Colette Fransolet, President of UD Inclusive Design, has been appointed to the Global Universal Design Commission (GUDC) Board of Directors. “We are excited to have a new member whose Inclusive Design expertise exemplifies forward thinking and innovation in the UD field” stated GUDC Chairman Peter Blanck.  Colette Fransolet is an expert Universal Access Consultant based in South Africa, who also consults at an international level on current ISO 21542 (2011) standards. She has a plethora of experience in the built environment, with diverse teams and various contexts. She is passionate about research, teaching and knowledge sharing on the paradigm of Universal Design and guideline and standard development to facilitate the broader implementation thereof in various sectors.

It was unexpected, but certainly not unwelcome. Today, Gibbs is working to ensure that key universal design strategies are incorporated on new and renovated projects globally. “The built environment needs to be inclusive for everyone,” says Gibbs, who works out of the company’s Rahway, New Jersey, facility. “It’s the right thing to do and I’m very proud to see Merck making it a priority.”

Professor Peter Blanck, chairman of the Burton Blatt Institute and lead author of the study, said “the longer-term objective (of the study) is to help measurably enhance the professional lives of lawyers and others in the profession by understanding and mitigating pernicious sources of attitudinal stigma and structural bias.”

Burton Blatt Institute Chairman and University Professor at Syracuse University, Peter Blanck’s new book titled Disability Law and Policy book was released in honor of the 30th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”). Disability Law and Policy provides an overview of the themes and insights in disability law. It is a compelling compendium of stories about how our legal system has responded to the needs of impacted individuals.

The Inclusive Public Space project is a global interdisciplinary research effort that explores the social justice problems caused by city streets that limit access for some pedestrians. The project focuses specifically on pedestrians with disabilities who may have difficulties using the pedestrian paths because of the way streets are designed, managed or maintained. Poor maintenance, uneven surfaces, potholes, poor lighting and other streetscape structures also create barriers.

Uniland Development Corporation is close to completing the construction of a new Hampton by Hilton hotel in Amherst, New York. The Hampton by Hilton is expected to become the first hotel in the country to achieve isUD certification, a program that aims to create and acknowledge inclusive buildings. “As the first hotel in the country to embrace Universal Design, our new Hampton by Hilton at the Northtown Center will offer guests “the best experience possible,” says Kellena Kane, Uniland Director of Development.

COVID-19, or the Coronavirus, has been the subject of intense media attention for the past several weeks. Along with that attention comes the possibility of misinformation that results in unease and panic. The Southeast ADA Center, a project of the Burton Blatt Institute at Syracuse University, has put together a list of factual and authoritative resources to help the public understand the Coronavirus. It includes information about how the virus is spread and what you can do to prevent infection.

Attract Guests of All Abilities: Increase Your Profitability
Speaker: Rosemarie Rossetti, Author, Strategist, and Universal Design Expert
The replay to Rosemarie Rossetti's Vrbo webinar "Attract Guests of All Abilities". The focus is on creating homes that are more accessible using universal design features. Drive more bookings with a more inclusive vacation rental. Learn how to use design, layout, and building materials to address common accessibility challenges.

In December 2019, Dr Delia Ferri, Lecturer at Maynooth University and International Fellow at the BBI,  has been awarded a prominent European Research Council (ERC) Consolidator grant of €2 million to undertake research examining the extent to which EU Law protects the rights of persons with disabilities to fully participate in cultural endeavours. 

When most people think about putting grip bars in the shower, widening doors for wheelchairs, installing walk-in bathtubs or removing area rugs to prevent falls, they think about doing this for their aging parents. Think again. Universal design isn't just for seniors.

"Universal design is designing for people of all ages and abilities or disabilities," said Rosemarie Rossetti, Ph.D., the author of the Universal Design Toolkit and president of Rossetti Enterprises, Inc. in Columbus, Ohio. "I prefer not to think about aging-in-place but rather creating a home that's inclusive so that you can have visitors who might be in a wheelchair, or you can be prepared for anything can happen to anyone at any time."

