Global Universal Design Commission
Increasing usability, safety, health, and social participation through design*


Global Universal Design Commission, Inc., (GUDC) a not-for-profit corporation, was established to develop Universal Design (UD) standards for buildings, products and services. GUDC is currently developing UD voluntary consensus standards for commercial buildings, which will expand access to buildings for all people, regardless of physical stature and varying abilities. The approved UD standards will guide corporations and government entities in the creation of barrier-free facilities, providing diverse users with access to commerce, public services, entertainment and employment opportunities.

Buildings and products designed according to the UD standards will benefit everyone, including the 650 million people living with disabilities worldwide and the growing aging population. Businesses stand to reap enormous benefits from the implementation and utilization of UD, including an increase in consumer base, customer loyalty and an expanded labor pool


Peter Blanck's article on Global Universal Design Commission (GUDC) and Mary Free Bed YMCA featured in International Numbers Magazine

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.

Global Universal Design Commission (GUDC) and Mary Free Bed YMCA featured in Architectural Record​

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.

Mary Free Bed YMCA First Building in World to Receive Universal Design Certification

The new Mary Free Bed YMCA has received the world’s first Global Universal Design Certification from the Global Universal Design Commission (GUDC). The GUDC created guidelines for buildings and spaces to help meet the needs of different populations, including: the elderly, individuals with disabilities, those recovering from injury, and people with hearing and sight challenges.

Dedication and Ribbon Cutting Celebrates Opening of Innovative New Mary Free Bed YMCA

The Mary Free Bed YMCA is the first health and wellness facility in the world specifically designed to equally serve all individuals regardless of ability. An inaugural lap around the new indoor track was made by community members of all ages and abilities during the dedication and ribbon cutting ceremony hosted today by the YMCA of Greater Grand Rapids.

Mary Free Bed YMCA the First Building in the World to have Universal Design Certification

The YMCA of Greater Grand Rapids has partnered with the Burton Blatt Institute (BBI) at Syracuse University and the Center for Inclusive Design and Environmental Access at the University of Buffalo (IDeA Center), leading organizations in advancing the civic, economic, and social participation of people with disabilities.

Peter Blanck to speak at FCC summit on telecommunication needs of people with cognitive disabilities

The FCC is holding a summit to facilitate discussion of the telecommunication needs of people with cognitive disabilities and effective means of meeting those needs.  Panels include: Communication Technologies for Independent Living, Emergency Preparedness/Living in the Community, and Ensuring and Funding Access to Equipment, Training and Broadband.

More information about The GUDC

Creating Voluntary Universal Design Standards
Changing the World through Universal Design Standards
Birth of an Idea
Formation of the Corporation

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