Designing for the Disadvantaged: Optimum Design Considers All Users

by John J. Fruin, (M.ASCE), Research Engineer; Port Authority of N.Y. and N.J., New York, N.Y.,

Serial Information: Civil Engineering—ASCE, 1975, Vol. 45, Issue 3, Pg. 65-67

Document Type: Feature article


Design practices in recent engineering projects show that consideration for the full human utility of building and transportation systems is receiving increasing attention. Previously, those with physical disabilities were often denied full accessibility to these facilities because of design imposed barriers. These include: stairs and ramps that are too steep or long; wheelchair restrictions such as narrow doors, high curbs, or fixtures set at improper heights; surface treatments causing difficulties for those with locomotion problems and other details limiting full human use. Consideration of the needs of all users is not an idealistic design objective, but a pragmatic approach to providing more useful systems.

Subject Headings: Building design | Human factors | Building systems | Systems engineering | Transportation engineering | Construction management | Stairs

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