Wednesday, September 29
1:00 p.m. - Equity and Grace in Architecture (Keynote)
Presented by William Leddy, FAIA
Despite the robust national discussion around equity, diversity and inclusion in recent years, a wide gulf of understanding remains between prevailing architectural design values and the making of environments that truly welcome everyone. Bridging this gulf requires more than a broader familiarity with the principles and details of Universal Design. It requires that we evolve our shared design ethos to creatively embrace equity and grace as essential elements of best practice in architectural design. Much like sustainable, zero-carbon design, embedding the values of equity, diversity and inclusion in our built environment requires that we take an integrated design approach. Incorporating a few isolated Universal Design strategies in our buildings isn’t enough – although that would certainly be a good start. Instead, architecture in our pluralistic society should fully integrate the spirit of access for everyone, regardless of ability, race, ethnicity, age, or gender identity. It starts by actively engaging diverse voices throughout the design process, and proceeds with an abiding curiosity, empathy, and respect. It ends with the creation of flexible, inspiring environments that warmly welcome and celebrate the rich diversity of the human condition.
William Leddy, FAIA, will discuss these evolving concepts, providing context and examples from his firm’s practice. Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of the event participants will be able to:
- Deploy inclusive community design processes in design phases.
- Identify best practice strategies for the integration of Universal Design at a civic scale.
- Address the concept of “dueling disabilities” within the built environment.
- Identify low-cost Post Occupancy Evaluation methods that small firms can achieve
2:30 p.m. - Lessons in Universal Design and the Affordable Housing Commission
Presented by Clarence Olsen, AIA, NCARB
Looking back at precedents in urban infill projects utilizing affordable housing commission standards for universal design. New construction projects will be examined to study what challenges frequently occur.
2:30 p.m. - Digital Accessibility: Why it Matters and Who it Impacts
Presented by November Champion
Digital experiences and devices are how we live today – working, entertainment, even ordering our groceries online. But what happens when you have a disability and use a computer with different software and settings? Today’s session will explain how people with disabilities use digital experiences and devices, and we’ll talk to two Assistive Technology users about experiences that bring them joy, and experiences where they can’t get past the digital front door.
3:45 p.m. - Building and Rebuilding Digital Worlds (Keynote)
Presented by Matt May, Head of Inclusive Design at Adobe
Universal Design’s origins are based in architecture, a field that software designers
have long emulated. We’ve invented titles like “information architect,” talk about wireframes and
scaffolding, and think about the implementation work as the job of engineers. As we find ourselves
sitting in the digital world we’ve created, many of us want to redesign it to restore, or create, more
equal access. What lessons does UD still hold for us?
At its best, the web exemplifies the principles of UD: a wide range of affordances to the same set of
content and experiences. But it is rarely at its best. The one critical advantage we have over the built
environment, though, is the ability to reinvent the user’s own home, even while they live in it. We can
not only make simple adaptations to existing sites and apps, but also envision radical changes to make
those experiences more equitable.
So why aren’t we?
This session will apply the lenses of universal design, and its complement, inclusive design, to the
practice of software design. What can we learn from UD in the built environment, its origins and its
effects, to change how we approach the digital world? And what, if anything might architecture learn
from the web?
1. Understand the parallels between built-environment and online universal design
2. Learn about the different, but complementary, approach of inclusive design
3. Find out how the software industry takes stock of its own diversity and inclusivity obligations
4. Apply UD and inclusive design practices to digital product design
5:00 p.m. - UD Salon Chat
Thursday, September 30
9:00 a.m. - Co-designing Accessible Futures: Inclusive Assistive Technology Design Approaches (Keynote)
Presented by Foad Hamidi
An ongoing challenge in designing technologies for people with disabilities is a lack of meaningful inclusion of user perspectives in the design process. Historically, input from people with disabilities has not been adequately included in the design of emerging systems, resulting in technologies that pose accessibility barriers to users or inadvertently expose them to harm. Inclusive design approaches, such as Universal Design and Cooperative Design (Co-design), offer many tools and techniques for including diverse stakeholders in the design process, resulting in inclusive and accessible outcomes.
In this session, I will share findings from several research projects where we utilized participatory open-ended processes to include people with different disabilities in the design of assistive technologies. These projects include a customizable audio prototyping board for non-verbal children and a privacy elicitation toolkit for understanding the perspectives of older adults towards personalized assistive systems that dynamically collect and respond to user data. I will also discuss the impact of contextual factors, including culture and infrastructure, on the design process. Finally, I will conclude by describing open areas of inquiry and directions for future work in this space.
