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Design for Everyone, Disabled or Not


January 7, 2007
National Perspectives By Lisa Chamberlain

St. Louis, MO - SHARON M. BROWN cried tears of joy the first time she took a
shower without assistance in her new apartment. She had not been able to do
anything more by herself than take sponge baths since she was hit by a
drunken driver six years ago, further complicating the multiple sclerosis
that had been diagnosed years earlier. For someone who had once hiked 100
miles of the Appalachian Trail, she never thought taking a shower would be
such a milestone.

Ms. Brown's apartment building  which has bathrooms that are accessible to
people in wheelchairs, including roll-in showers  is a milestone itself. The
building, 6 North, opened in March 2005, and it was the first large-scale
residential building in the country where all the units were built using
what are called universal design principles.

While building codes set a minimum standard regarding accessibility,
universal design is a relatively new concept that seeks to go beyond those
codes to make the built environment usable by all people without the need
for adaptation. This might include kitchen islands with adjustable-height
countertops, front-loading washers and dryers, roll-in showers, and no-step
entrances, eliminating the need for ramps.

But the important point, according to universal design advocates, is that it
looks and feels like a normal apartment building. Rather than relying on
designs that can segregate people according to their disability (impaired
vision versus low mobility, for example), the intent of universal design is
to create products and environments usable by as many people as possible,
including people with no disabilities at all.

According to the Center for Universal Design at North Carolina State
University, universal design is increasingly available, but few if any other
large-scale buildings have used the concept throughout an entire building.
The term "universal design" was coined in 1989 by the architect Ron Mace,
who developed a set of seven principles, like "low physical effort" and
"simple and intuitive use." Mr. Mace founded the center, in Raleigh, before
he died in 1998 to further develop and integrate the principles into
everyday life.

Colleen Starkloff and her husband, Max, who was paralyzed in a diving
accident as a young man, wanted to build a national model of universal
design. Through Paraquad, a nonprofit organization they formed in 1970, they
had been searching for a developer who would undertake a universal design
project. It was 2003 when Richard D. Baron, the chairman and chief executive
of McCormack Baron Salazar, a nationally known builder of mixed-income urban
developments, contacted them with what he thought might be a potential site
for the project.

"He called me and said: I think I have a good site. How many units do you
want to be universal design?' I said: Richard, I want all of them to be
universal design. That's the point: universal.' And he kind of hesitated and
said, O.K., we'll make it work.' "

Mr. Baron hired Andrew Trivers, founding architect of Trivers Associates, to
create a mixed-use environment for nondisabled people as well as people with
a wide range of disabilities.

The building, in a St. Louis neighborhood called the Central West End, is 95
percent leased, with only 20 units occupied by people with disabilities,
which is fine by Ms. Starkloff. "The whole point is integration," she said.

For Jacqueline Benoit, integration meant more than living next door to
people without disabilities, but being able to live with and take care of
her son Johnathan again. Ms. Benoit was on her way to work four years ago
when a driver struck her car. After six months of intensive care, she was
able to breath on her own again. But the accident left her partially
paralyzed, and she was sent to nursing homes for three years while her son
stayed with relatives.

Ms. Benoit and Johnathan, now 7, moved into a two-bedroom, two-bath
apartment in 2005, which includes subtle design features like door handles
instead of knobs for easier grasping, a dishwasher and oven that are set
into the wall and raised about 18 inches off the ground (a usable height for
people standing and sitting), and a stove with control knobs in front of the
unit rather than toward the back.

The design features make life more manageable for Ms. Benoit, but the
building also offers something for Johnathan. "He loves the weight room,"
Ms. Benoit said. "We go together and I work on my arm. I'm happy to be alive
and be able to take care of my son."

Before designing 6 North, Mr. Trivers had never used universal design
principles, but now he is a convert. "This is the future," he said. "People
are living longer and because of health care technology, they aren't dying
from accidents and disabilities the way they used to. So the question is,
how do you design so it doesn't look like it is for or is only usable by
someone with a specialized need?"

Richard C. Duncan, the senior project manager for the Center for Universal
Design, said: "Most people think U.D. is a term that is synonym with
accessible design. But it has this other element that is different: a social
equity component. That is an invisible part of the product.

"So, for example, a ramp is very difficult to integrate into the design of a
building," he continued. "We advocate for entrances that are step free, that
everyone can use, whether you have a problem with stairs or you're just
carrying packages."

Mr. Duncan toured 6 North when it opened with other disability advocates and
developers, and said the building was serving as a model. "And that is
progress because what we don't want are one-off projects, but full
integration," he said.

