Tuesday, 2 January 2018

A is for A New Start!

Happy New Year, Everyone!

Today is January 2, 2018 and I am back to work.  It is that time of year when people commit to changes to improve themselves or do things differently, and given personal experience and habits,  would imagine in most cases it is to make life better in general.  I was watching The Today Show earlier and between the content and the commercials, it is obvious so much focus is being put on leading a healthier lifestyle in 2018 through good nutrition and and being active.   Eating healthier and getting more exercise definitely tops my list.

It is easier said than done if you are a person that lives in an environment does nothing to support the formation of these habits, so in this new year, I am hoping there are people out there who are going to commit themselves to learning about, practicing and promoting universal design in their work, ESPECIALLY, if they have anything to do with constructing living, working and recreational environments.   Awareness and practice of universal design in your design and construction work could add years to someone else's life, and possibly even you or someone you love.

ENABLING a culture of  health through BUILT environments is one of the most crucial components of BUILDING a culture of health among populations.  Universal design is the way to get there so make a commitment to learn about it. You can make a difference and I am thanking you in advance for your help to further a universal design movement.

Amy Barnes
January 2, 2018

Tuesday, 12 December 2017

Attention Designers and Builders: How will you be designing and building in the New Year? For inclusion or exclusion?

Here is more from Merriam-Webster:

Definition of inclusion
: the act of including : the state of being included


Definition of exclusion
1 : the act or an instance of excluding
2 : the state of being excluded


If you are not practicing universal design in your work, your skill sets are outdated and you are designing for exclusion.   If you are not promoting universal design to your clients when they come to you and ask you to help them design or build something they plan to live in, you are doing them a disservice.  If you feel taken aback by these statements because you are not even really sure what universal design is, let me know and I can help you by showing you examples.

To keep it simple, an example of what universal design IS NOT is anything built that has barriers that keep people from entering safely, moving about and functioning freely and with ease and dignity. Basically things that keep people from living life independently.  The other things universal design is not, are afterthought additions or attempts at access that do nothing to enhance the curb appeal or the overall property value.

As the New Year approaches, think about my question and then think about someone you know who may not be able to get around on their own two feet or without assistance.  Would they be able to live in the properties you design or build, comfortably and with ease?  If nothing else, would they at least be able to visit the property with dignity and without risk of injury or embarrasing situations?  Think about your aging parents, relatives and friends. Think about your aging you!!  These are valid concerns you need to be taking seriously.

Learn what universal design is and then and then live it. Please. It is simple.