DSQ > Fall 2008, Volume 28, No.4

The framework of Universal Design (UD) is one approach to improving access on university campuses. This paper reflects on a participatory research project on accessible space at the University of Arizona. Student-researchers from the Disability Resource Center conducted map-based qualitative research with members of the campus community to investigate perceptions of accessibility. Data analysis indicates the importance of hidden and invisible barriers, the attitudinal aspects of accessibility, and adaptive strategies of campus users. The paper contributes to investigation of spatial aspects and the lived experience of universal design in institutional contexts, while offering a model for involving students in applied research.


The framework of Universal Design (UD) emerged in the 1990s as an approach that encourages social inclusion for the broadest range of users (Story 1998). UD has been applied to accessibility for people with disabilities as a way to invoke a philosophy for "design for all" (Iwarsson and Stahl 2003: 61), and can help move beyond the discourse of individual accommodation toward the promotion of wider structural change. Key aspects of universal design encourage the transformation of multiple "environments" — built, social, informational — in a manner that benefits all users (Scott et al. 2003). On a campus, users include students, faculty and staff, and one of these environments includes the "instructional environment." In the UD paradigm, accessibility indicates not only the degree to which a location or facility is reachable by someone with an impairment, but also includes other factors, such as the usability of instructional materials, transportation services, learning outcomes, and the attitudes in the social environment.

In the Spring and Fall semesters of 2007, the University of Arizona (UA) offered "Special Education, Rehabilitation, and School Psychology 399: Universal Design and Accessible Space" (SERP 399), a unique course that combined theory and methods from disability studies, anthropology, and geography in a research project on the accessibility of the UA campus. The objective of the project was to study how universal design has been implemented on campus, while involving students and staff from the Disability Resource Center (DRC) in conducting participatory research (Kitchin 2001; Park 1993). The DRC partnered with the graduate student instructor (Nicholas), who had received a NASA Space Grant Fellowship1 for the project, to implement the project over a two-year period. The other two authors, Sarah and Jackie, participated in the course as student-researchers. In this paper, written jointly by the instructor and these two students-researchers, we discuss the methodologies and more specific findings of our research as well as include undergraduate student's reflections and experiences with accessibility and disability at the University of Arizona.

In this pilot project, disabled and non-disabled students and staff2 affiliated with the UA Disability Resource Center (DRC) set out to study the spatial patterns and social meanings of mobility and accessibility for campus users. The researchers used both low- and high-tech spatial techniques — "map interviews" and Geographic Information Systems (GIS) — to investigate the effectiveness of universal design and the ways the built environment reflects and impacts attitudes about disability. Such mapping techniques are an excellent method for engaging students in disability research and stimulating productive discussions between students, instructors and staff members on the multiple social dynamics of accessibility on campus. In addition, course participants examined how UD can be leveraged to improve outcomes for students with a wide range of learning requirements. One of the central goals in the project was to examine what accessibility means on the UA campus from the perspective of disabled students. As discussed below, several important themes emerged from our research, including the hidden barriers to accessibility, the concept of a continuum of universal design, and the attitudinal, social-behavioral and policy-institutional aspects of universal design strategies.

Investigating Accessibility through Geographic Approaches

Since one of the broader goals of the DRC-Space Grant project was to get students with disabilities involved in active research, the instructor designed a series of seminars and guest speakers to prepare the student for subsequent data collection. The structure of the project relied on voluntary participation by students and staff affiliated with the DRC.3 The students, who had both undergraduate and graduate standing, were recruited through DRC outreach efforts, course fliers, and word-of-mouth. Although the project was run as a simulated course, the students actually signed up for independent study projects. Each of the course participated in several weeks of seminars on participatory research, universal design, disability studies, and qualitative data collection to prepare for the research phase.

