Project Description:

According to European statics stated on the Progress Report on the implementation of the European Disability Strategy, the number of people with disabilities is increasing. Besides, they still have integration difficulties into an ordinary life in terms of employment, education, social inclusion, travelling even shopping. European Commission and Erasmus + gives precedence to accessibility for the people with disability and encourage them for fully participating in society as well as to raise awareness at EU-level in all European Countries, give financial support, collect data and statistics. Commission believes that their work will feed the reflection to shape future EU disability policies, in cooperation with people with disabilities, their representative organisations and all relevant stakeholders. Although there are many non-profit organizations and commissions fighting against to prejudices and discrimination by promoting awareness on the rights of the people with disabilities in every area and they, the majority of European population, even people with disabilities don’t know they have the same rights as everyone else. Their isolation from the society starts from their childhood when they reach the age ready for going to school. Most of them quit studying because they cannot find a proper school to be registered.  Therefore, local governance should work on having more inclusive schools. In this concept, design is a key element to lift all barriers in between for their inclusion to society.

Universal design was first used in literature in the early 90’s and has made great progress. Yet, it’s not the main subject but a lateral topic to be specialized in design education nowadays. In order to give a chance for having an ordinary life to people with disabilities, all designers need to know universal design principles and practice it on their projects. Thus, how to integrate universal design principles to design education, and widening the awareness of students about accessible design is an important topic for national policies and researchers. Under the circumstances, the proposed project PUDCAD aims to widen the knowledge and practice of universal design in Architecture/Interior Design/Product Design Education.

Within this project, we expect students to develop a nuanced understanding of universal design; and adopt universal design guidelines through experiencing and practicing them in a particular CAD environment. Intensive technology usage in education encourage students to maintain their education on an entertaining platform. PUDCAD creates a CAD game-based learning platform for undergraduate design students to learn, understand and practice universal design principles from basic to advance. It will also encourage the future designers to exert and test their knowledge on CAD based platform by an architectural game which uses augmented reality to give feedbacks about their designs. The game will be focused especially on universal design principles of inclusive high school for the youths with disabilities aged between 14-19.

Various legal obligations about universal design will be documented, standards and current educational strategies and methods in teaching universal design will be reported, the differences will be highlighted. Each partner will arrange a pilot study field to be studied by students to determine the current knowledge of Universal Design. Behavioural and perceptual mapping of the high school students will be studied through the selected project field. All collected data will be analysed, reviewed by non-profit organizations and tutors so as to synthesize the inclusive high school design criteria for structuring the game design. A selected IT firm that will be contracted for game design, in terms of service procurement will process the game design in two phases: developing the beta version of the game using the general universal design criteria and focusing on the fixture and furniture design. In the end, PUDCAD will launch an educational game which allow students to learn how to design a totally accessible high school including fixture and furniture design. They will be able to upload their design to see if their project works in terms of universal design.

The game can easily be adapted to the design studio of educational buildings in Design Curriculum. In this way, starting from the undergraduate design education, by training staff and the students, PUDCAD will improve their academic and practical skills and raise the awareness of Universal Design Principles and promote it to be a fundamental criterion in all design areas. In this respect, designers will become conscious about the importance of Universal Design and will help to create an accessible environment for everybody. This project may promote the in-depth analysis on various disabilities to improve other versions of game and developing other CAD based software not only for students but also for professionals.

The Practicing Universal Design Principles in Design Education through a CAD-Based Game (PUDCAD) aims to support and strengthen the universal design education in international networks.

The academic partners of this project are deliberately selected regarding their broad experiences and proficiencies on universal design, education and research. Additionally, related to project content, the non-profit organisation partners are reasonably selected to create an effective multidisciplinary research platform.

The partner institutions and organizations of the PUDCAD Project are;

ITU, Faculty of Architecture, Istanbul, Turkey,

HS-OWL, University of Applied Sciences, Detmolder School of Architecture and Interior Architecture, Detmold, Germany

LAMK, Institute of Design and Fine Arts, Lahti, Finland

UNIFI, Dipartimento di Architettura dell’Università degli Studi di Firenze, Florence, Italy

POLIMI, Dipartimento di Design, Milano, Italy

BAHUN, Faculty of Communication, Istanbul, Turkey

SERCEV, The Association for Well-being of Children with Cerbral Palsy, Turkey

ED, The Occupational Therapy Association of Turkey

The project is expected to be completed in 36 months starting from September 2017. In particular, a workshop is going to be organized within the contribution of Hacettepe University (Ankara, Turkey) to train students from design and physiotherapy faculties. With such organizations, the awareness of universal design and designing accessible environments with new technologies will get a strong boost.

For a long-term impact, the game will be promoted via different online learning/teaching platforms and social media channels. Aside, the website of the game and its supplementary materials will be updated regularly to reach out more international education institutions in a long period of time.

Since the game will be based on the real-life needs, the project is open for different focus areas in universal design, design education, and new design teaching/learning technologies for design students as well as professionals.

The collected information of universal design and inclusive design principles in education throughout the project will be shared as academic and press publications occasionally; and  these publications will be accessible through online libraries to broaden the awareness of universal design and trigger the further studies in different research fields.