Universal Design Summit 7: Inclusion Fusion


Universal Design Summit is a preeminent conference in North America, drawing experts in universal design from across the globe. UD Summit has traditionally focused on universal housing and inclusive communities. Event organizers are pleased to announce the expansion of UD Summit to include inclusive design in digital spaces.  Our current plan is to offer simultaneous virtual and in-person conferences.

UD Summit 7 will be held in May 2021 in St. Louis and attract several hundred designers, developers, builders, contractors, and architects from across the country and the globe. UD Summit 7 will provide exceptional content in the areas of affordable housing for all ages and abilities, universal design in public spaces, physical and digital community access, and universal design in digital spaces.  A pre-conference seminar will focus on ADA regulations and accessibility requirements for housing.  Continuing education credits will be offered through a variety of professional associations including AIA, IDCEC, IOTA and more.  Dozens of vendors of related products and services will be on display throughout the conference.  Opportunities abound to network with inclusive-minded professionals from varied industries.

If there is an imposing health risk to participants due to COVID-19, the event will be held virtually in the same time frame. Our current plan is to offer simultaneous virtual and in-person conferences.


Call for Presentations

DUE DATE:   September 30, 2020 5:00 pm Central Time  


Inclusion Fusion

UDS7 is now seeking proposals for presentations. Sessions will be 90 minutes.  Submissions including panel presentations with a moderator are welcome.  Our audience will include architects, designers, developers, builders, realtors, contractors and engineers of physical and digital spaces, as well as government officials, advocates, and universal design experts.   Pre-conference sessions will be held the day before the conference and will focus on regulatory sessions, current standards, and housing requirements.  On the two conference days, workshops, sessions and keynote speakers will focus on current work in the field of inclusive design, housing, community access, and digital inclusion. with an emphasis on multi-disciplinary collaboration.

The theme of the 2021 Universal Design Summit, Inclusion Fusion, centers on the synergy of collaboration among a wide variety of professionals working to make physical and digital spaces inclusive and welcoming to people of all ages and abilities.

DUE DATE:   September 30, 2020 5:00 pm Central Time                    

Speakers will be notified of acceptance by December 1, 2020. UDS7 will provide conference registration to all presenters. Keynote speakers will be provided two nights lodging at the conference hotel.  Unfortunately, due to budget constraints, travel and meals apart from those provided at the conference will be the responsibility of the speakers. Presentations of selected speakers must be submitted 60 days prior to the conference to be processed for certification credits.

Proposal submissions may be provided using this electronic form or by email or mail.  No fax submissions will be accepted.  Emails to submit or to ask questions should be addressed to UDS7@gmail.com.


DUE DATE:   September 30, 2020 5:00 pm Central Time  



Presentations may be case studies, lectures, moderated panels or other formats.  Please be clear about your proposed presentation structure and the number of people involved.

Abstracts for the pre-conference should focus on federal accessibility requirements (504, ADA, and FHA), current building code accessibility requirements, and inclusive design requirements that are tied to funding sources for projects.


Conference abstracts should relate to one or more of the conference themes:

THEME 1: Housing for All Ages and Abilities

Accessible and inclusive single family and multifamily housing is central to the success of any community.  The diversity of a neighborhood’s residents defines the culture of the area and with it, the longevity, and economic and social health of the local environment.  Housing now serves as our work space and school space.  How is this affecting today’s projects and how can UD enrich these new complex uses and requirements?

Presentations should focus on methods for designing and constructing housing that is inclusive in both unit design and in the design and planning of the overall development.  Types may include affordable and “high-end”, studio apartments and large family homes, single occupant, multi-family, multi-generational spaces, senior environments, urban and rural settings. Mixed-use developments will also be considered.


THEME 2: Universal Design and Public Places

Inclusive design in public places such as museums, social service and commercial spaces, social assembly areas, retail settings, restaurants, schools and health care buildings is key to maintaining viability of local economies and promoting cultural diversity.  Social and environmental sustainability are both critical components for successful projects.  How can the synergy of the two practices collaborate?

Presentations should focus on the planning and design of cultural institutions, health care facilities, social spaces, and retail areas that are inclusive.   Other related topics are welcome.


THEME 3: Community Access and UD

How does UD inform and support the development of vibrant community spaces that support diversity? In physical spaces, community access depends on the presence of continuous accessible pathways and on effective communication with pedestrians in many types of environments. Streets, sidewalks, intersections, shared-use paths, bicycle routes, play areas, parks and outdoor recreational areas (including access to boats, beaches, lakes and fishing docks), all form the backbone of communities, neighborhoods, and recreational spaces.  Access to reliable and functional transportation and multi-modal opportunities is critical to providing access within a community. Digital connectivity is equally important. The incorporation of broadband and WiFi into community design is paramount to building accessible and vibrant communities.

Presentations should explore successful implementation of community access projects or which look at best practices in these environments.


THEME 4: Universal Design In Digital Spaces

Increasingly, issues of equity are traced to access to the digital world. An individual’s ability to access information and resources depends on their ability to tap into the digital world. Designing digital spaces that are accessible is intentional, just like physical spaces. People of all ages and abilities can participate more fully in society when digital spaces are open to them.  How are public and private sectors doing in increasing UD in digital design and how can designers become advocates? 


DUE DATE:   September 30, 2020 5:00 pm Central Time  

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