Thursday 30 January 2014

Illustrating the 8 Goals of Universal Design...

Howdy All,

I am cheating a bit here.  This post is nothing more than a homework assignment for a course I am taking right now but I don't feel I am being lazy in my online journaling efforts because I am doing exactly what I am supposed to be doing and that is sharing what I am learning with the world to help grow this UD movement.

The course is Universal Design and Public Accommodations and it is one offered by IDeA, which is The Center for Inclusive Design and Environmental Access at The University of Buffalo. 

I advise anyone interested in the field of universal design to consider their distance learning courses through this program. 

Just in case...
At any rate, here was my assignment: 

Given what you know now about universal design, describe some examples of universal design in public buildings. Please be specific about some of the features, and give the building name and location if available. Feel free to insert images if desired

I responded using examples from my own travels to illustrate the 8 goals of UD in the built public environment.  These are the goals that were established by IDeA and they can be found in the book Universal Design Creating Inclusive Environments by Edward Steinfeld and Jordana L. Maisel.


UD Goal 1

Accommodating a broad range
of body styles, abilities...
and transporting methods.

Walkway from garage to Pointe Orlando in Orlando, FL is wide enough to accommodate pedestrians on foot or wheeled mobility devices.  This pic is of my fianc√© Tom and my daughter Mia last summer in Orlando.  We went to Universal Studios theme park and it was an overall great universal experience, no pun intended.

The Nashville American Prisoners of War Pathway has ample room for various modes of active transportation that allow people access to the active riverfront culture. 

These photos are from last spring and taken on an afternoon walk around town.

I think these wide pathways and open settings are great examples of accommodating a broad range of body fits when considering body fit encompasses more than a persons body but also their method of transportation.
Strollers are now made to
accommodate triplets...imagine that! 

This is a tunnel that adjoins the new Music City Center to The Omni Hotel complex. A covered pedestrian route is underneath and here is a great example of another varied and wheeled mobility user, the Segway rider. 

UD Goal 2

Keeping demands within desirable limits of body function.
A universal set up is at Spirit Hill Guest House in Hermann MO.  Open space underneath the sink is accommodating and provides opportunities to get creative with functional (and moveable) furniture and accessories. The area under the counter  makes it easy for a person in a wheelchair to do what they need to do at the sink.   
Shower sprayer and water controls in roll-in shower are within easy reach of shower seat. This is something to really be aware of when designing wet rooms and I have learned about the importance of this by helping my daughter.  If a fixed bench in a shower is not placed near the controls, a person that has limited mobility can't bathe themselves which does nothing for cultivating independence.  We run into this often when staying in hotels but Spirit Hill has it right.   We stayed at this place a few years ago when my sister got married in Hermann and it is right next door to a cemetery overlooking the Missouri River.  It is an awesome place to stay and the owners Marsha and Gary Nyberg are very gracious hosts.  It is not just accommodating it is very beautiful and off of the beaten path of the downtown tourism.

UD Goal 3

Ensuring that critical information
for use is easily perceived.
A well landscaped and ramped path and a set of stone steps provide dual access out of Hampton Inn @ Korean Veterans and 4th Avenue South in Nashville and onto the sidewalks of Downtown.

This is our favorite place to stay when we go to Nashville--it is on the edge of town but still close enough to walk to many different things to do and see in the downtown area.  It is very well kept and offers a lot in the way of access in and out of the property from the front and back via pedestrian routes.   The elevators are in the front lobby so they can't be missed.   Plus there is a great little Italian eatery and an awesome photo op right across the parking lot! 

This roundabout at Korean Veterans Parkway and 8th Avenue South in Nashville is well marked for vehicles and pedestrians. The street designers made good use of textures and surfaces to create the very obvious circulation routes. 

The downtown crosswalks in Nashville are clearly marked.

UD Goal 4
Methods of operation are intuitive and clear.
Zero entry at front door of Spirit Hill Guest House in Hermann, MO.  There is no stoop to make it difficult for a wheeled mobility user to navigate.
Door handle on pocket door to universal suite is obvious but not obtrusive.  (I would add a mechanism on the handle that would allow it to switch to a vertical position to reduce the hazards of getting caught up on things.)  This universally designed suite is at the front of the inn, which makes it conveniently located for someone with mobility challenges, needing close proximity to an exit in the event of an emergency.

UD Goal 5

Aids health promotion and avoidance
of diseases and injury.

Kids going to fitness class
at Sunset Hills
Community Center in St. Louis,
splitting up to take stairs and elevator
respectively to the fitness center below.

The fitness center in this municipal facility is located on the lower level of the building but that shouldn't be a stopping point for a person who wants to use it but can't do stairs.

Having the elevators placed front and center in the lobby makes it obvious to users where they need to go to do what they need to do to keep themselves active. 
Pics of bike lane and biker
on Korean Veterans Blvd in Nashville, TN.

This streetscapers who worked on this are clearly recognizing and promoting active transportation and the active transporters are clearly very happy about this met need for a dedicated bike lane.

UD Goal 6

Social Integration:
Treating all groups with dignity and respect.
American Prisoners of War Pathway on Shelby Street Bridge in Nashville TN. 
There is so much here to make mention of: the respect and honor being shown to American Prisoners of War, the preservation of a city landmark, the incorporation of access components.    Elevators are at both ends of the bridge to accommodate users from both sides.      
A woman pushes a stroller easily along this barrier free path of travel.

The forward thinking planners who put this repurposing project together were ahead of their time and demonstrate how progressive of a city Nashville is.

UD Goal 7

Incorporates opportunities for choice and the expression of individual style and creativity.

Third Man Records In Nashville used materials that kept with the character of their building when they constructed a railed rampway and clear path of travel in and out of their storefront.

A gently ramped walkway to the building that houses the Nashville Symphony is a walk through a garden.  The accessible route to the entrance is a very well landscaped and works the sloped entry into the landscaped design. 

UD Goal 8

Cultural Appropriateness: Respects and reinforces cultural values and the social and environmental context of design project. 
The Starbucks at Rock City in Lookout Mountain, TN is a great example of a unique building that was perfect in its original state for what it is now:  A booming coffee house in a quaint tourist village high in the mountains of Tennessee.  Because of the way it sets on the hillside, this antique stone gas station and mechanics garage was an easy conversion to a coffee shop that is an easy in and out in a high traffic tourist destination. 

The new Music City Center in Nashville Tennessee is a prime example of a UD project that incorporates the community culture into the built project.  The building is a work of art in the shape of a guitar and accessible from every angle. It is a monument to Music City and is within very comfortable walking or rolling from lodging in Downtown. 

Nashville is definitely set up as a place to explore and we are having fun making our way around when we can.

Amy Barnes


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