The Bespoke Hotel group owns 200 properties around the world, and is the UK's largest independent hotel group. In recent years Robin Sheppard, CEO of Bespoke, has become a champion of universal design in the hospitality sector. Sheppard himself uses a wheelchair.
Housing is an ongoing challenge for many people with disabilities, as the cost of housing keeps rising – exponentially in many communities. On her blog Free Wheelin, writer Karin Willison describes the “tiny house” on wheels as a solution that is affordable and can be easily worked into existing communities.
Classrooms may start to look a little different, if school board’s take notice of one Quebec teacher’s initiative. Lyanna Bravo is the vice-principal of Laval’s Souvenir Elementary school and has introduced flexible seating into her classrooms. Bravo says just as the rest of our world is evolving in areas like business and technology, education and classroom layouts should also evolve.
Domenic Cuda previously worked for a home construction company. A tragic ATV accident ten years ago had a life changing effect on Cuda which left him with complete paraplegia. Cuda asked his former employer, Fred Losani, to collaborate with him to build a fully accessible home for him and his family.
The field of universal design (UD) encompasses a range of topics, whether it’s at the level of urban planning, the design of a building or space within a building, or an object within that space. One review describes the book Universal Design: Creating Inclusive Environments as follows: “introduces designers to the principles and practice of designing for all people.”
The One Voice for Accessible Information and Communications Technology Coalition produced an in-depth report analyzing all key issues at the intersection of mobile apps and individuals with disabilities. The document covers how apps are accessed, what they can do, tips for developers, and barriers and issues to be dealt with in the future.
In Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, the Universal Mobility Index (UMI), a measure of the accessibility of neighbourhoods, has been tested and shows promising results. It was developed by Visionary Design Development, a trans-disciplinary consulting firm that focuses on human needs as they relate to the built environment.
Jan Erickson, an American woman from Colorado, discovered that creating fashionable and practical items could become a fulfilling business opportunity. Her journey into the world of universal design and fashion began when she made a jacket for a member of her faith community who had experienced several strokes and was in the hospital. Not only was it comfortable and aesthetically pleasing, but it could readily be donned and doffed.