Building on theoretical discussions on universal design, as well as geospatial and qualitative data techniques, our goal was to analyze the social and spatial dimensions of the experience of disability and accessibility. Students engaged in participatory research with members of the UA campus community by conducting "map interviews." Using poster-sized aerial maps of campus, students interviewed a total of thirty people about their experiences with accessibility on the UA campus. Each student-researcher interviewed at minimum of three people, with a 2:1 ratio of community members who identified as having a disability, such as mobility/motor, sensory (e.g. sight or hearing), learning, and emotional/psychological, and community members who did not identify as having a disability.4 Informants were recruited through convenience sampling.

In each interview, the informant used different colored markers to indicate how they negotiate the campus, drawing directly on poster-sized maps (see Figure 1 for a sample). Blue marks indicated typical routes used for daily travel. Red marks represented areas, locations, or regions where barriers exist — these may be physical (e.g. potholes), social (restricted access), or attitudinal (due to negative perceptions or feelings). Green marks signified locations that represent positive areas; these could result from the presence of friendly people, accessible building design, or useful resources. Also covered in the interview were questions about past experiences, perceptions and social attitudes about disability, and expectations for the future with regard to accessibility.

The use of mapping techniques proved useful for several reasons. For one, thinking about the geography of accessibility made an excellent teaching tool that involves building new skills. Students gained an appreciation for taking a more systemic view of the interconnectedness of paths, building, and social relations on campus, while also improving their map literacy. Second, the tangible nature of using colored markers to draw on paper maps helps expose underlying cognitive maps from interviewees. Thus it serves as a methodological tool for ethnographic interviewing. Third, GIS and spatial analysis lend methods for visualization and pattern identification. Visualizing data in digital and low-tech maps helps communicate findings to different audiences (See Figure 2 for patterns of accessible space).

aerial photograph of the university of arizona campus with annotations in green and red

Figure 1: Sample Instrument from a Map Interview

aerial photograph of the university of arizona campus with color indications of perceptions

Figure 2: Map indicating areas of positive (green) and negative (red) perceptions with respect to accessibility

Student researchers used an iterative approach to data collection and analysis. Once they had collected enough interviews to identify areas for focus and improvement, they discussed emerging themes and methodological refinements. In addition, guest speakers were bought in to assist with framing policy issues on campus and conducting data analysis. Of the many findings that emerged from the data, they chose to emphasize key findings that met one of three criteria: 1) themes that were raised routinely by interviewees, in response to interview questions; 2) emblematic data that related to in-class discussions and course readings to demonstrate the diversity and challenge of design; and 3) consistently identified challenges on campus for which solutions were within easy reach. This last group of findings was deemed important by the majority of student-researchers who felt that research should accompanied with practical recommendations. After analyzing the data that was collected, the student researchers presented their results in a public forum format to campus officials, the DRC staff, and members of the Tucson disability community. For more information or for their report, please visit http://www.cultureplacehealth.org/spacegrant/, where you can also view additional images of campus and analytical GIS maps (see also, Rattray 2007).

Hidden Barriers, a Continuum of Universal Design, and the Attiudinal Aspects of Accessibility

Finding I:

Just as disabilities can be both visible and hidden, so are some barriers to accessibility

The curricular aspects of UD were brought out by one student-researcher:

"Many principles of universal design and forms of assistive technology have been implemented into our campus. Teachers use equitable use principle, the perceptible information principle, and the size and space principle in the classrooms. For example, they provide notes that can be accessed online by everyone and they create optimal learning environment for small spaces. This is helpful for students who have attention deficit disorder. I am a fourth-year DRC student and I feel I would not be where I am without it."

(Student A, undergraduate, SERP 399 reflective essay, Fall 2007)

One theme that emerged from interviews is the high variability with which different users on the UA campus perceive and experience built and social factors. What is identified as "accessible" or "universally designed" is highly dependent on the user. A feature of the built or social environment that functions as a barrier to a person with one kind of impairment may not be readily apparent to someone without a disability or with a different type of impairment. Accordingly, we found a prevalence of hidden or invisible barriers on the UA campus, wherein "hiddenness" or "invisibility" is variable and user-dependent. For example, different types of streetscapes offer varying challenges to campus users. Some designs meant to make streetscapes more accessible for all actually create new barriers for some. Whereas curbs, benches, planters, and lights can limit the accessibility of people with mobility disabilities, "curb-cuts" or lowered parts of sidewalks that enable wheelchair users to ascend and descend can lead to navigational challenges for people who use assistive technology like canes. The limited number of accessible ramps around campus leads to congestion and an increase in the likelihood of collisions during crowded periods, thus offering no more accessible a route than the crowded and bike-and-skateboard-laden paths that most respondents cited as challenging and scary to navigate, regardless of whether or not they identified as having a disability.

