Design experts to share knowledge in Auckland

Experts from New Zealand, Australia and the United States will share their knowledge about creating more inclusive places to live, work and play during New Zealand's first-ever Universal Design Conference.

The one-day conference will take place at the Aotea Centre on 24 May.

Universal design creates environments, products, learning programmes and systems to be used by as many people as possible. This year's conference will focus on the built environment.

It is co-hosted by Auckland Council, through its Community Development, Arts and Culture department, and Lifemark, a not-for-profit organisation which advocates adaptable and accessible housing design standards. The Ministry of Social Development is also supporting the conference from its Making a Difference fund.

"This really is the start of a new movement across New Zealand and it comes at a significant time," says Dr Roger Blakeley, Auckland Council's Chief Planning Officer.

"With the rebuilding of Christchurch underway, and as we work towards achieving Mayor Len Brown's vision of making Auckland the world's most liveable city, this is an opportunity to get things right from the start.

"By sharing expertise from around the world, we can work together to create places that are enjoyable, safe and accessible."

Lifemark general manager Andrew Olsen says: "It's a great opportunity for delegates to hear how those practising universal design are approaching the design and build of adaptable and accessible environments.

"This is particularly important for future housing development, which not only needs to be affordable, but accessible for all people, creating truly liveable cities."

Keynote speakers include Richard Duncan, the executive director of the RL Mace Universal Design Institute in the United States, and Dr Jane Bringolf, Project Manager, Liveable Communities with Council on the Ageing New South Wales (COTA NSW), Australia, both leaders in the field of universal design.

Two New Zealand experts in this area will also speak at the conference. Kay Saville Smith is the director of the Centre for Research, Evaluation and Social Assessment (CRESA) while Pete Bossley is an award-winning architect.

To find out more or register to attend, visit


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