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Building a World Fit for People: Designers with Disabilities at Work

Book cover of 'Building a World Fit for People'  


By: Elaine Ostroff, Mark Limont and Daniel G. Hunter

Foreword: John D. Kemp, President and CEO Half the Planet Foundation, Washington DC

Introduction: Raymond Lifchez, Professor, Department of Architecture, University of California, Berkeley

Published by Adaptive Environments, 2002
ISBN 0-9708358-4-1
Made possible by a grant from NEC Foundation of America

Cost: $15.00, including shipping and handling. Contact us directly to inquire about bulk orders: (p) 617-695-1225, x29 or publications@AdaptiveEnvironments.org.

For the free accessible online version of the book go to www.AdaptiveEnvironments.org/accessdesign.

About the Book:

We are pleased to introduce you to a valuable new resource, Building a World Fit for People: Designers with Disabilities at Work, a book that describes the career development of 21 designers with disabilities from around the world. Based on the initial research funded by the National Endowment for the Arts, the book highlights the major influences that shaped each person's professional choices.

"The value of these biographical sketches lies in the descriptions of their personal lives. Each is the tale of a young person with creative talent and a disability who required the education, skills, and employment that would enable him or her to express this creative gift in a socially meaningful way."

Raymond Lifchez, Professor
Department of Architecture, College of Environmental Design
University of California, Berkeley
Distinguished Professor, Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture, 2002

The book is written for young people with disabilities and their families, design students with disabilities, career and vocational rehabilitation counselors, design educators, and employers in design firms. It illustrates the varied ways that designers with disabilities are contributing to the design of our buildings and products. Building a World Fit for People promotes the design professions as a viable career opportunity for people with disabilities. The late Ron Mace, FAIA, inspired the book. He was a disabled architect who defined universal design, the mainstream design approach to create environments and products that most people can use throughout their lives. The book is part of Access to Design Professions, an Adaptive Environments program funded by the National Endowment for the Arts.

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What Reviewers Say:

"There is clearly an advantage to understanding and designing the environment from the lens and sensitivity of being different, being with a 'disability'."

Brad Grant, Chairperson and Endowed University Professor of Architecture
Hampton University
President, Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture

"Just as some of the first African American architects were ironically denied access into the buildings they had designed, so too are many designers with disabilities still denied full participation in their professions."

Kathryn H. Anthony, Professor
School of Architecture
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Author, Designing for Diversity

"Historically, designers have excluded people with disabilities from the community by design. Today, we witness how designers with disabilities transform their professions from within. The book portrays pioneering individuals and their experiences as people with disabilities, visions, and commitment that make them leaders in the universal design movement."

Adolf Ratzka, Director
Institute on Independent Living
Stockholm, Sweden

"Building a World Fit for People should be read by all professionals in the various fields of design education and training as well as by those in disability service positions which have influence on consumer career choice and preparation."

Randy Borst
Director of Disability Services
University at Buffalo, The State University of New York
President Elect, Association on Higher Education and Disability (AHEAD)

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About the Authors:

Elaine Ostroff, Founding Director of Adaptive Environments, co-founded the organization in 1978. She directs the Access to Design Professions Project and the Global Universal Design Educator's Network. An educator, she has been involved with accessible and universally designed environments on a national and international level since 1971. She has a master's degree in education from Harvard University and was a recipient of a Radcliffe Institute Fellowship. She lives in Westport, Massachusetts.

Mark Limont, researcher and writer, has been active in the disability rights movement and is himself a person with a disability. He served on the board of the Boston Center for Independent Living and was a counselor at the Boston Self Help Center. He holds a BA in English Literature from Boston University. He now resides in El Cerrito, California, just north of Berkeley.

Daniel G. Hunter, Research Associate for Adaptive Environments, recently completed his bachelor's and master's degrees in landscape architecture. He also holds a BA in French, and he taught elementary school until disability and restrictive design made that impossible. He became interested in design when he noticed that the built environment interfered with his parenting two active daughters. He lives in Springfield, Oregon.

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