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Codes are designed to require the minimum performance level required. This often results in inaccessibility (with little tolerance for error) and sometimes an environment not as equally accessible to everyone as it could be. To be more creative and work beyond mere code compliance is an important aspect of Universal Design.

A paraplegic since an auto accident at age nineteen, author and national news correspondent John Hockenberry wrote in his critically acclaimed autobiography, Moving Violations, the following:

“From the beginning, disability taught that life could be reinvented. In fact, such an outlet was required. Problem solving brought people together. None of my inventor friends ever asked about my accident. It didn’t occur to them. We talked about our inventions. In the great tapestry of Form and Function, each of these ideas was a single stitch and the inventors were the weavers.”

Universal design is the design of products and environments to be usable by all people, to the greatest extent possible, without the need for adaptation or specialized design. (Ron Mace)

The intent of universal design is to simplify life for everyone by making products, communications, and the built environment more usable by as many people as possible at little or no extra cost. Universal design benefits people of all ages and abilities. (Center for Universal Design (CUD), North Carolina State University)