Distinguished SUNY Professor of Architecture and Founder
IDeA Center Established
The “adaptive environments lab” (as it was known then) was founded to serve as a vehicle for sustained inclusive design research and development.
Engaged in Diverse Research Activities
Major Grants Awarded and Publications Released
In 1999, the Center received its first major center grant from what is now known as the National Institute for Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR), Administration for Community Living, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center on Universal Design and the Built Environment (RERC-UD) allowed the Center to significantly expand its activities and establish itself as a national “center of excellence.”
The Center also formed a long-range program with the U.S. Access Board to create a database on the anthropometry of wheeled mobility device users that reflected the sizes, abilities, and space needs of contemporary users and devices.
Key publications released included Enabling Environments (2001), Universal Design New York (2001), and Universal Design New York 2 (2003).
Cross-border Connections Formed and IDGRG Launched
The second grant cycle for the RERC-UD included a new partnership with the leading rehabilitation scientists at the Toronto Rehabilitation Institute-University Health Network (formerly the Ontario Rehabilitation Technology Consortium).
In 2007, UB’s graduate architecture program introduced the first Inclusive Design Graduate Research Group (IDGRG) in the U.S., which focused on both a theoretical and working knowledge of inclusive design.
The Center partnered with a local builder in the collaborative design of model houses for the local parade of home shows.
Awarded Funding on Transportation and More
The Center collaborated with the Robotics Institute at Carnegie Mellon University to be awarded the RERC on Accessible Public Transportation (RERC-APT) from NIDILRR. This project brought experts in information technology, ergonomics research, and universal design together to advance the practice of accessible transportation.
The Center also received a National Endowment for the Arts Universal Design Leadership Award to assist Historically Black Colleges and Universities’ architecture departments develop their curricula on universal design.
Funding from the New York State Office for the Aging allowed us to work with two communities in the Adirondacks to study Rural Aging in Place.
Key publications released included “Increasing Home Access: Designing for Visitability” (AARP Public Policy Institute) and Inclusive Housing: A Pattern Book (W.W. Norton)
Experienced Tremendous Success and Growth
The Center worked with Michael Graves Architecture & Design and Clark Realty Capital to create inclusive Wounded Warrior Housing at Fort Belvoir, VA.
Team members also helped design and build the LIFEhouse, a universally designed concept home in Newport Cove, IL, which later received the Best of 50+ Housing Award from the National Association of Home Builders.
In 2012, the team wrote the first comprehensive textbook on universal design, Universal Design: Creating Inclusive Environments (Wiley & Sons).
The Center also started conducting usability testing for private industry and received Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) funding for a usability study on a Multisensory Interactive Model. Both the RERC-APT and RERC-UD were refunded.
Implementation, Diversification, and Expansion
Recent projects include, but are not limited to:
- NIDILRR-funded Field Initiated Project (FIP) on wheelchair securement
- NIDILRR-funded SBIR II project with Touch Graphics Inc.
- United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)-funded research on home modifications
- National Institute of Health (NIH)-project on stroke rehabilitation
- U.S. Access Board study on wheelchair transfers and medical diagnostic imaging equipment
- National Education Association (NEA) funding to study inclusive design curricula in architecture and interior design graduate programs across the U.S.
- Funding from the Health Foundation of Western and Central New York for ‘Aging by Design’
- A Social Innovations Grant from Toyota Motor North America, Inc. to explore transportation network companies
The Center’s latest initiative is the launch of innovative solutions for Universal Design or isUD™ – an inclusive design certification program supported by extensive evidence from research and practice.