Level Playing Field

A group of recent projects demonstrates that true universal design goes beyond mere accessibility.
Architectural Record
By Katharine Logan

Learning Objectives:

  1. Define the term “universal design.”
  2. Outline strategies for designing for people with diverse disabilities, including those with limited mobility or impaired sight or hearing.
  3. Discuss the benefits of universal design for nondisabled users.
  4. Describe the recently launched certification system for universal-design projects.


This test is no longer available for credit
In 2015, the New York transit system opened its first new subway station in 25 years; the city of Toronto hosted the Pan Am and Parapan Am Games; the YMCA opened a new facility in Grand Rapids, Michigan; and a San Antonio school for deaf children won a design award for redefining what a learning place can be. What united these disparate events was an underlying commitment to including as wide a range of users as possible: in other words, to universal design.

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Photo © David Sundberg/Esto


Originally published in Architectural Record