Permanent link to Research Commons versionhttps://hdl.handle.net/10289/15908
Universal design aims to reduce environmental barriers and enhance usability of buildings for all people, particularly those with disabilities. There are known challenges relating to the evaluation of universal design and evidence supporting this concept is limited. This study aimed to gather information on current practice and what stakeholders perceive as important to universal design evaluation. A mixed methods approach was employed, and data were collected via online survey (n = 157) and semi-structured interviews (n = 37). Participants included industry professionals, policy makers, government officials, academics, and people with disabilities. Just over one-third of participants stated that they had experience of evaluating universal design in public built environments. Checklists were most commonly used, yet participants expressed concern with their suitability for this purpose. Almost all participants perceived evaluation of universal design as important, citing its value to advocacy, professional development and strengthening the evidence base of universal design. Findings from this study highlight a tension between a desire for efficiency and consistency, as offered by a checklist approach, and the adoption of a holistic and multidisciplinary method of evaluation that encompasses the complexity of universal design application.
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