Most "handicapped accessible" buildings, he also pointed out, have two
different apartment designs: "normal" units and accessible units for people
with disabilities. "And neither are in fact very user friendly," he said.
"The point of universal design is integration of design principles into all
aspects of the built environment so as not to be obvious for one or
another."

For instance, at 6 North, what looks like interior decoration is actually
intentionally contrasting colors to allow people with limited vision to
navigate the space. In the hallways, carpeting in front of apartment
entrances is darker to signal the door's location. Next to each entryway is
a small shelf, which looks like a nice design detail but is also a handy
spot for people to put down mail or packages while they open the door. This
is, of course, equally convenient for a parent carrying a baby or people
with partial paralysis.

Jacquelyn Kish is one such person with partial paralysis, the result of a
brain aneurysm and stroke she suffered 18 months ago. She moved into 6 North
recently in order to resume rescuing injured or abandoned animals, which she
was forced to give up when she was in a nursing home and lost her house as a
result.

"I was told I shouldn't leave the nursing home until I could walk," Ms. Kish
said while petting one of her rescued cats. "But I was determined to live on
my own again. I can do that here."

As for Ms. Brown, living independently is more important than having hiked
on the Appalachian Trail. "Being able to take care of yourself  you don't
appreciate that until you're told you can no longer do it," she said.

Source: New York Times
http://www.nytimes.com/2007/01/07/realestate/07nati.html


12.01.2007

All news:

