SPH exterior

Building Healthy Communities through Universal Design

Originally presented on February 25, 2010

Introductions by:
Dr. Richard Daines, Former Commissioner, New York State Department of Health

Valerie Fletcher
Executive Director
Institute for Human Centered Design

Josh Safdie
Director of IHCD Studio
Institute for Human Centered Design

Universal Design (UD) is a framework for the design of places, things, information, communication and policy that focuses on the user, on the widest range of people operating in the widest range of situations without special or separate design. It is a philosophy that can be applied to policy, systems and environmental changes, so that processes function better for a wider range of people. It developed in response to insights about the potential of design as an asset and facilitator to in response to changing demographics and the diversity of human populations, their abilities and their needs.  UD is also called inclusive design, human centered design and design-for-all.
The principles of UD have a significant role in advancing Public Health efforts to improve health outcomes and reduce disparities among populations. The broadcast will discuss the principles of Universal Design and its application in building healthy communities.  Speakers will discuss the evolution of this design philosophy and describe its influence on social and physical environments, architecture, communication, and product design as they relate to health and well-being.   Speakers will highlight global examples of communities and projects that have utilized Universal Design to support healthy lifestyles and more inclusive and welcoming places.

Program Objectives
After watching this broadcast participants will be able to:

  • Discuss the evolution of Universal Design and its focus on the “user”
  • Identify and describe the principles of Universal Design and links to global health policy
  • Explain practical tools for how Universal Design can benefit your community
  • Describe strategies for integrating Universal Design into planning, policy and practice that can help to deliver improved livability and health