Universal Design Meets the Exit Sign Melbourne Shopping Mall

Universal Design

Universal design is a design movement that is steadily growing as awareness increases.

At the end of the 20th century, the world is very different than 100 years ago. People are living longer and surviving better. Potential consumers of design who may be functionally limited by age or disability are increasing at a dramatic rate. These populations are no longer an insignificant or silent minority.

The current generation of children, baby boomers entering middle age, older adults, people with disabilities, and individuals inconvenienced by circumstance, constitute a market majority. All of these constituencies and indeed, all consumers, deserve to be recognized and respected. Facilities, devices, services, and programs must be designed to serve an increasingly diverse clientele.

The demographic, legislative, economic, and social changes that brought us to this point are increasing the momentum that will propel us into a 21st century that will need to be more accommodating of individual differences. Universal design provides a blueprint for maximum inclusion of all people.[1]

This section provides a definition of universal design, considers it reference in the UN UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and an overview of the development of the universal design movement.

The 7 Principles of Universal Design are also presented and discussed in terms of building evacuations.

[1] Universal Design History, http://www.ncsu.edu/ncsu/design/cud/about_ud/udhistory.htm, viewed 24 September 2015

Buildings need exit and emergency signs to identify parts of the accessible means of egress. An Accessible Exit Sign Project Initiative.

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