|COUNCIL OF EUROPE
COMMITTEE OF MINISTERS
on the introduction of the principles of universal design into the
curricula of all occupations working on the built environment
the Committee of Ministers
on 15 February 2001,
at the 742nd meeting of the Ministers Deputies)
The Committee of
Ministers, in its composition restricted to the Representatives of Austria,
Belgium, Cyprus, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy,
Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden,
Switzerland and the United Kingdom, member states of the Partial Agreement
in the Social and Public Health Field,
(59) 23 of 16 November 1959, concerning the extension of the activities of
the Council of Europe in the social and cultural fields;
Having regard to
Resolution (96) 35 of 2 October 1996, whereby it revised the structures of
the Partial Agreement and resolved to continue, on the basis of revised
rules replacing those set out in Resolution (59) 23, the activities
hitherto carried out and developed by virtue of that resolution; these being
in particular aimed at:
raising the level of health protection of consumers in its widest
sense, including a constant
contribution to harmonising – in the field of products having a direct or
indirect impact on the human food chain as well as in the field of
pesticides, pharmaceuticals and cosmetics, legislation, regulations and
practice governing, on the one hand, quality, efficiency and safety controls
for products; and, on the other hand, the safe use of toxic or noxious
integrating people with disabilities into the community; defining – and
contributing to the implementation at European level – of a model of
coherent policy for people with disabilities, which takes account
simultaneously of the principles of full citizenship and independent living;
contributing to the elimination of barriers to integration, whatever their
nature, whether psychological, educational, family-related, cultural,
social, professional, financial or architectural.
Considering that the
aim of the Council of Europe is to achieve a greater unity between its
members for the purpose of facilitating their economic and social progress;
Bearing in mind the Convention for the Protection of
Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, and in particular the freedom of
movement (Article 2 of Protocol No. 4);
Bearing in mind the
principles embodied in the revised European Social Charter, namely the right
of persons with disabilities to independence, social integration and
participation in the life of the community, in particular through measures
aiming to overcome barriers to communication and mobility and enabling
access to transport, housing, cultural activities and leisure (Article 15,
Bearing in mind
Recommendation No. R (86) 18 on the “European Charter on Sport for all:
Bearing in mind
Recommendation No. R (92) 6 on a coherent policy for people with
Bearing in mind Recommendation 1185 (1992) of the
Parliamentary Assembly on rehabilitation policies for the disabled;
Bearing in mind Recommendation N° R (98) 3 on access
to higher education;
Bearing in mind the
United Nations Standard Rules on the Equalization of Opportunities for
Persons with Disabilities;
Having regard to the Council Directive 85/384/EEC of 10
June 1985 on the mutual recognition of diplomas, certificates and other
evidence of formal qualifications in architecture, including measures to
facilitate the effective exercise of the right of establishment and freedom
to provide services;
Having regard to the Resolution of the Council of the
European Union and of the representatives of the governments of the member
states meeting within the Council of 20 December 1996 on equality of
opportunity for people with disabilities;
Having regard to the European Concept for
Accessibility, March 1996, elaborated by the Central Co-ordinating
Commission for the Promotion of Accessibility (CCPT);
Having regard to the Barcelona Declaration: The City
and the Disabled of 24 March 1995, signed by 150 European cities following
the Congress on The City and the Disabled, Barcelona, 23 and 24 March 1995;
Considering that the
aim of the Council of Europe can be pursued, inter
alia, by the adoption of common legislation and practice conducive to
the creation of a society for all;
failure to promote the rights of citizens with disabilities and ensure
equality of opportunities is a violation of human dignity;
Considering that equal opportunities for members of all
groups in society can contribute to securing democracy and social cohesion;
Emphasising the almost total lack of compulsory
training programmes with a universal design dimension for all occupations
working on the built environment;
work carried out in the field of accessibility policies by the Council of
Europe's Committee on the Rehabilitation and Integration of People with
disabilities and its subordinate body, the Committee of Experts on
the Training of Personnel other than Health Care Personnel concerned with
Rehabilitation (Architects and Town Planners),
and considering the urgent need for such training;
Convinced that universal design and accessibility have
a key role to play in the promotion of human rights and fundamental freedoms
and should therefore be incorporated into all levels of the education and
training programmes of all occupations working on the built environment,
Recommends that the governments of the member states
of the Partial Agreement in the Social and Public Health Field, having due
regard to their specific constitutional structures, and national, regional
or local circumstances, as well as education systems:
a. when formulating
national policy, take into account the principles of universal design and
measures to improve accessibility, in the widest sense of the term, as set
out in the appendix to this resolution in so far as they concern curricula
and other matters of education, training and awareness-raising for
which governments are directly responsible according to the allocation of
responsibilities in each country;
b. take such steps as
they consider appropriate towards the application of the principles and
measures contained in the appendix in fields where these are not the direct
responsibility of governments, but where public authorities have a certain
power or play a role;
promote implementation of these measures by universities and
institutions responsible for higher and further education, as well as
ensure the widest possible dissemination of this resolution among all
interested parties, particularly those concerned with education and
training, as well as the users.
