Narrative Box 1

Accessibility. Universal design. Inclusive design. What does it all mean? When it comes to the built environment, each concept is different, and all are related. As the most recent addition to the lexicon, inclusive design is perhaps most elusive. Is it a noun or a verb? What does it look like? How is it different from the other two? Owners might feel some trepidation at the term. (Yet another requirement? What will it cost?). To designers, it feels good; that is, it feels like good design. And to users? It feels like being respected and heard; it feels right.

At Jones, inclusive design comes down to making as many people as possible feel comfortable and accepted in their environment. Shaping an “architecture for belonging” is part mindset, part process, part product (verb and noun). Step one: when defining goals for the design of any project, put “belonging” on the list. And no, it doesn’t have to cost more money, or take more time. In any case, a better question might be, what are the costs of exclusion?

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