Institute for Human Centered Design Logo
January 2021
Upcoming Events
Eliza Forrest Kaye Bromfield Memorial Webcast Series
Anoopa Sundararajan
Museum Prototype Testing and Co-Design in Times of Covid: Videoconference Reviews with User/Experts with Disabilities
Date: Thursday, March 11th, 2021
Time: 12:00 p.m to 2:00 p.m

Testing and co-designing prototypes for museums' inclusive mechanical and digital interactives and tactile experiences is the smart thing to do. But how can museums conduct hands-on sessions during a pandemic when it's not safe for the test facilitators and the reviewers to be in the same room? 

In this webcast, IHCD and Access Smithsonian staff along with participating user/experts with disabilities will discuss their ongoing collaborative experiment to conduct effective testing despite Covid-19 restrictions of social distancing and closed museums. Spoiler alert: The team found that much of the remote testing provides better results than testing done in person!

Partial list of panelists: 
Ashley Grady, Senior Program Specialist, Access Smithsonian
Anoopa Sundararajan, Human Factors and Inclusive Technology Researcher, IHCD

Janice Majewski, Director, Inclusive Cultural and Educational Projects, IHCD

More details and RSVP link coming soon!
Access to Historic Buildings: an Architectural Approach to Inclusive Design
Date: Wednesday, March 24th, 2021
Time: 12:00 p.m to 2:00 p.m

David is an architect with a background in both local authority and private practice. In 1994 he completed a research degree (PhD) at Oxford Brookes on designing for people with disabilities. This, as well as David’s personal experience of disability, has made him a leading figure on the subject. 

David Bonnett Architects was established in 1994 in response to his particular skills as both architect and access consultant. Following expansion, the practice was reformed in 2011 as David Bonnett Associates (DBA). DBA is now one of the leading Access Consultancies in the UK, working on significant projects, with leading architectural practices both at home and abroad. DBA’s application of access consultancy and inclusive design skills now extends to transportation and urban design, in addition to buildings.

David is author of several publications and articles on a wide range of related subjects. He has contributed to and chaired many national committees and continues to give talks in the UK and abroad. David is visiting Professor of Architecture at Oxford Brookes University and a member several Design Review Panels including Stratford Village East, Cross Rail, Thames Tideway Tunnel, the Rotherhithe Crossing and HS2.

More details and RSVP link coming soon!
Busy urban street with a multistory building on the far left, many street vendors with stalls seated around, and people walking around
Social Urbanism—Reframing Spatial Design —Discourses from Latin America
Date: Thursday, April 29th, 2021
Time: 12:00 p.m to 2:00 p.m

María Bellalta is dean and faculty, School of Landscape Architecture, Boston Architectural College (BAC), where she teaches design theory and interdisciplinary studios on social urbanism with a focus on the emergence of Medellín, Colombia and developing cities in Latin America. Her recent book release entitled Social Urbanism: Reframing Spatial Design – Discourses from Latin America, Applied Research and Design Publishing, provides an in-depth view of urban development practices in Latin America over the past five centuries, unearthing the exploitation of natural resources and cultural values that have marked the landscape over time. Bellalta offers an alternative view through projects and practices in social urbanism that invite communities to take part in the re-building and future development of their cities.  

Maria holds academic collaborations with Universidad Pontificia Bolivariana (UPB) in Medellín, and Centro Metropolitano de Arquitectura Sustentable (C+) in México City. María received her MLA from Harvard University, Graduate School of Design, with prior studies in Environmental Psychology from the University.

See book and detail below, in the Alerts about New Books & Resources section.

More details and RSVP link coming soon!
Additional Upcoming Events
US Access Board Logo
US Access Board Announces Schedule for Public Forum on Inclusive Design of Autonomous Vehicles 
This spring, the U.S. Access Board, in partnership with other federal agencies, will host a series of virtual meetings on making autonomous vehicles (AVs) accessible to all passengers, including those with disabilities. The four-part series will provide an open forum where members of the public and stakeholders can discuss considerations, challenges, and solutions in designing AVs that are inclusive of everyone. The sessions are free and open to the public. Attendees will be able to share comments, suggestions, and information and pose questions.