Appendix to Resolution ResAP(2001)1
The right of all individuals, including persons with
disabilities, to full participation in the life of the community involves
the right to access to and use and understanding of the built environment.
It is the responsibility and duty of society, and in
particular of all occupations working on the built environment, to make it
universally accessible to everyone, including persons with disabilities.
A coherent and global policy in favour of people with
disabilities or who are in danger of acquiring them should aim at, inter
alia, guaranteeing full citizenship, equality of opportunity,
independent living and active participation in all areas of community life.
To implement this policy states should take steps to, inter alia,
avoid and remove, wherever possible, all obstacles in the built environment
and to improve the information of all policy makers and other stakeholders
whose decisions concerning the manmade environment affect the quality of
life of people with disabilities.
Such policy includes the education and training of key
players in this process.
Through a co-ordinated set of measures introducing the
concept of universal design into the curricula of all occupations working on
the built environment, people of all ages, sizes and abilities should be
enabled to have as much mobility and access to buildings, as well as means
of transport, as possible, so that they can play a full role in society and
take part in economic, social, cultural, leisure, and recreational
“Universal design” is a strategy, which aims to
make the design and composition of different environments and products
accessible and understandable to, as well as usable by, everyone, to the
greatest extent in the most independent and natural manner possible, without
the need for adaptation or specialised design solutions.
The intent of
the universal design concept is to simplify life for everyone by making the
built environment, products, and communications equally accessible, usable
and understandable at little or no extra cost. The universal design concept
promotes a shift to more emphasis on user-centred design by following a
holistic approach and aiming to accommodate the needs of people of all ages,
sizes and abilities, including the changes that people experience over their
lifespan. Consequently, universal design is a concept that extends beyond
the issues of mere accessibility of buildings for people with disabilities
and should become an integrated part of architecture, design and planning of
For the purpose of this resolution the terms
“integral accessibility”, “design for all” and “inclusive
design” are understood to have the same meaning as the term “universal
design”, which is used in this text.
The term “everyone” means that no difference will
be imposed by the environment upon individuals regardless of their age, size
or other physical features, abilities or disabilities.
The term “independent” means the ability to act
without having to rely on outside help, thus avoiding dependency.
The term “natural” stresses the integral aspect of
the definition. It implies that provisions for access and usability are
perceived as normal.
The term "built environment” means all
buildings, traffic provisions and places or spaces open to the public.
Aims, objectives, and strategies
To ensure equal chances of participation in economic,
social, cultural, leisure and recreational activities, everyone of whatever
age, size and ability must be able to access, use and understand any part of
the environment as independently and as equally as possible.
Education and training of all occupations working on
the built environment should be inspired by the principles of universal
For the purpose of taking early action to promote a
coherent policy to improve accessibility, the concept of universal design
should be an integral and compulsory part of the mainstream initial training
of all occupations working on the built environment, at all levels and in
Adequate further training should be made available for
active professionals, such as architects, engineers, designers and town
planners. Their attendance should be strongly encouraged.
Curricula should be developed with the co-operation of
users, including organisations of and for people with disabilities.
The concept of universal design should be brought into
focus for other professions working with the built environment, such as
regional planners, property developers, estate agents, landscape architects
and landscape gardeners, as well as interior designers. It should also be
brought to the attention of users, customers and clients, including
organisations and bodies representing them.
Awareness of the difficulties people with disabilities
encounter in the built environment should be raised as early as possible.
Education, training and awareness-raising should
provide everyone dealing with the built environment with the necessary
understanding, knowledge, skills and values to instil new attitudes and
behaviour towards achieving a built environment that is universally
Curricula of architects, engineers, designers, and town
planners at under-graduate and post-graduate level should develop the
that of perceiving the relationship between human beings and their
constructural creations and between the latter and their environment,
that of understanding the need to accord constructural creations and space
in compliance with human needs,
that of mastering problem-solving techniques in order to increase the
usability of all their constructural creations, taking into account human
Public authorities, educational institutions, the
bodies for the professions concerned and the organisations representing
those professions should review education and training in architecture,
engineering, design, and town planning in order to ensure that it enshrines
the universal design concept as an integral part, including appropriate
examinations on the subject.
