OPENING KEYNOTE:  A Disabled persons experience on the importance of universal design from a US and International Perspective

Presented by: Judy Heumann 

Judith Heumann has been a wheelchair rider since the 1950s.  She has been involved in the development of landmark legislation such as Section 504 and the Americans with Disabilities Act. This session will enable participants to learn about progress that has been made in the US and in other countries around the world as the result of effective implementation of these laws in the US and how others from around the world are benefiting from our expertise.  As the first Special Advisor for International Disability Rights at the US Department of State and the first Senior Advisor on Disability at the World Bank and as a former Chairperson of the US Access Board, Heumann’s personal and professional experience regarding the role of advocacy from civil society and the role of government in creating and implementing policies to advance universal design will be discussed.

Learning objectives:

1.  Learn about the role of paternalism, ableism and the medical model thwarted the advancement of universal design in the US and how progress has been occurring

2. Learn about the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and why it is important for the US to ratify this treaty in order to advance universal design in other countries.  Examples of barriers and progress will be discussed.  Individuals will be able to discuss the CRPD.

3. Learn about international efforts such as Smart Cities and the progress and barriers that exist to advance the inclusion of universal design in countries around the world.

Lunch Keynote: Inclusive Design in a Global Context

Presented by: Valerie Fletcher 

The Institute for Human Centered Design’s two core convictions drive our perspective that universal design must become intrinsic to good design now:

  • Design is powerful and profoundly influences our daily lives and our sense of confidence, comfort, and control.
  • Variation in human ability is ordinary, not special, and, affects most of us for some part of our lives. This is truer today than at any other time in human history.

We see design as the work of “changing existing situations into preferred ones.” [Simon, 1967] With that perspective, we focus our attention on places, things and communication but also on policy and planning.

Abroad, current architecture, policies and planning practices respond to cultural, physical, sensory and cognitive differences using methods and models not yet in common use here in the US.  As we look beyond our borders, there are ground breaking projects that explore new meaning and new critical demands in inclusive design.  We have much to learn and gain from these global efforts and examples.

Learning Objectives:

1.         Gain basic understanding of new inclusive design efforts in Europe and Asia.

2.         Study and examine examples of methods and concepts that approach inclusive design problems in differing cultures and population densities.

3.         Learn about architectural examples of inclusive design in a variety of settings, including historic buildings and properties which pre-date the US.

Keynote: Integration of Inclusive Design Into the Renovation of the Arch and the CityArchRiver Projects

Presented by: Anna Leavey, Arch Park Foundation and Vern Remiger, Remiger Design 

The renovation of the Arch and the CityArchRiver projects includes Kiener Plaza, the Old Courthouse, Luther Ely Square, the Arch Grounds, the Arch, the Museum and the Riverfront.  The projects are diverse settings and present a multitude of opportunities for good inclusive and accessible design.  As part of the initial process and throughout design and construction, the team worked with the National Park Service and a large group of designers and builders to create an environment that is fully and seamlessly welcoming to visitors and staff with diverse needs, interests and abilities.  As part of this process, the team convened a group of people with disabilities to participate in the design of all aspect of the project.  Together we will look at this method of participatory development, and at examples of the group’s design impact.

Learning Objectives:

1.         Learn about the concept and incorporation of people with disabilities into the design process for major civic projects.

2.         Gain insight into the importance of including a group of user experts with differing abilities in programming, design and documentation.

3.         Examine the impact of this group on the Arch project by looking at examples of changes made in response to their comments and questions.

Keynote: Gallaudet University: New Work & the Sixth Street Development

Presented by: Hansel Bauman 

Gallaudet University announced on October 15, 2015 that it has selected four finalists to compete in the second stage of its international design competition to select an architectural firm for its 6th Street development project.  The two-stage design competition seeks an outstanding multidisciplinary design team to create a new campus gateway and redefine the university’s urban edge as a vibrant, mixed-use, creative and cultural district.

“The design competition is an important first step in one of the most dramatic neighborhood revitalizations the District has seen in some time,” said Fred Weiner, assistant vice president of Administration at Gallaudet and CEO of the Gallaudet University Foundation. “This integration into the surrounding community will allow for greater opportunities for our students, faculty and staff to engage with those that live and work alongside us, and for those outside the campus boundaries to better understand our culture and the deaf ways of being.”  This project is the first time DeafSpace design principles will be incorporated into a public space off the Gallaudet campus.

Learning Objectives:

1.         Learn about the development and application of DeafSpace design principles in off-campus public spaces.

2.         Understand the role played by Gallaudet participants on the development of design finalist’s work and submissions.