The Board is undertaking this initiative jointly with other agencies, including the Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy and the Department of Health and Human Service’s Administration for Community Living. The sessions will be conducted through a virtual platform (Zoom) and will focus on different types of accessibility and user groups. The final session will review findings and recommendations, identify areas for further study, and recommend the next steps.

The planned schedule is:
  • Accessibility for Passengers with Mobility Disabilities: Entering and Exiting Vehicles: March 10, 2021, 2:00 – 3:30 (ET)

  • Accessibility for Passengers with Mobility Disabilities: Maneuvering and Securement in Vehicles: March 24, 2021, 2:00 – 3:30 (ET)

  • Communication Accessibility for Passengers with Sensory or Cognitive Disabilities: April 7, 2021, 2:00 – 3:30 (ET)

  • Findings, Recommendations, Future Research, and Suggested Next Steps: April 21, 2021, 2:00 – 3:30 (ET)

Further details will be posted on the Board’s AV webpage in the coming weeks. Direct questions to Randall Duchesneau III at or (202) 272-0044.
Lighting Research Center and Rensselaer logos
The webinar will provide information on recent research the LRC has conducted on Ultraviolet (UV) disinfection products as part of its Lighting Answers publication series.

The webinar will include information on products that produce optical radiation at specific UV or very short visible wavelengths, designed for use in disinfecting indoor building surfaces and/or air. Three key aspects of UV disinfection will be discussed: product effectiveness, radiation safety, and energy use in buildings.

Other important aspects of UV disinfection that will be discussed in the webinar include the wavelengths of optical radiation commonly used for disinfection, key characteristics of UV disinfection products currently on the market, field measurement and assessment of UV disinfection products, and currently available codes and regulations pertaining to these products.

Presenters will also provide guidance for professionals who are considering the specification of UV disinfection products in buildings, including a discussion on selecting the dose of UV radiation needed to inactivate various types of pathogens (viruses, bacteria, or fungi). Information will also be provided about the results of LRC testing of twelve UV disinfection products, representing a variety of product types. This analysis includes a review of manufacturer claims of product performance and well as LRC evaluation of other key attributes of product performance.

Date: Wednesday, February 10 , 2021
Time: 1–2 p.m. ET

Andrew Bierman
Jennifer Brons

For more information contact Dan Frering, the LRC director of educational programs
Phone: (518) 276-7148 or email:
Alerts About New Books & Resources
Social urbanism Book Cover
Social Urbanism
Author: Maria Bellalta
This book serves as a critical review of SOCIAL URBANISM, defined as a theoretical and practical approach to urban globalization, deriving from a planning strategy and portfolio of built projects that seek to alleviate the social consequences of urbanization.

It emphasizes both the projects and the processes that simultaneously consider ecological and socio-economic components of space, and which highlight a greater focus on social sustainability. In a context in which geography defines space and culture, and through the challenges of global climate change, we are inextricably united in an era of environmental uncertainty, where shared experiences and values place us within a collective culture, inspiring mutual agency in service of this vision for SOCIAL URBANISM.

Through the work presented here, SOCIAL URBANISM is expanded as a worldview that considers the cultural values of a given place as interconnected to the geographical landscape of the region, and therefore, as the driving forces behind future models of globalization and urban growth. The points of view of multiple colleagues and experts across differing fields additionally provide introspection on the value and implementation of SOCIAL URBANISM. These shared opinions strengthen the significance of this work and affirm the joint values and visions for the global urbanization challenges we are confronting in the 21st century, and which continue into the future.
Black Landscapes Matter book cover with orange text on a black background at the top and a rendering of an urban landscape at the bottom
Black Landscapes Matter
Edited by Walter Hood & Grace Mitchell Tada
The question "Do black landscapes matter?" cuts deep to the core of American history. From the plantations of slavery to contemporary segregated cities, from freedman villages to northern migrations for freedom, the nation’s landscape bears the detritus of diverse origins. Black landscapes matter because they tell the truth. In this vital new collection, acclaimed landscape designer and public artist Walter Hood assembles a group of notable landscape architecture and planning professionals and scholars to probe how race, memory, and meaning intersect in the American landscape.
Accessory Dwelling Units
This research publication and step-by-step guide with floor plans makes this underused housing option a compelling and practical choice.  Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) expand housing choice and build equity for homeowners.

