Universal Design

India is home to around 150 million persons with disabilities, and is a signatory to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD). The Article 9 Accessibility of United Nations Convention on rights of Persons with Disabilities clearly states: “the countries will eliminate barriers that people with disabilities face in buildings, outdoors, transport, information, communication and services, in both cities and the countryside”.

Universal Design” means “the design of products, environments, programmes and services to be usable by all people, to the greatest extent possible, without the need for adaptation or specialized design”. Established in the US (1997), seven principles aim to encourage self reliance, social empowerment and personal choice through designs that offered greater independence, safety and usability for all. Simple, intuitive, flexible designs, adaptable and replicable for persons of varying abilities and adequate space were key considerations. The broad spectrum of users it caters to include persons with disabilities, senior citizens, persons with reduced mobility and veterans among others.

Universal Design is extremely important to make life of people with disabilities easier and comfortable so that they can undertake activities of daily living with independence, safety and dignity. Samarthyam is promoting Universal Design in the South East Asia region. Projects and research work undertaken by us focus on:

  • Advocacy and promotion of all such infrastructure, environment, products and services, which are user-centric; maximize independence; conserve energy; are safe; sustainable and affordable for the cross disability population and those at risk of disabilities.
  • To establish process, identify areas in the field of research, design, education, technology and policy that are in keeping with the national needs, importance and priorities.