3.         Look at the role of inclusive design in the development of an on- and off-campus neighborhood revitalization effort.

Reception: A Conversation with Judy Heuman and Marcie Roth

Join us for an open conversation with Judy Heumann and Marcie Roth, two experienced advocates who have served multiple administrations in a variety of critical capacities.  Colleen Starkloff will moderate the conversation and ask the speakers a series questions exploring today’s design work and their vision for universal design in coming years.

Following this short session, please join us for a reception and an opportunity to network and visit with fellow professionals, advocates, homeowners, and speakers.


A1: Shining a Light on Home Modifications
Presented by: Doug Walter and Jeni Finnigan

When addressing home modification for those with low vision, better lighting is one of the most profound improvements that can be made in a home and also one of the most affordable. Higher light levels are entirely achievable without increasing glare .

Learn through case studies, from an architect and an occupational therapist, lighting techniques from free to costly that will improve the luminous environment in any home. Learn to measure light levels with your phone.   And take home a list of products you can start using at work tomorrow to improve your clients’ lighting  AND their quality of life, function and independence.

The “rules” for lighting the home have changed dramatically.    LED’s are a true game changer, lasting 22 years on average compared to 1 year for the incandescent, while consuming 1/5th the electricity.  From the overwhelming selection available, learn what light bulbs to buy, and how the “right” bulb can deliver 10 times the illumination as another of equal output.  Discover how to better light any space.

Learning Objectives:

1.         Learn the “language” of lighting and how simple changes can dramatically improve your clients’ health, safety, and welfare, using LED replacements for obsolete incandescents.

2.         Study actual before and after case studies where light levels were increased up to 10 times, while reducing glare and giving clients more control of their luminous environment. Become your own lighting researcher using free light meter apps on your phone!

3.         Understand why daylight is the best light of all, and how to capture and manage it inside the home. Discover how “tuneable” LED lighting that mimics the color of natural light at different times of day can help entrain Circadian rhythms.

A2: Living in Place – Housing for All Ages and Abilities
Presented by:  Louie Delaware and Erik Listou

Level: Intermediate

UD and Aging in Place are not accepted nor practiced as well as intended. A positive business approach is being widely accepted by practioners and providers of products, services and their customers.

Learning Objectives:

1.         Recognize how living in place goes beyond Universal Design and Aging in Place.

2.         Illustrate the benefits to business, industry and consumers.

3.         Discuss community impact – now and for the future.

A3: Universal Design: Principles and Application
Presented by: Amanda Primm

Level: Beginning

This presentation will cover the basics of Universal Design as laid out by founder Ronald Mace. Principles and meaning of the principles will be discussed, as well as why it is more effective to build UD form the “ground up” rather than modifying existing structures. A case study of the Universal Design Training Apartment that exists within the Access and Technology building at the Southwest Center for Independent Living (SCIL,) including our purpose in constructing it, as well as what knowledge we have gained from the construction and use of the apartment. The session will also provide feedback that we have received from individuals with various disabilities, as well as from local contractors.

Learning Objectives:

1.         The principles of Universal Design for Beginners.

2.         Why choose universal design over home modifications.

3.         Universal Design as a learning tool/experience.

A4: Affordable Housing:  Types and Strategies
Presented by: Gina Hilberry

Level: Intermediate to Advanced

Using a group of case studies and design examples, the workshop will focus on affordable multi-family housing projects.  Discussion will include exploration of the wide range of concepts and types that are currently in use both locally and in other cultures and markets.  Within the context of Midwest traditions, we will examine in detail some of the design tools and support systems that provide opportunities for affordable housing in this region.  The role of resources such as MHDC and the St. Louis Affordable Housing Commission is an important element for local success.  The intersection of funding and development of UD Criteria has direct impact on the quality and adaptability of new multi-family housing in the region.  Case studies provide a tool for examining successful implementation of UD concepts within the confines of challenging budgets.

Learning Objectives:

1.         Review a global approach to affordable housing types – both new and traditional.

2.         Look at the role of local methodologies and support systems such as MHDC and the St. Louis Affordable Housing Commission.

3.         Examine design concepts and tools that relate specifically to multi-family affordable housing.


A5: Center for Enriched Living
Presented by: Richard Lehner and Armando Tobias

Level: Beginning

Center for Enriched Living is a community center for individuals with developmental disabilities. this session is a case study of a complete renovation of their facility, originally constructed in 1995 to better serve their needs.

Universal Design was identified as a goal from day one of the design process for the benefits to both members and staff. Challenges of implementing Universal Design in a renovation will be explored, as will the benefits to all uses of the facility, including staff. Within the facility is a universally designed kitchen designed to be usable by groups and by both members and staff. Unique design features of this space will be explored and design decisions explained to identify how the use informed the design.

