International symposium on Universal Design: Designing for More Inclusive Cities


Cities have always been characterized by diversity in terms of use, users as well as urban characteristics and governance. Diversity has made our cities into centres for creativity and innovation. However, todays political, social and economic changes in relation to globalization have pushed the concept of diversity towards its limits. Different user patterns result out of a modern increasing complexity and therefore diversity is often questioned and linked to exclusion or polarization. There is a new era for urbanism facing diversity at all levels of performance. As actual builders of the environment, designers are challenged to bridge these gaps of complexity. How can we build or design the city of the future in which diversity becomes the driver for respect and inclusion?

This symposium reflects upon the added value of Universal Design (UD) / Design for All (DfA) as a strategy for inclusion. UD or DfA is a design strategy resulting in an environment, product or service in which users should not adapt but are supported in their actions and experiences in a positive and elegant way. The speakers will reflect and discuss upon the opportunities of design to support an attitude of inclusion at physical, social, cultural and mental level. The symposium aims at highlighting how urban governance can stimulate DESIGN for All and play an important role in its city image, city’s identity and future role by means of many practical examples.


When: Monday October 10th 2016, 13:00 - 17:00

Registration: Register here before October 3rd, free entrance


13:00 - 13:20

  • Registration of participants

13:20 - 13:40

Welcome by 

  • Mayor of the city of Hasselt
  • Dean of the Faculty of Architecture & Arts, Hasselt University: Rob Cuyvers
  • Chair:  Jasmien Herssens

13:40 - 14:40

  • Keynote by Pete Kercher (UK, IT)  - A (Design) Strategy for Inclusion

14:40 - 15:15

  • Tine Segers (BE) - Shrinking Cities: towards a new paradigm for Inclusion

15:15 - 15:45

  • Coffee break

15:45 - 16:30

16:30 - 17:00

  • Closing remarks


Hasselt University, Martelarenlaan 42, 3500 Hasselt, Oude gevangenis: Louis Rope auditorium