Resources – Built Environment

GAATES is the leading civil society organization providing services in Universal Design and accessibility of the built environment. An environment built on the principles of Universal Design enables all users, including persons with disabilities to safely enter, use and exit the built and landscape environment. The following resources and publications have been developed by GAATES.


The Illustrated Technical Guide to the Accessibility Standard for the Design of Public Spaces

Cover page for document titled Illustrated Technical Guide to the Accessibility Standard for the Design of Public Spaces

These resources are provided to assist organizations better understand and apply accessibility standards to the built environment and public spaces.

Although some of these resources specifically address the obligations of businesses in Ontario (Canada) to comply with the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (2005), the concepts, strategies and resources presented can be applied to any organization in any location.
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Course Overview:

This online course provides a comprehensive orientation to the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) Accessibility Standard for the Design of Public Spaces. It has been specifically developed for design professionals practicing in Ontario. On completion of the course, participants will understand the scope, application criteria and technical requirements of the Accessibility Standard for the Design of Public Spaces, as well as their professional obligations to comply with this regulation.

Learn more at the Accessibility Standard for the Design of Public Spaces Course Home Page!


International Best Practices in Universal Design: A Global Review – 2007 Edition

Cover page for document titled International Best Practices in Universal Design

The International Best Practices in Universal Design: A Global Review provides an international overview of the technical information on accessibility criteria for the built environment that can be used by any country, especially those that have signed or ratified the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

The document compares the accessibility codes and standards from 16 international jurisdictions, from both developed and less developed countries, encompassing a wide geographical representation.

Individuals using wheelchairs on a ramp demonstrating tactile surfaces, contrasting handrails and level rest areas

The International Best Practices in Universal Design: A Global Review is useful to people in both the private and public sectors; designers and architects, international and national codes and standards organizations, building developers and managers, municipal planning departments, organizations of people with disabilities and governments.

The International Best Practices in Universal Design : A Global Review compares the technical data for 31 key design elements of the built environment. These include standard elements such as doorways, ramps and washrooms to evolving areas such as communications, wayfinding cues, detectable indicators and turning radius requirements to accommodate a variety of mobility of devices Also considered are the emerging design considerations required for security as well as fire and life safety of all building occupants.


Downloads International Best Practices in Universal Design: A Global Review

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Alternate format – DAISY, available upon request