Burton Blatt Institute (BBI) Chairman and University Professor Peter Blanck will speak at the Symposium hosted by the Assisted Living & Learning (ALL) Institute and the Department of Law on November 21, 2019. The event will take place at National University of Ireland Maynooth’s North Campus in the Phoenix Boardroom. Blanck will deliver the keynote presentation on Building an Inclusive Society through Accessibility.

In partnership with Progressive AE and Disability Inclusion Solutions, the GUDC has developed a program for sites and buildings to receive certification based on best practices from a global perspective. Going forward, using the GUDC guidelines as a reference, we have instituted a program for Universal Design certification that establishes a benchmark for organizations who realize the value of creating a truly accessible and inclusive work environment.

Burton Blatt Institute (BBI) Chairman and University Professor Peter Blanck alongside fellow speaker, Progressive AE Executive Vice President and Universal Design Consultant, Mike Perry spoke at the 2019 SRAPPA Conference hosted by Northern Kentucky University on October 8, 2019, in Covington, KY, at the Northern Kentucky Conference Center. Blanck and Perry led a breakout session on Impacting Your University Mission with Universal Design. Their presentation featured the principles and methods that the Global Universal Design Commission (GUDC) has made regarding accessibility and inclusion through universal design followed by a Q&A session.

The American Society of Landscape Architects has published a guide to universal design in landscape architecture that goes beyond the largely quantitative requirements stipulated by the ADA. The full guide includes sections on applying the lessons of universal design to neighborhoods, streets, parks and plazas, playgrounds, and gardens.

The Honorable Tom Harkin - former Senator and Congressman, veteran, author, attorney, and chief sponsor of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA),  featured guest on the July 3, 2019 broadcast of the ADA Live!, a podcast produced by the Syracuse University Burton Blatt Institute (BBI) |  Southeast ADA Center. University Professor Peter Blanck, Chairman of BBI, will interview Sen. Harkin in celebration of the 29th anniversary of this historic civil rights legislation.

The Mary Free Bed Y was designed for everyone enabling and empowering a diverse population. In short, Universal Design makes life easier, healthier and friendlier by removing physical and social barriers. GUDC board member Michael Perryhad a chance to catch up with Emily Bush, whose son Carson plays for the Junior Pacers basketball team which is a team of West Michigan athletes ages 7-18 with physical disabilities. 

In the Universal Design Living Laboratory, the powder room features a pocket door to hide the toilet from view, a vertical toilet paper holder for easy replacement and a phone at an accessible height.

Universal Design Living Laboratory, located in Columbus, Ohio, is the top-rated universal design home in North America, with three national universal design certifications.

Listen to Rosemarie as she discusses the universal design features in her home, the Universal Design Living Laboratory,, and describes the highlights in her book, the Universal Design Toolkit in this podcast interview with Nichole Kain, Founder of the Home and Place Project.

Quito became the first city in the country and in Latin America to have a public building, certified in accessibility and universal design, by the 'Global Universal Desing Commission' (GUDC), a US corporation that develops standards for buildings, products and services. 

The first President, Lenin Moreno, will receive on Monday, January 14, 2019 Peter Blanck, head of the Board of the Global Universal Design Commission (GUDC), at the Government Palace, according to the General Secretariat of Communication of the Presidency.

On Jan. 17, 2019, the Global Universal Design Commission (GUDC) will deliver—through GUDC Chairman Professor Peter Blanck—its first certification in compliance with commission standards outside the United States, to the Metropolitan Convention Center of Quito, Ecuador.

The GUDC Global Universal Design Commission is a non-profit corporation created under the laws of the State of New York, USA in 2008. It develops and promotes the understanding and use of Universal Design in the design and development of buildings, products and environments be used by all people, to the greatest extent possible, without the need for adaptations, improvements or specialized design. GUDC has developed the Universal Design Standards for Public Use Buildings, seeking their adoption and application in public and private buildings for institutional and commercial use.

