Achieving full participation through Universal Design

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1 Achieving full participation through Universal Design

2 Achieving full participation through Universal Design Report drawn up by Mr Søren Ginnerup, Consultant In co-operation with the Committee of Experts on Universal Design (Partial Agreement (P-RR-UD)) Adopted by the Committee on the Rehabilitation and Integration of People with disabilities (CD-P-RR) Integration of people with disabilities Publishing

3 French edition: Assurer la pleine participation grâce à la conception universelle ISBN The opinions expressed in this work are the responsibility of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the official policy of the. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be translated, reproduced or transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic (CD-Rom, Internet, etc.) or mechanical, including photocopying, recording or any information storage or retrieval system, without prior permission in writing from the Public Information and Publications Division, Directorate of Communication (F Strasbourg Cedex or Cover design: Graphic Design Workshop, Publishing F Strasbourg Cedex ISBN , April 2009 Printed at the

4 Contents Executive summary Introduction Definition of Universal Design/Design for All Accessibility Universal Design and assistive technology Universal Design as a method European position on Universal Design Historical events The current situation Recommendations to governments Recommendation 1: Adopt and decide Recommendation 2: Co-ordinate Recommendation 3: Implement Recommendation 4: Evaluate Examples of good practice in relation to the Council of Europe Plan and its action lines General actions Action line 1: Participation in political and public life Action line 2: Participation in cultural life Action line 3: Information and communication

5 Achieving full participation through Universal Design 4.5. Action line 4: Education Action line 5: Employment Action line 6: The built environment Action line 7: Transport Action line 8: Community living Action line 12: Legal protection Action line 14: Research and development Action line 15: Awareness raising Appendix

6 Executive summary Universal Design is a strategy for making environments, products, communication, information technology and services accessible to and usable by everyone particularly people with disabilities to the greatest extent possible. Barriers to participation in social life can be avoided when Universal Design principles are applied to mainstream policies and solutions right from the early stages of planning. This report shows that many European countries have had very positive experiences with Universal Design/Design for All initiatives, but also that full advantage of the possibilities has not yet been taken. To change this, a number of recommendations to governments are presented under the headings of (1) s; (2) ; (3) ; and (4), with a clear focus on the planning process. A selection of examples of good practice is provided and linked to many of the key action lines in the Action Plan to promote the rights and full participation of people with disabilities in society: improving the quality of life of people with disabilities in Europe (Recommendation Rec(2006)5). 5

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8 1. Introduction Many Europeans, especially people with disabilities, are un able to take part in important activities and aspects of society in an equal manner, simply because policies, societies and environments are not designed to meet their requirements. Additionally, with the number of elderly people increasing rapidly, future European societies face the challenge of ad equately addressing the particular requirements of a growing number of people with disabilities. This report consequently invites member states to: promote full participation in community life by ensuring access to and usability of all aspects of society, including the built environment, transport, products and goods, information, public services, education, employment and care; implement Universal Design as a strategy to ensure equal and democratic rights in society for all individuals, regardless of age, abilities or cultural background, including persons with disabilities Definition of Universal Design/ Design for All Building upon the Tomar Resolution 1 adopted in 2001: Universal Design is a strategy which aims to make the design and composition of different environments, products, 1. Resolution ResAP(2001)1 on the introduction of the principles of universal design into the curricula of all occupations working on the built envir onment ( Tomar Resolution ). 7

9 Achieving full participation through Universal Design communication, information technology and services accessible and understandable to, as well as us able by, everyone, to the greatest extent in the most independent and natural manner possible, preferably without the need for adaptation or specialised solutions. The aim of the Universal Design concept is to simplify life for everyone by making the built environment, communication, products and services equally accessible, usable and understandable. The Universal Design concept promotes a shift to more emphasis on user-centred design by following a holistic approach and aiming to accommodate the needs of people with disabilities, including the changes that people experience in the course of life. Consequently, Universal Design is a concept that extends beyond the issues of mere accessibility of buildings for people with disabilities and should become an integrated part of policies and planning in all aspects of society. For the purpose of this report the terms Design for All, integral accessibility, accessible design, inclusive design, barrier-free design, transgenerational design and accessibility for all are regarded as converging towards the term Universal Design used in this text. The general idea is that planning and shaping policies, built environments, information, products and services must be made responsive to the needs of people with diverse abilities. 8 The challenge is to develop mainstream solutions with built-in adaptability and compatibility, accommodating as many people as possible, including people with disabilities. For people with special needs, assistive technology and personal ser vices will be part of the total solution, and this solution will cover more people if, for example, standardised interfaces are integrated into the design.