Moreover, they should take steps to ensure that
continuing education based on the universal design concept be organised,
encouraged and followed by architects, engineers, designers, and town
Governments may examine appropriate ways of creating
incentives, such as student grants, scholarships and awards, to stimulate
such innovation in design that will lead to the creation of environments and
products that incorporate universal design principles.
Further education and vocational training
Universal design issues should be included in all types
and levels of education influencing our physical environment. Achieving a
universally designed environment requires competence and skills in all parts
of the production and construction process. Since architects and engineers
are not involved in all building projects, as many are carried out by
craftsmen, such as bricklayers, carpenters, plumbers, and electricians, the
initial vocational training of all professions concerned should include
universal design principles.
The new inclusive perspectives of universal design
should become a compulsory part of the education and training for everyone
working on the built environment.
Governments may examine
appropriate ways of creating incentives, such as prizes, to stimulate
practical solutions to design questions that incorporate universal design
Teaching methods and materials
Education and training should take an interdisciplinary
and multidisciplinary approach, covering all disciplines relevant to the
built environment. Linkages to other courses should offset the problem of
isolating the subject in the curriculum.
Learners of all ages should be given the possibility to
personally experience the difficulties encountered by people with
disabilities in the environment, using appropriate interactive,
participatory and collaborative methods, such as field trips, on-site
observations, case studies, direct and personal contact with people with
disabilities and people across the age span, as well as simulation of
Theoretical and cognitive-intellectual learning should
be complemented by practical and emotional learning.
The perception of “normality” and “difference”
should be studied; stereotypes and prejudices should be examined.
Teaching and learning through projects should be
encouraged and developed. A real-life supervised project could be an
appropriate completion of a training period.
Positive attitudes towards people with disabilities
should be created as early as possible to overcome psychological barriers to
their active participation and to lay the foundations for the removal of
The new curricula should be accompanied by appropriate
teaching methods and materials adapted to the various educational needs,
paying particular attention to audio-visual material and new technologies,
notably information technology and computer-based training and simulations.
Every member state should appoint or set up a
governmental body, promote the creation of a professional centre of
expertise or use other bodies with competence to disseminate information and
documentation as well as to give advice, assistance and support.
Training of trainers
awareness of lecturers, teachers and trainers is crucial to all action in
this field, basic and further training in the concepts of universal design
should be provided to those who are required to implement provisions
under chapters 4 to 6, as well as this one.
Staff development programmes to raise awareness and
support universal design issues should be encouraged, as should full staff
involvement in the development and delivery of universal design strategies.
Special attention should also be paid to the training
of non-teaching staff, such as school heads and administrators.
Curricula should be developed with the co-operation of
users across the age span, including people with disabilities. Curriculum
developers should draw on their expertise. They should be considered as a
source of information, first-hand experience and professional competence.
User participation should take place as early as possible.
Evaluating teaching effectiveness
Since the effectiveness of teaching measures cannot be
determined without systematic analysis, the degree of success of each
measure should be considered and emerging problems identified.
Institutional evaluation of teaching effectiveness
should be seen as an integral part of curriculum development or revision and
as a key professional tool for management and planning.
International exchange of information and good practice
Member states should exchange information and research
findings on the strategy of universal design and the standards of
Governments should promote and/or facilitate
co-operation across borders and foster contacts between professionals in
this field. These activities should include co-operation between
universities and other educational or training institutions, the exchange of
lecturers, teachers and trainers, as well as study visits of teaching staff
The bodies referred to in chapter 6, paragraph 8,
should be called upon to communicate with corresponding bodies and
institutions in other states.
An international exchange of good practice should be
developed to illustrate the major themes of the resolution with practical
examples in some detail, making the best possible use of new information
technologies, such as the Internet.
The examples, although set in specific contexts, should
be sufficiently transferable to demonstrate that solutions and good practice
can be shared. They should inspire creative imitation in the spirit of the
The examples should include action by the member states
to revise curricula of the different educational institutions and to enhance
the work of the bodies referred to in chapter 6, paragraph 8. It should also
include action by the different educational and training institutions as
well as professional and vocational groups.