April 16, 2008

Announcing the Global Universal Design Commission (GUDC)

I take his development to be a positive sign. This announcement was in my Inbox when I got home today:

The Global Universal Design Commission (GUDC) is a new non-profit organization that has been established to promote the adoption of universal design. It is modeled after the Green Building Council which has played an important role in increasing adoption of sustainable design practices in the building industry. Our intent is to address the need for greater usability in buildings in response to many social trends, e.g. the aging of society, globalization and social diversity.

Our first activity will be to develop voluntary guidance standards for applying universal design to commercial buildings. These standards will complement existing accessibility standards and regulations. In fact, we expect that no building will receive an accreditation from the GUDC if it does not meet accessibility regulations as a basic requirement and thus, our work will improve compliance with access laws. Like the GBC's LEED standards, the UD Standards will provide a rating system to accredit buildings that address higher levels of usability than accessibility codes and include issues beyond their scope.

The UD Standards will be flexible and allow each project to achieve accreditation in different ways in response to different conditions. Points will be awarded in different categories and there will be a graduated level of achievement based on a percentage of total points received. Neither the rating system nor the accreditation levels have been established, but work is underway on a preliminary draft that will be presented to the public at a kick-off meeting at the end of May. Attached is an announcement for that meeting. An open process will be used to develop the UD Standards, including the conceptual framework for the rating system and levels. The preliminary draft will simply be a point of departure.

We welcome your involvement in this process and the new Commission and hope that you will be able to attend the kick-off meeting for the standards development project.

*This activity is partially supported by the RERC on Universal Design and the Built Environment through funding from the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research.


Note that this is something that we called for at ICAT 2007 in Bangkok and, although I was unaware of this initiative, the move toward standardization by industry was the pivotal "sign of the times" that my address to the gathering revolved around.


Organizational Meeting:
Voluntary Standards Development Process for Universal Design (UD) in Commercial Development

Hosted by:

• Global Universal Design Commission, Inc.
• Burton Blatt Institute, Syracuse University
• Center for Inclusive Design and Environmental Access (IDEA)
• National Council for Independent Living (NCIL)

As a member of the design, development, disability and/or aging communities, you are invited to attend the inaugural meeting of the Global Universal Design Commission, Inc., and join with other hosts to organize a consensus voluntary standard development process that accelerates the consistent, knowledge-driven translation and use of UD across commercial development and the built environment.


Peter Blanck, Chairman, Global Universal Design Commission, Inc.
Ed Steinfeld, Center for Inclusive Design and Environmental Access
Graham Hill, Global Universal Design Forum, Inc. - Chair of Standards Development Committee

Date: May 30, 2008
10am – 1pm

Location: Carousel Mall
Sky Deck, 6th Floor
Syracuse, New York

Purpose: To organize and initiate the process to develop a consensus guidance standard for Universal Design (UD) in commercial development. UD is the design of the built environment and products to be useable by all people, to the greatest extent possible, without the need for adaptation or specialized design.

Posted by rollingrains at April 16, 2008 01:22 AM