Deafness, disability and design: the case of ‘Deaf Village Ireland’


I have been visiting Deaf Village Ireland regularly over the past nine months, speaking and walking through it with management, staff and users of the centre. Located in Cabra, in the northwestern area of Dublin, Deaf Village Ireland is a social, leisure and community hub serving the needs of the d/Deaf communities in Ireland as well as the local neighbourhood.

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.