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Reading: Promoting participation through the universal design of built environments: Making it happen

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Promoting participation through the universal design of built environments: Making it happen

Authors:

Valerie Watchorn ,

Deakin University, AU
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Helen Larkin,

Deakin University, AU
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Danielle Hitch,

Deakin University, AU
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Susan Ang

Deakin University, AU
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Abstract

Environmental design is a determinant of social inclusion and people’s participation in life roles. Design that does not cater for a diverse range of ages, abilities and cultures restricts people’s access to, and use of, domestic or public premises. Universal design is an approach that acknowledges diversity of populations and encourages designers to create objects and places that are usable by the greatest majority of users. Although there are potential benefits to the widest application of universal design within society, such application is not mandatory within Australia. This paper presents findings from an Australian qualitative study that explored universal design as a means of facilitating greater environmental access for all. The views of experts working within the field of architecture and environmental access were explored regarding factors that restrict or facilitate application of universal design to the design of built environments. Study findings revealed a number of themes relating to factors that may restrain, ‘what’s holding us back?’ and factors that may facilitate application of universal design, ‘making it happen’. These findings have direct relevance to those involved in the planning and design of built environments, policy developers and educators.
How to Cite: Watchorn, V., Larkin, H., Hitch, D. and Ang, S., 2014. Promoting participation through the universal design of built environments: Making it happen. Journal of Social Inclusion, 5(2), pp.65–88. DOI: http://doi.org/10.36251/josi.77
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Published on 15 Dec 2014.
Peer Reviewed

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