Ronald L. Mace, to whom this book is dedicated, was born in Jersey City, NJ, but raised in Winston-Salem, NC. At the age of nine, he contracted polio; from that point forward, he used wheelchairs for mobility. Ron quickly became frustrated by the architectural, transportation, and other barriers he encountered at every turn. Rather than allowing those barriers to discourage him, he set about removing them. Step one was to become an architect. He received his architecture degree from NCSU's School of Design in 1966. He then practiced architecture for four years, at which point he received an opportunity to become involved in developing one of the nation's first state accessibility building codes. Ron leaped at the chance. The North Carolina code became effective in 1974. It soon served as a model for other states.
It also served as a model for the rest of Ron's career. Beginning with Barrier Free Environments, his design consulting firm that did work for The Kennedy Center and for the Smithsonian Institution, both in Washington, DC, and other clients, and continuing with the Center for Accessible Housing at NCSU--later renamed the Center for Universal Design--Ron provided national leadership on accessibility. He was one of the "architects" behind the Fair Housing Amendments Act of 1988 (PL 100-430) and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (PL 101-336).
In the late 1980s and through most of the 1990s, Ron tirelessly promoted these ideas. As they became better-known and more widely accepted, Ron himself and CUD became nationally prominent. In his 28-year career, Ron received many awards, among them being named a Fellow of the American Institute of Architects, probably the one award that meant the most to him.
I also thank former Hofstra University associate provost Howard Negrin and provost Herman Berliner, who encouraged me to write this text; Gregg Vanderheiden, who gave me a page-by-page critique of the manuscript,