As the geographer Doreen Massey writes, “The challenge of the negotiation of place is shockingly unequal.” (2005, 169). Despite – and sometimes even because of – the introduction of now taken-for-granted design features intended to make access to urban environments more equitable, our town and city spaces continue to frustrate, fail and ultimately omit many of us, from parents and children to people who are elderly, infirm and impaired.
Universal Design (UD) is an approach to design that increases the potential for developing a better quality of life for a wide range of individuals. It is a design process that enables and empowers a diverse population by improving human performance, health and wellness, and social participation (Steinfeld and Maisel, 2012). It creates products, systems, and environments to be as usable as possible by as many people as possible regardless of age, ability or situation.