“Let’s look at safety, let’s look at convenience; let’s look at access, and how to give and empower people with the most independence we can,” Rossetti says. “It’s not difficult; it’s just about designing it to work in the long-term—for all the members of the family—right from the beginning. Do it right from the beginning.”

On Aug. 26, 2018, Joshua Heintz presented the 10th annual Joshua Heintz Award for Humanitarian Achievement award to Allyson Caison and Christina Cowger. They were the founding members of "North Carolina Stop Torture Now". The program works to end America's Rendition, Detention and Interrogation program. This award was part of the 12th International Humanitarian Law Dialogs at the Robert H. Jackson Center and Chautauqua Institution in Jamestown, New York.

From the author Rosemarie Rosetti “I was pleased to write this article about the wardrobe/laundry room of my national demonstration home and garden, the Universal Design Living Laboratory The publisher of my article, Kitchen and Bath Business, is the official website of the Kitchen and Bath Industry Show. This is North America's largest premier trade show dedicated to all aspects of kitchen and bath design for interior designers and manufacturers. I am writing my next article about the universal design and accessible features in my kitchen.”

Peyton Sefick is the Project Coordinator of the Fitness Inclusion Network based out of the Burton Blatt Institute at Syracuse University. Nienke Dosa is a pediatrician with board certification in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities. 

Jason P. Harris is joining the staff at the Burton Blatt Institute (BBI) at Syracuse University, as a Research Associate, working to advance the civic, economic, and social participation of people with disabilities around the globe.

BBI Chairman and University Professor Peter Blanck said today in Bloomberg news in regard to “blind workers” and “online hiring systems: "Attitudes about inclusion is the real problem," Blanck said. Jobs-page "accessibility is just a symptom." 

As part of GUDC’s living laboratory approach, I interviewed Granite Development Company president Mark Congel about residential Universal Design’s return on investment. Congel has developed many properties in the Syracuse, New York including the universally designed apartment complex, Destiny Arms. We discussed financial and non-financial ROI as well as the impact Universal Design has had on Destiny Arms. This conversation pinpoints some of the unique benefits UD offers developers and builders.

As part of our ongoing study and observation of the GUDC certified Mary Free Bed YMCA I decided to check in with the project’s principal architect, Michael Perry to get an update on how Universal Design has impacted this particular YMCA and why Universal Design (UD) makes sense from a return on investment perspective.

With the global rise in the attention to accessibility, many countries have promulgated laws and regulations on accessible standards in public buildings and facilities. However, the question of how to implement them has remained largely unsolved.

Opened in 2015, the Mary Free Bed YMCA in Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA, is a state-of-the-art fitness facility designed using the principles of Universal Design (UD). Its design furthers accessibility and usability for all, regardless of user ability, age, and level of understanding (Blanck 2014).

"Inclusion drives innovation" is the theme of National Disability Employment Awareness Month in October, according to the U.S. Office of Disability Employment Policy. "Americans of all abilities must have access to good, safe jobs," said U.S. Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta in a news release announcing the theme. "Smart employers know that including different perspectives in problem-solving situations leads to better solutions. Hiring employees with diverse abilities strengthens their business, increases competition and drives innovation."

The Global Network on Disability Inclusive and Accessible Urban Development (DIAUD) recently hosted a kick-off meeting outlining its agenda, organizational overview and featuring presentations by noted expert Fernando Jácome Gavilánez. Mr. Gavilánez is Coordinator of Foreign Affairs and Specialist in the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development for the Republic of Ecuador.

