Valerie Fletcher

Executive Director
Institute for Human Centered Design (IHCD)


Valerie Fletcher has been Executive Director since 1998 of the Institute for Human Centered Design (IHCD). Fletcher writes, lectures and works internationally. She currently oversees projects ranging from the development of design guides for accessibility compliance and inclusive design to a wide range of consultation and design services to public, and private entities in the US and globally. She created the IHCD User/Expert Lab which has over 500 people engaged in the evaluation of places, products and services. Her research focus is integrated social and environmentally sustainable solutions for multifamily housing, healthcare, culture, workplaces, and the public realm.

Fletcher’s career has been divided between design and social justice. She worked on the reintegration of Boston public housing after the NAACP won a discrimination lawsuit. She is the former Deputy Commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Mental Health where she oversaw the largest participatory planning process ever undertaken in a state mental health system. She was Principal of Fletcher Studio Design from 1978-1985.

She has been a Special Advisor on Inclusive Design to the Open Society Institute and the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs. She is on the North American representative on the Board of the International Association for Universal Design (IAUD) in Japan. Fletcher has a master’s degree in ethics and public policy from Harvard University. The Boston Society of Architects awarded her the Women in Design award in 2005 and she has been named Inclusive Design Champion 2022 by the Helen Hamlyn Design Centre at the Royal College of Art in London. She is a member of the Board of Trustees of the Boston Architectural College.