Global Universal Design Commission
Increasing usability, safety, health, and social participation through design*
GUDC in Action
As part of GUDC’s living laboratory approach, I interviewed Granite Development Company president Mark Congel about residential Universal Design’s return on investment. Congel has developed many properties in the Syracuse, New York including the universally designed apartment complex, Destiny Arms. We discussed financial and non-financial ROI as well as the impact Universal Design has had on Destiny Arms. This conversation pinpoints some of the unique benefits UD offers developers and builders.
As part of our ongoing study and observation of the GUDC certified Mary Free Bed YMCA I decided to check in with the project’s principal architect, Michael Perry to get an update on how Universal Design has impacted this particular YMCA and why Universal Design (UD) makes sense from a return on investment perspective.
With the global rise in the attention to accessibility, many countries have promulgated laws and regulations on accessible standards in public buildings and facilities. However, the question of how to implement them has remained largely unsolved.
Opened in 2015, the Mary Free Bed YMCA in Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA, is a state-of-the-art fitness facility designed using the principles of Universal Design (UD). Its design furthers accessibility and usability for all, regardless of user ability, age, and level of understanding (Blanck 2014).
"Inclusion drives innovation" is the theme of National Disability Employment Awareness Month in October, according to the U.S. Office of Disability Employment Policy. "Americans of all abilities must have access to good, safe jobs," said U.S. Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta in a news release announcing the theme. "Smart employers know that including different perspectives in problem-solving situations leads to better solutions. Hiring employees with diverse abilities strengthens their business, increases competition and drives innovation."