Universal Design

Young man in wheelchair crossing zebra crosswalk.

How to Protect Pedestrians With Disabilities

Public agencies don’t track traffic deaths and injuries involving disabled people, leaving a gap in data to guide safety interventions.

March 28, 2024 - Governing

Close-up of blue and white wheelchair ramp sign with arrow pointing right.

America’s 15 Most Accessible Cities

These cities are the easiest to navigate for people in wheelchairs or with mobility challenges.

March 15, 2024 - Yahoo Finance

Red painted bike lane next to floating bus stop and green double-decker bus in the UK.

Opinion: ‘Floating’ Bus Stops Endanger Blind Pedestrians

A design that places bike lanes between bus stops and sidewalks complicates mobility for pedestrians, especially people with vision impairments.

February 13, 2024 - The Times Colonist

Elderly woman in pink shirt sitting at table on porch across from elderly man in white shirt. A pot of pink flowers sits on the table.

How Zoning Reform can Help Seniors ‘Age in Place’

Without more middle housing options, the United States will be short on ‘aging-ready’ homes.

November 8, 2023 - Stateline

Gray-haired Asian man wearing glasses sitting at wooden table reading documents

How to Make Documents More Accessible With Color Contrast

There are many ways planners can be more accessible in their work. This article will briefly touch on color contrast as one of the ways to improve accessibility in planning documents.

July 11, 2023 - Ronnique Bishop

Young girls dipping their hands in an outdoor decorative water fountain

How Urban Design Fails Families

For parents of small children, amenities like public restrooms or shady parks can vastly improve—or deteriorate—the experience of navigating cities.

June 22, 2023 - Streetsblog USA

Close-up of black and white Livonia Avenue subway sign with blue accessibility symbol

New York Subway Begins Accessibility Improvements

The MTA is putting its effort to improve the system’s century-old stations to make them more universally accessible in high gear, adding elevators, boarding upgrades, and mechanical improvements.

June 6, 2023 - The City Life

Wheelchair ramp at outdoor train station

ADA Compliance Slowly Makes Headway

Decades of advocacy are paying off, but it often takes legal action to force cities to make accessibility improvements mandated by the Americans with Disabilities Act over thirty years ago.

May 4, 2023 - Diana Ionescu

Parent and child walking, holding hands on mixed-use trail with trees

A Child’s Eye View of the City

A new VR tool invites urban planners to viscerally understand how a small child experiences the urban realm—with less-than-ideal results.

April 26, 2023 - Fast Company

Curb cut at corer of sidewalk

Universal Design in D.C.’s Rock Creek Park

After being closed to cars during the pandemic, Rock Creek Park’s Beach Drive has become a haven for people with mobility impairments.

September 16, 2022 - Greater Greater Washington

Snow Removal

How Urban Design and Infrastructure Affects Public Health and Dignity

Poor infrastructure can have powerful impacts on how different groups access resources and experience the public realm.

July 26, 2021 - Forbes

Americans With Disabilities Act

New Orleans Facing ADA Lawsuit for State of Sidewalks and Lack of Curb Cuts

The city of New Orleans' compliance with Americans With Disabilities Act compliance is too little, too late, according to the plaintiffs in a new lawsuit.

February 10, 2021 - NOLA.com

Children Walking To School

'Pedestrians First' Measures Walkability for Babies, Toddlers, Caregivers, Everyone

The ITDP's new Pedestrians First tool describes why and how to improve walking conditions, and provides comprehensive analysis of walkability for 1000 cities.

October 16, 2020 - Pedestrians First


The ADA Turned 30, but Universal Accessibility Still Far From the Reality

While many cities have shown efforts to implement accessible design since the 1990 adoption of the American Disabilities Act, more must be done.

July 29, 2020 - Smart Cities Dive

Chicago ADA Access

A Guide to Universal Design in the Public Realm

New universal design guidelines go a step beyond complete streets.

September 24, 2019 - Curbed

How Would Losing Your Sight Change Your Approach to Design?

Alison Prato speaks with architect Chris Downey, who lost his eyesight five years ago following surgery to remove a brain tumor, about how his approach to design and his experience of the city have changed.

December 7, 2013 - TED Blog

Does Vancouver Ban Herald the Death of the Doorknob?

Amendments to Vancouver's building code adopted in September will require lever handles on all doors in newly built housing beginning next March. Could such code changes soon be adopted far and wide?

November 19, 2013 - The Vancouver Sun

Old-Age Adaptation: Our Next Great Urban Challenge

Americans are living longer and changing the demographic profiles of our cities in the process. Planners are just beginning to understand how our streets and systems must adapt to accommodate this trend.

June 12, 2013 - The Atlantic Cities

Aging Boomers Changing the Shape of Cities Across America

It's not just the Sun Cities of America that are planning for how to meet the needs of the country's coming bulge in its over-65 population. Ryan Holeywell highlights how some cities are adapting their built environments for an aging population.

September 5, 2012 - Governing

Planners' Sacred Trust

Most professions have special responsibilities to society. Physicians are expected to observe the Hippocratic oath. Police officers must apply the law fairly and refrain from abusing their power. Lawyers and accountants are expected to offer accurate advice and protect client confidentiality.And planners? We have a special responsibility to consider all perspectives and impacts. When evaluating public policy questions most people ask selfishly, “How does this affect me?” Planners, in contrast, should ask selflessly, “How does this affect the community, particularly disadvantaged and underrepresented groups?”

April 14, 2011 - Todd Litman

News from HUD User

HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research

Call for Speakers

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New Updates on PD&R Edge

HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research

Top Books

An annual review of books related to planning.

Top Websites

The best of the Internet—since 2002.

Top Apps

Planning apps for a brave new world.

Top Schools

The definitive ranking of graduate planning programs.

Urban Design for Planners 1: Software Tools

This six-course series explores essential urban design concepts using open source software and equips planners with the tools they need to participate fully in the urban design process.

Planning for Universal Design

Learn the tools for implementing Universal Design in planning regulations.