Such insights about the hidden barriers apply to the experience inside the classroom as well. The increase in faculty use of flexible modes of curriculum delivery has improved the ability of DRC students to feel comfortable and capable in their courses. Although the use of such strategies is far from useful, according to many students it is far better than their experiences in other educational institutions and has been improving over time. As the student author of Sidebar I explains, a key facilitator to accessibility is the use of highly variable strategies.

The visibility of barriers depended greatly on the perspective of the informant, with many people identifying dissimilar barriers. In describing their observations of design for people with disabilities, informants who identified as non-disabled focused almost exclusively on wheelchair users. The strong presence of streetscape accommodations for people with mobility disabilities on the UA campus contributes to the perception among the campus-wide community that wheelchair users are the only or the primary group of people with disabilities on the UA campus, an assertion that is unsupported by campus demographics (mobility impairments make up only 7% of UA's disability community). Such impressions narrow the discourse around design and accommodations by underemphasizing the requirements of campus users with other types of impairments.

Whereas the public nature of streetscape features makes them highly visible in their status as barriers to or facilitators of accessibility, other design features remain relatively unknown by the public. For example, one interviewee who uses an electric wheelchair with a joystick described the impossibility of using many restrooms on campus, due to the physical limits of stalls — even so-called accessible stalls — that prevent him from closing the door. His experience highlights the problem of unequal access to bathrooms, a widespread issue that related to one of our course readings on the ableist design of sanitation facilities (Kitchin and Law 2001).

Barriers that are relatively invisible to the majority of campus users include those that affect people with auditory, visual, or psychosocial disabilities. Like people with mobility disabilities, these community members tend to navigate campus through fairly predictable patterns to avoid barriers and follow preferred routes, although these may not always be the routes proposed by the university as "accessible." Individuals with anxiety-disorders, for example, alter their navigation through campus to avoid certain crowded or loud areas. The fact that the campus is not on a city grid means that visual and audio systems indicating safe periods for crossing paths or streets usually do not exist. The lack of these cues can lead to navigational challenges, even in terms of establishing preferred routes. For example, one respondent described the DRC — a spot that is widely lauded for its superior built and social environments — as hard to navigate because its wide array of access points equipped with automatic doors proves confusing for her service dog.

Another space celebrated for its beautiful, creative, and "inclusive" architecture, the new Poetry Center, which is crafted primarily from glass, was cited by one interviewee with a visual impairment as "the worst." He maintained that, "the glare in the auditorium is so bad that normal people have refused to attend classes." In this case, not only does a subset of the campus population with vision impairments experience the design of the building as profoundly disruptive, but according to this campus user so do community members whose vision is intact. This example demonstrates the ways in which design intended to invoke a socially democratic ethos of accessibility for all can simultaneously create barriers to accessibility for some or even most.

Finding II:

Universal design occurs on a continuum, along which both disabled and able-bodied people utilize dynamic and novel strategies

Another student-researcher involved in the study described the ways in which everyone, regardless of disability status, has to adapt when they change living environments, and the ways in which this shared experience might have implications for future design:

"As a physically disabled student who moved from the sunny shores of southern California to the sandy streets of Tucson I had to change a few things to make this city more accessible. The buses are most always late and hot, it takes even longer to load a person in a wheelchair, and only about half the buses in this city are capable of lowering to make access easier. Because UA is older and many parts of it are considered historic, there are many areas and buildings that are not accessible or accommodating. But, the newer parts of the college are amazing. As a student of the DRC, I have never felt as though I was inconveniencing anyone with my disability, requests, or need for accommodations. Rather than having one office for everything and taking days to find help, there are many. Whether you get around by wheels, legs, or some other form of mobility, there are a lot of obstacles in your way on a day to day basis. The world is changing to accommodate the people that live in it. This is a good thing and it is people that sit in this class with me today who are making that change possible and hopefully speeding it up."

