Editorial: Carleton’s School of Architecture Needs to Expand Universal Design Teachings

By The Charlatan – November 5, 2022

Carleton University’s Azrieli School of Architecture and Urbanism must provide its students a proper education in universal design.

By definition, universal design is “the design of buildings, products or environments to make them accessible to all people, regardless of age, disability or other factors.”

Experts and advocates and students say architectural schools are partly to blame for the lack of normalization universal design has received in practice.

In 2017, 22 per cent of the Canadian population over the age of 15 identified as having a disability. However, accessibility in the built environment continues to be regarded as a niche issue in the architecture world.

According to experts, such as former lieutenant-governor of Ontario and wheelchair user David Onley, Ontario is nowhere close to its goal of being fully accessible by 2025, as set by the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act in 2019.

Onley said in a Legislative Review of the Act that post-secondary architecture schools are not doing their part to teach students about universal design.

Often, architecture schools teach students that design and universal design are separate things, instead of doing what they can to make universal design the norm.

Architecture schools provide the foundation for the future of urban design. If they are not teaching students universal design, then they are teaching discriminatory design. Despite Canadian laws protecting the right of disabled people to not be discriminated against, the implementation of these laws into the built environment is moving slowly.

Teaching the people who design environments to be inclusive is a key step in implementing accessibility standards.

Carleton’s architecture programs must shift teaching methods to normalize universal design and create an accessible future for all Canadians.

Original at https://charlatan.ca/2022/11/05/editorial-carletons-school-of-architecture-needs-to-expand-universal-design-teachings/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=editorial-carletons-school-of-architecture-needs-to-expand-universal-design-teachings