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The Universal Design Project

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The Universal Design Project Occupational Therapy TeamThanks for your interest in The Universal Design Project! We were founded in 2016 to address the problem of inaccessibility in our homes and communities. Our organization is unique in that we do not provide direct services to individuals. We’re solving the problem of inaccessibility on a systems level by helping businesses and organizations serve their communities better.
Inaccessible design results in everyday activities being difficult or impossible to perform, thus reducing quality of life for millions of people affected by disability.


Why This Problem Exists:

1. The diversity of functional needs of the disability community isn’t comprehensively understood by most design professionals.

2. The people who have in-depth knowledge about disability (i.e., health professionals and people with personal experience with disability) are rarely involved with design.

3. No one has really explored what’s possible when design professionals, health professionals, and people with life experience with disability collaborate.


Our Solution: Collaborate!

Here's what we do, and why...

1. Design homes & recreation activities.

The inclusion of people affected by disability into the design of our communities is almost always an afterthought. This is what drives us to create design plans for (1) universally designed homes and (2) inclusive recreation activities.

2. Share plans with communities near (i.e., Harrisonburg!) & far.

It’s rare to find examples of universal design done well. We’re working to change that. We want universal design to be accessible to as many people as possible, so we share our design plans for anyone to use, anywhere. The plans will be available on our website, and we’re exploring ideas for in-person outreach.

3. Support implementation efforts.

While design is a big piece of the puzzle, the design plans alone may not be enough for successful implementation of universally accessible homes or inclusive programs. We offer support that includes training and problem-solving about how to best accommodate people with specific disabilities.

This is a complex issue that will become more prevalent in communities everywhere as our population ages and people with disabilities become more involved in our everyday lives. We invite you to learn more at our website: universaldesign.org

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