Income security and physical mobility were the two primary design influences reflected in the three floor plans.  

  • 350SF / Studio Unit is ideal for the home-owner with limited means and space, but desires additional income. 
  • 500SF / 1 Bedroom Unit is based on the input of a retired teacher considering making the ADU his home while renting the main-house.
  • 800SF / 2 Bedroom Unit is based on the concept of accessible in-home care.  ​​
Sharing News: US & Global
IAUD International Design Award, December 18, 2020
Jury Chairman’s Introduction
Roger Coleman
The Chair of IAUD International Design Award 2020 Selection Committee

Professor Emeritus, Royal College of Art, UK
This year we celebrate the 10th edition of the IAUD International Design Awards.

Over the past 30 years, Universal and Inclusive Design have enjoyed great success. Small local initiatives have grown into an international and transformational approach unlocking the power of design to successfully address the fundamental social issues and challenges of disability, population aging, racial exclusion and discrimination in all its forms.

But, while these successes give cause for hope, I have serious concerns for the future, faced as we are by multiple challenges to world peace, and to our health and environment. The Internet and information technology have brought great benefits, but are also fostering social discord and undermining past certainties. Covid-19 is still with us bringing recession in its wake and a bigger threat is looming. Human-driven climate change and the accumulating plastic debris embedding itself in global food chains are part of the fall-out from the belief in continual growth that underlies our consumer societies. And in the face of an urgent need for economic recovery as the pandemic recedes, important values are likely to be sacrificed, in particular the welfare of our small planet and the global envelope we share and mutually depend on with all other living things: the biosphere.
Laura’s Law on Emergency Room Wayfinding
Massachusetts has a new law to improve hospital access to emergency rooms. It passed in the final hours of the legislative session on January 6th and has been signed by Governor Charlie Baker. 

Four years ago, Laura Levis collapsed and died while having an asthma attack in the early hours of the morning. She walked to the closest emergency room, found it locked, and called 911. Her call was transferred. She was found unconscious 29 feet from the Emergency Room door. Laura died after seven days in intensive care. She was 34.

The goal of Laura’s Law is to make every emergency room in every hospital in Massachusetts easier to find and get into. Given that nearly everyone seeking an emergency room is distracted, anxious and in likely distress, the corrective measures must anticipate the widest spectrum of people.

The law requires that the Massachusetts Department of Public Health sets standards for access to hospital emergency rooms with appropriate lighting and signage along with security and monitoring of all ER entrances. 

