My colleague Jonathan Lazar who studies the way in which the web creates barriers to people with disabilities mentioned to me a neat program/event that may be of interest to some BOH readers in the Boston area: As part of the Architecture Boston Expo currently going on there is a Universal Design: Accessibility Exhibit, which features two spaces for attendees to navigate. One is made up using universal design features, the other features “common” design errors (sometimes quite subtle) making it difficult or impossible to use.
Architects and other attendees are put in a wheelchair and asked to try to make use of both spaces. The idea is that by experiencing the space as would someone with a disability, architects will be better able to understand the ways in which their small decisions have big impacts on people’s lives.
I thought this was a really interesting and novel approach to the problem, and one wonders whether architecture schools should make these kinds of experiences part of the curriculum?