I’ve just come back from attending the Universal Design conference in Auckland on 6-7 September. It was an amazing opportunity to attend presentations and workshops around innovative practice in universal design locally and internationally, and learn how we can shape the way New Zealand is designed and experienced into the future.

The millions of people living here, and visiting New Zealand in growing numbers each year, are incredibly diverse. They are people of all ages, abilities, ethnicities, cultures, sexual orientation to name only a few. To meet these diverse needs, we need to start with inclusion at the very core of design.

The end products, whether a home, a neighbourhood, a method of transport or a tourism experience all need to be, and benefit from, being inclusive so that as many people as possible are able to live, work and play, to be able to fully participate in New Zealand. The design process needs to be highly inclusive involving true collaboration with diverse users from early design stages through to evaluation. By collaborating early and often, the end result will meet the needs of people, and really, isn’t that what we are all about?

He aha te mea nui ki tēnei ao?
Māku e ki atu. He tangata, he tangata, he tangata.
What is the most important thing in the world?
I would reply that it is people, people, people.
Māori Whakataukī (proverb)


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