10 Introduction To cater for this in practice, Universal Design offers a philosophy and strategy which support the implementation of full citizenship, independent living and integration. Mainstreaming is a keyword in this process, implying that all policies and solutions have to be carefully designed to accommodate all users. The aim is to achieve this to the greatest extent possible, diminishing the need for segregated solutions and special services. As a design-in-time methodology Universal Design contributes to the prevention and elimination of barriers to integration, whether psychological, educational, family-related, cultural, social, professional, urban or architectural. Universal Design thus has the potential to help define a coherent European policy of integrating people with disabilities, strengthening the European goal of enhancing the autonomy of people and making them self-supporting. In the perspective, human rights, participation and inclusion are brought together in the Council of Europe Plan , and Universal Design is one of the means of accomplishing the goals set in the Action Plan. From an industry perspective the International Organization for Standardization has contributed with Universal Design and Accessible Design guides on the requirements of groups of disabled citizens. The guides assist industry in translating the basic values into products and environments that in fact are more usable for more citizens, regardless of age or disabilities. The European Commission Public Procurement Directive and rules for future European Union legislation also incorporate Universal Design to reach the long-term goals of full participation and inclusion. 9

11 Achieving full participation through Universal Design 1.2. Accessibility All universally designed buildings, websites, services, etc. have to be accessible. It is important that accessibility as a feature is built into solutions in a way that promotes integration, and not just solves a technical problem. Universal Design can be said to add principles like the same entrance for all or the same opportunity for all to accessibility, in order to ensure participation and integration in a more equal manner. For this reason it is necessary to be specific about accessibility requirements of major user groups, in order to give planners and designers an idea about the specific Universal Design targets. It is also necessary to make it clear that Universal Design consultants and representatives of end users have to be involved early in the planning process. Suggested user groups that should be involved in establishing accessibility guidelines, mainstream policies and solutions are wheelchair users and persons with reduced mobility, with visual or hearing impairments, with intellectual disabilities, or with asthma and allergies. In the majority of cases the requirements of these groups will also cover most other user groups Universal Design and assistive technology Universal Design makes an environment, a communication device or a service easier to use for everyone and for people with disabilities in particular, but does not make assistive technology obsolete. People with disabilities in need of a certain level of support will continue to require the use of assistive technology, and Universal Design solutions must be able to interact with these technologies. 10

12 Introduction Compatibility and adaptability to commonly available assistive technology devices become keywords, and in-depth knowledge of user requirements and assistive technology is thus indispensable when shaping society s services and environments. Without this knowledge the results will be costly adaptations, retrofitting or a low degree of usability. Examples of Universal Design and assistive technology interaction: A built environment designed for use by all types and sizes of wheelchairs, walking frames, etc., is an efficient environment for users of this kind of assistive technology, and is at the same time easier to use for parents with prams, travellers with suitcases on wheels, etc. In a cinema many people with hearing aids can hear the sound track if the cinema is equipped with a compatible induction loop system. A website complying with web accessibility requirements is more useful for blind and dyslexic persons with screen readers reading the page aloud, and screen readers are increasingly becoming a standard feature of common software. Powered height-adjustable tables, when properly designed, can be seen as compatible with wheelchairs, as they allow everyone, including wheelchair users, to find a comfortable working position Universal Design as a method The most widespread method of working with Universal Design on a national basis is through defining accessibility requirements with the underlying principles of the same entrance for all or the same opportunities for all. Traditionally, the 11

13 Achieving full participation through Universal Design following seven main principles 2 are listed when explaining Universal Design, but it should be noted that they have their roots in the design of built environments and products, and that they have to be expanded further. When it comes to achieving equal rights, accessibility and democracy through Universal Design, the challenge is to incorporate these seven principles into mainstream thinking, planning and methods in all fields of society: equitable use: useful and marketable to people with diverse abilities; flexibility in use: accommodates a wide range of individual preferences and abilities; simple and intuitive use: easy to understand regardless of the user s experience, knowledge, language skills, or current concentration level; perceptible information: communicates necessary information effectively to the user, regardless of ambient conditions or the user s sensory abilities; tolerance for error: minimises hazards and adverse consequences of accidental or unintended actions; low physical effort: can be used effectively and comfortably and with a minimum of fatigue; size and space: appropriate size and space is provided for approach, reach, manipulation and use, regardless of the user s body size, posture or mobility. Besides the translation of principles, attention should be paid to the stages of the Universal Design process, not least in national or local projects that need to be robust, sustainable 2. University of North Carolina, Center for Universal Design,