(Student B, undergraduate, SERP 399 reflective essay, Fall 2007)

Many respondents, whether or not they identified as having an impairment, said that they regularly had to change strategies to adapt to the UA campus. Although some respondents framed their dynamic relationship with campus in a negative light, most people described their strategies in a value-neutral way or at least in such a way that recognized that no environment is perfect. Informants discussed the way in which emergent human-environment interactions could be considered positive as well, for example as evidence of the ingenuity of members of the UA community.

One central theme in adaptive strategies deals with natural factors such as weather and time of day on the UA campus. For example, to accommodate areas of campus that are poorly lit at night some respondents walk or bike different routes or drive instead of walking or biking, an important consideration given the high number of respondents who live within walking distance and believe that the campus does not have enough parking, but choose to drive at certain times of day (or night) anyway. They do so for a variety of reasons, including the fear of tripping on curbs that are less visible in the dark, as well as personal safety concerns.

Similarly, some respondents change their path during times when population size swells on specific parts of campus, for example near athletic arenas during games or on the main mall area during popular class times when many people are rushing from one side of campus to another. Many respondents also change their routes during periods of heavy rain when some areas of water diversion become backed up, forming treacherous pools and splash zones of water run-off. Both of these examples demonstrate the way that respondents adapt strategically to fixed design elements (street lights, gutters/curb cuts), which take on different meanings (positive, neutral, or negative) during periods of dynamic change, some of which are unforeseeable (e.g. monsoon rain that moves in unexpectedly and quickly). Another dynamic factor that respondents cite as complicating their ability to adjust to these natural factors is that everyone else on campus must adjust to them as well. Certain pedestrian routes where rainfall is handled more effectively become more crowded when people avoid other routes that, while more direct, are saturated with water.

A second dynamic factor deals with growth and expansion. Many respondents said that the increasing campus population makes navigating campus more difficult due to overcrowding and ongoing construction, forcing them to change their routes routinely. Growth and expansion may be one reason why certain areas of campus are highlighted as both positive and negative. For example, that the campus mall area is wide and has remained unchanged for the duration of time that most respondents have been on campus makes it attractive as a thoroughfare for pedestrians because it is a known route that remains comparatively uncrowded. However, its slick surfaces and minimal north-south crossway space for wheelchairs make it a less preferred route. Some respondents remained hopeful that new construction offers new and increased possibilities to include UD concepts, and that a larger UA population, overall, would mean a larger population of people who could demand more design accommodations.

Interpersonal relations are a third major way that people think about adapting to the campus environment. Respondents were overwhelmingly positive in their reports of how they made UA "work for them," with regard to those UD elements that were more dependent on social interaction. Multiple respondents cited the attentiveness and high quality of the DRC, a related campus unit known as the Strategic Alternative Learning Techniques, the shuttle cart services, other support services, and the UA population in general, in response to their requests. Even during interviews, the courteousness of the UA community was demonstrated: one interviewer had the experience of observing another member of the UA community finish her lunch quickly and leave the only table in the interview area that had a big enough space to accommodate the interviewee's electric wheelchair, when the community member saw the interviewer and interviewee approach the area. Such anecdotal evidence was consistently identified by informants.

In addition to being a source of positive, negative, or neutral experiences, human interactions in which respondents had to employ strategic adaptations provided a source of reflection and humor. Collaborators in SERP 399 experienced this during one class field excursion to the student union, when a UA community member wasn't quite sure what to make of it when one member of the class — who uses a wheelchair — held open a door, politely, and gestured for the class and her to enter it. For this non-disabled person, it was unconceivable to enter through a door held open by someone in a wheelchair since it appeared to violate a cultural norm about assistance.

