Universal Design for Sustainable Communities

By: Jon Sanford  

For seniors who often experience declines in mobility and reductions in life space, neighborhood farmer’s markets are a unique and untapped resource for healthy aging. By facilitating access to nutritious foods, promoting walking and providing places to "see and be seen," farmers’ markets provide a unique opportunity to support aging in place through healthy eating, engagement in meaningful activities, and social participation. From the location of the market to the neighborhood infrastructure, to the layout of the market, to the design of farmer’s stands, and community-related activities, universal design can ensure equitability and usability of every aspect of a farmer’s market. This study reports on an interdisciplinary workshop and subsequent design studio to develop universal design solutions that would meet seniors’ identified needs for social/activity spaces at the market; assistance (getting to/from the market and at the market); real-time information about the market; and physical accessibility of market. The paper highlight the design solutions for each of these unmet needs, including a hangout space; a buddy-system software application to connect seniors with volunteer helpers; a signage system to promote awareness and an accessible vendor display; as well as follow up surveys with market users to validate the design solutions.

Universal Design Community Mobility Nutrition Social Engagement Aging in Place
Public Policy and Public Perspectives on Aging
Paper Presentation in a Themed Session

Jon Sanford

Director/Professor, Center for Inclusive Design and Innovation/School of Industrial Design, Georgia Tech, United States
GA, United States