In 2016, we wrote about how Universal Design (UD) increases the usability, and safety and health, of buildings. UD is a paradigm for design of the built environment to address human diversity and increase access to the maximum extent. The Global Universal Design Commission (GUDC), a not-for-profit corporation, aims to increase understanding and use of UD in collaboration with the design, development, disability, and aging communities. Our partners include Ambassador Dr. Luis Gallegos, who is Honorary Chairman of the GUDC, and other prominent Ecuadorians leading in the promotion of the human rights of persons with disabilities and older adults.

We're used to seeing accessible bathrooms and wheelchair ramps at the office, thanks to the Americans with Disabilities Act. But in many ways, employers still don't go far enough to accommodate people with disabilities. The unemployment rate is two times higher for disabled people than the general population.

Jasson Garcia's daily travels look maddening. The sidewalks of Mexico City are broken and cars block pedestrian crossings. In the subway station, there's no elevator, so he has to labor down the stairs. Busy commuters push to get past him. But you don't see this in Jasson's demeanor. The skinny 15-year-old seems totally unfazed. "It just feels normal now," he says. "I can go basically anywhere I want without a problem."

Universal design aims to be accessible to everyone, whatever their age. Things are changing, and the universal design movement, which champions good design that is accessible to everyone, whatever their age, stage, shape, size or ability, has resulted in a plethora of products that, in their own small way, are life-changing.

What is Universal Design? "Universal Design is likely the most misunderstood term in remodeling and construction," said Mimi Altman, Executive Director of NARI of Greater Chicagoland (NARIGC), based in Des Plaines

María Teresa Donoso, representative of the Global Universal Design Commission in Ecuador, participated in the VI Latin American Conference of RIADIS "Inclusive Latin America in Unity, Development, Peace and Hope" held in Havana, Cuba on March 14 and 15 Of 2017. She presented in the Introductory Table: Universal Accessibility what Universal Accessibility is and how Universal Design is the most effective instrument for its achievement.

The UN must change in order to be relevant and to serve humanity. The world order of 1945 or before exists no longer. We must try to make the UN a new and vibrant organization that responds to the challenges of this new era. The lives of millions of refugees, migrants and ordinary citizens of every nation depend on it.

About one block away from Broadway in New York City, sits a 62 by 23 foot temple tucked away on West 47th Street. Around 200 people spent the night before Valentine’s Day at the Actors’ Temple for their Evening of Broadway Love Songs show. With eleven musical guests, the audience enjoyed a night of performances centered on romance, while raising money for the 100-year-old temple. While it is exempt from Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) as a historic building, the temple is working toward making the building accessible to all through its Universal Design.

Dr. Derrick L. Cogburn, Executive Director of the Institute on Disability and Public Policy (IDPP) and Associate Professor at American University, has been appointed to the Global Universal Design Commission (GUDC) Board of Directors. “The GUDC is excited to welcome Derrick Cogburn,” stated GUDC Chairman Peter Blanck. “He is an exceptional scholar and professor with deep knowledge in his many fields, and he will be an indispensable asset to the GUDC team.” 

It is our great pleasure to welcome you on behalf of Universal Design Management & AEC Professionals Circle to Universal Design Conference NYC, a multi disciplined gathering of educators, product and service innovators, built environment experts, decision makers and procurement officials interested in sharing knowledge and exploring innovative applications of Universal Design.

Shelley Siegel, founder of Universal Design & Education Network, has been appointed to the Global Universal Design Commission (GUDC) Board of Directors. GUDC Chairman Peter Blanck said, “The GUDC recently appointed the nationally-recognized architect Michael Perry to the board, and today we welcome expert interior designer Shelley Siegel.” Siegel’s appointment to the GUDC is reflective of the board’s broad focus on Universal Design, with its diverse membership of professionals working across industries and disciplines.

In November, Mike Rotella led a tour of progress at the Destiny Arms apartment complexin Syracuse, New York. The Destiny Arms project involves the renovation of a 110-year-old industrial building, not far from Destiny USA. Destiny Arms acts as one of GUDC’s “living laboratories” for the ongoing study of Universal Design. It is part of the GUDC’s work fostering a more universally accessible and usable world. 

