Universal Access (UA) is the concept that in responsible and inclusive societies, built environments should be accessible for use by the broadest range of people, accommodating both typical and atypical users. These would include, for example, parents pushing prams, the elderly, youngsters, people with disabilities, pregnant women and delivery workers.
Our built environments are a complex mix of transportation systems, buildings and public road systems of varying ages. Many urban structures are legacies of a time when current views on equality and social inclusion, and the legal frameworks to protect freedom of movement for all citizens, did not exist. The goal of Universal Access therefore remains an elusive one.
Now businesses, workplaces, municipalities, educational institutions and other organisations are seeing the need to make their structures universally accessible. Access auditing has become a critical part of the process of achieving this.
Jeremy Hazell has been conducting access assessments in the Western Cape since 2010. Sites inspected include infrastructure and buildings in Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality, Stellenbosch Municipality, and numerous wine farms in the Western Cape.
Universal Design (UD) is the concept that both the built environment and products can be designed for use by the widest possible range of people. By taking into account the full range of human diversity – people at all ages and stages of life, people with temporary or permanent physical illnesses or disabilities, and people with varying conceptual and cognitive abilities – it is possible to design things that are more functional and easier to use for everyone in our societies.
Jeremy has worked in association with Colette Fransolet of Inclusive Design and Phillip Thompson of UD Africa (Universal Design Africa), two leading South African companies committed to the application of universal design to the built environment and the digital world.
Their expertise spans architecture, industrial design, and education and research in the field of Universal Design. Among the services offered by Inclusive Design and UD Africa are Universal Access Audits, and Jeremy’s interests lie in this area in particular.