Universal design: from design philosophy to applied science

Authors

  • Lino Bianco

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.17411/jacces.v10i1.249

Abstract

Universal Design (UD) philosophy is inspired by the social responsibility that no discrimination is present in the use of the built environment. During recent decades UD philosophy led to a systematic development of design guidelines for architectural and urban projects aimed at rendering the built environment accessible to all. In Malta, such guidelines are endorsed by central and local government entities and non-governmental organizations and they are covered by legislation which is actively enforced. Moreover, the law stipulates that the planning regulator makes it mandatory that a given development permission complies with these guidelines. This ensures that no barriers can hinder the usage of a given development. The objective of this paper is to demonstrate that UD is not only a legal requisite emerging from a socially sensitive design philosophy and grounded in official design standards that ensure legal compliance, but an applied science aimed at ensuring mobility for all. Using a case study from this European Union Member State, this paper argues that setting the focus on technical specifications relating to access for all falls short of addressing the inherent interdependencies; consequently, it does not tackle UD issues. UD goes beyond the prescriptive requirement established by law and underpins a performance-based design, thereby intrinsically enhancing the quality of any given element, whether a space or a product. UD is an applied scientific discipline; it is a multifaceted, interdisciplinary branch of learning. It involves the application of current formal scientific knowledge to pragmatic scenarios in order to attain contextual specific solutions. UD is not just an applied design philosophy; it is an applied science integrating anthropometrics, medicine and design; it is universal design science.