14 Introduction over time and with lower costs. If practical results are desired the focus should be placed on: adoption and decision s; co-ordination between key actors; practical implementation; evaluation and efficient follow-up. In this sense Universal Design projects do not differ from other projects or policies. In product- and service-oriented organisations it is essential to have strategies for supporting planners and designers in the development process, and some of the ingredients are: provision of adequate tools, skills and education of personnel, accompanied by assigning of responsibilities in Universal Design to management levels, ranging from research over development and engineering to marketing. 13

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16 2. European position on Universal Design 2.1. Historical events To understand the current position on Universal Design a number of significant international events play an important role, in addition to the numerous contributions made over time by certain instruments and NGOs, as set out in chronological order in the following non-exhaustive list: 1950 European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms 1981 The United Nations International Year of People with Disabilities The United Nations Decade of People with Disabilities 1990 The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) with its set of regulations banning discrimination against people with disabilities in almost every aspect of society. The ADA has been a worldwide inspiration on equal rights for people with disabilities EU Technology Initiative for Disabled and Elderly People (TIDE) 1992 Recommendation No. R (92) 6 on a coherent policy for people with disabilities, influencing disability policies at national and international level 1993 The UN Standard Rules on the Equalization of Opportunities for Persons with Disabilities. 15

17 Achieving full participation through Universal Design 16 Equalization of opportunities is defined as the process through which the various systems of society and the environment, such as services, activities, information and documentation are made available to all, particularly to persons with disabilities. The rules describe preconditions, target areas and implementation measures for equal participation, with 22 rules describing initiatives ranging from awareness raising and accessibility to information and research The principles of Universal Design are formulated at the University of North Carolina Center for Universal Design 1996 First version of the European Concept for Accessibility (ECA) 1997 The Treaty of Amsterdam of the European Union, including Article 13 on non-discrimination The Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) by the W3C organisation develops the first accessibility guidelines for the Internet eaccessibility in the EU FP5 (Applications Relating to Persons with Special Needs Including the Disabled and Elderly) 1998 Section 508 of the US Rehabilitation Act is the first act within information technology that includes accessibility requirements in public procurement policies 1999 Accessibility Guidelines first established in the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) 2001 The (Tomar) Resolution ResAP(2001)1 states that the principles of Universal Design need to be introduced into the curricula of all occupations working on the built environment. The Tomar Resolution definition

18 European position on Universal Design of Universal Design forms the basis of the definitions in this report The Resolution ResAP(2001)3 Towards full citizenship of persons with disabilities through inclusive new technologies 2002 e-europe 2002 Action Plan by the European Commission aims to achieve an Information Society for All. The Plan includes a separate action line on WAI guidelines, national centres of excellence, curricula for designers and Design for All standards. The European Design for All e-accessibility Network (EDeAN) is established as a result. The action plan is followed by the European Council resolution on eaccessibility improving the access of people with disabil ities to the knowledge-based society ISO Guide 71: Guidelines for standards developers to address the needs of older persons and persons with disabilities, forming the basis of CEN/CENELEC Guide EU Ministerial Declaration on e-inclusion (Greece) states that the overall approach should be based on the principles of Design for All, availability, accessibility and affordability of products and services appropriate to meeting the needs of citizens with disabilities. WAI guidelines, best practices in Design for All, accessibility requirements in public procurement policies and mainstream products and services are main issues The Malaga Ministerial Declaration on integration policies for people with disabilities states that the main aim for the next decade is to improve the quality of life of people with disabilities and their families. Emphasis is laid on integration and full participation in society, as a 17