10:15 a.m. - How to Make Our Society Accessible: From the House to the City
Presented by Miren Leon, MSc. and Marcela Vega Higuera
This presentation will be about Accessibility Digest (AD), a graphic guide with all the necessary information to make design for all easier. It is a collection of graphic and technical datasheets with drawings, technical facts and good practice for different accessibility parameters, classified according to DALCO criteria (Ambulation, Apprehension, Location, Communication) and current Universal Design Regulations.
This project seeks to standardize accessibility in housing for all ages and abilities, as a right for people with disabilities. This right has strengthened during the pandemic as it has become a clear necessity. For example, around 63% of the homes in Spain are not accessible. This trend only gets worse in other countries. If the houses are not accessible, neither is the city. To have an inclusive society you have to start with the homes, then urban spaces to reach the larger community. AD helps in all three contexts when aligned with the three themes.
The presentation will show some examples of real misinterpretation of regulations, bad and good practices, and how the guide helps to understand the universal design parameters and therefore have spaces with higher quality.
10:15 a.m. - Making Equitable Connections: How the Public Realm and Parks Bring People Together
Presented by Jennifer Wilkins, Anna Leavey, Ted Spaid, and Frank Kartmann
The Brickline Greenway is designed as a thread to weave through the City of St. Louis as part of a network of parks, pathways, and public spaces, bringing communities together with a goal of social equity and universal access. At its western terminus, the Brickline will connect to Forest Park, the country’s largest urban park and home to multiple recreation venues that draw millions of St. Louisans and visitors every year. A segment of the Brickline will parallel and connect to the city’s light rail system, Metrolink, which bisects the northeast corner of Forest Park.
This session will review the overall physical and strategic framework of the Brickline Greenway, outlining their process for civic engagement and community input on universal access. Then we will zoom in to study several recent projects along the route of the Brickline, in and around the public realm of Forest Park and the neighboring Central West End, highlighting universal design issues at the Nature Playscape, East Waterways Improvements, and Central West End Metrolink Renovation.
10:15 a.m. - Architectural Affordances: Design Explorations for Enhanced Usability of Sport and Leisure Buildings for People with Mobility, Visual, or Hearing Impairments
Presented by Roberta Cassi, Ph.D.
Connecting with the conference’s theme of Universal Design and Public Places this presentation showcases design explorations that aim to improve spatial experiences of people with mobility, visual, and hearing impairments in sport and leisure buildings.
Participation in recreational and sport activities contributes to improve people’s health, well-being, and social inclusion. However, research indicates that people with physical and sensory impairments participate less in all forms of recreational and sport activities compared to those without impairments because of experienced physical and social barriers. This calls for a better understanding of how the built environment can be more responsive to users with diverse physical and sensory skills.
Based on two Danish case studies, which investigate how users with physical and sensory impairments relate to specific architectural features such as materiality, dimension, organization, lighting, and acoustic, the design explorations focus on how these features can be exploited in the design of the built environment for affording users more opportunities of physical and social activities.
The explorations aim to provide designers with insights into how physical and sensory qualities of architecture can be creatively designed for better enabling users to perceive, understand and make use of the space while feeling comfortable and socially included.
11:30 a.m. - Elegantly Aging in Place - Universally Designed Multi-Generational Housing
Presented by Jerry Kerr, Jere Fabick
9147 Clayton was created to inspire architects to design, homebuilders to build and homeowners to insist upon a Renaissance in living that will accommodate them throughout their entire lives. This paradigm shift in design allows the benefits of multi-generational living to be enjoyed by families across America.
The project (which began in July 2018) is focused on creating a highly desirable residential solution for all people with an environment which will enhance the quality of life of the aging baby boomer population, people with disabilities and their families and extend their ability to live independently.
We have collaborated extensively with people who have a broad range of disabilities; including multiple amputations, traumatic burn injuries, cognitive impairments, and aging Americans. By combining the latest in technologies with the elegant use of universal design, 9147 Clayton is a tangible solution to overcoming their real-life challenges and experiences.
11:30 a.m. - Universal Design in the Business and Corporate Environment
Presented by Jim de Jong and Troy Balthazar, M.Ed.
An important aspect of independence and community inclusion is the ability of businesses and corporations to open their doors to both customers and employees of all abilities. Universal Design in the Business and Corporate Environment targets people who operate businesses or support corporations in being as profitable and successful as possible.