Through our Director of Wayfinding, Dr. Janet Carpman, IHCD has been pleased to have assisted in the development of the legislation and advocacy for this life-saving legislation.
Internal Updates
IHCD Board of Directors
Executive Committee Elected in December 2020
Jennifer Otitigbe
Board President
Jennifer​ ​Otitigbe​ ​has​ ​worked​​in​ ​all​ ​aspects​ ​of​ ​new​ ​product​ ​development​ ​from​ ​ concept​​development​ ​to​ ​product​ ​launch​ ​and​ ​growth.​ ​She​ ​currently​ ​leads​​a​ ​ User​ ​Experience​ ​team​ ​at​ ​Google,​ ​where​ ​she​ ​specializes​ ​in​​user​ ​research​ ​for​ ​ complex​ ​software​ ​systems.​ ​In​ ​a​ ​prior​​role,​ ​Jennifer​ ​was​ ​a​ ​staff​ ​member​ ​at​ ​the​ ​ Institute​ ​for​​Human-Centered​ ​Design​ ​where​ ​she​ ​worked​ ​initially​ ​as​ ​a​​Project​ ​ Manager​ ​and​ ​then​ ​progressed​ ​to​ ​serve​ ​as​ ​the​​Director​ ​of​ ​User​ ​Experience​ ​ and​ ​Research.​ ​In​ ​this​ ​capacity,​​Jennifer​ ​conducted​ ​and​ ​led​ ​multi-disciplinary​ ​ consulting​​projects​ ​in​ ​accessibility,​ ​universal​ ​design​ ​, and​ ​human-centered​ ​design.​ ​Her​ ​work​ ​centered​ ​around​ ​generating​ ​actionable​ ​design​​insights​ ​for​ ​ public​ ​sector,​ ​cultural,​ ​educational​ ​and​ ​consumer-focused​ ​organizations.​ ​ While​ ​at​ ​IHCD,​ ​she​ ​also​ ​helped​ ​with​​the​ ​launch​ ​of​ ​the​ ​User/Expert​ ​Lab,​ ​the​ ​ statewide​ ​conference​​on​ ​design​ ​and​ ​technology​ ​for​ ​people​ ​with​ ​disabilities​ ​and​​ the​ ​Universal​ ​Design​ ​Case​ ​Study​ ​project.
Ricardo Gomes
Board Vice-President
Professor Ricardo Gomes has been a faculty member in the Design and Industry (DAI) Department at San Francisco State University for nearly 25 years. He was the Chair of the Department from 2002-2012. Prof. Gomes coordinates the Design Center for Global Needs and the Shapira Design Archive Project in the DAI Department. Prof. Gomes received his MFA in Industrial Design for Low-Income Economies from the University of California, Los Angeles. He received an M.A. in Architectural Building Technology from School of Architecture and Urban Planning at UCLA; and a BFA in Industrial Design from Massachusetts College of Art.
Prof. Gomes was a Fulbright Research Scholar from 1984-1986 at the University of Nairobi, Kenya. He conducted post-graduate research and product development of a container system for mobile health care delivery in East Africa from 1982 – 1987. In 1986, he was Program Coordinator of Design Projects in Developing Countries, at ENSCI in Paris, France. A premiere French government design school, where he directed student liaison projects with European international development agencies.

For over 30 years, Prof. Gomes has conducted keynote speeches, presentations, symposiums and workshops at universities and international conferences throughout Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America and the U.S. In addition, he has served on juries related to Inclusive/Universal Design; Design for Social Responsibility; Global Design and Cultural Identity. 
Ruth Super
Board Treasurer
Ruth Super is a versatile inclusive designer with over 20 years of graphic, interior, and architectural design experience.

Having graduated from Liverpool John Moores University/Polytechnic with a Graphic Design degree in the UK where Ms. Super majored in advertising and visual communication. Ruth moved to the US. Ruth’s first job in the US was for The Coffee Connection as their Graphic Design and Visual Communications Coordinator. During Coffee Connection’s rapid expansion she became responsible not only for the Visual merchandising and Graphics but was also pulled into the interior design and prototyping team involved in the design of the new stores. In 1994 after Starbucks bought out the Coffee Connection, Ms. Super set up SuperGraphics! And began a transition from 2D to 3D design. This move lead Ms. Super to enroll in a Masters's program in Interior Design where she later transferred to the Masters's of Architecture at the Boston College of Architecture. Ruth graduated with a commendation from the BAC in 2008.

