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Universal design
A Means of Promoting a More People-Friendly Society.

What is "universal design"?

Advocated by US architect Ronald Mace in the 1970s, universal design refers to the design of products, buildings and environments that can be used by nearly all people, without subsequent alteration to meet special needs. Universal design eschews designing for specific needs, and in contrast with the "barrier-free" concept—which aims to remove physical, psychological and social barriers that inhibit the aged and people with disabilities—consciously eliminates barriers from the outset. Universal designs can thus meet the needs of all people regardless of age, sex, body size or disability. The concept has already gained currency in the United States, and has recently begun to attract attention in Japan.

Japan is already well on the way to becoming a full-fledged aged society, and will soon no longer be able to ignore universal design perspectives when designing the products, spaces and environments of the future. Hakuhodo's Elder Business Development Division works to ensure that the pursuit of products, services and communication activities incorporating universal design becomes an even greater priority.
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