Skip to menu

Global Development of Universal Design

Location : Home Session Summary S-01: Global Development of Universal Design
Main contents start here

The ground for a global approach

Francesc Aragall

President, Design for All Foundation: Spain

Profile >>

The French revolution that proclaimed "Liberté, Egalité, Fraternité" planted the seed for the recognition of human dignity and individual rights.

But we are all aware that in real life the majority of the population can't exercise their rights fully. Poverty, lack of infrastructures, global inequalities, armed conflicts but also lack of awareness and sensibility and cultural stereotypes keeps, even in the so called more developed countries, a big part of the population sees limited its possibilities to fully enjoy what our societies offer.

Reviewing at the history of the movements fighting for human dignity we can identify these commonalities:


  • To access environments, goods and services necessary for wellbeing.
  • To see own individual and collective differences respected.
  • To develop own potential personally and in the community.


  • To respect and promote the exercise of these rights.
  • To preserve the environment for future generations and to conserve biodiversity.
  • To devote our capabilities to the development of society.

In my opinion Universal Design, Design for All, Inclusive Design, Human Centred Design, User Centred Design, Conception Universelle, Design d'Utenza Ampliata, etc. are totally aligned with these rights and obligations and brings in practical tools and methods to meet them.

There is a need to unify our efforts regardless how we like to call our approach.

To do it I found that there is a need to develop certain attitudes:

  • Empathy (putting oneself in someone else's place).
  • To promote collaboration and share development between public, private and people sector as a base for co-creating an innovating society that seeks the common wellbeing.

Universal Design, Universal Challenges: Progressing People-centred Design in the 21st Century

Rama Gheerawo

Deputy Director, Helen Hamlyn Centre for Design, Royal College of Art: UK

Profile >>

The people-centred approach that is central to Universal Design has a key role to play in creating a better society for all, and meeting some of the pressing social and environmental concerns that face us in this century. This session focuses on the questions surrounding the practice as we aim to evolve the approach, develop strategies, assimilate learnings and create new pathways forward. It will give an overview of the positive values of Universal Design and look at how it can grow to become an agent of positive change within a global context. It will talk about the relevance of this approach to industry, government and designers, outlining challenges that face the Universal Design community. Starting with an understanding of the realities of contemporary society and the issues that people struggle with on a daily basis, the talk will lay out opportunities for Universal Design to evolve, change and address a new phase of contribution. The commonality of different approaches such as Design for All and Inclusive Design will also be discussed, looking at how we can benefit from bringing together human-centred approaches from across the globe. Practical methods and examples will punctuate the presentation.

End of the contents
Main menu starts here

UD2012 Secretariat
e-mail :
Fax : +81-(0)45-901-8417
End of the Main menu