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Considerate and Decisive

- Listen to the users and deliver! -

The need for a dialogue between maker and user is not new.
The pressure for this to take place is rising.
At the core of Universal Design is a compassionate heart.
Let's make subtle changes with creativity and decisiveness.

Conference Prospectus

The International Association for Universal Design will organize the 2nd International Conference for Universal Design in Kyoto in October 2006. This conference, which will inherit the ideals of the international conference held in Yokohama in November 2002, is positioned as an opportunity for presenting the results of research and activities that saw progress in the last four years.

Universal design is a concept for designing appliances, architecture, and living space with the intention that they can be used by as many people as possible. In the International Universal Design Declaration, which was proclaimed in the finale of the conference in Yokohama in 2002, we went a step further and defined universal design as creation of social environment in which the humanity of each and every person is respected. We also proposed rebuilding the relation between the user and the creator and stressed the importance of framing a human-centered system, which should be applied to every aspect of society.

In 2005, the percentage of senior citizens of 65 years old and above has reached 20 percent of Japan's total population, as Japan enters an era of "super-aged society" that no nation has ever experienced. Bodily functions such as eyesight and muscular strength decline noticeably with age as one reaches 50, and if we include people of 50 and above, the percentage has already exceeded 40 percent of the total population.

Despite this serious social change, urban space and transportation services have not been sufficiently updated. Many people, including senior citizens, the physically disabled, children, pregnant women and nursing mothers, and non-Japanese people who speak different languages and have different customs, are forced to suffer inconveniences, and sometimes even their lives are put at risk. Inconveniences and risks of an accident are also found in one's home and surroundings and in household appliances that one uses regularly. To ensure that people are not disadvantaged on the basis of age, gender, or ability, we must introduce design that has respect for humanity and diversity everywhere.

For firms that aim to improve corporate social responsibility (CSR) and customer satisfaction (CS), universal design is now a requisite, without which they cannot hope to attain sound development of their firms. It is said that universal design is a basic policy of the government for improving urban areas so that different people can live together with a sense of security. The practice of universal design is beneficial to all people of our country and will ultimately contribute to enhancing the welfare of all people of the globe.

While the international conference will share the ideals of the U.S. Adaptive Environments' international conference "Designing for the 21st Century" and the British Helen Hamlyn Research Centre's program "Include", our intention is focused on actively disseminating successful cases in Japan regarding designing of urban space and appliances. At the same time, through sharing of information and human contacts across the boundaries of the industry, government, and academia, and the differences in languages and cultures among a variety of people who will gather at the conference, we hope to spread higher quality universal design in our society.

Towards the creation of a new world made possible by universal design, we ask for your support, cooperation, and active participation in the conference.