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We appreciate your interests in Universal Design, a global movement of inclusive design practice initiated at NC State University College of Design. The Center for Universal Design is currently not active due to funding challenges. We are working to revive the Center, hopefully in the near future. We are unable at this time to provide assistance to your design inquiries.

    Universal by Design, D-492    

I. Course Overview:

A new course is being developed at the College of Design this fall to be introduced in the spring semester of 2009. Called, Universal by Design (course #D-492), it will be an advanced undergraduate and graduate level course on universal design. This multidisciplinary course will facilitate understanding of universal design concepts and their application in architecture, landscape architecture, graphic design, industrial design, and art and design for the benefit of all individuals. The course will teach the principles and strategies for creating universal outcomes, the limitations of design for accessibility, and the differences between accessible and universal design in all design disciplines. The instructors will explore the international context and design history of universal design.

As a result of the class, students will be able to demonstrate knowledge of the beneficiary groups of universal design, the social context for universal design, and the designer’s responsibility in this regard. Students will be aware of the impact of the environment on human function and will understand the design implications when meeting the needs of people with different abilities and the natural range of human performance that can include variances in sight, hearing, movement, and cognitive processes.

Lead instructors from the Center for Universal Design will teach the course in collaboration with faculty from the departments of Architecture, Landscape Architecture, Graphic Design, Industrial Design, and Art & Design, College of Design, NC State University.

II. Background

Designers are increasingly called on to create safe and supportive environments and products that allow users to be more independent. While federal laws [e.g. Americans with Disabilities Act Standards for Accessible Design (US Department of Justice, 1994, rev.), Fair Housing Amendments Act Accessibility Guidelines (U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, 1991)] and various state and local accessibility building codes must be met, they only require a minimum level of responsibility from the designer to meet the needs of a changing population. Universal design can help to address these inadequacies by involving designers in more creative work beyond mere code compliance.

For more information: contact the Center for Universal Design, 919-515-8359. Email:
    © Copyright 2008 Center for Universal DesignCollege of Design, North Carolina State University
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