The Universal Design Alliance (UDA), in Suwanee, Ga., is a nonprofit group committed to raising awareness and expanding knowledge of universal design.
Members include design professionals, students, businesses, and consumers. Four of UDA's five co-founders are interior designers, including Sandra McGowen of McGowen Interiors, Atlanta, who notes that there is a growing market for adaptive renovation services to the aging population and disabled clients.
UDA uses a variety of methods to educate professionals and the public about universal design principles. In 2006, the Alliance worked with a local builder to create the Livable Lifetime house. “We wanted to show that universal design can be beautiful, and to take stigma away from universal design,” McGowen says. About 1,000 visitors toured the house during the three weeks it was open.
This year UDA partnered with the Centers for Disease Control to create vignettes at the Atlanta Home Show. “We showed how good design prevents falls and injuries,” she says.
The Alliance is available to conduct three-hour seminars on two topics: the overview and background of universal design, and how to renovate each room in a house to make it more accessible. Seminars qualify for continuing education units (CEUs), and McGowen says that the seminar presenters will tailor the seminar to the audience.
UDA also provides consulting services, working with remodelers and designers to review plans and suggest universal design features they can incorporate into the design while staying within their client's budget. For more information, visit www.universaldesign.org.