January 23, 2018



Grandfather was an old Apache scout.

He didn’t see a planet heading into a long and bright future. He wasn’t a 2012’er either. He stretched the as-is timeline to about 2030; that’s when there’s nothing left … nothing. For an Apache, this wasn’t quite so foreboding. They didn’t live out of supermarkets and depend on fossil fuel. They were caretakers. They lived in harmony with nature and honored the Creator. They knew how to survive.

I am more optimistic about the future than Grandfather. There’s work to be done at every level. The old model doesn’t work. Actually, it never was a model. Much of our industrial past was a series of stumbles. Now, it’s time for a model, a well-designed model. It has to be tight – no wiggle room. It’s possible. It’s global.

Universal design is one small piece in the new model of human existence. It’s one that belongs to a larger area of respect for ourselves and our resources, one that’s been worn down over the last century. Universal design launches us on a journey that takes us back to our birthright as caretakers of the planet. No longer are homes a disposable blithe upon the land. They are valued places. We build them to thrive; they are shelter.

When you consider universal design, go beyond the how and the how much. Consider the why. Consider its purpose and usefulness. Consider how it fits into a larger design of living in harmony with nature. Consider its value. For Grandfather, shelter was more simple, more pure. Perhaps we can and will get there again. For now, universal design is a step in the right direction.

Konrad Kaletsch, CAPS
Universal Design Resource
Join Universal Design Network at LinkedIn