19 Achieving full participation through Universal Design 18 participative and accessible society is of benefit to the whole population European Commission Resolution on promoting the employment and social integration of people with disabilities, having equal rights as other citizens 2003 Second version of the European Concept for Accessibility (ECA) 2005 European Commission Communication COM(2005) 425 on eaccessibility, contributing to the implementation of i2010 A European Information Society for growth and employment 2005 The Third Summit of Heads of State and Government held by the in Warsaw. In the Warsaw Action Plan, the Heads of State and Government agree to consolidate the s work on disability issues and support the adoption and implementation of a ten-year action plan designed to make de cisive progress in ensuring equal rights for people with disabilities (Chapter III.1.) The European Union launches a mandate to the European Standardisation Organisations to develop a standard on accessibility requirements to be used in public procurement in the ICT domain (renewed in 2007). Dialogue is on going with the US with a view to harmonisation of European and US standards, in order to foster a global market The Plan seeks to translate the aims of the with regard to human rights, non-discrimination, equal opportunities, full citizenship and participation of people with disabilities into a European policy framework on

20 European position on Universal Design disability. The intention is to assist policy makers in designing, adjusting, refocusing and implementing appropriate plans, programmes and innovative strategies The Riga Declaration mentions accessibility and the design of new technologies, supporting EU community action plans The United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities is opened for signature. Universal Design is mentioned in particular under general obligations The European Year of Equal Opportunities for All highlights equal rights and anti-discrimination as main issues. It is backed by information campaigns on relevant EU legislation and Directives. The perspective is broader than disability and encompasses many other groups Resolution ResAP(2007)3 on Achieving full participation through Universal Design is adopted The United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities enters into force The current situation Based on questionnaires that were circulated at the beginning of the work and additional information from the delegates of the contributing member states, it can be concluded that many of the aforementioned events and resolutions appear to have been translated into national, regional and local initiatives. It can be concluded that a definition of Universal Design is present in Europe, and that there is a clear belief in the need for Universal Design to enable people with disabilities to reach full democracy and economic advantages. Europe now sees the adoption of an increasing number of national disability 19

21 Achieving full participation through Universal Design action plans and intends to give them their proper place, acknowledging that concrete actions are needed, good intentions not being enough. Universal Design under different headings and accessibility are on the agenda in many countries, translating human rights, anti-discrimination and democratic values into concrete policies. Issues within health care, integration, accessibility, education or employment often bear the characteristics of Universal Design approaches. Legislation can be subdivided into rights, acts, provisions and local regulations, backed by methods to enforce legislative measures, and, in some cases, standards on accessibility. Awareness programmes are targeted at selected professions through media and communication instruments. Public procurement policies are mentioned and frequently listed as effective means. Anti-discrimination legislation is present in some countries and the recent EU Procurement Directive on social issues, as an additional example, backs the incorporation of accessibility and Universal Design features in technical specifications. 20

22 European position on Universal Design Overview of Universal Design/Design for All, selected European countries Universal Design/Design for All Belgium Denmark Germany Hungary Ireland Luxembourg Netherlands Norway Poland Portugal Spain Primary policy headline Other policy headlines UD/DFA on the political agenda National UD/DFA plan Legislation on UD/DFA Disability Discrimination Act National monitoring system on UD Awareness programmes on UD/DFA Public procurement policies include UD/DFA Disability organisations take part via a structured dialogue Industry participation via a structured dialogue UD in built environment education curricula Research programmes on UD/DFA Labelling system on UD/DFA Universal Design Accessibility for All Design for All, Universal Design Barrierfree design Universal Design Universal Design Accessibility for All Accessible design Design for All Inclusive Policy, Accessibility, Usability Universal Design Design for All Accessibility for All Design for All Yes Yes Yes* Yes Yes Yes* Partly Yes Yes Yes Yes* No No Yes* Partly Yes Yes* No Yes Yes No Yes* No Partly Yes* No Yes Yes* No Yes Yes Yes Yes* No No Yes Yes Yes No Yes No No No Yes No Yes Yes* No No No No Partly No No No No Yes* Yes* Yes No Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes* Universal Access, Accessibility Equal Opportunities, Non-discrimination No Partly Yes* Yes Yes* No No Yes Yes No Partly Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No Yes* No No No Yes* Yes Yes No Partly Yes Partly No Yes No Partly Partly Yes Yes Yes Yes* No Partly Yes* Yes Partly Partly Yes* Yes Yes No Yes* No Yes* No Yes* Yes* Yes Yes* Yes* Yes No Partly UD/DFA: Universal Design/Design for All Yes*: yes, but under different headline 21