Whereas this "reversal" (through the eyes of the UA community member) garnered much discussion about the limits and potentials of dynamic roles among people both with impairments and without, another story from one respondent speaks to the ways in which some people utilize or assume roles as resources. This respondent, whose vision is degenerating, found that wearing sunglasses within spaces that had been previously hostile to his bringing his companion dog — prescribed by a doctor for a condition unrelated to his sight and not a certified service animal — allows him this accommodation on which he was previously challenged. He commented: "Nobody wants to come up to a disabled person and say, 'Are you really blind?'" Just as he deploys strategic techniques to make UA work for him, this informant "works for" the UA community in return. He will adjust the stance and distance of his companion dog when in the presence of someone who is allergic to dogs. Another service dog user simply avoids marching band practice areas so as to prevent her dog from becoming distracted. For these community members, as for most, dynamic adaptation is an ongoing experience of give-and-take.

Finding III:

Some of the most important and achievable strategies in Universal Design require the fewest material resources. They are attitudinal, social-behavioral, and policy-institutional

Just as interpersonal relations are a major way that people think about adapting to the campus environment, so are attitudinal, social-behavioral, and institutional factors considered critical sites of opportunity for interviewees, who recognize that the limits of material resources make some redesign or new design opportunities impracticable. Many interviewees and student-researchers discussed with mixed feelings their awareness of the low financial burden — and therefore, relative ease — of some facets of Universal Design that have not yet been implemented on campus. Such examples range from faculty adhering to campus policy of providing online notes to consistent drop-off points for the shuttle services (an invaluable aid for people with visual impairments).On the one hand, these strategies represent potential change for the future that should be easily realizable. On the other hand, that these changes have not yet been made — despite long histories of advocacy — is particularly frustrating.

Most respondents who noted these strategies highlighted the ways in which structural factors, such as policy-institutional factors, influenced individual factors, such as attitudinal or social-behavioral factors. For example, similar to the way that respondents' ability to interact dynamically with their environment are limited by certain static factors such as streetlight placement and rainwater management, respondents' social relationships are similarly affected by structural factors. Some respondents noted that the urgency created by poor class scheduling, in which too many people must navigate long distances between classes in too little time between classes, can increase social challenges faced by both people with impairments and without: People who might otherwise by polite and available to help (e.g. holding open a heavy door, helping to pick up items dropped) have to sacrifice such community participation to rush to make another class in time. Respondents discussed this experience from both sides — as the potential "helper" and "helpee" — and recommended that more time be scheduled between classes. In another example, a few interviewees noticed the prevalence of power doors for which the opener is not turned on. In this case, administrative commitment to simply ensuring that an existing technology functions routinely can make the difference between accessibility and inaccessibility.

One strategy that received a lot of positive feedback from campus administration when we presented the results of this study is a simple change to the cart services used by people with both long-term and short-term impairments: routinization of pick-up and drop-off points. This change can serve a wide variety of cart service users who depend on navigating consistent routes, whether campus users with visual impairments who prefer curbs to curb-cuts, users with anxiety disorders who prefer less crowded areas, users who use technologies such as crutches or wheelchairs and prefer to be dropped off at a ground-level entry instead of a stair-step entry, and more. Another strategy to which university administration seemed receptive is the development of a format for public discussion of issues in accessibility and design on the UA campus. Students from SERP 399 recommended creating a blog or another online format that would have minimal monitoring of content (to keep discussions limited to the goals of the site) and that administration would be responsible for reading and considering as future design issues arose.

A third student-researcher described the development of his own consciousness and social behaviors through his participation in SERP 399:

"Wandering around campus has made me think about how accessible my own hometown is. Like UA, my town puts pride in its school accommodation programs for people ranging from those with dyslexia to troubled teens. But my hometown's high school, which prides itself on welcoming all, is rather unwelcoming. For example, the brand-new building has several entrances but only the main one is accessible for people with a variety of disabilities, such as a mobility disability or low visual fields. Both the UA and my hometown have social situations that are accepting and understanding. All groups of people mix and become friends. Acceptance of all social classes is incredible, but access is also incredibly important when trying to make people feel welcome. UA tries to welcome all through things like campus health and the DRC. My hometown is working, too, on things that have easy access for all, such as our library and other new buildings. Both places know that in our ever-growing world all people need to be accepted and brought into the community."

