (Disabilities, Opportunities, Internetworking and Technology) Center and the Access Technology Center (ATC).

For more information, visit

Japan’s Adoption of Universal Design Ahead of Tokyo Paralympic Games 2020

TOKYO: In a meeting with Japan’s Prime Minister Abe on Wednesday afternoon (22 February) in Tokyo, International Paralympic Committee (IPC) President Sir Philip Craven praised the Japanese government for the approval of the Universal Design 2020 Action Plan.

Both side handrails with guidle block at Ueno Station Under the terms of the plan approved this week, the government will redouble efforts to promote universal design for an inclusive society that is comfortable and accessible to everyone regardless of age, nationality and ability ahead of the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games.

During the meeting, which was also attended by Miss Marukawa, Minister in charge of the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games and Taido Tanose, Parliamentary Vice-Minister of Education, Culture, Sports Science and Technology, Sir Philip Craven said: “The IPC’s aspiration is to make for a more inclusive society for people with an impairment through Para sport and in my view this new action plan is one of the first tangible legacies of the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics.

“Universal design will promote a barrier-free attitude amongst the people of Japan and make for more accessible facilities. I hope through this plan we will see the marrying of Japan’s strong traditions with the innovative culture that it is world renowned for in order to make for a more inclusive society.

“I also hope this plan extends to sports facilities around the country, making them accessible for people of all abilities who want to participate in sport. Such a move in the long-term will benefit Team Japan in their preparations for Tokyo 2020 and future Paralympic Games.”

Speaking to parliament earlier this week, Prime Minster Abe said: “Last year, our Japanese athletes put in strong performances at the Rio de Janeiro Games. Seeing Paralympians pull off an astonishing performance on the grand stage made me realise once again that Para sports has the power to invigorate people and society.

“Coming up is the Tokyo Games. We need to accelerate preparations in order to make this the world’s best Games.

“Furthermore, we will take the Tokyo Paralympic Games as an opportunity to realise a society of co-existence, a society in which those with disabilities can pursue their dreams and more fully harness their potential and capabilities, in the same manner as those without disabilities. This will become one of the greatest legacies of the Tokyo Games.

“Today, we have here people with disabilities including Paralympians, people involved with the Tokyo Games, relevant ministers including Minister Marukawa, among others, and we have compiled an action plan of the Government for the success of the Tokyo Paralympic Games and for the creation of a society of co-existence as a legacy of those Games.”

Following Wednesday’s meeting, Sir Philip presented Prime Minister Abe with a signed commemorative boccia set. Following Japan’s team silver in the sport at the Rio 2016 Paralympics, the sport has seen a surge in popularity in the 2020 host city.

The Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games will take place between 25 August and 6 September.

Source: IPC