Issues in barrier-free design: a case study of accessibility for the physically disabled at the University of Calgary
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AbstractThis document summarizes the results of a study of accessibility for the physically disabled at the University of Calgary, Calgary, Canada, focussing primarily on the needs of wheelchair users, while considering the needs of other disabled persons as well. A review of the literature on designing for the disabled, a survey of campus facilities, and interviews with disabled persons were used to identify barriers to facility use by the disabled. Interviews, a review of the literature, and field trips to the University of Illinois (Champaign-Urbana, Illinois) and Wright State University (Dayton, Ohio) provided the basis for proposed problem solutions. The study indicated that although the climate-controlled enclosed building complexes at the university benefitted persons in wheelchairs in terms of protection from the climate, they created other problems insofar as elevators and accessible facilities such as washrooms and lowered telephones (available on a limited basis) were not easily located. It was determined that persons in wheelchairs would have difficulty in moving throughout the campus without the assistance of others, particularly in gaining entry to facilities such as the university library, bookstore, and health and counselling services. The probability of success of any programme of accessibility modifications on the campus was found to be dependent upon a variety of policy decisions by the provincial government and the university administration. An introductory section discusses the nature of barrier-free design and its significance, physical disabilities and their design implications, reasons why barriers exist, psychological factors in barrier-free design, and an emerging attitude which views handicaps as a function of environmental design rather than one of limitations of disabled persons. An extensive list of recent sources of information on barrier-free design is also included.
Bibliography: p. 106-112.