Skip to main content

When Public Spaces Fail: Universal Design as Social Justice

Register >>

This is a Chicago Architecture Biennial partner event.

Chicago is a world-class city known for its rich transit networks, public parks and open space, but people with disabilities often encounter poor access to public transit and public spaces that creates social barriers. In the 2010 Census, people with disabilities made up more than 10 percent of Chicago’s total population.

Since the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act 25 years ago, stakeholders in the region have made notable strides to create public parks and public transit that are more accessible to people with disabilities, including Millennium Park and Chicago Park District and Chicago Transit Authority facilities. Dubbed “universal design,” this policy begins to reverse a status quo where numerous transit stations and parks remain inaccessible to many members of our population.

In this city of thought leaders, innovators and community builders, there are certainly more ideas to realize and improvements to achieve to help make public transit and open spaces more accessible to everyone. Join the Metropolitan Planning Council for a panel discussion where we will celebrate advances during the last 25 years and explore opportunities to make two of Chicago’s greatest public assets—transit and parks—even more accessible.

Speakers include:

The program begins at noon, with brief presentations followed by a panel discussion and Q&A. After the program, Jack Catlin of LCM Architects will lead a tour of Access Living, a building that effectively combines “universal” and “green” design to create a truly sustainable environment.

Seating will be limited, so register today! ASL interpretation will be provided at this event.

This event is accredited by AIA Chicago for 1.5 LU/HSW.

Register >>

Registration fee can be waived for those who need it; please email MPC Associate Yonina Gray at for more information.