Design has long been focused on accessibility in the traditional sense, addressing only physical barriers and following ADA guidelines. Disability is extremely diverse, is often not visible, and can be temporary, situational or permanent in nature. The future is moving toward inclusive design, a more thoughtful consideration of physical, mental and sensory ability factors being integrated into the built environment to be inclusive of all people and all types of disabilities to ensure an equal opportunity to experience the spaces we inhabit.
From museums, to the new KCI Airport, to parks & playgrounds across the country, their passion for inclusive design is having an immense impact on how people move through the world around them. In this session, Valerie Fletcher, Exec. Director at Institute for Human Centered Design and Deborah Wiebrecht from Variety KC Children’s Charity will discuss what inclusive design means, how it’s being implemented in current spaces, and the next phase of innovative solutions coming into design.
Valerie Fletcher has been executive director since 1998 of the Institute for Human Centered Design (IHCD). Fletcher writes, lectures, and works internationally. She generates opportunities for IHCD and has broad oversight of all consulting and design services. She created the IHCD User/Expert Lab which has over 500 people engaged in the evaluation of places, products, and services. Her current research focus is generating data to inform inclusive designing for the Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPoC) and low-income communities.
Fletcher's career has been divided between design and public mental health and she is the former deputy commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Mental Health where she oversaw the largest participatory planning process ever undertaken in a state mental health system. She was Principal of Fletcher Studio Design from 1978-1985.
She is a councilor for the International Association for Universal Design (IAUD) in Japan. She has created an international universal design benchmarking project for the government of Singapore. Fletcher has a master's degree in ethics and public policy from Harvard University. The Boston Society of Architects awarded her the Women in Design award in 2005. The Helen Hamlyn Research Centre at the Royal College of Art in London named her Inclusive Design Champion 2022
Deborah Wiebrecht is the Chief Inclusion Officer at Variety Children's Charity of Greater Kansas City (Variety KC)! Her goal is to make KC the most inclusive city in the world. Deb has been working with Variety KC for over 10 years. Variety KC is a volunteer-driven organization committed to providing children with developmental disabilities the adaptive equipment and opportunities needed for activity and inclusion. At the heart of Variety’s achievements are the remarkable contributions of people in the community, and it is only through your time and effort that Variety KC is able to do so much for children and families right here at home.