Envisioning Universal Design: Creating an Inclusive Society -- October 2-3, 2003
In Universal Design: The New Paradigm, the introduction to the most comprehensive reference on universal design to date (Universal Design Handbook), author Elaine Ostroff eloquently described the essence and importance of universal design—which were precepts for this meeting:
Early in the meeting, participants agreed that the timing is right for building on successes and developing mutually beneficial strategies for advancing the use of this important design concept to address contemporary social issues. Our society is buffeted by economic, demographic, and social challenges that demand new and more creative approaches for the future. Participants concluded that universal design can and should play a much more significant role in resolving many of these issues.
The rewards for implementing universal design are part of the founding principles of this country. They include:
Throughout the meeting, participants were energized by the exchange of ideas and the many possibilities for future action documented in this report. The recommendations will be used as guidance for future initiatives and structuring policy by the Federal agencies, the NEA and NIDRR, as well as other public and private organizations across the country. Further, the report will be widely disseminated to the broadest public through newsletters and other publications, conferences and Web sites of the NEA (www.arts.gov), the two RERCs on Universal Design, at NCSU (www.design.ncsu.edu:8120/cud/) and at Buffalo (www.ap.buffalo.edu/idea/). Organizations represented at the meeting will help disseminate the results of this meeting and make an effort to include its recommendations in their planning, conference programs, and publications, as well as funded projects. Strategies to disseminate conference results include incorporating summaries in newsletters and magazines such as the Council of Aging newsletter, distributing it to international contacts, and making the report available in major languages, such as Spanish, Japanese, French, etc.
The outcomes of this conference are pertinent to all design professions and organizations. They should be made aware of the report and its conclusions. Many of these may not be aware of current developments in universal design but play a critical role in shaping our design future.
The ultimate success of this effort will be measured by the implementation of the report’s recommendations, resulting in inclusive environments that are truly welcoming to people of all ages and abilities.
National Endowment for the Arts · an independent federal