Human Centered Design and Accessible Physical Environment – A Multi-Regional Project

A visit to the Magnet School of the Death in Colorado.

On Monday, April 23 Meridian welcomed a group of 11 architects, government officials, and disability rights activists from all over the world for the International Visitor Leadership Program, "Human Centered Design and Accessible Physical Environment." The program's theme centered on the concept that inclusive communities should be accessible to everyone, regardless of physical abilities; in turn, the proliferation of accessibility programs will lead to economic development, an increase in democratic participation, and a strengthened society.

Throughout their national program, the participants explored this theme through an examination of U.S. laws related to disability rights and mechanisms for their law enforcement; discussions on design and construction technologies that assist individuals to overcome otherwise insurmountable barriers; and studies into health, education, and social support services for people with disabilities. In order to accomplish these objectives, the participants first convened in Washington, DC before travelling to Denver and Colorado Springs, Colorado; and Orlando, Florida. The program concluded in Cleveland, Ohio.

While in Washington, DC, the participants engaged with a representative from the National Council on Disability to discuss how the organization advises the federal government on policies impacting people with disabilities; met with a Policy Counsel at the National Association of the Deaf to discuss advocacy for deaf and hard of hearing people; and leaders from the Rehabilitation Engineering and Assistive Technology Society of North America, which provided insight into facilitating access through technology for people with disabilities. Other highlights included a tour of Gallaudet University, a visit to the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, and an appointment with the U.S. Access Board.

Following a series of local programs directed by our community based partners, the project concluded in Cleveland, where they covered topics including inclusive housing and universal design in architecture, accessible public transport, and inclusive city planning. After a series of successful appointments and a reflection session, each participant departed for their respective home countries.

Sponsors and Partners

Colorado Springs World Affairs Council
Cleveland Council on World Affairs
World Affairs Council of Central Florida
U.S. Department of State

Project summary

Human Centered Design and Accessible Physical Environment – A Multi-Regional Project | May 2018
Number of Visitors: 11
Regions: Africa, East Asia and Pacific, Near East and North Africa, South and Central Asia, Western Hemisphere
Countries: Argentina, Bahrain, Brazil, Ghana, India, Israel, Nigeria, Philippines, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Sri Lanka
Impact Areas: Human and Civil Rights
Program Areas: Global Leadership
Partners: NGOs, Private Sector, Public Sector