Participants will learn how the 7 Principles of UD apply uniquely to the business environment and consider how businesses of all sizes can utilize these principles to enhance the inclusiveness of their environments for employees and customers. The presenters will share information on means by which businesses and corporations can begin to measure implementation of the 7 principles of UD.
Finally, business challenges and issues related to COVID-19 will be addressed in order to support businesses in maintaining the ability to serve customers in the changing business climate of the 21st Century. As a result, participants will leave with an enhanced understanding of how to maximize inclusiveness in the built environment now and in the future.
Information gleaned will also support ADA Title 3 entities in demonstrating a good faith effort toward meeting the regulations, standards, and spirit of the ADA, and position corporate leaders to promote their corporations as Employers of Choice for people with disabilities.
11:30 a.m. - Coping with Covid 19: Design Challenges & Lessons Learned
Presented by Gina Hilberry
Coping with the environmental challenges posed by the pandemic has created new problems to solve, new solutions to old barriers and highlighted the importance of prioritizing brain-based design responses. How does a person with low vision cue up to marks that are six feet apart on pavement? How does a person with hearing loss lip read? How can digital environments respond to multiple learning styles and needs? Is this just a matter of making temporary adjustments? Or are there lessons here that we can carry forward into future design practices? This session will look at the impact of Covid-19 on our design practices both current and future.
By looking at the currently accepted pandemic responsive practices in commercial and retail architecture, we can identify elements that create new barriers and look at a range of temporary and permanent inclusive design solutions.
1:30 p.m. - You Have the Power (Keynote)
Presented by Karen Braitmayer, FAIA
You have the Power includes a deep dive into the history behind the ADA and the
law’s impact on our buildings today, discussion of buildings that are pushing the boundaries of
accessible design into universal design and recommendations for how designers can use both the laws
and good design principals to bring social justice and inclusion into your projects.
1. Describe the history of the disability civil rights movement and how that lead to the passage of
2. Cite two buildings that have been designed to exceed the ADA minimums.
3. Identify the benefits to the community, and the disability community in particular, for five
4. List three ways to design beyond code/ADA minimums.
2:45 p.m. - Universal Design and Wellness Strategies for Senior Housing
Presented by Katie Schwamb and Samuel Tellechea
An integral part of designing high-performance spaces for an aging population is incorporating health and wellness and Universal Design strategies into the built environment. Wellness-focused design strategies can help protect senior populations from a range of health issues and support their overall wellbeing. Universal Design strategies help support changes in physical, visual, and potentially cognitive abilities due to the natural process of aging. Our presenters will discuss design strategies that address health and wellness and Universal Design with a pointed focus on their benefit to the senior population.
2:45 p.m. - Removing Barriers Inside and Out at the Soldiers Memorial Military Museum and Court of Honor
Presented by Karen Goering, Stanley D. Brown, Matt Snelling, Mark Sundlov, and Erik Biggs, AIA, CDT, LEED AP
Soldiers Memorial Military Museum in St. Louis opened in 1938, and its adjoining Court of Honor was completed in 1948. By the early twenty-first century, the site was largely unchanged. The building still housed original exhibits in galleries without air conditioning, and the grounds demonstrated decades of neglect. Critically, neither the Memorial nor Court of Honor were fully accessible to visitors with limited mobility.
When the City of St. Louis partnered with the Missouri Historical Society to oversee the renovation and take over day to day operations of the museum, creating an Accessibility Panel comprised of a diverse group of local disability advocates was an essential step towards integrating Universal Design goals into the design process from the start. The result is a renovation that maintains the historic integrity of this landmark while making the building, site, and exhibits accessible. The Court of Honor was renovated to enhance its design and provide accessible paths. A new ramp allows all visitors to enter the Memorial from the front, and a new, larger elevator inside provides improved access to all floors. Exhibits include components such as touchable models of the exterior sculpture, closed captioning on all videos, and 3D photographs.
2:45 p.m. - Universal Design in Outdoor Settings
Presented by Mike Trieglaff
This session will look at 3 outdoor settings, 2 parks and a public zoo and the use of Universal Design. The two parks include a two-acre neighborhood public park in Woodridge, IL. (Forest Glen Park) and a large 100-acre privately funded park, the Gathering Place in Tulsa, OK. The Forest Glen Park was part of the Access to Recreation Grant from the Kellogg Foundation that required the use of Universal Design and the Gathering Place funded by the Kaiser Foundation was designed to be as inclusive as possible and incorporated UD in the majority of its design. The third setting will be Brookfield Zoo and as the Access Coordinator for People with Disabilities, I was responsible for making sure the renovation of over half the zoo incorporated Universal Design principles into the facility designs as well as the exhibits. These 3 settings have all been recognized for their use of Universal Design as well as their inclusion of other members of the public. Time Magazine noted the Gathering Place as one of the top 100 places to visit in 2019. The National Recreation and Park Association have also noted the Zoo and park for their use of UD.
