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Id 527
Author Jones P.
Title Situating universal design architecture: Designing with whom?

Jones P.; Situating universal design architecture: Designing with whom? ;Disability and Rehabilitation vol:36 issue: 16.0 page:1369

Keywords Architecture; Participation; Universal design; Users
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Abstract Purpose: To respond to growing calls for a theoretical unpacking of Universal Design (UD), a disparate movement cohering around attempts to design spaces and technologies that seek to allow use by all people (to the fullest extent possible). The on-going embedding of UD into architectural practice and pedagogy represents an opportune juncture at which to draw learning from other distinct-but-related transformatory architectural movements. Methods: Sociological-theoretical commentary. Results: UD has to date, and necessarily, been dominated by the practice contexts from which it emerged. Appealing as a short-hand for description of "designing-for-all", in most cases UD has come to stand in as a term to signal a general intent in this direction and as an umbrella term for the range of technical design resources that have been developed under these auspices. There remains a fundamental ambivalence vis-à-vis the question of users' power/capacity to influence decision-making in the design process in UD; technically-oriented typologies of bodies predominate in influential UD architectural accounts. Conclusions: UD represents rich technical and pedagogical resources for those architects committed to transforming the existing built environment so as to be less hostile to a wide range of users. However, within UD, unpacking the social role of the professional architect vis-à-vis a variety of publics is an important, but hitherto underdeveloped, challenge; issues concerning professional-citizen power relations continue to animate parallel architectural politics, and UD can both contribute and draw much from these on-going explorations.Implications for RehabilitationUniversal Design (UD) architecture shares a close affinity with rehabilitation practice, with the creation of built environments that allow use by individuals with a wide range of capacities a priority for both.While an effective communicative "bridge" between professions, UD's deployment typically leaves unspoken the capacity of users to meaningfully affect decision-making in the design process.UD architecture has much to draw from, and contribute to, parallel movements in "participatory architectural design"; debates therein have illuminated much about the social practices underpinning designing for difference.UD could engage more fully with questions relating to the social and political role of the architect. © 2014 Informa UK Ltd.



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