UStED – Urban Sustainability through Environmental Design, is an International Consortia conceived by
Dr. Sergio Porta of the Politecnico di Milano.

The origins of the organisation date to 2003, with a vision to establish an initiative which includes three areas: Network, Research and Education, for the purpose of gathering, updating, co-ordination and dissemination of tools of Sustainable Urban Design, with special emphasis on ‘public space’.

Funding is being sought from the European Social Fund (ESF) to bring together an International network of academic, public and private agencies and NGO’s to foster the exchange of sustainable urban design tools with specific emphasis on its impact on social and professional practice.

Interested parties were brought together in an inaugural conference at the Politecnico di Milano in January 2004. Following the success of this event the consortia has moved to strengthen its internal relationships and a core team has developed comprising of academics, practitioners and researchers, this provides a fertile platform for the future development of the organisation and to develop and promote the original aims.

Since the initial conference in 2004, an extended Alliance of members was formed in 2005 to bring together an international network of research and practice. This has culminated into the imminent publication of:
Urban Sustainability Through Environmental Design: Approaches to Time, People and Place Responsive Urban Spaces.
This book will be available in December 2007 from Taylor and Francis, a synopsis can be viewed by clicking here.
The book is edited by Sergio Porta, Ombretta Romice, Kevin Thwaites and Mark Greaves
with contributions from:
Mark Greaves, Sergio Porta, Ombretta Romice, Kevin Thwaites,
Nastaran Azmin-Fouladi, Carole Després, Graeme Evans, Jo Foord,
Hildebrand Frey, Barbara Golicnik, Vito Latora, Florent Joerin,
Alice Mathers, Eugenio Morello, Aurore Nembrini, Peter Newman,
John L. Renne, Dr Carlo Ratti, Ian Simkins and Dr Geneviève Vachon.

The fourth International Conference on Aging, Disability and Independence will be held February 20-23, 2008 in St. Petersburg, Florida. Click the following links to download further information:
Word document - Brochure registration
PDF - Pre-conference programme and information (updated 24/1/08).
PDF - General conference information and registration

Learning Units:
Advancing Universal Design - Edward Steinfeld, Arch.D.

This presentation will reflect on current practices in universal design and how they can be improved to increase adoption of the concept in mainstream design and engineering disciplines. Theory and practice in the diffusion of innovation will be used to identify lessons learned in other fields that can be applied to universal design practice. Questions to be addressed include: How has the concept of universal design been diffused? Are these methods effective? How could they be improved? What can be done to improve adoption? How can the rehabilitation sciences, health sciences, and other disciplines help advance the effectiveness of universal design practice?

Emerging Market Margaret - A. Wylde, Ph.D.
Although proponents of universal design are convinced that consumers will appreciate it when they see it, producers of environments and products need a more substantive basis for adopting the concept. Some corporations have been studying the market for universal design. This presentation will focus on the evidence for consumer demand for universal design features in housing and

Evidence Based Practice (EBP) - Roger Smith, Ph.D.
In the fields of health and rehabilitation sciences, the concept of Evidence Based Practice is being adopted as an important paradigm for linking research to practice. This paradigm has been advanced by the increased focus on accountability and effectiveness. Evidence Based Practice strives to achieve an appropriate balance of theory and relevant empirical evidence in decision making. This session will provide an overview of the EBP paradigm, including its history, its components, its value, and criticisms.

Adopting EBP in Universal Design Panel Discussion
- Jon Sanford, M.Arch. , Organizer

The trend toward a more human-centered approach to design coupled with demographic and social change has led to an increased interest in research that can help designers address a more inclusive end-user population. The result is a greater need for evidence based design practice. But, there are many barriers to the adoption of the EBP paradigm in environmental and product design, including the lack of translational research and difficulties adopting “gold standard” methodologies. A panelist presentation and discussion will focus on the needs for EBP approaches in universal design and the barriers to applying them in research and practice.

Advancing Universal Design through EBP - (Panel)
The ideal 21st Century Community for aging in place will have affordable and appropriate housing, supportive community features and services, and a range of mobility options, which together facilitate personal independence and enable all individuals to engage in work, civic and social life as they choose. How do we get from vision to reality?
Three presentations will provide an overview of the state of practice for each of three components of the 21st Century Community: Housing, Work Environments and Public Spaces. A World Cafe format will then be utilized to stimulate discussions that will identify and prioritize strategies, resources, and opportunities for applying Evidence Based Practice within these three domains in order to advance the field and ensure the creation of a 21st Century Community that will support aging in place.

Moving Forward - John Salmen, A.I.A.
This short presentation will identify key strategies that emerged from the afternoon program and reflect in general on how the discussion could lead to advancing the creation of the 21st Century Community.

visit the conference website for more information:

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last update: 8 December, 2007

Urban Sustainability through environmental design