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In the picture below there is a question to be addressed: What is the problem? Is the problem that the individual at the bottom of the stairs uses a wheelchair - or is the problem that the space was designed with stairs as the only way in?
Spaces can be designed to meet the needs of a wide range of body sizes and shapes.
Adjustments that are made for one segment of the population can often benefit a wide range of individuals. For example consider curb cuts. They were put in place specifically to ensure access for people using wheelchairs, but it turns out they benefit a wide range of people, including those on bicycles and those with strollers or wheeled baggage.
From automatic door openers to parking designations, and from furniture selection to space planning, there are a wide range of considerations that have the potential to impact the usability of finished spaces.It is much easier to plan for accessibility and avoid costly retrofits.
The father of Universal Design is Ron Mace, whose experiences and efforts introduced a new way of lookingatarchitectural barriers within the field of architecture, though UD now encompasses many other areas as well. Ron's story is fascinating.