Sarve Bhavanti Sukhinah/ Sarve santu Niramayah
Sarve Bhadrani Pashyanti, Ma Kashchid Dukh Bhag Bhaveta

Let every one without distinction be happy. Let every one be without any ailment. Let every one look like Arya, noble and righteous. Let there be no one to have any share of sorrow or grief.

A Sanskrit shloka from a traditional Indian Inscription with a translation in English

.........."Welcome to the Blog".........

We need your inputs for this blog to build a body of knowledge that would help in strengthening the Universal Design concept in design education and design practice in the country. We would also like to share your related projects or experiences addressing different needs of the diverse population.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011


School of Planning and Architecture, Bhopal is a premier institute of Planning and Architecture set up by the Ministry of Human Resource Development, Government of India located in Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh. The school publishes an Internationally Refereed Bi-annual Journal titled ‘SPANDREL’- Journal of SPA: New Dimensions in Research of Environments for Living (ISSN 2231-4601). Other than the regular issues, the journal also publishes issues dedicated to themes related to recent practices in architecture and planning education and research. The first issue of SPANDREL ‘Many Worlds, One Future: Pluralism in Architectural Education’ was published in August 2010, followed by the second issue ‘Environmental Sustenance’ in March 2011. The upcoming issue is dedicated to ‘The Sacred’ and will be released in October 2011.

Articles are invited for the spring issue-2012 of SPANDREL focusing on ‘Social Sustenance’ with an aim to build a body of knowledge that responds to the needs of diverse human population with special emphasis to those otherwise marginalized and undocumented in the past. These people were excluded in environmental design and planning practices and overlooked in collective socio-economic-cultural development. The special issue will encourage papers that pursue people centric or societal approach in architecture, planning and design education, research, practice or policy, to address needs of the following vulnerable groups (inclusive but are not limited to):

• Diverse Age Groups: Children and Elderly

• Diverse Socio-Economic Conditions: Urban and Rural Poor

• Diverse Functional Limitations: Persons with Disabilities

• Diverse Culturally Marginalized Groups: Isolated Ethnic Groups

• Research and Design Practices that address Social Equity: Inclusive Design / Design for All / Universal Design



Suggestions Invited for NCUDBE

Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, Government of India, has invited suggestions on National Center for Universal Design and Barrier-Free Environment at this link by 22/09/2011

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Center for Human Centric Research (CHCR) at SPA-Bhopal

Center for Human Centric Research (CHCR) is a multidisciplinary research center at School of Planning and Architecture-Bhopal that aims to
  •  Bring awareness amongst budding architects and planners to respond to the needs of diverse human population otherwise marginalized in the past design practices, for collective socio-economic-cultural development in the country.
  • Build a research based body of knowledge with all realms of the ethnographic, qualitative and quantitative experimental paradigms, to support human centered design process. 
To attain its objectives, the center functions in four major areas, ‘identification of research priority areas and networking’, ‘education & training’, ‘research & design development’ and ‘dissemination’.

I. Identify the Areas of Research Priority and Network all stakeholders (SPA-faculty and students, other Institutes of higher learning, NGOs, government agencies, consumers, users and service providers like engineers, planners, designers, architects and builders) to address these priority areas. This has begun with the formation of a resource group that builds awareness with special lectures, workshops and conferences on the subject. The center recently organized a major three day Universal Design Workshop and a National Student Design Competition on a theme of Inclusive Design/Design for All/Universal Design in March’2011.

II. Establish a National level resource center for Education and Training at School of Architecture and Planning, Bhopal, to facilitate researches addressing people centric studies in the built environment at local, regional and national level. The center offers an elective on ‘Enabling Environment’, and has plans to offer short-term online certificate courses and specialized academic courses in the subject.

III. Initiate and support faculty and student Research and Design Development projects, in the identified priority areas at School of Architecture and Planning, Bhopal. The center supports UG and PG projects/studios on the theme and plans to sponsor faculty projects.

