Universal design makes public spaces inviting to everybody. Shared spaces are meant to engage users, whether it’s your local City Hall, a favourite park or a popular urban space.
The universal design process can improve any shared space design, with emphasis placed on key shared space design measures in heavily trafficked areas of your community. This includes considerations like gateways, comfort zones, crossings points, curbs, trails and more.
Whether toddler or senior (and everyone in between), visitors and users of public spaces stand to benefit greatly from universal design. By adapting your space, you can increase full engagement in the programs and services offered, which will be accessible to all.
Designing public spaces for all users isn’t costly. As they become more mainstream, universally-designed products are becoming more affordable. Universal design isn’t difficult to achieve, either. Subtle changes can make a big difference. Some simple examples would be:
- Level entrances enable all visitors to full access a space. This includes people with mobility aids and wheelchairs, people with vision loss, parents with strollers and children, travellers with suitcases, shoppers with carts, vendors with equipment and trolleys, and service personnel
- Larger, single user washrooms provide easier access to all users
- Clear, well-placed signage using recognized symbols or pictograms help provide easier access to people with low vision, reading or cognitive difficulties and who use different languages