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.
Global Universal Design Commission
Increasing usability, safety, health, and social participation through design*
GUDC in Action
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."
The Global Network on Disability Inclusive and Accessible Urban Development (DIAUD) recently hosted a kick-off meeting outlining its agenda, organizational overview and featuring presentations by noted expert Fernando Jácome Gavilánez. Mr. Gavilánez is Coordinator of Foreign Affairs and Specialist in the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development for the Republic of Ecuador.
In 2016, we wrote about how Universal Design (UD) increases the usability, and safety and health, of buildings. UD is a paradigm for design of the built environment to address human diversity and increase access to the maximum extent. The Global Universal Design Commission (GUDC), a not-for-profit corporation, aims to increase understanding and use of UD in collaboration with the design, development, disability, and aging communities. Our partners include Ambassador Dr. Luis Gallegos, who is Honorary Chairman of the GUDC, and other prominent Ecuadorians leading in the promotion of the human rights of persons with disabilities and older adults.