Inclusive Physical Space Strategy

Project team

University of Waterloo, Government of Ontario




The Project

Human Space partnered with the University of Waterloo, with support from the Government of Ontario through the EnAbling Change Program, to deliver the Inclusive Physical Space Framework (the Framework), an open resource document.

The purpose of the Framework was to support better design processes and the building, operation, and maintenance of better physical spaces in a post-secondary education environment. By highlighting synergies between the areas of accessibility, well-being, and sustainability, we can capture opportunities for better design not considered in other design standards and guidelines.

The Framework considers a university’s duty of care and responsibility to create an inclusive, sustainable, high-quality environment that promotes health and well-being among members of the university community. The Framework recognizes the various budget models for construction of post-secondary infrastructure and encourages the reframing of cost to be more holistic, recognizing that the total cost of a project goes beyond initial capital construction costs.

The development of the Framework included a literature review of existing standards, legal requirements, and better practices for accessibility, well-being, and sustainability. To help structure and develop the Framework, the Project Team engaged with the University of Waterloo student community, a Project Advisory Committee, and Community and Disability Partners.

The initial framework is now available and can be viewed here.