EBOOK - Barrier free design (Detail Practice) - Oliver Heiss

We live in a time in which the human race is facing one of its greatest ever challenges. Together, we must tackle the question of sustainability, a term that is repeatedly defined by way of three components: ecology, economy and sociocultural factors. It is precisely this third component that either hinders or allows equal opportunities for all members of our society.
Consequently, “barrier-free” must be understood in an all-embracing sense, for the planning and shaping of our environment without barriers is not just an issue for fringe groups or minorities. Instead, it must be seen as a fundamental task relevant to the whole of society, a task that calls for a long-term and sustainable perspective. The fact that social circumstances can be deduced from the form of the planned and built environment is something that is frequently only realised afterwards. In
order to support integrative equal opportunities, the progression from “building for the disabled” via “building without barriers” to “universal design” is unquestionably desirable.

The implementation of this, however, turns out to be complicated because it involves an unspecified number of participants, i.e. “everybody”. Therefore, the more imprecisely the requirements are defined, the broader the group of interests and requirements to be integrated, the more likely it will be that essential content will be contradictory. Universal planning and design thus demand that all participants are very willing to compromise.


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