Media Release: Universal Design NL Launches Interactive Tool, Promotes Inclusive Communities

Media Release: Universal Design NL Launches Interactive Tool, Promotes Inclusive Communities

MEDIA RELEASE

Universal Design NL Launches Interactive Tool, Promotes Inclusive Communities

For immediate release

(St. John’s, NL—April 27, 2017) The Coalition of Persons with Disabilities NL, in partnership with the Disability Policy Office (Government of Newfoundland and Labrador) and the Universal Design NL Taskforce, has officially launched a new website and interactive tool to promote building more inclusive communities through the adoption of universal design.

UniversalDesignNL.ca allows users to engage in an interactive home and view helpful tips and guidelines for making building designs more universal. Each room of the interactive home features “hotspots” informing users about ways to make their space inclusive of all visitors. The site will be a useful resource for builders, home owners and society, as Universal Design continues to be a new, global standard for public spaces. An everyday example of universal design would be level entry building entrances, which welcome all users, whether they’re pushing a baby stroller or using a wheelchair.

Emily Christy, Executive Director of the Coalition of Persons with Disabilities, explained, “Universal design is about designing for everyone. It’s a way of creating environments and products that are usable for all people, regardless of age or ability. More importantly, it helps build inclusive communities by removing barriers and stigmas, therefore serving everyone.” She continued, “We want to see universal design become the default for all new builds and retrofits in this province so that all people are enabled to fully engage in community life.”

Shelley Di Nur, an independent occupational therapist and member of the Universal Design NL Taskforce, commented, “Universally-designed buildings, systems and tools can be used through many phases of our lives, empowering us to lead a healthy and inclusive life. Our community stands to benefit greatly from incorporating universal design into the creation of new or retrofitted public spaces.  Our working group of professionals is dedicated to raising awareness about the benefits of UD to business, individuals and community.”

Minister Sherry Gambin-Walsh, Minister Responsible for the Status of Person with Disabilities, stated, “The shared knowledge and experience of persons with disabilities, combined with the valued work of our partners, has enabled us to advance accessibility and inclusion in our province. The creation of this website is a joint effort between the Coalition of Persons with Disabilities NL and the Provincial Government and we are very pleased with the result. Planners, builders and the public are encouraged to explore the site for helpful resources, guidelines and universal design principles that can benefit all Newfoundlanders and Labradorians.”

 

To gain a better understanding of universal design and how individuals, businesses and society can benefit from its use, visit www.UniversalDesignNL.ca or contact the Coalition of Persons with Disabilities at info@codnl.ca.

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  • CONTACT:
    Jennifer Barnable, Research & Communications Coordinator (709) 722-7011 jennifer@codnl.ca
    Krista Dalton, Children, Seniors and Social Development (709) 729-3768, 685-6492 kristadalton@gov.nl.ca