Learning Objectives:

1.         Potential challenges in applying Universal Design standards in a renovation project

2.         Identify benefits of Universal Design in a social service context: benefits to both participants and staff.

3.         Key design considerations for Universal Design in kitchens for group use.

A6: Inclusive Design in Architectural Practice
Presented by: Gina Hilberry

Level: All

Architects experience the practice of inclusive design in a wide range of project sizes, client sensitivities, budgets, user needs and other parameters.  While the goals of inclusive design remain similar from project to project, the expression and the inherent difficulties can vary considerably.  Join us for an informal presentation which will include a few success stories, a few failures and a conversation between design professionals about our experiences.

Learning Objectives:

1.         Examine successful methods for incorporating inclusive design into a variety of project types.

2.         Learn about strategies that can be incorporated into daily design practices.

3.         Learn about design and review tools that can transform environments from accessible into enabling and welcoming places for people with diverse abilities and cultures.

A7: Universal Design: A Living History
Presented by: Amy Barnes and Mia Maksimowicz, A Universal Design Project, Inc.

Panelists: Jessica Dasher, Aaron Perez and Ashely Holder

Level: Beginning

History is a living concept.  As long as the clock is ticking, it never ceases to be created. A mix of housing for all ages & abilities, and universal design and public places, this session represents instances in historical districts where formerly residential spaces become places of business. The session will include a short film followed by discussion concerning:

Creation of loan packages that cover universally design improvements at a low rate of interest for property owners;

Creation of government issued tax incentive programs for property owners making UD improvements;

State and federal historic rehab funds to cover accessibility components in rehabs –
even when they are not part of the original property;

State and federal historic rehab programs to cover hardscaping improvements, providing safe ingress and egress from buildings; and

Changes in historic rehab assistance programs.

Learning Objectives:

1.         The importance of inclusion.

2.         How universal design benefits all.

3.         The role universal design plays in building a culture of health, wellness and social participation.


B1: Universal Design Strategies for Research and Program Development
Presented by: Brittany  Perez

Level: Intermediate

This session will provide strategies on how to integrate universal design practices into the research and program development processes. This session will present examples from research conducted at the Center for Inclusive Design and Environmental Access and programming in the Age Friendly Erie County initiative to demonstrate how universal design has been critical to inclusive community engagement and improved outcomes in research and program development. Participants will leave with tangible ideas on how to apply universal design and meaningful community participation in their own services, practice, research, or programming.

Learning Objectives:

1.         Outline ways to implement universal design strategies throughout the research process.

2.         Describe strategies for inclusive engagement of the community in research and program development.

3.         Identify barriers to inclusive research methods and programming and how to address them.

B2: Center for Wounded Veterans in Higher Education
Presented By: Richard Lehner and Armando Tobias

Level: Intermediate

Case study of the Center for Wounded Veterans in Higher Education at the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign. Designed as a campus veterans center and as a transitional living facility for veterans with multiple and severe disabilities the building was designed following the principles of Universal Design.

This session will describe the facility including the types of spaces, the programs available to veterans, benefits of Universal Design for this type of facility, challenges of implementing Universal Design during construction.

Learning Objectives:

1.         Identify pro-active approaches to controlling construction tolerances for effective implementation of Universal Design.

2.         Identify key design decisions that promote independent use with dignity by all facility users.

3.         Understand lessons learned for application to future projects.

B3: Beyond ADA in Public Accommodations
Presented by: Matt Lescher

Dormitories are among the most complex accessibility projects in the USA. In our country, the dorm may be subject to the requirements in the ADA, FHA, Section 504, and the Building Code. The dorm can present a unique mix of ADA Title I & II as well with barrier removal and program access. Further, many universities and colleges have their own set of accessibility requirements. These requirements must be followed for compliance and to provide equal opportunities for people with disabilities. This presentation will take you on a voyage through the accessible and inaccessible world of college living.

Learning Objectives:

1.  Attendees will understand what accessibility codes apply to dormitory projects.

2.  The audience will be able to identify what the triggering mechanism is for the different codes and laws.

3. Attendees will understand the most important technical requirements associated with the site, sleeping/dwelling units, amenities and other areas included in dormitories.

B4: SiteWise Super Suggestions for a Vision Friendly Community 

Presented by: Mary Ellen Daniel

Level: Intermediate

Seniors are the fastest growing age group in the United States.  All seniors have some reduction in contrast and required increased lighting for safety.  Those with macular degeneration and other eye diseases may also have other co-morbidities which impact safety at home and in the community.  Communities and institutions need to adapt environments to provide safe and accessible services for all.

