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Universal Design Handbook

Building accessible and inclusive environments

Universal design is today's best practice for building new environments and rests upon two simple, but critically relevant tenets: it's sustainable and cost-effective. It also demonstrates how good design has the ability to adapt to all users and enable them to function successfully with – or within – it.

Making a building accessible from the beginning is easier and more financially feasible than retrofitting an existing building; is built with everyone in mind (regardless of their ability); and benefits the greatest number of people. This is of utmost importance at a time in Calgary's history when population projections estimate that the number of seniors will outpace the number of young people by the year 2030. And we know that disabilities increase as an individual ages.

The City of Calgary's Universal Design Handbook encourages design professionals – from architects, developers, planners to interior and web designers – to go beyond minimum building code requirements and provide equal access, social inclusion and a level playing field for all Calgarians.​​​​