Morton Kesten Universal Design Competition
The Fourth Annual Morton Kesten Universal Design Competition Set for Spring!
Open Submission January – April 2018
The goal of the annual Morton Kesten Universal Design Competition is to create an opportunity for students across the United States to develop universally-designed spaces and products for which they will receive recognition. The Competition is in association with the Morton Kesten Summit, which is held every two years and features the latest developments in aging-in-place efforts by organizations and professionals across the country.
What is Universal Design?
Architect Ron Mace defined Universal Design as “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.”
The 7 Principles of Universal Design as developed by the Center for Universal Design can be found in the button below or at http://www.ncsu.edu/ncsu/design/cud/about_ud/udprinciples.htm
Why Universal Design?
Homes that have supportive, comfortable and convenient features and products help to ensure that all residents can remain in their homes across the life span and with varying abilities. Yet, most homes present barriers to living independently, lack supportive features that could make daily activities easier, and have safety hazards that could lead to avoidable accidents such as falls. The majority of homes were not built with people of all ages, sizes, and abilities in mind. Universal design features and products play a critical role in the ability of all individuals to conduct their daily activities, age in their homes, and avoid institutional settings. Increasingly, professionals are creating designs and products that support all ages and stages of life.
To create an innovative design using the principles of Universal Design that support aging-in-place in one of two areas:
- Space: a) reconceptualize an existing kitchen/bath space; or b) create a brand new kitchen/bath space, or
- Product: develop a product/prototype that embraces and utilizes the ideas and principles of Universal Design for use at home.
What to Include in Your Design
ALL THREE OF THE FOLLOWING COMPONENTS ARE REQUIRED FOR SUBMISSIONS TO QUALIFY:
1. Design Process (250-500 words)
Describe how the challenge was approached. Include market research, research about universal design or assistive technology, and the engagement of user/experts.
2. Design Description (250-500 words)
Describe the design created and the degree to which the design efficiently facilitates or augments the users’ ability and experience through the innovative, resourceful, and appropriate application of universal design features. Please identify universal design principals utilized.
3. Visual Presentation
Submit diagrams, sections with scale figures, renderings, photos of models, photos of user/expert research, notations about materials, or details of important features are recommended.
2018 Competition Timeline
- Call for Design Submissions: January – April 2018
- Announcement of Winners: May 2018
- 1st Prize= $1,500
- 2nd Prize = $1,000
- 3rd Prize = $500
Click the tabs below to learn more!
- Current United States resident students and online students in any state enrolled in a degree granting 2 to 5 year undergraduate or graduate program in the United States.
- Multi-disciplinary teams are strongly encouraged to apply, with a maximum of six (6) members.
- Applicants should be willing to sign a media consent form to be recorded and photographed.
Submissions will be judged on how well they achieve the following:
- Reflect research into the existing market and the design fills a gap in that market
- Demonstrate innovative insights by engaging user/experts* in the design process and/or final design* = “user/experts” are people with functional differences that vary from the norm who experience every day how design fails and who can help to provide guidance on solutions (Ostroff, 1997)
- Integrate esthetic appeal with function
- Address anticipated feasibility and cost-effectiveness in replication or fabrication
- Incorporate attention to environmental sustainability in materials and production
- Showcase Universal Design Principles (equitable use, flexibility in use, simple and intuitive, perceptible information, tolerance for error, low physical effort, size and space for approach and use)
- Describe how the design supports the user(s)’ ability to age in place
Judges to be Announced
Any intellectual property developed by an individual or team (participant) as part of their participation in the USC Universal Design Competition will remain the property of the participant(s), or participant(s)’ universities or employers, as applicable. The University of Southern California (USC) Davis School of Gerontology reserves the right to publicize designs following submission in print and online media including but not limited to: posters, newsletters, websites, and social media. Participants interested in intellectual property protection should take any steps necessary to protect patentable inventions, copyrighted work, or other intellectual property prior to submission. This may include the exclusion of patentable details in applicants’ submissions. The USC Davis School of Gerontology will not be held responsible for any use of participants’ submission content by any third party once it is publicized.
Definition: Architect Ron Mace defined Universal Design as “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.”
The authors, a working group of architects, product designers, engineers and environmental design researchers, collaborated to establish the following Principles of Universal Design to guide a wide range of design disciplines including environments, products, and communications. These seven principles may be applied to evaluate existing designs, guide the design process and educate both designers and consumers about the characteristics of more usable products and environments.
