Bangaroo with wheelchair FINALJust what are the goals and principles of Universal Design? You cannot afford to miss the 2nd Universal Design conference being held in Sydney in August.  The event is essential for people who have an interest in the latest developments in housing, sport and recreation, design education and public policy.

“One of the biggest challenges facing universal design in Australia is the attitudes of decision-makers and company directors who think that inclusion is someone else’s business,” conference organiser, Dr Jane Bringolf told F2L. “Even though nearly every family has a member with a disability or an impairment they don’t’ take this experience to work with them to change their thinking and their business agenda.” Another is the lack of accessible housing. “The National Disability Insurance Scheme has brought this to the forefront recently,” she said.

Bringolf said the conference is for people who want to see a world that embraces diversity and encourages social and economic inclusion, specifically local government, architects, designers, academics, policy makers and planners. “Everyone has to take responsibility for their part in making it happen.”

Four keynote speakers will cover the built environment, communications and media, travel and tourism and inclusive planning policy. Speakers include Goh Siam Imm, technical director of the Singapore Universal Design Department, Professor Gerard Goggin from the University of Sydney, Professor Simon Darcy from Sydney University of Technology and South Australian MLC, Kelly Vincent. Dr Margaret Ward will present the latest on legislative measures for UD in housing while Helen James will speak about the New Zealand experience in universal housing design.

“The program is diverse and covers many of the areas where UD can be applied,” Bringolf said. 

The conference program has been expanded to include a pre-conference site visit to the Sydney Opera House, to see how its accessibility master plan is being implemented as well as a workshop session with City of Sydney staff and the development of the Green Square Aquatic Centre.

The conference is being held at the Sydney Town Hall, August 30-31, hosted by Council on the Ageing (COTA NSW).

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