What is Universal Design?

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Universal design is a philosophy of design that recognizes, and attempts to accommodate the broadest possible spectrum of human ability in the design of all products and environments. It requires sensitivity to, and knowledge about people of all ages and abilities. Sometimes referred to as “lifespan design” or “transgenerational design,” it encompasses and goes beyond the accessible, adaptable, and barrier-free design concepts of the past. Universal design helps eliminate the need for special features and spaces for “special people” (for example, people with disabilities) which are often different-looking, more expensive and can be stigmatizing. Universal design is about ability, rather than disability. It encompasses designs for the full human life cycle, from beginning to end.

The use of Universal Design elements in Homes can best be understood via this video of the Winchester Universal Design Show Home:


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