Celebrating International Day of Persons with Disabilities: Beyond Universal Design Principles

Panel Discussion

'Beyond Universal Design Principles' celebrates the International Day of Persons with Disabilities (officially acknowledged on December 3). This online panel discussion and symposium will explore how people with disability can be positively supported by built environments, and will present current and emerging research directions. While recognising the influence of the Seven Universal Design Principals developed during the late 1990's, panellists will also consider what lies 'Beyond Universal Design'. They will share insights into how current research is generating context-specific knowledge, helping to shape government policy and built environment outcomes, and supporting people with disability and their families.

Speakers include Professor Bruce Bonyhady, Associate Professor Kate Tregloan, Dr Andrew Martel, and Puneeta Thakur. The event will be facilitated by Dr Ben Cleveland, and is presented by Associate Professor Anna Hurlimann and the ABP Faculty Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Committee.


Professor Bruce Bonyhady is a disability reformer, economist, one of the key architects of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) and was the inaugural Chair of the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) from 2013 to 2016. Professor Bonyhady began his career in the Australian Treasury and also worked in economic consulting, funds management and insurance in Australia and the UK, before becoming a non-executive director.

Associate Professor Kate Tregloan focuses on creative education and its contributions to interdisciplinary impact, the built environment, and addressing community need. She has long-standing research interests in the design and evaluation of supported housing models for people with disability, bringing innovative design approaches to interdisciplinary collaborations and this complex challenge.

Dr Andrew Martel is a lecturer in Construction Management and Architecture in the Faculty of Architecture, Building and Planning. His research expertise is centred on housing, and has included high-density student housing, remote Indigenous housing, affordable family friendly housing and housing for people with disabilities. A particular focus of the research is on the complex nature of translating policy intentions of government entities into actual outcomes given the specific form and culture of the construction industry in Victoria and Australia. For the past few years Andrew has been investigating the potential of the NDIS to drive innovation in the production of accessible and adaptable domestic houses.

Puneeta Thakur, B.Arch., M.Phil., is a doctoral candidate in the Faculty of Architecture, Building and Planning at the University of Melbourne. Her research interest lies in disability access to urban environments. Puneeta is currently developing ‘an evidence-informed evaluation model’ for the happiness of wheelchair users in public spaces of Melbourne.

Dr Ben Cleveland is a Senior Lecturer in the Faculty of Architecture, Building and Planning at the University of Melbourne, where he is Co-Director of the Learning Environments Applied Research Network (LEaRN). His current research includes leading the ARC Linkage Project, ‘Building Connections: Schools as Community Hubs’ (2019-2022) and contributing as a Chief Investigator to the ARC Linkage Project ‘Innovative Learning Environments + Teacher Change’ (2016-2020). He recently led a review of the Victorian Department of Education and Training’s school area standards, resulting in the development of new School Facility Area Schedules. His current research into 'Inclusive Learning Spaces' stems from this body of research.

Panel Discussion

Title: Beyond Universal Design Principles

Time: 13.00 - 14.00 (AEDT *Melbourne)

Date: Monday, 30 November 2020

Time Zones:

*Beijing, China: Monday, 30 November 2020 at 10:00 CST
*Jakarta, Indonesia: Monday, 30 November 2020 at 9:00 WIB
*Tehran, Iran: Monday, 30 November 2020 at 5:30 IRST
*London, United Kingdom: Monday, 30 November 2020 at 2:00 GMT
*Santiago, Chile: Sunday, 29 November 2020 at 23:00 CLST
*Colombia, Mexico: Sunday, 29 November 2020 at 20:00 CST