Evangeline “Van” Cleage always has been a trailblazer. In 1956, Ebony Magazine noted that Cleage, who then was living in Los Angeles, was “the talk of fashion circles” for her progressive and innovative designs of casual clothing, and one of the very few African-American women in the business. She went on to shape the American fashion world in the Los Angeles and New York garment industries for more than 20 years.

For those with disabilities, access to public transportation, much less control of their own vehicle and life, would be empowering. The possibilities of autonomous vehicles designed for everyone could impact a huge swath of the population: a recent government report found that 6 million Americans with disabilities have difficulty getting the transportation they need.

During GUDC’s 2016 board meeting Michael Perry, AIA, LEED AP of Progressive AE was appointed to the GUDC Board of Directors by official vote. Michael Perry now lends his deep knowledge of built environments and Universal Design related planning and execution. Perry will be an asset to the board given his design expertise, architectural perspective and track record of excellence as Executive Vice President of Progressive AE, a full-service architectural firm with offices in Grand Rapids, MI and Charlotte, NC.

On Wednesday, December 7th, Global Universal Design Commission Executive Director Diana Foote and Associate Director Michael Rotella will appear on “ADA Live!” (WADA), a monthly internet radio show produced by the Southeast ADA Center. The Southeast ADA Center is part of the ADA National Network and is an ongoing project of the Burton Blatt Institute (BBI) at Syracuse University.

This is the first of a series of posts on some specific Universal Design features in Destiny Arms, one of the Global Universal Design Commission’s living laboratories.

In an unprecedented move, tech leader Apple released a video highlighting the accessibility features of its products. Instead of simply showing the features, the advertisement demonstrates the ways that people with disabilities can achieve greater inclusion with Apple’s innovations. Just like Nike, Apple is seeing the value of the underserved markets that Universal Design allows them to reach. It’s not just about business though, as Apple’s tech accessibility features actually allow inclusive use for all.

Demonstrating the social and business value of Universal Design, Nike released a shoe-entry technology known as FLYEASE. This innovation allows athletes and those of various ability levels to easily get shoes on and off.

The Silicon Valley giants are embracing users with disabilities, resulting in tech and features that everyone can appreciate.

This guide is a rich resource of ideas which development practitioners can consider when applying universal design.

Developer Mark Congel stands at the entrance to his latest project, the conversion of a 111-year-old former washing machine factory in Syracuse's lakefront area into a 62-unit apartment building named Destiny Arms. (Rick Moriarty |

By Rick Moriarty |

The DeafSpace Institute at Gallaudet has documented over 150 elements of DeafSpace, which it defines as "a unique spatial awareness and means for modifying the environment" practiced by deaf people throughout history. View The video and Learn More.

At the Global Universal Design Commission (GUDC) we talk a lot about Universal Design, but for many the term can be confusing. In general, UD refers to a design practice aimed at creating something everyone can use equally. It applies to web design, education and much more, but in this case, we’re talking about built environments. This means planning ahead to create a space that all people, regardless of ability, can access AND fully participate in.

The NIDILRR-funded Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center on Universal Design and the Built Environment recently debuted Innovative Solutions for Universal Design (isUDtm), a collection of evidence-based solutions for creating inclusive and healthy environments.

UD refers to a design practice aimed at creating something everyone can use equally. It applies to web design, education and much more but in this case, we’re talking about built environments. That means planning ahead to create a space that all people, regardless of ability, can access AND fully participate in.

"I think of universal design as a philosophy," Ms. Harbour says. "There isn’t a list of things you have to do. You just need to think about what’s really essential in your course — and then the rest is all up for discussion."

Camping and hiking may be a fundamental upstate New York experience, but it can pose many hurdles to individuals with lesser ability.

'Universal design is design for human diversity' Universal design is a still a relatively new concept in Denmark, which gives the opportunity for discussion about values, equality and quality for all in the built environment. Universal design is often understood as the same as handicap accessibility, but it's far from it.

