Universal Design is the idea that a building or space can be built and designed in a way that makes it accessible for a wide range of people. There is no one-size fits all for humans. In the United State one-in-five people has a disability –either physical or mental – that can affect the way they travel through, use or perceive a space. Height, hand dominance, body size and age are all factors that Universal Design takes into consideration during the pre-design, design and construction phases.
Principles of Universal Design:
- Equitable use – the design is useful and marketable to people with diverse abilities.
- Flexibility in use – the design accommodates a wide range of individual preferences and abilities.
- Simple and intuitive use – the design is easy to understand, regardless of the user’s experience, knowledge, language skills or current concentration level.
- Size and space for approach – appropriate size and space is provided for approach, reach, manipulation and use regardless of user’s body size, posture or mobility.
- Perceptible information – the design communication necessary information effectively to the user, regardless of ambient conditions or the user’s sensory abilities.
- Tolerance for error – the design minimizes hazards and the adverse consequences of accidental or unintended actions.
- Low physical error – the design can be used efficiently and comfortably and with a minimum of fatigue.
Universal Design can apply to:
- Learning environments
- Healthy and wellness facilities
- Hospitals and healthcare
- Senior Living
- Urban planning
- Public and commercial buildings
- Parks and recreational spaces
Progressive AE has joined with the experts at Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital to assess fitness facilities using the AIMFREE survey. AIMFREE is the Accessibility Instruments Measuring Fitness and Recreation Environments survey. It was created specifically to measure the accessibility of recreation and fitness facilities.