Legislation to help provide access for all
This week, State Representative Scott Simon filed legislation which requires a percentage of the money spent by Louisiana and state agencies on the construction or renovation of state buildings be spent on implementing principles of universal design and establishes the Percent for Universal Design Program.
Under this legislation, if more than $2 million of state funds is to be spent on this construction or renovation, two percent will be expended to utilize and incorporate design principles. Guidelines and design disciplines such as flexibility and equitable use, simple and intuitive use, perceptible information, tolerance for error low physical effort and size and space for approach and use are required under the legislation.
The bill also calls for moving beyond minimum accessibility requirements, maximizing accessibility for all users, regardless of their functional capabilities, and bringing to the attention of architects, builders and the public-at-large the vast benefits that can be realized by implementing universal design principles in the construction and renovation of all buildings.
Conceived during the Civil Rights era, universal design principles is a design approach that seeks to point out that human beings have a wide range of abilities that focuses on assuring that no group of users is at a disadvantage or stigmatized. It also aims to minimize hazards and ensure efficient and comfortable use.
Simon expressed, “More than 20 percent of the population has some type of disability. Add to this the fact that people are living longer and you see the need for designing and building structures that afford easy access to all. We need to recognize this need and make the world more accessible to all citizens.