23 Achieving full participation through Universal Design Wide sets of complementary measures are mentioned. The more robust Universal Design plans described seem to be national and local programmes with top-down spreading of the philosophy; they are especially efficient when backed by legislation, acts and regulations for implementation and follow-up. NGOs in general play a very important part in establishing the plans. Unco-ordinated campaigns are regarded as unsatisfactory. Accessibility is seen as a prerequisite for achieving equal opportunities for people with disabilities in all fields of society. To promote the prevention of barriers, avoiding retrofitting, policies based on user requirements or user-centred dialogue have become prevalent in many countries. The sustainability of the Universal Design process is an important issue in the implementation of action plans and initiatives, as the processes have to be functional over a long period of time in order to achieve results. Several countries have seen a clear shift from organising society via legislation to organising it through the market. Other countries, however, have brought legislation back into focus, owing to the inadequate response of market mechanisms when it comes to ensuring equal rights. In disability issues there has been a shift from a medical model towards a model of independent living and the promotion of human rights. Likewise a social model has been combined with a human rights model, and Universal Design is brought up on the political agenda as a bridge between the two models, at many different levels. Within education, several member states have undertaken efforts to integrate children and students in mainstream primary and secondary schools, and there seems to be an overall improvement in the availability of facilities and personal provisions for people with disabilities attending higher education. Half the countries in the overview have introduced Universal Design into the curricula of professions working on the built environment. 22

24 European position on Universal Design Research programmes and a more widespread use of guidelines and standards are mentioned in member states replies. Co-ordinated information databases on products and assistive technologies that can be used for Universal Design purposes are running in several countries. Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) guidelines have been implemented in mainstream websites in many states. Not all final products are fully accessible yet, but progress is visible. Many countries, organisations and cities test labelling as a tool for tourist information and publicity campaigns in member states. In many cases, public organisations in member states are running projects within disability management programmes. In the private sector of some member states major companies are including disability management as part of corporate pol icies, in parallel with human resource management for employees with disabilities. It should be noted, however, that despite the many positive initiatives, responses to our questionnaire show that many initiatives still have to be taken, or need to be coupled with more effective processes. 23

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26 3. Recommendations to governments The overview of historical events and the current situation demonstrates that the work carried out to improve accessibility, including Universal Design measures, has in fact led to greater participation of people with disabilities in public life. Many European states, however, are not taking full advantage of the potential of Universal Design, and to cope with ageing and the increasing number of people with disabilities new measures are clearly needed. 3 Consequently, further steps to integrate people with disabilities as fully fledged members of society, allowing for their participation in public life (employment, political participation, etc.) should be taken. Progress in the enjoyment of human rights at international, European, national or regional level depends on governments and elective bodies as driving forces. Implementing and enforcing Universal Design strategies can facilitate the promotion of equal rights of all citizens in all aspects of society. However, the private sector should not be forgotten when it comes to implementation, which often means involving public and private bodies on an equal footing. 3. (Rec(2006)5: considering that the estimated proportion of persons with disabilities in the total population in Europe is 10-15%, that the main causes of disability are disease, accidents and disabling conditions among the elderly, and that the number of people with disabilities is expected to grow steadily due to increasing life expectancy, inter alia.) 25

27 Achieving full participation through Universal Design Member states should take actions incorporating the principles of Universal Design, encompassing all aspects of society, for example the built environment, ICT networks, transport, services, tourism, products and goods, information, employment and education. Co-ordinated initiatives should be undertaken through the Council of Europe Action Plan to promote the rights and full participation of people with disabilities in society: improving the quality of life of people with disabilities in Europe ( Plan ), carefully examining how its key action lines relate to Universal Design and accessibility. In order to develop, implement and maintain Universal Design strategies, incentives should be given to key actors in different sectors of society, public as well as private. With countries organising their social life differently in Europe, both the market and legislation are important arenas and must be addressed by policy makers. The more specific recommendations are arranged under the four headings of: adopt and decide co-ordinate implement evaluate accompanied by a collection of examples of good practice in Universal Design, linked to the action lines of the Council of Europe Plan Recommendation 1: Adopt and decide Policy makers should first of all adopt a co-ordinated, harmonised and intersectorial approach to the Universal Design con- 26

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