Re: Americans with Disabilities Act - Title III
From: Grace Kim (
Date: Wed, 25 Jul 2012 16:51:38 -0700 (PDT)
>>"It would nice if there were some magic principal called "universal design"

that, when applied, yielded optimal solutions for everyone, rather than having 
to make trade-offs between different people's needs (including those with 
limited income)...but it just isn't so."

The only magic involved with any principle or code, is the skill of the 
designer to make it seamless.  Any principle or code applied without careful 
consideration will certainly feel "imposed" onto the other parties who don't 
require the accommodation.  So please don't throw out the baby with the bath 
water because you've had a couple of experiences where it didn't work so well 
for those physically able.  There are probably countless other times where you 
didn't realize an accommodation existed because the designer was successful in 
integrating the universal design principles so that it was "invisible" to those 
it didn't serve.  And please be careful to not confuse universal design with 
ADA.  The first goes far beyond the code minimums that ADA requires.

Like properly integrated sustainable design strategies, universal design should 
not necessarily add cost to a project.  A door knob is no different in cost to 
a door lever, however, the former is very difficult for those who have 
arthritis, no use of their arms, or arms full of groceries or children.

>>"I get frustrated when crusaders for ONE of those goals acts as if that goal 
>>can't possibly be in conflict with other legitimate goals."

The latter statement saddens me, as it is the root of why/how there are 
structural biases in our society and even the cohousing movement - as 
progressive as people in cohousing like to believe themselves to be, we are 
still part of the larger society that has biases of who the "norm" is.

grace h. kim | schemata workshop inc.
aia, principal architect


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