Adults with autism soon will be able to move into new apartments where they can live independently, and where half of their neighbors will be people who do not have autism. “Most housing for people with autism is just for people with autism,” said Elliot Frank, president and founder of Autism Housing Development Corp. of Pittsburgh. “Inclusiveness is what makes this different.”

Some people may be living in homes that do not meet their needs. Home features like stairs and narrow doorways make homes less accessible for mobility aid users. Living in an inaccessible home can make it harder for people with mobility disabilities to live, work, and participate in their communities.

The Mary Free Bed YMCA of Greater Grand Rapids, Michigan has been awarded the world's first Universal Global Design certification from the prestigious Global Universal Design Commission (GUDC). The new inclusive playground was a contributing factor in the GUDC decision to name the Mary Free Bed YMCA the first building in the world to receive Universal Design Certification. 

Bringing together a team of respected and experienced experts, the handbook offers a range of jurisdictional and multidisciplinary perspectives. The authors consider historical and contemporary, as well as comparative perspectives of disability law.

The Congel's are interested in expanding the GUDC capabilities and programs towards new mixed use and apartment developments.

Our country is transforming as we become both older and more diverse every day. Every day for the next 15 years, thousands of Americans will reach retirement age at a pace so that, by 2030, there will be more than twice as many older Americans as there were at the turn of the century.   

Universal Design (UD) in the built environment benefits everyone–women and men, older adults and children, people with disabilities and those without, people using different languages. The Global Universal Design Commission (GUDC), along with the architecture and design, development, and disability and aging communities, is accelerating adoption of UD concepts.

GUDC and Peter Blanck's commentary. In 2015, the New York transit system opened its first new subway station in 25 years; the city of Toronto hosted the Pan Am and Parapan Am Games; the YMCA opened a new facility in Grand Rapids, Michigan; and a San Antonio school for deaf children won a design award for redefining what a learning place can be. What united these disparate events was an underlying commitment to including as wide a range of users as possible: in other words, to universal design.

Peter Blanck, BBI Chairman & University Professor at Syracuse University, writes: "The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990 has helped to define in the United States and globally the modern view of disability as a central element of the human experience. This second issue, of a two-part Special Issue of the journal Inclusion, examines the ADA at its 25th anniversary.

Universal design (“UD”) of buildings, products, and technologies is not one of the most recognized subjects today. However, when you come to the realization that UD is the most revolutionary element of design presently that affects us all, you may start to pay attention.

The new Mary Free Bed YMCA has received the world’s first Global Universal Design Certification from the Global Universal Design Commission (GUDC). The GUDC created guidelines for buildings and spaces to help meet the needs of different populations, including: the elderly, individuals with disabilities, those recovering from injury, and people with hearing and sight challenges. The guidelines are based on a decade of extensive research and are expected to be the new standard for universal design in architecture and construction.

The Mary Free Bed YMCA is the first health and wellness facility in the world specifically designed to equally serve all individuals regardless of ability.  An inaugural lap around the new indoor track was made by community members of all ages and abilities during the dedication and ribbon cutting ceremony hosted today by the YMCA of Greater Grand Rapids

October 22, 2015

Great news on another successful grant outcome, on which Burton Blatt Institute at Syracuse University and Onondaga Community College (OCC) are fortunate to be partners.

This significant project further builds on the successful partnership led by OCC and with BBI funding through the U.S. Department of Labor on Pathways to Careers and Employment for Youth and Young Adults with Disabilities.



The Burton Blatt Institute at Syracuse University (BBI) has received a $2.5 Million grant from the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, Administration on Community Living, National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR) for a new five-year project on “Understanding and Increasing Supported Decision-Making’s Positive Impact on Community Living and Participation Outcomes.”