4:00 p.m. - Universal Design in Affordable Housing: Defining the Barriers to Housing Success
Presented by Wayne Crawford
The principles of Universal Design provide the cornerstone for a successful and productive life that allows individuals and families the opportunity to be a vital part of the fabric of their communities. This presentation will focus on the underlying issues that are keeping citizens from gaining access to affordable, quality, universal designed housing in Missouri.
The impact of discriminating density ordinances, unfair rental application fees, and rental procedures that discriminate against qualified applicants will be discussed. Strategies to blend the philosophies of universal design with these issues must be part of the universal design discussion if we are going to make UD a standard for housing development. A discussion of the effect these ordinances, codes, and discriminatory actions have on the growth of universally designed housing in Missouri and proposed solutions will be discussed in detail. This presentation is important to builders and individuals who benefit from universal design construction.
4:00 p.m. - Designing for Maximum Engagement
Presented by Stephanie Shepard
Student success is a universal goal of education. In an era when interdisciplinary collaborative learning is the norm, children with developmental needs are increasingly left behind. Educators work hard to close this gap, but they are often restricted by the environment. How can design help maximize access to learning opportunities for all students? In early 2020, Mackey Mitchell Architects began working with educators from Kennedy Krieger High School to design a new suite of makerspaces for adolescents with autism spectrum disorders.
This presentation documents the design process, which led to the development of tools to better anticipate, measure, and address social and sensory risk factors in the classroom. We will explore how risk can be mapped using quantifiable metrics, which can be customized to improve the design of any space. By removing the environmental obstacles to learning, all students have a better opportunity for success.
4:00 p.m. - Designing Homes that Make Life Easier: The Universal Design Living Laboratory National Demonstration Home & Garden
Presented by Rosemarie Rosetti, Ph.D.
The Universal Design Living Laboratory is the top-rated universal design home in North America, earning three national universal design certifications. This program is based on Rossetti’s real-life experiences as a person who uses a wheelchair. Join her to get an in-depth, unique, behind-the-scenes look at this home. Participants will take away practical approaches and resources to integrate universal design into their projects. This is a highly interactive presentation with the presenter who together with her husband led the design team, served as the general contractors, and live in the home.
Rossetti will review what works. Participants will identify smart design solutions that provide independence for home buyers with multiple needs and abilities, pinpoint design problems that negatively affect daily living, and gain a real-life understanding of universal design. Essential components for kitchens, bathrooms, wardrobe/laundry, and entrances will be illustrated, as well as products that are essential for any home. Learn what features and products captured the most interest from those who toured this home, as well as those that are providing the most independence, convenience, safety, and accessibility. Discover the fine points in the design that make this home stand out as a model of excellence.
5:00 p.m. - UD Salon Chats
Friday, October 1
9:00 a.m. - Keynote Presentation by Travis Threats, Ph.D.
Presented by Travis Threats, Ph.D.
10:15 a.m. - Designing Home Modifications for Independent Aging; How Interior Design Pedagogy Can Enhance Current Certifications
Presented by Denise McAllister, Ph.D., NCIDQ, RID
Interior design pedagogy offers strategies for engagement in problem-solving skills required to design interior spaces. This 90-minute presentation introduces skills required for the aesthetic and functional challenges involved. Each architectural project begins with a project program. This becomes the guiding document as the design and construction team navigate through any project. Programming fundamentals are introduced with the application of aesthetics through an introduction to the elements and principles of design as they relate to remodels. Beyond the fundamentals of accessible design, information outside current codes and anthropometric standards are discussed.
Design thinking strategies allow designers to analyze existing conditions and imagine alternative solutions. While It is important for someone who is designing to understand codes as a foundation, many codes are contraindicated for a person with restricted mobility but not using a wheelchair. This course provides information about design skills one can use to create a space for someone aging independently.
Many of the challenges which used to cause a person to move out of their existing home are now supported using smart home technology.Introducing some of the products available brings another dimension to independent aging projects. Designer strategies for locating and selecting these products is included.