Ruth Super currently has her own design office concentrating on Inclusive Design and consults for IHCD on Cultural and Higher Ed projects. Ruth has co-chaired Women in Design Awards of Excellence for the Boston Society of Architects and has been on the jury from 2009-2019. Ruth teaches a summer Intensive Inclusive Design course in the Design for Human Health Masters Program at the Boston Architectural College and has been a guest lecturer and co-taught a Human Factors and Universal Design course at the school of Art and Design @ Suffolk University.
Sue Cusack
Board Clerk
Sue Cusack is an Assistant Professor at Lesley University in the Graduate School of Education. She directs the Technology in Education Program, which supports licensure in Digital Literacy and Computer Science and the Instructional Technology Specialist. She is also the director of Lesley STEAM Learning Lab, a center designed to research the pedagogy of "making" in an education context. Sue has worked closely with urban school districts in Massachusetts to build educator capacity for inclusive and culturally responsive teaching and learning practices that foster equity, access, and agency for all students.
Newly Eleceted Members of the IHCD Board of Directors
Joan Denizot
Founder and CEO of Zize Bikes LLC
Joan Denizot is the Founder and CEO of Zize Bikes LLC, an online retail store that she created based on her experience as a user/expert. Zize Bikes designs and builds bicycles for people who weigh up to 550 pounds. Denizot is a public speaker who presents on Personal Development and Acceptance for those of us who are “different.” She focuses on the transformation of products and experiences so that people of all abilities can participate fully in life.
Nigel Jacobs
Co-founder and Current Co-Chair of the Mayor’s Office of New Urban Mechanics
Nigel Jacob is the Co-founder and current Co-Chair of the Mayor’s Office of New Urban Mechanics, a civic innovation incubator and R&D Lab within Boston’s City Hall. Nigel’s work is about making urban life better via innovative, people-oriented applications of technology and design. Prior to joining the City of Boston in 2006, Nigel worked in a series of technology start-ups in the Boston area.

He was also previously the Urban Technologist in Residence at Living Cities, a philanthropic collaboration of 22 of the world’s largest foundations and financial institutions, is currently a board member at organizations such as Code For America and coUrbanize, and is an Executive-in-Residence at Boston University.

Nigel’s work has been written about extensively in magazines such as Wired, MIT Technology Review, Fast Company and books including The Responsive City, by Stephen Goldsmith and Susan Crawford and Smart Cities by Anthony Townsend.

This ground-breaking work has earned Nigel a number of awards including being named a Public Official of the year in 2011 by Governing Magazine, a Whitehouse Champion of Change and the Tribeca Disruptive Innovation award for 2012. Nigel is also a 12th level Wizard-Pirate with a special focus on causing chaos in large municipal bureaucracies via befuddlement spells.
IHCD Spring 2021 Interns and Practicum Students
Keely Menezes, MPH Practicum
Tufts University
Keely Menezes is in her final semester of a Master's of Public Health at the Tufts University School of Medicine. She is interested in the built environment as a determinant of health, and the role of space in human wellness. She assists in work being done at the Boston Architectural College on programming for health and well-being in architecture. 

Beyond her professional interests, Keely has a hobby in making old things new again - she sews many of her own clothes from reclaimed fabric and has a small side business of refinishing discarded furniture - and believes that wellness-oriented spaces can be created inexpensively and sustainably. She is excited to work with the Institute for Human-Centered Design this semester on applying these principles and a public health framework to optimizing at-home learning spaces for children attending school remotely.
Marissa Paul, MPH Student
University of Southern Maine
Marissa Paul is a second-year Master of Public Health student at the University of Southern Maine. She has a BA in visual art from Point Loma Nazarene University in San Diego, California. During her time at the IHCD, she is looking forward to combining the two disciplines to learn more about health communications. In her free time, she enjoys watching reruns with her husband and rescue pup, Benji. 
Ben Wood, Industrial Design Student
Swinbourne University, Melbourne, Australia
Ben Wood is a 3rd Year Industrial Design student at Swinburne University in Melbourne, Australia. He has recently joined the IHCD for a 6-week internship as an extension of his studies.
Drawn to the IHCD for their unique perspective and commitment to inclusive design. Ben is determined to support the team wherever possible in their design pursuits. With experience in both the automotive and medical tech design industries, he brings a unique skill set, perspective, and fresh eyes to the team. He hopes that during his time with the IHCD, that he can develop as inclusive and considerate a mindset as possible before he embarks on his design career.
Alyssa Doherty,
Interior Design Student
Endicott College
Alyssa Doherty grew up in Southern Maine. She is in her last year of her bachelor's degree in interior design at Endicott College. Previously, Alyssa has partaken in two internships at design firms. She looks forward to using the skills she has learned in school and in the field on projects for IHCD.