Planning and Community Health Research Center

Universal Design

The Center for Universal Design defines universal design as "the design of products and environments to be usable by all people, to the greatest extent possible, without the need for adaptation or specialized design."

Universal design seeks to create products and environments that meet the needs of people of all physical abilities and incorporate economic, engineering, cultural, gender and environmental concerns.

Planners play an important role in addressing universal design at the macro-level or community design. From land-use and transportation decisions and housing policy to health services and food access, the design of a community greatly impacts the health of all its users — children, adolescents, adults, people with disabilities, and the elderly.