IV. Dissemination through Publications on the subject for information sharing and developing a body of knowledge that would help those architects, engineers, planners, designers and all stakeholders, who would like to work in this area. The upcoming publication of CHCR ‘Uniting Differences’ is based on winning entries of a Design Competition on Inclusive Design.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Universal Design India Principles © 2011

A group of industrial designers, architects, ergonomists and access consultant from prestigious academic institutions and a few proactive NGOs in India, collectively made a humble attempt to formulate ‘Five Universal Design India Principles’ with strong Indian idiom to design inclusive products, environments and systems. Dedicated to its one-third of the total world’s disabled population, second largest elderly population, and contradictions of large poor population living in second fastest growing economy, these five Universal Design India Principles intend to build consensus on contextual definition and principles of practice to address the needs of its diverse population.
© 2011 National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad
Co-Authors (In alphabetical order):
Abir Mullick, National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad
Anjlee Agarwal, Samarthyam, New Delhi
Balaram S., D J Acdemy of Design, Coimbatore
Debkumar Chakrabarti, Indian Institute of Technology, Guwahati
Gaurav Raheja, Indian Institute of Technology, Roorkee
Haimanti Banerjee, Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur
Rachna Khare, School of Planning and Architecture, Bhopal
Ravi Shankar, National Institute of Design, Bangalore
Shivani Gupta, AccessAbility, New Delhi

Wednesday, April 6, 2011



The three day Universal Design Workshop has been planned as a culmination of a National Student Design Competition for Design for All/Universal Design that was floated in Oct’2010 by SPA-Bhopal. The institute received tremendous response for this competition from architecture and design schools with about eighty registrations and thirty design entrees. The registered student teams prepared their designs based on the design brief and in consultation with their faculty advisors. The teams were also provided with a list of books, websites and other online resources on universal design to make their challenge an informed attempt. The final evaluation of this competition was coupled with a three days workshop on 3rd, 4th & 5th March 2011. The two best competition entries were awarded and all shortlisted entries were displayed as an exhibition for the professionals for wider dissemination. The workshop was convened by Dr. Rachna Khare and coordinated by Ar. Sandeep Sankat and Ar. Ram Sateesh Pasupuleti.

• Create awareness about ‘Universal Design’ amongst budding architects, planners and design professionals to support social sustainability
• Provide hands-on experience to understand practical application of Universal Design to design Inclusive built-environment for everyone including people with functional limitations.
• Learn about Universal Design education, teaching and practice
• Develop example of a model building through intense Universal Design Education

DAY ONE- 3rd March 2011
Workshop participants registered from various corners of the country to participate in the 3 day Universal Design Workshop organised by Center for Human centric Research, School of Planning and Architecture, Bhopal. The workshop started with SPA anthem honoured with the presence of Chief-guest Padmabhushan Shree M.N.Buch and Special Guest Dr. Deepankar Banerjee, State Disability Commissioner, Madhya Pradesh. Prof. Ajay Khare, Director School of Planning and Architecture, Bhopal, Professor Abir Mullick, Georgia Institute of Technology Atlanta USA, Dr.Gaurav Raheja from IIT Roorkee, Mr. Pankaj Bajpayee from National Institute of Orthopedically Handicapped, Architect Abhishek Ray and Rohini Rama Krishnan from DRDF were also present on the occasion.

Inaugural Ceremony - Convener Rachna Khare, Special Guest Dr. Deepankar Banerjee, Chief Guest Padmabhushan Shree M.N.Buch, Prof. Ajay Khare, Director, SPA-Bhopal, Professor Abir Mullick (sequentially on podium).

Exhibition: National Student Design Competition for Design for All/Universal Design
The Exhibition of the shortlisted entries of National Student Design Competition had also been inaugurated by the honourable chief guest. Concluding inaugural session Padma Bhushan Shree M.N.Buch and Dr.Deepankar Benarjee briefly expressed their views and visions on the issues and concerns related to Universal Design.