(Student C, undergraduate, SERP 399 reflective essay, Fall 2007)

Advocating for policy-institutional change that requires a low financial commitment has not been a successful strategy for making the campus more accessible, however, which is a point of significant frustration for some interviewees and student-researchers. Almost every person involved in this study who has a mobility disability had at least one story of feeling "trapped" both literally and metaphorically by policies that limited their abilities during times of emergency. All of these stories had to do with risk management policies and procedures for elevator management. One student described his inability to exit a dormitory during a fire drill because staff would not allow his friends to carry him in his chair down a stairwell, despite his advocacy for this technique and assertion of their willingness to practice it. Another interviewee — an alum who still participates in the UA community, who uses a wheelchair, and who has experience in first response as a military veteran and paramedic — articulated his frustration with the handling of the university's approach to fixing broken elevators, which he described as prioritizing technology over people. Dissatisfied with what he experiences as the administration's unwillingness to change its policy, he has continued to write letters to a number of administrators including the university President, despite receiving responses that he felt were marginalizing, patronizing, and unsupportive of people with disabilities.

However, these instances of policy-institutional adversity have provided important opportunities for demonstrating solidarity and resistance. One interviewee, who has a mobility disability, described the UA community's strong allegiance to equitable access through examples of professors who have cancelled classes spontaneously when accessibility technologies such as elevators break, or in displays of outrage over the inequity fostered by insufficient design and poor administrative responses to technological breakdowns. This undergraduate student was "impressed" and felt "like a very important community member" when these professors lodged such spontaneous protest, which they continued by expressing their dismay to university administration. Another interviewee, a graduate student who almost missed his oral comprehensive examinations due to being stuck in a broken elevator, spoke of the positive social support of his department's staff and faculty, and the university's engineers and technicians, for example, when having to fix the elevator after-business hours or on weekends. Such comments demonstrate the ways in which people support one another despite policies that might otherwise prevent them from doing so.

Taking a Realistic, Collaborative Approach to Achieving Universal Design

By way of conclusion, we include the personal reflections of student-researcher Jackie Cimino on her experience in this undergraduate participatory research project:

My participation in the SERP project as an undergraduate was enlightening. The diverse group of students, faculty members, and interested administrators, some of whom identified as having a disability, allowed for some very interesting research and discussion regarding accessibility. The informants included individuals with mobility impairments, learning disabilities, as well as visual impairments. The readings prepared the group to be active participants in research, and the activities gave way to discussions about accessibility on the UA campus. The project gave students and faculty the chance to learn first-hand about universal design on campus and then present the findings in a final presentation. The final presentation revealed the findings about different types of barriers, both physical and attitudinal, that exist at UA; it also gave recommendations for ways to alleviate or fix the barriers that the group found.

Interviewing subjects about their experience on the UA campus made me, along with the rest of the group, very aware of how true the statement, "no space is perfect," really is. Everyone came into the class with their own personal experiences from campus and was then made aware of how other people's experiences differed and the reasons behind those differences. The class became cognizant of different types of disabilities, hidden as well as visible, and the technologies, strategies, and accommodations that are present at UA.

After we conducted interviews, analyzed data from interviews and discussed our findings, the attitudinal aspect of accessibility resonated with me the most. This seemed to be the theme for the class: attitude. The barriers that people had the most issue with centered on the attitudinal part that went along with a particular physical barrier. In most cases, when our class was shown evidence of a barrier and then given more evidence about the same barrier causing a negative social experience for an individual, the reaction was almost always negative. On the other hand, identifying barriers that were able to be fixed and were accompanied by a positive approach from the University made us feel satisfied.