Edward Steinfeld works with a student in the IDeA Center

Edward Steinfeld, SUNY Distinguished Professor and director of the IDeA Center, works with a student. Photo: Douglas Levere

SOURCE: UB Reporter
By David J. Hll 

Published October 15, 2015

Anxious parents of high school athletes keep calling the Connecticut headquarters of the Eastern College Athletic Conference. They want to know: Will my daughter be able to play for a league title in wheelchair basketball? Will my son be able to compete in sled hockey as a varsity athlete? What about sitting volleyball, wheelchair rugby, and goalball?

The YMCA of Greater Grand Rapids has partnered with the Burton Blatt Institute (BBI) at Syracuse University and the Center for Inclusive Design and Environmental Access at the University of Buffalo (IDeA Center), leading organizations in advancing the civic, economic, and social participation of people with disabilities. The goal of the partnership is to work towards receiving the first Global Universal Design Certification from the Global Universal Design Commission (GUDC) for the Mary Free Bed YMCA when the facility opens in December 2015.

Ecuador’s Technical Secretariat of Disability hosted the first World Meeting of Disabilities. Drawing experts from around the world, the conference featured presentations, roundtables and panels on policies, programs, projects and technological innovations and implementations that can advance the rights of persons with disabilities.

The Global Universal Design Commission (GUDC), a not-for-profit corporation established to develop Universal Design (UD) standards for buildings, products and services, has announced the appointment of James Schmeling as its interim executive director. Schmeling is managing director of the Institute for Veterans and Military Families (IVMF) at Syracuse University, which he co-founded. He will coordinate collaboration between these and other organizations to benefit stakeholders.

At a global conference Oct. 24-26 in Sao Paulo, Brazil, University Professor Peter Blanck, chairman of the Burton Blatt Institute (BBI) at Syracuse University, and key partners will highlight how the Global Universal Design Commission (GUDC) is leading an unprecedented effort to build support for the voluntary adoption of universal design (UD). Created to widen the concept of accessibility, the UD principles transcend the disability universe, considering other populations with needs, such as aging baby boomers.

I take his development to be a positive sign. This announcement was in my Inbox when I got home today:
The Global Universal Design Commission (GUDC) is a new non-profit organization that has been established to promote the adoption of universal design. It is modeled after the Green Building Council which has played an important role in increasing adoption of sustainable design practices in the building industry. Our intent is to address the need for greater usability in buildings in response to many social trends, e.g. the aging of society, globalization and social diversity.

SU's Peter Blanck named chairman of board

Jaime Winne Alvarez
Peter Blanck, University Professor and chair of the Burton Blatt Institute at Syracuse University (BBI), has been named chairman of the board of directors for the new Global Universal Design Commission Inc. (GUDC). The commission, a nonprofit organization and collaboration supported in part by BBI, brings together some of the most knowledgeable and influential people in the areas of accessible design and legislation.

Luis Gallegos, Ecuadorian Ambassador to the United States and Honorary Chair of Global Universal Design Commission, Inc. (“GUDC”), was recognized by the Greater Washington Hispanic Chamber of Commerce for his activism in the defense and promotion of human rights. This distinction, the first to be awarded by the Chamber to a foreign ambassador, highlights Gallegos’ extraordinary international work for the rights of persons living with disabilities.

Edward H. Steinfeld, ArchD., AIA, founding board member of Global Universal Design Commission, Inc. (“GUDC”) and award-winning professor of architecture at the University at Buffalo (“UB”) School of Architecture and Planning, as well as the Founding Director of UB’s Center for Inclusive Design and Environmental Access (“IDeA Center”) will receive UB’s second annual Presidential Award for Faculty Excellence from University President John B. Simpson in recognition of his remarkable contributions to design practices and design-related policy.

Just as proponents of “green” building concepts have seen their construction standards become commonplace, the Burton Blatt Institute (BBI) and key partners are leading an unprecedented effort to build support for the voluntary adoption of universal design (UD). The UD approach advocates that all built environments and products be useable by all people.