The Mary Free Bed YMCA of Greater Grand Rapids, Michigan has been awarded the world's first Universal Global Design certification from the prestigious Global Universal Design Commission (GUDC). The new inclusive playground was a contributing factor in the GUDC decision to name the Mary Free Bed YMCA the first building in the world to receive Universal Design Certification.
Global Universal Design Commission
Increasing usability, safety, health, and social participation through design*
GUDC in Action
Universal Design (UD) in the built environment benefits everyone–women and men, older adults and children, people with disabilities and those without, people using different languages. The Global Universal Design Commission (GUDC), along with the architecture and design, development, and disability and aging communities, is accelerating adoption of UD concepts.
Our country is transforming as we become both older and more diverse every day. Every day for the next 15 years, thousands of Americans will reach retirement age at a pace so that, by 2030, there will be more than twice as many older Americans as there were at the turn of the century.
GUDC and Peter Blanck's commentary. In 2015, the New York transit system opened its first new subway station in 25 years; the city of Toronto hosted the Pan Am and Parapan Am Games; the YMCA opened a new facility in Grand Rapids, Michigan; and a San Antonio school for deaf children won a design award for redefining what a learning place can be. What united these disparate events was an underlying commitment to including as wide a range of users as possible: in other words, to universal design.
Peter Blanck, BBI Chairman & University Professor at Syracuse University, writes: "The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990 has helped to define in the United States and globally the modern view of disability as a central element of the human experience. This second issue, of a two-part Special Issue of the journal Inclusion, examines the ADA at its 25th anniversary.
Universal design (“UD”) of buildings, products, and technologies is not one of the most recognized subjects today. However, when you come to the realization that UD is the most revolutionary element of design presently that affects us all, you may start to pay attention.