This project says a lot about the University of Arizona's care for their entire community. The Disability Resource Center has done a great job making accommodations easy for a diverse community of students and faculty. Arizona has put in the effort and care to make moving about the campus an enjoyable experience and that knowledge alone makes moving about the campus a more positive experience.

The participatory approach taken in the project offered student-researchers the opportunity to confront the challenges of conducting research, while also contributing their own perspective. As students with disabilities, they had the opportunity research issues that hold meaning in their own experience on campus. Courses like these offer students (and staff in this case) the opportunity to learn new skills in and outside of the classroom setting.


Nicholas A. Rattray is a doctoral candidate at the University of Arizona. His dissertation in cultural anthropology examines disability and spatial exclusion in Cuenca, Ecuador.

Sarah Raskin is a doctoral student in Medical Anthropology at the University of Arizona. Her dissertation research is on community responses to healthcare decline in central Appalachia.

Jaclyn Cimino is a senior at University of Arizona studying psychology, and plays for the wheelchair tennis team, where she was the 2008 National Collegiate Women's Champion.

Works Cited

  • Iwarsson, S., and A. Stahl (2003). Accessibility, usability and universal design — Positioning and definition of concepts describing person-environment relationships. Disability & rehabilitation 25, 2, 57-66.
  • Kitchin, R. (2001). Using participatory action research approaches in geographical studies of disability: Some reflections. Disability studies quarterly 21, 4, 61-69.
  • Kitchin, R. and R. Law (2001). The socio-spatial construction of (in)accessible public toilets. Urban studies 38,2, 287-98.
  • Park, P. (1993). What is participatory research? A theoretical and methodological perspective. In Park, M. Brydon, B. Hall, and T. Jackson (Eds.), Voices of change: Participatory research in the United States and Canada. (pp. 1-20). Westport, CT: Bergin & Garvey.
  • Rattray, N (2007). Evaluating universal design: Low and high-tech methods for mapping accessible space. Practicing anthropology 29,4, 24-28.
  • Scott, S.S., J.M. McGuire, and S.F. Shaw (2003). Universal design for instruction: A new paradigm for adult instruction in postsecondary education. Remedial and special education 24, 6, 369-79.
  • Story, M.F. (1998). Maximizing usability: The principles of universal design. Assistive technology 10, 1,4-12.


  1. The Space Grant program is sponsored by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, and awards fellowships to graduate students at land-grant universities for science and technology-based project that benefit the wider community or underserved groups (see http://spacegrant.arizona.edu).
    Return to Text
  2. For the purposes of the paper, the students and staff that did the data collection will be referred to as researchers or student-researchers, and the interviewees will be referred to as informants. In some cases, student-researchers were involved in data collection and as informants. Disability status was self-identified by students, staff, and informants.
    Return to Text
  3. This research is based on the valuable contributions of the participants of the Universal Design and Accessible Space project. The Spring 2007 group included Kyle Mutz, Jackie Cimino, Aaron Foster, Meghan Sooy, Jean Dill, Zack Fogle, Jean Paul Jorquera, Paul Brooks, and Bryan Barten. The Fall 2007 group included: Bunny Sumner, Jackie Cimino, Jordan Glovsky, Ryan Buchholtz, Hunter Fattaleh, Chris Woods, Alberto Guzman, Sarah Raskin, and Dara Sherafat. Sarah Raskin and Jackie Cimino contributed extensively to the composition of this report. In addition, we thank Sue Kroeger and the Disability Resource Center, Barron Orr and Susan Brew from the UA NASA Space Grant program, the Bureau of Applied Research in Anthropology, the UA Department of Anthropology and the Center for Applied Spatial Analysis for their support. Special thanks are due to the Cariñoso Foundation of Tucson for providing extra funding to support interns in the Fall 2007 semester, Kyle Mutz and Jackie Cimino. More information is available at http://www.cultureplacehealth.org/spacegrant.
    Return to Text
  4. Permission for qualitative collection was obtained through the University of Arizona Institutional Review Board.
    Return to Text
Return to Top of Page