You are invited to attend the 2015 Universal Design Symposium on March 20-21 at NC State University’s College of Design. The goal of this Universal Design Symposium is to convene people who are passionate or interested in Universal Design and provide them with the opportunity to meet, converse, and interact.
Universal Design is defined as the design of products and environments to be usable by all people, to the greatest extent possible, without the need for adaptation or specialized design.
As designers, architects, planners, researchers, or educators, many of us are teaching and creating designs that invite people to use and enjoy. In 2014 there were more than one billion people in the world living with some form of disability and, by 2050, there are anticipated to be more than two billion people in the world older than 60 years of age. We often see the elderly and people with disabilities struggling, physically or emotionally, with the designs surrounding them. Should we ask ourselves more often if we are including and welcoming these people with each of our designs? Are there new areas we should be taking on?
Universal Design in design thinking and practice welcomes people to the greatest extent possible, regardless of their age, culture, dimensions, physical/cognitive challenges, etc., in the use of the products, processes and spaces. Architect Ron Mace founded North Carolina State University’s internationally recognized Center for Universal Design in 1989, starting the first chapter of Universal Design at NC State. Twenty-five years later, the concept of universal design is still facing tremendous challenges and creating opportunities throughout the world.