10:15 a.m. - Establishing a Universal Design Process Informed by an Understanding of Human Ability
Presented by Sara Ferguson, Matthew Roeder, and Kevin Symons
Transition spaces have become essential to the way twenty-first century buildings function and impact the occupant experience. As designers strive to maximize efficiencies and meet user’s needs, these spaces can be programmed to accomplish more than just connection and movement.
This presentation shares a wide range of design approaches to improve the physical, sensory, and social landscape of corridors, lounges, entry and common spaces, based on a more nuanced understanding of human ability. From this baseline understanding, we will shift focus to examine how these design approaches play out when applied to the specialized needs of specific populations, including early childhood development, senior living, and deaf education.
By exploring common solutions between these diverse worlds, we begin to build a broader picture of best practices less dependent on an individual design typology and more dependent on a perception of human ability. Pushing toward a better understanding of human ability to inform design, we lay a foundation for building a more comprehensive design process finally worthy of being called Universal Design.
10:15 a.m. - Demystifying Accessibility Requirements and Universal Design Opportunities for Housing
Presented by Douglas Anderson, CASp, R.A.S, and Armando Tobias, AIA
Housing design and construction in the U.S. is regulated by many federal, state, and local standards and codes intended to ensure that people with disabilities have equal access to all types of living environments. The Fair Housing Act (FHA), Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the Accessibility Barriers Act (ABA), and the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 are the federal regulatory laws. Multifamily dwellings, affordable housing, public housing, and senior living facilities are among the housing categories covered by these laws.
But which regulations apply to which type of housing can be confusing. New construction or alteration? Private or public funding, or a combination? How do federal, state, and local accessibility requirements intersect? This session will discuss general applications of the various accessibility requirements to the housing industry. Regulatory standards and guidelines establish minimum accessibility requirements. While complying with the letter of the law, there are additional ways to create spaces and places that go beyond the minimum to advance a more socially sustainable model.
We will explore universal design features and methods that elevate housing design by creating inclusive environments that are usable by people with and without disabilities in the same way.
11:30 a.m. - Keynote Roundtable
Join UD thought leaders and keynote presenters Karen Braitmayer, Foad Hamini, William Leddy, Matt May and Travis Threats as they talk with each other about challenging projects, new ventures and hopes for the future of universal design.
Presented by Adam Edelbrock, Architect at Mackey Mitchell Architects
Parks, Recreation and Inclusive Design
Presented by Clarence Olsen
Outdoor recreation provides numerous opportunities for social engagement, connection to nature, and self-reflection. Insuring that these spaces can be enjoyed by all users requires careful assessment and design of the physical conditions. This presentation showcases examples of exemplary design that improve the functionality of outdoor space.
Play and Learning Landscapes for Autism: Best Practices in Design & Effective Collaboration Between Landscape Architects and Occupational Therapists
Presented by Jena Ponti Jauchius, PLA
Inclusive play and learning landscapes embrace the spectrum of children’s sensory needs and preferences and affords them many opportunities to explore, rest, and interact together. Collaboration between occupational therapists (OTs) and landscape architects is essential to create truly inclusive, supportive outdoor play and learning environments for all children, especially those with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). In this session, you’ll hear from an occupational therapist and a landscape architect who advocate for and make cross-discipline collaboration a common practice. This presentation will provide a brief overview of ASD and the specific, complex needs of this population as it relates to the design of schoolyards, learning landscapes, play areas, parks, and other public spaces. Specific design guidelines and features informed by OT’s understanding of sensory experiences of children with ASD will be related directly to real-world project examples of sensory-inclusive play and learning landscapes, followed up by additional considerations for effective collaboration across these disciplines.
Universal Design for Playgrounds
Presented by Suzanne Quinn, PhD
Universal Design principles for outdoor play equipment and play spaces can enhance the health, safety, and welfare of all children in a community. In this session we will learn about the relationship between outdoor play activities and Universal Design. We will discuss specific features of play equipment and play spaces that support play for people of differing abilities, and raise questions and discuss principles of Universal Design in park and playground case studies.
Universal Design as the Solution to Inclusion
Presented by Lauren Taylor
Basic overview of universal design, including design principles and ADA history, that educates listeners on universal design and how they can implement it in their lives. Listeners will also gain an understanding of disabilities and how to interact with people with disabilities from a person with a disability (myself).
Lighting the Way to Improve Wellness at Home
Presented by Doug Walter, AIA