After inaugural session Professor Abir Mullick, an eminent expert of Universal Design from Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, USA delivered keynote address on “Universal Design in Design Teaching / Studio”. Prof. Mullick is a strong supporter of universal design and is internationally known for inclusive designs that deal with social justice, personal empowerment and collective equity. He is one of the authors of the seven principles of universal design.He shared his experience as a teacher, scholar, researcher and designer in his presentation.

Post lunch, expert teams carried out five parallel sessions on Interactive hands-on exercises with the participants, ‘Observation/Analysis/Design’ by Prof. Abir Mullick, ‘Dialogues in the dark’ by Mr. Ahishek Ray and Ms. Rohini Ramkrishnan, ‘Disability in Indian Cinema’ by Mr. Ahishek Ray and Ms. Rohini, ‘Batein-An interactive session with an attempt to understand users’ by Mr. Anil Mudgil, Dr. Rohit Trivedi, Ms Sufia Khan and ‘Simulating Spatial Experiences’ by Prof. Gaurav Raheja. At the end of the day, ‘Khosish’ a movie related to the workshop theme was shown to the participants and the first day workshop program ended with an online interaction with the filmmaker Gulzar.

DAY TWO- 4th March 2011
On the day two of the workshop all the shortlisted teams of National Student Design Competition for Design for All/Universal Design that was floated in Oct’2010 by SPA-Bhopal presented their work in front of the jury members in an open session. The judging panel consists of some strong proponents of universal design and a team representing stake-holders. Following experts of Universal Design in the country and stake-holders were invited to judge the competition.
• Prof. Abir Mullick, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, USA
• Dr. Ratnesh Kumar, National Institute of Orthopaedically Handicapped, Kolkata
• Dr. Pankaj Bajpai, National Institute of Orthopaedically Handicapped, Kolkata, India
• Dr. Rachna Khare, School of Planning and Architecture, Bhopal, India
• Dr. Gaurav Raheja, Department of Architecture and Planning, IIT, Roorkee, India
• Architect Abhishek Ray, Disability Design and Research Foundation, Mumbai, India
Interactive hands-on exercises related to Universal Design by experts
 National Student Design Competition- Presentations before Jury
All the eighteen shortlisted teams sequentially presented their work throughout the day, and it was mesmerizing to see the creative ideas and thoughts from the budding built environment professionals. In the evening a cultural program was conducted by SPA Bhopal along with some volunteers from Aarushi.

DAY THREE- 5th March 2011
On the morning of day three, architect Abhishek Ray made a presentation on the topic ‘Universal Design in Design Practice’. Architect Abhishek Ray is using emerging genre Universal Design in the professional arena to engage with builders, architects, city planners and citizen organizations to create inclusive and user-friendly environments that serve not only the special needs of the disabled but take into account the diverse needs of the general population. In his presentation he shared his views on the subject.

In the next session Dr. Gaurav Raheja presented his views on ‘Universal Design in Indian Context’. Gaurav Raheja Ph.D. from IIT Roorkee in Universal Design Research, he is a member of many important committees on accessibility in the country and is Mphasis Universal Design Award holder in 2010. He shared his knowledge of working with rural Indian population in his presentation.

Before the Valedictory Session, experts and participants had invigorating session in which they shared their understanding and provided their feedback on workshop. This session was coordinated by Dr. Rachna Khare. She is a Fulbright Scholar and a strong supporter of Inclusive Design and coordinating the Center for Human centric Research (CHCR) at School of Planning and Architecture, Bhopal, India. Prior to this she was Fellow, Jamsetji Tata Universal Design Research Chair at National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad.
The Results of the Student Competition was declared in this concluding Valedictory Session and the Certificate of Participants was presented by the experts. First five entries were acknowledged and first and second prize of Rs. 50,000 and Rs. 25,000 was awarded to the winners. The first position was bagged by Bhanuben Nanavati College of Architecture, Pune and School of Planning and Architecture, Bhopal won second position. The program ended with a vote of thanks by the coordinating team from SPA-Bhopal, Dr. Rachna Khare, Ar. Sandeep Sankat and Ar. Ram Sateesh Pasupuleti.

