Universal design that makes life easier for citizens

The 2014 Universal Design International Seminar has obtained written consent from the speaker to publish the summarized and edited content

SPEAKER: Ryu, Bo-hwa (Design Policy Division Manager of Seoul)

Design is an essential tool for making life easier for citizens.

Good design eliminates user discomfort and this is a quality that applies equally regardless of the presence or absence of a disability. Therefore, I think universal design is a design that considers the needs of all people.

The Seoul Metropolitan Government has been pushing for UD guidelines since 2010 for facilities for teenagers, the elderly, the disabled, and children, who are various users of welfare facilities, and has been consulting actual welfare facilities with these guidelines.


I once consulted the space differentiation guidelines for a public daycare center. Their B.I. (brand identity) featured a yellow bird, and images of the bird and bird footprints were placed on the road. Guidelines were established to improve the interest of children who do enjoy going to daycare centers and create a comfortable and pleasant space through trees and birds even after entering the daycare center.


In the case of public spaces, the door was automated so that people with disabilities in wheelchairs could come to the community center in Seongsan 2-dong easily without anyone’s help.

Also, consulting has been provided on various UD-related items, such as wheelchair gloves, bags, clothing for child patients, and a shelter for the homeless in winter. However, there is still much to be done, so workshops are held with stakeholders in welfare facilities to communicate with citizens, and citizen forums are also held to listen to citizens' opinions.


The Seoul Metropolitan Government is currently promoting the establishment of a comprehensive UD plan. From the first half of this year, it has been pushing ahead with the goal of completion soon, and various projects are being planned in five areas under the vision of "comfortable happiness for everyone, Seoul."

There is a saying in Korean: “U-mun, hyeon-dap.” It means ‘silly questions and wise answers’.

I would like to rephrase this as ‘our problems have answers out in the field.’ UD cannot be achieved by citizens alone or by experts alone. Therefore, I feel that UD should be practiced through communication between citizens, experts, and the administration.

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