References

Ahar, W. (2007). The dghajsa under threat. Times of Malta (23 September 2007). Retrieved October 6, 2019, from https://timesofmalta.com/articles/view/the-dghajsa-under-threat.4282
Barrier Free Environments Incorporated. (1991). The Accessible Housing Design File. New York: Wiley
Björk, E. (2009). Many become losers when the Universal Design perspective is neglected: Exploring the true cost of ignoring Universal Design principles. Technology and Disability, 21(4), 117-25. doi: <a href="https://content.iospress.com/articles/technology-and-disability/tad00286">10.3233/TAD-2009-0286</a>
Boswell, D.M., & Wingrove, J.M. (1974). The handicapped person in the community: A reader and sourcebook. London: Tavistock Publications and Open University Press.
BS CP 96. (1967). Access for the disabled to buildings. London: British Standards Institution.
Calamatta, N. (2013). Our Diezsa. Malta: Foundation Temi Zammit.
Carvalho de Souza, S., & Duarte de Oliveira Post, A.P. (2016). Universal Design: an urgent need. Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences, 216, 338-344. doi: <a href="https://doi.org/10.1016/j.sbspro.2015.12.046">10.1016/j.sbspro.2015.12.046</a>
Cini, G. (2003). Master craftsman calls for help for revival of boat building tradition. Times of Malta (27 October 2003). Retrieved October 6, 2019, from <a href="https://timesofmalta.com/articles/view/master-craftsman-calls-for-help-for-revival-of-boat-building-tradition.137972">https://timesofmalta.com/articles/view/master-craftsman-calls-for-help-for-revival-of-boat-building-tradition.137972</a>
Connel, B.R., Jones, M., Mace, R., Mueller, J., Mullick, A., Ostroff, E., Sanford, J., Steinfeld, E., Story, M., & Vanderheiden, G. (1997). Universal Design Principles. The Center for Universal Design, version 2.0, Raleigh, North Carolina: N.C. State University. Retrieved March 20, 2018, from <a href="https://projects.ncsu.edu/ncsu/design/cud/about_ud/udprinciplestext.htm">https://projects.ncsu.edu/ncsu/design/cud/about_ud/udprinciplestext.htm</a>
Council of Europe. (2001). Resolution ResAP(2001)1: On the introduction of the principles of Universal Design into the curricula of all occupations working on the built environment. Retrieved September 30, 2019, from <a href="https://search.coe.int/cm/Pages/result_details.aspx?ObjectID=09000016804c2eee"> https://search.coe.int/cm/Pages/result_details.aspx?ObjectID=09000016804c2eee</a>
[11] Council of Europe. (2007). Resolution ResAP(2007)3: Achieving full participation through Universal Design. Retrieved May 19, 2019, from <a href="https://search.coe.int/cm/Pages/result_details.aspx?ObjectID=09000016805d46ae">https://search.coe.int/cm/Pages/result_details.aspx?ObjectID=09000016805d46ae</a>
Day, C. (2007). (My) Dying is Fun: A Comedy of Disabled Misadventures. Victoria, Canada: Trafford Publishing.
Erlandson, R., Enderle, J., & Winters, J. (2006). Educating Engineers in Universal and Accessible Design. In Winters J.M. and Story M.F. (Eds). Medical Instrumentation: Accessibility and Usability Considerations. Boca Raton: CRC Press. pp. 101-118.
Farrant, J. & Subiotto, A. (1969). Planning for disabled people in the urban environment. London: Central Council for the Disabled.
Froyen, H. (2012). Universal Design, a methodological approach. Boston: Institute for Human Centered Design.
Ginnerup, S. (2009). Achieving full participation through Universal Design. Strasbourg: Council of Europe Publishing.
Goldsmith, S. (1963). Designing for the disabled. London: Royal Institute of Architects.
Harker, M., & King, N. (2002). Designing for Special Needs: An architect’s guide to briefing and designing options for living for people with learning disabilities. London: RIBA Enterprises Ltd.
Hasiholan, B., Susilowati, I., & Satrya, C. (2019). The conformity of anthropometric measurements of bathroom and bedroom designs for independent elderly at Panti Sosial Tresna Werdha (PSTW)* Budi Mulia I Jakarta in 2018. Journal of Accessibility and Design for All, 9(1). 25-40. doi: <a href="http://dx.doi.org/10.17411/jacces.v9i1.200">10.17411/jacces.v9i1.200</a>
Imrie, R., & Hall, P. (2001). Inclusive Design: Designing and developing accessible environments. London: Spon Press.
Kroemer, K. H. E. (2006). “Extra-Ordinary” Ergonomics: How to Accommodate Small and Big Persons, The Disabled and Elderly, Expectant Mothers, and Children. Boca Raton: CRC Press. doi: <a href="https://doi.org/10.1201/9780203025246">10.1201/9780203025246</a>
Laws of Malta. (2000). Equal Opportunities (Persons with Disability) Act. Chapter 413, Act I of 2000.
Laws of Malta. (2009). Water Taxi Services Regulations. Legal Notice 71 of 2009.
Lino Bianco and Associates. (2011). Grand Harbour Network Initiative. Retrieved March 20, 2018, from <a href="http://www.lino-bianco.com/majorprojects/mp2.php">http://www.lino-bianco.com/majorprojects/mp2.php</a>
Mace, R. L. (1980). The Planner's Guide to Barrier Free Meetings. Waltham, Massachusetts: Harold Russell Associates.
