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Universal Design

What is Universal Design?

ABLE Environments was formed in response to a growing demand for housing that meets the needs, both today and in the future, of not only maturing baby boomers and their parents, but people of all abilities.  In realizing this, there was a design concept first coined by North Carolina State University in the 1970’s called “Universal Design”.

Universal Design (UD) is the design of products and environments to be useable by all people, to the greatest extent possible, without the need for adaptation, or specialized design. In short, Universal Design fits all users regardless of age, height, skill, or physical functioning. There are seven principles for Universal Design:

Principle One – Equitable Use
The design is useful and marketable to all people with diverse abilities

Principle Two – Flexibility in Use
The design accommodates a wide range of preferences and abilities

Principle Three – Simple and Intuitive Use
Use of design is easy to understand, regardless of the user’s experience, knowledge, language skills or current concentration level.

Principle Four – Perceptible Information
The design communicates necessary information effectively to the user, regardless of ambient conditions or the user’s sensory abilities.

Principle Five – Tolerance for Error
The design minimizes hazards and the adverse consequences of accidental or unintended actions.

Principle Six – Low Physical Effort
The design can be used efficiently and comfortable and with a minimum of fatigue.

Principle Seven – Size and Space is Appropriate for Use
Appropriate size and space is provided for approach, reach, manipulation, and use regardless of the user’s body size, posture, or mobility.

Universally designed structures grant flexibility and reduce the need to make accommodations as an individual naturally ages, or if some unforeseen injury/illness affects their normal mobility. Busy families appreciate the effort saving aspects of the design, while senior or disabled individuals will not only appreciate the ease of use, but also may enable them to remain in their home longer as the existing homes can also incorporate the principles of UD. Many of the changes necessary to accommodate a variety of users can be done with minimal alterations.

buy, build, remodel, or renovate, ABLE Environments has the inventory of homes and partnerships throughout the construction industry to find the right home for you. If you are interested in finding out more about UD, or have a specific circumstance that you would like to discuss with us, please feel free to call (206) 617-3935 or write. We would love to talk to you.

Also, please visit the website for the Northwest Universal Design Council to learn more about local activities or become involved, and plan to attend the next quarterly meeting.

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