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POLIS/BAS International Conference
"Universal Design of Buildings: Tools and Policy"

Thursday 16th & Friday 17th November 2006

One day or another, each of us can be confronted with a dramatic reduction of mobility, be it for a short while or permanently. Indeed, getting older, getting sick or being the victim of an accident, can cause a dramatic decrease of our faculties (to see, to hear, to walk,…). The environment, once accessible, can become in this way un-adapted to allow us to live independently. As the life expectation of each of us increases, more of us will be concerned. Taking this into account, it is more than clear that our cities in general should be made more accessible to all citizens. Accessibility, beyond the prevention of the handicapping situations, it is also the improvement and the research for the comfort of all.
A lot of measures are worked out, such as standardization initiatives, rules and regulations in order to support a better accessible environment. European and/or national legislation delivers a legal framework encouraging the creation of a more accessible environment. The situation differs, however, heavily from one country to another (and even within countries). Only a limited number of countries have developed an integrated approach including aspects such as planning, legislation, building regulations, monitoring, training, certification, … . Knowing and understanding the policies of Europe, the Member States and other countries may be inspiring for developing new, integrated universal building design policies.

POLIS developed an innovative means of measuring accessibility. BAS creates an Orange Book illustrating examples of accessible services around Europe. Both projects aim to stimulate Universal Design through European and local policy initiatives. At this open International Conference the results of both projects will be presented. Interested authors are however invited to submit an abstract addressing the topics highlighted in the announcement (see Call for Papers). By bringing knowledge and visions together, universal building design policies and initiatives will be promoted.