Valerie Fletcher to speak at Universal Design Symposium

Valerie Fletcher, Executive Director of the Institute of Human Centered Design in Boston, will speak at the Universal Design Symposium, proudly sponsored by Lifemark, Resene and Auckland Council on Wednesday 26th October at the Viaduct Events Centre. This event is held as a precursor to ADNZ’s National Conference on 27th and 28th October at the same venue.   Fletcher’s talk, entitled “Designing with People in Mind” will speak about the concept of human centered design, why this approach is especially important for our time, and how to integrate it into design practice.

Human centered design, sometimes referred to as universal design, is a concept that evolved through the 70s and 80s within architecture and design.  The foundational concept of human centered design is that designed environments can be either enabling or disabling for users.


By considering the full spectrum of abilities and life stages of the population, designers can create spaces that are more accessible for, and inclusive of, the wide diversity of people in our society.

Valerie Fletcher discourages her audiences from thinking of disability or aging as marginal or outside the norm.  Human centered design takes into account cognitive differences, as well as different physical abilities.  The Institute’s work has included a school for children and adults living with autism spectrum disorder.

Valerie Fletcher, keynote speaker Human Centered Design


The field of human centered design also includes consideration of cultural diversity within populations.  This element of the practice is especially pertinent to Auckland as one of the world’s most culturally diverse cities, with 39% of our population having been born overseas.

Fletcher’s talk promises to offer strategies for implementing inclusive design, with global examples of methods and results.

Click here to register: Universal Design Symposium Event

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