SiteWise, a grant project, was developed and implemented using an easy checklist to assess public spaces, libraries, places of worship, community centers, medical centers, pharmacies, banks, and restaurants.  Assessments provided data from the parking lot through the entire utilization experience.  SiteWise provided before and after photographs and specific recommendations for low cost adaptations, educated business and community leaders on ways to increase participation and utilization while reducing injuries and liability costs, provided resources for staff training and increased customer satisfaction.

Learning Objectives:

1.         Participants will increase awareness of the escalating numbers of community dwelling seniors with vision loss and the impact of safety hazards on their community participation.

2.         Will identify a method for performing an environmental assessment using an easy checklist.

3.         Will explain easy, inexpensive adaptations and recommendations for safety and formulate ways to engage community business and leaders in this effort.

B5: Missouri History Museum & Inclusive Design to Museum Environments
Presented by: Sharon Smith

Level: All

For the last decade and a half, the Missouri History Museum has been creating exhibits with an eye to greater and greater inclusivity and diversity. But, those years have been as much about baby steps and growing awareness, always thinking about new ways to make the buildings and exhibits more universally inclusive for everyone.

The presentation will take participants on the journey through those years and provide some anecdotal stories and decisions about how one museum has become more inclusive.

1.         Understand the challenges faced by museum designers and curators when working to create inclusive exhibits and spaces.

2.         Review methods and techniques that have helped to integrate inclusive design practices into day-to-day museum operations.

3.         Look at specific technologies and design requirements addressing sensory experiences that are critical to inclusive museum environments.

B6: Design and the Five Dimensions of Human Ability

Presented by: Marcus Adrian

Level: Beginning

While design continues to grow toward a fuller understanding of human potential and the many differences in ability from person to person, we have had a tendency to over- emphasize the physical dimension of being, both with public policy and thought leadership. This presentation seeks to broaden that understanding. We will begin by exploring the other four dimensions: sensory, social, cognitive, and empathic, and demonstrate how building design and campus planning can help unlock and empower human potential in each. Presenting case studies of projects for a wide variety of special needs populations, we will explore holistic strategies and specific design ideas that have proven successful to broaden inclusion, increase awareness, and elevate human endeavor.

Learning Objectives:

1.         Describe the five dimensions of human ability, how they vary from person to person, and across the lifespan.

2.         Develop design strategies that broaden inclusion by addressing multiple dimensions of human ability.

3.         Develop city or campus planning strategies that promote a fuller understanding of inclusion by heightening everyone’s understanding of human ability.

B7: DeafSpace Principles in Practice
Presented by: Hansel Baumann

In support of Gallaudet University’s mission to “ensure the intellectual and professional advancement of deaf and hard of hearing individuals,” an emerging approach to architecture and planning developed at Gallaudet known as DeafSpace ensures the campus setting is responsive and expressive of the rich relationship between deaf and hard of hearing experiences and the built environment.  Join us for a discussion about DeafSpace and recent experience incorporating these design concepts and tools into current projects.  This workshop will focus on the development and practice of these guidelines.

Learning Objectives:

1.         Understand the spatial challenges which demanded the development of DeafSpace.

2.         Review the types of design recommendations that were developed and how they translate into practice during design and construction.

3.         Learn how DeafSpace can be practically and immediately applied to projects in general practice.


C1: Universal Accessibility, Emergency Preparedness and Disaster Response 

Presented by: Marcie Roth 

Universal accessibility is an imperative for effective emergency preparedness and disaster response, optimizing limited resources and minimizing the disproportionate impact of disasters on individuals with disabilities and older adults. When communities begin the process of recovery after a disaster, they have an unprecedented opportunity for investing in universal accessibility throughout all aspects of their recovery strategy. This session will address obligations, opportunities and strategies for achieving true community disaster resilience through universal accessibility approaches benefitting the whole community.

Learning objectives:

1.         Understand the accessibility issues impacting people with disabilities and older adults before, during and after disasters

2.         Learn about legal obligations for complying with accessibility requirements before, during and after disasters

3.         Understand the opportunities for universal design throughout the emergency management cycle

4.         Learn about the funding opportunities for universal design

C2: Supporting Older Adults in Public Places
Presented by: Adam Fromme

Level: Intermediate

Most of our public spaces do not support the wants of our aging population, and few designers have confidence in making informed decisions–often relying on limited experience or broad assumptions.

With the aging population increasing, this session will present a framework to support the decision-making process for the design of public spaces that includes older adults. This framework relies on design research and universal design principles to support their needs.