The Principles of Universal Design are presented here, in the following format: name of the principle, intended to be a concise and easily remembered statement of the key concept embodied in the principle; definition of the principle, a brief description of the principle’s primary directive for design; and guidelines, a list of the key elements that should be present in a design which adheres to the principle. (Note: all guidelines may not be relevant to all designs.)
PRINCIPLE ONE: Equitable Use
The design is useful and marketable to people with diverse abilities.
1a. Provide the same means of use for all users: identical whenever possible; equivalent when not.
1b. Avoid segregating or stigmatizing any users.
1c. Provisions for privacy, security, and safety should be equally available to all users.
1d. Make the design appealing to all users.
PRINCIPLE TWO: Flexibility in Use
The design accommodates a wide range of individual preferences and abilities.
2a. Provide choice in methods of use.
2b. Accommodate right- or left-handed access and use.
2c. Facilitate the user’s accuracy and precision.
2d. Provide adaptability to the user’s pace.
PRINCIPLE THREE: Simple and Intuitive Use
Use of the design is easy to understand, regardless of the user’s experience, knowledge, language skills, or current concentration level.
3a. Eliminate unnecessary complexity.
3b. Be consistent with user expectations and intuition.
3c. Accommodate a wide range of literacy and language skills.
3d. Arrange information consistent with its importance.
3e. Provide effective prompting and feedback during and after task completion.
PRINCIPLE FOUR: Perceptible Information
The design communicates necessary information effectively to the user, regardless of ambient conditions or the user’s sensory abilities.
4a. Use different modes (pictorial, verbal, tactile) for redundant presentation of essential information.
4b. Provide adequate contrast between essential information and its surroundings.
4c. Maximize “legibility” of essential information.
4d. Differentiate elements in ways that can be described (i.e., make it easy to give instructions or directions).
4e. Provide compatibility with a variety of techniques or devices used by people with sensory limitations.
PRINCIPLE FIVE: Tolerance for Error
The design minimizes hazards and the adverse consequences of accidental or unintended actions.
5a. Arrange elements to minimize hazards and errors: most used elements, most accessible; hazardous elements eliminated, isolated, or shielded.
5b. Provide warnings of hazards and errors.
5c. Provide fail safe features.
5d. Discourage unconscious action in tasks that require vigilance.
PRINCIPLE SIX: Low Physical Effort
The design can be used efficiently and comfortably and with a minimum of fatigue.
6a. Allow user to maintain a neutral body position.
6b. Use reasonable operating forces.
6c. Minimize repetitive actions.
6d. Minimize sustained physical effort.
PRINCIPLE SEVEN: Size and Space for Approach and Use
Appropriate size and space is provided for approach, reach, manipulation, and use regardless of user’s body size, posture, or mobility.
7a. Provide a clear line of sight to important elements for any seated or standing user.
7b. Make reach to all components comfortable for any seated or standing user.
7c. Accommodate variations in hand and grip size.
7d. Provide adequate space for the use of assistive devices or personal assistance.
Please note that the Principles of Universal Design address only universally usable design, while the practice of design involves more than consideration for usability. Designers must also incorporate other considerations such as economic, engineering, cultural, gender, and environmental concerns in their design processes. These Principles offer designers guidance to better integrate features that meet the needs of as many users as possible.
Homes that have supportive, comfortable, and convenient features and products help to ensure that all residents can remain in their homes across the life span and with varying abilities. Yet, most homes present barriers to living independently, lack supportive features that could make daily activities easier, and have safety hazards that could lead to avoidable accidents such as falls. The majority of homes were not built with people of all ages, sizes, and abilities in mind. Universal design and visitability features and products play a critical role in the ability of all individuals to conduct their daily activities, age in their homes, and avoid institutional settings. Increasingly, professionals are creating designs and products that support all ages and stages of life.
To learn more about Universal Design, visit the Center for Universal Design here.
To learn more about Visitability, go to the Concrete Change website, here.
To learn more about how people’s needs change as they age and how this relates to housing, read on below.
Click here to read a blog from the New York Times that highlights older adults’ experiences, needs, and concerns related to aging in place.
Click here to read how growing numbers of older adults are embracing technology.
Click here to read a report from the Department of Housing and Urban Development on Aging in Place and initiatives to improve living accommodations for the aging.