Center for Inclusive Design and Environmental Access Universal Design Bathroom, Universal Design Identity, UD Interactive Model and Home Modifications projects
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What is the Post-Occupancy Evaluation?

The Center for Inclusive Design and Environmental Access conducted a multi-year research project designed to validate the claimed benefits and evaluate examples of universal design in public buildings.

This project, Buildings in Use, is directed by Dr. Gary Scott Danford, environmental psychologist and Architecture professor at SUNY/Buffalo's School of Architecture & Planning.

To test the claim that designing environments according to the seven Principles of Universal Design makes them more usable for everyone, the multi-year "Buildings in Use" research project conducted case studies of an office building in Manhattan, a series of fast food restaurants in upstate New York, and public streetscape and hotel settings in Las Vegas. The data from these three case studies were not only broadly supportive of the claimed benefit of universal design but also encouraging for the continued development of universal design as a design philosophy.

The first case study of Lighthouse International's universally designed headquarters building in New York City (Mitchell Giugola Architects) collected observational and interview data confirming universal design's ability to produce building features that proved to be more usable not only for individuals with hearing, mobility and vision impairments but also for individuals without impairment as well.

The second case study of fast food restaurants in Western New York reconfirmed the first case study's validation of the claimed benefits of universal design by comparing customers' behavioral and perceptual experiences with design features that ranged from being universally designed to ADA-compliant to ADA-noncompliant.

Third case study tested the predicted usability of selected design features on streetscapes and in hotels and casinos in Las Vegas against observations of both older and younger users' behaviors in those settings. Video documentation of this case study provides qualitative evidence that supports the use of universal design in a broad context.

IDeA documentation of these case studies is available on DVD from the Center for Inclusive Design and Environmental Access. These videos provide a unique and exciting look into the research being done in the field.

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