Universal Design | St. Louis Public Radio

Universal Design

Lara Hamdan / St. Louis Public Radio

Universal design involves designing buildings, products and services that meet the accessibility needs of everyone. It can help people with disabilities, but it’s intended for everyone.

On Monday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Don Marsh talked about how the use of universal design can help people with disabilities and can improve the overall safety and quality of life of all people when used during disasters.

6 North in the Central West End.
Willis Ryder Arnold | St. Louis Public Radio

Jane Jones was overwhelmed when she first visited the 6 North Apartments building in the Central West End.

Built in 2004, it’s the nation’s first building constructed entirely under the universal design concept, which incorporates features that allow people with disabilities to live in the space. It can be defined as "the design of products and environments to be usable by all people, to the greatest extent possible, without the need for adaptation or specialized design."

Jones, who is blind, moved there in 2012. She couldn’t imagine living anywhere else.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon We baby boomers have breathed the sweet air of invincibility so long that when something goes wrong with our finances or our family relations or our bodies we are shocked, shocked, to realize that rather than invincible, we are, as were all generations before us, quite vulnerable. So what should we, the children of the greatest generation, be doing?

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: The Starkloff Disability Institute is known for the pioneering work of its co-founders, Colleen Starkloff and her late husband, Max Starkloff, in making St. Louis and the nation more accessible for people with disabilities.

But in the past decade, the institute has branched out to embrace universal design, which goes much further. Accessibility separates people with mobility issues from everyone else, Starkloff says. Universal design brings people together. She defines universal design as “the design of products and spaces to be usable by the greatest number of people with the least amount of adaptation and design.”