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“Incredible stories of invisible lives” exhibition in Uzice
Draft of Law on Social Protection
30 years United Nations Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women
Opening Conference of the European Year for Combating Poverty and Social Exclusion,
The sky's the limit for disabled athletes in Serbia
CRPD Ratifications reach 76
Round table "Development the advocacy capacities of organisations of persons with disability in Serbia"
With Parthership Towards Development
FREE OUR PEOPLE NOW!
COMMEMORATING THE INTERNATIONAL DAY FOR THE ELIMINATION OF VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN
Center for Disease Control and Prevention, USA
Persons with disability in politic life everywhere
ENIL has 777 members in Facebook
Disability and policy
„Love and Kindness“ Fund
New ratifications
Women with disability
„A Midnight Summer Dream“
Court Cases filed in the Name of Persons with Disability
Freedom Drive 2009 - Demands
INFORMATION FOR PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES ABOUT H1N1 VIRUS
My world has changed – two stories in one
European Citizen Award
Not just a pretty Facebook
First deaf Member of Parliament is sworn in
Letter to Prime Minister Cvetkovic
PA Service in Leskovac too
International Day of Persons with Disabilities - 3 December 2009
MIDWAY
New TV broadcast
Malta: MOTE - My Opinion My Vote
Access to persons with disability
„CLOSER TOGETHER“ PROJECT
SERBIA RATIFIED UN CONVENTION
Court case dealing with UN COnvention in Germany
Europe Day
Convention sign-ups
WHY SHOULD EUROPE INCREASE THE MATERNITY LEAVE?
Learning disability genes found
Poland: Disabled People Excluded from EU Elections
International Autism Day
Coucil for persons with disability
My right to be healthy
NEW RATIFICATION
International Day of Rare Diseases
PERSONAL ASSISTANCE BILLS
Disability Equality: Promoting Positive Attitudes
SERVICE IN JAGODINA
White House launched a new website today and disability issues are highlighted under the Agenda heading
Conference on Cooperation for Improvement of Disability Policy in Serbia
Workshhop on CRPD
First Committee of Experts on Disability Rights Convention Elected
GREAT SUPPORT TO ANTONIJEVIC FAMILY
Parking for everyone
Electoral rights for PWDs in Albania
Petition
The ways of integration
Finding a College That Suits Students “With Special Needs”
Another silver medal for Serbia
Paralympic silver
The Annual march for Disabled Visibility in Madrid
Good Practise/Bad Practice
UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD)
Free our People!
All... but not retard.
European Day of Disabled People 2008
Parents' fury at 'Down's Syndrome dolls'
Eurobarometer on discrimination
Less sex, less fun
Coming Soon, a Braille Silver Dollar
Roads to integration
Disability proves no barrier to Olympic inclusion
Media and Disability
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Bishop
Are there any changes in preparations for Paraolympics?
U.N Issues Stamps to Commemorate Disability Treaty
Beijing 'sorry' for offending disabled
Government unveils new package for disabled children
China Sets Gold Standard in Offending Disabled
Smederevo Coalition
Way to Independence
On Empowerment
Assistive Technologies
Press Conference
Wishes could come true
Seminar on reforms of social protection system
National Conference on Gender Equality
Mobility International Seeks Young Adults
Wal-Mart settles with applicant with disability [USA]
First Contestant with a Disability to Compete for Miss USA Title
INFO - CENTER
INACCESSIBILITY IS DISCRIMINATION!
UN Convention on PWDs rights
Conference on National strategy for Youth
Bits and pieces from Slovenija
Meeting with Bozidar Djelic
Focus group “Social services for PWDs“
SHARE SEE Grantee Training
Make a date
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Sombor hosted workshop "sex, gender, disability"
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Seminar HUMAN BEING AND ITS ENVIRONMENT
Project From Alternative to Standardisation
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Youth Regional conference
Are we going to Europe?
Disability Guide to Disneyland Paris
POI Conference "From cause to the result: New approaches towards disability"
Open Letter to the Government, Members of National Assembly Competent Institutions and Policy Makers
Centre plan for disabled actors
An Autistic Dream
MEETING ON DISABILITY ISSUES IN SERBIA
A PARAGIDM SHIFT FROM 'CHARITY' TO 'RIGHTS AND DIGNITY'
Transport benefits
New Visa rules
Disabled rights champion honoured
Map of the World
Serbia is going to sign UN CRPD
WORKSHOP IN CAIRO
Seminar on Women with Disabilities
Adaptation of living environment for Persons with Disabilities
Program „Contact Organisations from the Civil Society”
Community Living for Disabled People Must Be Made a Priority
Celebrating 3rd December
Celebrating the 3rd December 2007
FILM FESTIVAL OBSERVING 3 DECEMBER
National Umbrella Organisation mark 3rd of December
ENDING OF SHARE SEE TRAINING PROGRAM
SHARE SEE IV MODULE – NISKA BANJA
IMPORTANT DAYS TO CELEBRATE
To Ministry of Labor and Social Policy
SHARE SEE training in Predejane
Recognising the Rights of Girls and Women with Disabilities
SHARE SEE IV MODULE IN SMEDEREVO
Creation the Local Plans of Actions in Disability Area
SHARE SEE IV MODULE – BELGRADE
TODAY IS THE DAY OF UN
Goodbye mouse hello voice controls
Elena Pecaric
Award
AWARENESS RISING
INTERNATIONAL DAY OF POVERTY REDUCTION
ADA RESTORATION ACTION CENTER
WHERE IS SERBIA
Disability Rights Treaty on Verge of Making History?
The Days of European Heritage in Belgrade, 20-30 of September
Council of Europe in Zagreb
Seoul Declaration
Virtual interpreter turns speech into sign language
Strasbourg Freedom Drive
UN Convention
Jagodina hosted the Third Table tennis tournament "Jagodina Trophy"
Hungary ratified UN Convention
Convention on Child Protection
UN convention on disability rights reaches milestone in signatories
IIIrd INTERNATIONAL SMILING CHILD FESTIVAL
Your dressing room on the Internet
Chosen home life a basic right for disabled people
SPORT RESULTS
What Can They Do?
III Module of trainings accomplished
SHARE SEE trainings
Project with young activists finished
Special EUROBAROMETER 263 “Discrimination in the European Union”
Seminar on Independent Living in Macedonia
It's Deaf Awareness Week 7-13 May
International Day of Families (15 May)
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Test on Autism
UN Headquarters, New York, NY
Presentation the UN Convention in Belgrade
Presentation of UN Convention on rights of persons with disabilities in Jagodina
SHARE SEE training in Belgrade
SHARE SEE training for Leskovac cluster
SHARE SEE Module II in Nis
The U.S. Embassy has a pleasure to invite you
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I N T E R V I E W
GATEWAY
DYSGRAPHIA
UN Study of Violence Against Women Finds 50% of Disabled Women Experience Abuse
Launch of the Year of Equal Opportunities
Interesting events
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Homes that Meet Life’s Changing Needs
Awards for the best Campaign, PAs and users within the PASS project
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STRATEGY
EDUCATION FOR MEMBERS OF POLITICAL PARTIES IN NOVI SAD ON BASIC FACTS ON DISABILITY ISSUES!
AWARDS COMPETITION
UN Convention adopted
Tribune on UN Convention in Novi Sad
Round table in Sarajevo
Evropean Union and Persons with Disabilities
Promotion of International Convention on Rights of Persons with Disabilities
PASS presentation in Bosnia and Herzegovina
International Day of Disabled Persons
World Congress on Disability
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Universal Design
European Conference in St Petersburg
UN reward to Poland
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8th Conference of the European Union of Supported Employment
The implementation of Poverty Reduction Strategy goes on



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