Mace, R. L. (1998). Universal Design in Housing. Assistive Technology, 10(1), 21-28. doi: <a href="https://doi.org/10.1080/10400435.1998.10131957">10.1080/10400435.1998.10131957</a>
Mosca, E. I., Herssens, J., Rebecchi, A., Froyen, H., & Capolongo S. (2019a). ‘Design for All’ Manual: From Users’ Needs to Inclusive Design Strategies. Proceedings of the 20th Congress of the International Ergonomics Association (IEA 2018). Advances in Intelligent Systems and Computing. Volume VII: Ergonomics in Design, Design for All, Activity Theories for Work Analysis and Design, Affective Design, pp. 1724-1734. doi: <a href="http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-96071-5_177">10.1007/978-3-319-96071-5_177</a>
Mosca, E., Herssens, J., Rebecchi, A., & Capolongo, S. (2019b). Inspiring architects in the application of design for all: knowledge transfer methods and tools. Journal of Accessibility and Design for All, 9(1), 1-24. doi: <a href="http://dx.doi.org/10.17411/jacces.v9i1.147"10.17411/jacces.v9i1.147</a>
Muscat, J. (1991). The Dghajsa-In Memoriam. The Mariner's Mirror, 77(4), 389-405. doi: <a href="https://doi.org/10.1080/00253359.1991.10656371"> 10.1080/00253359.1991.10656371</a>
Muscat, J. (1999). The Dgħajsa and Other Traditional Maltese Boats. San Gwann: Patrimonju Publishing Ltd.
Muscat, J. (2009). Maltese Pilotage. Melita Historica, 15(2), 135-174. Retrieved October 8, 2019, from <a href="http://melitensiawth.com/incoming/Index/Melita%20Historica/MH.15(2008-11)/MH.15(2009)2/02.pdf">http://melitensiawth.com/incoming/Index/Melita%20Historica/MH.15(2008-11)/MH.15(2009)2/02.pdf</a>
Mustaquim, M.M. (2015). A Study of Universal Design in Everyday Life of Elderly Adults. Procedia Computer Science, 67, 57-66. doi: <a href="https://doi.org/10.1016/j.procs.2015.09.249">10.1016/j.procs.2015.09.249</a>
Ochieng M. A., Onyango G.M., & Wagah G.M. (2017). Accessibility of washrooms in bus terminals in Western Kenya to learners with physical disability. Journal of Accessibility and Design for All, 7(2), 99-126. doi: <a href="http://dx.doi.org/10.17411/jacces.v7i2.121"10.17411/jacces.v7i2.121</a>
Oldest 'dgħajsa' to be used for commemoration of Manuel Dimech's exile. The Malta Independent (1 September 2014). Retrieved March 20, 2018, from <a href="https://www.independent.com.mt/articles/2014-09-01/news/oldest-dgħajsa-to-be-used-for-commemorationof-manuel-dimechs-exile-6416596992/">https://www.independent.com.mt/articles/2014-09-01/news/oldest-dgħajsa-to-be-used-for-commemorationof-manuel-dimechs-exile-6416596992/</a>
Planning Authority. (2002). Grand Harbour Local Plan: Approved Plan. Malta: Planning Authority.
Planning Council. (1998). Regional Socio-Economic Plan for the South of Malta. Malta: Ministry of Housing and Local Councils.
Planning Services Division. (1990). Structure Plan for the Maltese Islands: Written Statement. Beltissebh, Malta: Ministry for Development of Infrastructure.
Sanford J. A. (2012). Universal Design as a rehabilitation strategy: design for the age. New York: Springer Publishing Company.
Save The dghajsa. The Malta Independent (18 September 2007). Retrieved March 20, 2018, from <a href="https://www.independent.com.mt/articles/2007-09-18/news/save-the-dghajsa-196895/">https://www.independent.com.mt/articles/2007-09-18/news/save-the-dghajsa-196895/</a>
Serracino, J. (2010). Boats used in Regatta. sportinmalta.com (9 September 2010). Retrieved March 20, 2018, from <a href="http://www.sportinmalta.com/boats-used-in-regatta/">http://www.sportinmalta.com/boats-used-in-regatta/</a>
Spiteri, J. (2011) (Ed.). Access for All Design Guidelines. Malta: National Commission Persons with Disability. Retrieved March 20, 2018, from <a href="http://www.knpd.org/pubs/pdf/AADGJune2012.pdf">http://www.knpd.org/pubs/pdf/AADGJune2012.pdf</a>
Spiteri, J. (2012). PA 00689/12: Erection of a floating structure to serve as a regional sea terminal for dgħajsa tal-pass at site at Isla Waterfront opposite Triq ix-Xatt Juan B. Azopardo, Senglea (Isla), Malta. Malta: National Commission Persons with Disability.
Story, M. F., & Mace, R. L. (1998). Introduction. Assistive Technology, 10(1), 3. doi: <a href="https://doi.org/10.1080/10400435.1998.10131954">10.1080/10400435.1998.10131954</a>
Sungur Ergenoglu, A. (2015). Universal Design teaching in architectural education. Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences, 174, 1397-1403. doi: <a href="https://doi.org/10.1016/j.sbspro.2015.01.766">10.1016/j.sbspro.2015.01.766</a>
World Health Organization. (2018). Falls. Retrieved October 04, 2019, from <a href="https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/falls">https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/falls</a>
Cover of the article

Published

2020-05-30 — Updated on 2020-06-02

How to Cite

Bianco, L. (2020). Universal design: from design philosophy to applied science . Journal of Accessibility and Design for All, 10(1), 70-97. https://doi.org/10.17411/jacces.v10i1.249