Informed by two years of university-supported research (survey, interviews, and co- design workshops), this session will present the current needs of older adults, translate those needs into physical space features, and highlight how the proposed framework can guide decision-makers through the process.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Session participants will gain an understanding of the physical, cognitive and social needs of older adults, with a focus on Baby Boomers (those born between 1946-1964).2.
  2. Session participants will learn about design research and how universal design principles can support the needs of older adults, as well as the community at large.
  3. Session participants will be presented with a framework supporting the needs of older adults in the decision-making process of public space design.

C3: Universal Design in Parks
Presented by: Craig Eichelman (Panel Moderator), Anne Marie Kinerk, Matt Wright, Teresa Kelly

Level: Beginning

To increase the Kansas City region’s understanding of universal design as applied in outdoor spaces, two suburbs implemented UD park charrettes in 2016. This session will highlight key elements of the charrette process, how charrette suggestions are aligned with UD principles, and recommendations to incorporate UD principles in future city planning.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Participants will be able to identify how the seven universal design principles can be implemented in a park setting
  2. Participants will be able to integrate universal design elements in park settings that will benefit residents of all ages and abilities.
  3. Participants will learn how to utilize the design charrette experience to provide an understanding of how UD principles can be integrated into park and urban design in communities.

C4: A Case Study for Community Engagement & Universal Design
Presented by: Zully  Alvarado

Level: Beginning

How the City of Gary’s Miller Neighborhood Spotlight groups is capitalizing on its diversify by implementing multi-phase projects that make the community an accessible, enjoyable living space for all our residents and visitors.

Promoting full inclusion through our Civil Rights Laws; allows facilities, trails, green- ways, blue-ways; event planning to implementation, for community residents and stakeholders: public, private and non-profit sectors working together to identify their collective vision and priorities for Gary, Indiana and the greater Chicagoland area.

The process of sharing lessons learned with our neighboring communities allows for sustainability and replicability of successes; a win-win for all.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Understanding the importance of conducting a SWOT Community Analysis
  2. Engaging residents & stakeholders in identifying their collective vision and priorities
  3. Applying universal design principles in determining the top community priorities from concept to usability

C5: Center for Enriched Living
Presented by: Richard Lehner and Armando Tobias

Level: Beginning

Center for Enriched Living is a community center for individuals with developmental disabilities. this session is a case study of a complete renovation of their facility, originally constructed in 1995 to better serve their needs.

Universal Design was identified as a goal from day one of the design process for the benefits to both members and staff. Challenges of implementing Universal Design in a renovation will be explored, as will the benefits to all uses of the facility, including staff. Within the facility is a universally designed kitchen designed to be usable by groups and by both members and staff. Unique design features of this space will be explored and design decisions explained to identify how the use informed the design.

Learning Objectives:

1.         Potential challenges in applying Universal Design standards in a renovation project

2.         Identify benefits of Universal Design in a social service context: benefits to both participants and staff.

3.         Key design considerations for Universal Design in kitchens for group use.

C6: Parks, Recreation & Inclusive Design
Presented by: Clarence Olsen

Level: Intermediate

Public space provides a vital need for public socialization, recreation, and civic engagement.  Public space is where culture is lived out, and where expression abounds.  Creating truly inclusive public space requires understanding the varied ways that people utilize these spaces, and the importance of integrating accessibility into the very fabric of our public realm.

From urban plazas and neighborhood pocket parks, to sculpture parks and regional parks, cities and communities are developing incredible examples of inclusive public space.  By analyzing these examples, we will learn how public space is advancing and ways to continue to enhance access for all.  This new paradigm in public space will exemplify the benefits of inclusive design planning for projects of all scales.

Learning Objectives:

1.         Importance and role of placemaking.

2.         Drivers of public accessibility.

3.         Influence of urban density on access.

C7: Not Your Grandmother’s Bus Stop
Presented by: Kari Turner

Level: Beginning

Transit stations—from bus stops, to bus rapid transit stations, to light rail, and subway stations—all contribute to the mobility of people within a community. There are good examples of transit systems that provide universal access and examples of systems that are less successful in serving all members of a community. This session will look at the evolution of transit station design and how they can be designed and imagined to serve the needs of all community members. It will focus specifically on bus stops and bus rapid transit stations to show how they can be designed to be appealing, welcoming, and integrated into community. Design solutions that respond to the needs of the transit operators, the passengers, and enhance the perception of transit will be shared.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Understand how current transit facilities are integrating universal design strategies.
  2. Understand the roll transit plays in increasing community access for all.
  3. Understand how the connection of transit stations to public places and private development elevates the perception of transit and enhances universal access.