America catches up?

From Metropolis:


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When news of an ideas competition, focused on designing a neighborhood based on the principles of Universal Design and sustainability, arrived recently I was jazzed. Since the Americans with Disabilities Act was passed by Congress two decades ago, we've seen a lot well meaning or uninformed attempts  and some really annoying remedies (like the Braille on hotel room doors: how does a sight-impaired person find this little protrusion?), and some worthwhile things like elegantly pitched curb cuts and architecturally appealing ramps. But there's so much left of be done! And so I was happy to see that competition organizers and advisors--Brad Benjamin, chair of the AIA's 2011 Committee on Design (COD), Anne Schopf, partner and director of design at Mahlum, and Josh Safdie, director of the IHCDStudio(Institute for Human Centered Design)--decided to tackle the problem of creating neighborhoods where people of every size and age, every ability and disability can call home, a truly supportive and humane home. So I asked Josh Safdie to tell me more about the big idea behind the completion, the organizers' hopes for improving the cityscape, and the practice of architecture.  

 Susan S. Szenasy: The 2011 Ideas AIA/YAF/COD Ideas Competition is centered on the principles of Universal Design, in the larger context of environmental and social sustainability. I say it's about time! Tell us why you're focusing on the 2020 Games' Olympic Village in Tokyo?

 Josh Safdie: Well, we say it's about time, too!  The idea of focusing on Universal Design within the larger context of environmental and social sustainability is one that has been broadly embraced in other countries and cultures, but which has been slow to gain momentum here in the US.  However, I think the design professions in this country are poised to enter into a period of "Sustainability 2.0"...

Read the entire article here:

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