Friday, January 14, 2011



We at SPA-Bhopal are glad to receive an overwhelming response for the ‘National Student Design Competition on Design for All / Universal Design’ with seventy six registrations representing thirty colleges around the country. The registered student teams will now start their work based on the design brief in consultation with their faculty advisors, and will submit their work by 15th February 2011. Considering large number of entries evaluation will be done in two stages, 1st stage short listing will be done by a team of experts to select 10-12 entries. The 2nd stage final evaluation of the short-listed entries will be done through presentation by representative members of the team to select two winners. Final evaluation will be coupled with a three days workshop on 3rd, 4th & 5th March 2011, with world-known Universal Design Experts. The three days of the Universal Design workshop will give a unique experience through intense interaction and hands-on experiences and will help develop an insight to what designers think, create and build.

National Student Competition at SPA-Bhopal was launched on it's Foundation Day by Prof Abir Mullick from Georgia-Tech, USA. Prof. Mullick is a strong proponent of Universal Design and one of the authors of Seven Universal Design Principles. He also lectured on  'Universal Design Perspective to Address Social Inequalities and Promote Democratic and Community Living' 

Prof E.F.N. Rebeiro, an Eminent Urban Planner, Chairman BOG, SPA-Bhopal and former Director SPA-Delhi, lectured on 'Emerging Integrated Frameworks for the Built Environment in India'

Few more glimpses of foundation day, Director, SPA-Bhopal Prof.Ajay Khare, presenting overview of the institute and cultural function 

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

National Centre for Universal Design and Barrier-Free Environment (NCUDBE)

Task Force set up to work out details for setting up of National Centre for Universal Design and Barrier-Free Environment (NCUDBE)

Delhi , October 29,2010 13:39 IST

Source: Press Information Bureau, Mumbai India

The Centre has constituted a Task Force to work out the details for establishment of the proposed National Centre for Universal Design and Barrier-free Environment (NCUDBE) which was envisaged in the Eleventh Five Year Plan as a national body to facilitate and support the development of universal design and barrier-free environment.

The Task Force, set up by the Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment, has been mandated to examine in detail the need for setting up of NCUDBE, its structure, possible role and functions, its scope in the R&D in the area of assistive technology, implementation modalities and its manpower and financial requirement etc.

The Task Force will also give its recommendations on the extent to which it should do R&D in house and support R&D efforts by other agencies. It will also dwell upon the issue of the National Centre’s structure that whether it should be set up as an independent entity or under the umbrella of a suitable existing institution like the National Institute of Design or the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR).

The Task Force is headed by Prof. Samir K. Brahmachari, Director General of the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research and will have members from the National Institution of Design, Ahemdabad and School of Planning & Architecture, New Delhi. The Task Force will also have nominees (one each) from the Central Government’s Departments of Telecommunication and Information Technology. The Joint Secretary in charge of the Disability Division in Ministry of Social Justice will be the Convenor and Ex-Officio Member and Director of Deendayal Uppadhaya Institute for the Physically Handicapped, New Delhi will be the Member-Secretary of the Task Force.

Besides the Plan Document, the establishment of such a Centre is also obligatory under the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities to which India is a signatory. Article 2 of the Convention describes “Universal Design” as the design of products, environments, programmes and services to be usable by all people, to the greatest extent possible, without the need for adaptation or specialized design. Article 4 of the UN Charter lists it as general obligation to undertake or promote research and development of universally designed goods, services, equipment and facilities which should require the minimum possible adaptation and the least cost to meet the specific needs of a person with disabilities, to promote their availability and use, and to promote universal design in the development of standards and guideline.

It may be recalled that last month, the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment had invited proposals from the States for central assistance to provide barrier free environment in public buildings including State Secretariat, Collectorates, Main Hospitals, Universities and other important State level offices to ensure that these are accessible to the People with Disabilities. The proposals have been invited after making significant increase in the annual budget of the Scheme for Implementation of PwD Act from Rs. 15-20 crore annually to Rs. 100 crore for the year 2010-11. The central assistance will also be given to make the Government Websites at the State and District levels accessible to PwDs.