Universal Design is a recent and innovative strategy aimed at designing spaces that are as accessible and inclusive as possible. It considers the broadest range of users, and goes beyond the prescriptive approach of accessibility legislation. Theoretical research on this strategy is currently increasing, but the reliability of its principles remains limited in design practice and it struggles to guarantee performance-based knowledge to designers. Therefore, a practical evaluation method based on reliable performance criteria is required.
The purpose of the research is to investigate which means, methods, and principles of Universal Design and Design for All are currently used to evaluate the accessibility and inclusion of the built environment. The paper describes a literature review aimed to select methodologies and reflect on instruments that are inherent to the thematic.
The research's outcome is therefore the definition of both open issues and gaps in this field, which is based on the comparison of the studies analysed. In addition, the potential outlooks on the issue of Universal Design and Design for All evaluation are discussed.
The current results provide a basis for further research on the development of evaluation and support tools for designers that are able to improve the accessibility and inclusion of the built environment, and the reliability of Universal Design performance criteria in design practice
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