On 20-21 August 2014 COTA NSW, in partnership with the NSW Government, presented the inaugural Australian Universal Design Conference at Sydney Town Hall. The conference theme was 'universal design for inclusive and liveable environments' and has since been successfully driving universal design policy in NSW.
Along with keynote speakers Dr Gerald Craddock and Kay Saville-Smith, we were very pleased that the Hon. Susan Ryan, Human Rights Commissioner, participated in a panel session. Commissioner Ryan offered her support for the establishment of an Australian centre for excellence in Universal Design.
Dr Gerald Craddock, Chief Officer of the Centre for Excellence in Universal Design in Ireland gave two presentations: the first offering a global view of the universal design movement, and the second on the setting up of the Centre and the progress made to date.
Kay Saville-Smith, sociologist and director of the Centre for Research, Evaluation and Social Assessment – CRESA gave a presentation considering the way in which affordability is too often used to rationalise the delivery of poor design and how universal design can be used to underpin and be locked into affordable housing solutions.
Universal design is a world-wide movement that aims to create environments, products, services and technology that can be used by as many people as possible. It makes things more useable, accessible, safer and convenient for everyone. The concept of universal design underpins the notion of inclusion in key documents and initiatives by the World Health Organization and the United Nations.
The conference encouraged conversations on how to create more inclusive built environments in indoor and outdoor places, private and public spaces, in cities and rural settings, in work and play, and for young and old.
The conference was proudly sponsored by the City of Sydney and NSW Family and Community Services.
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