Applying universal design principles to existing homes

UD-logo-200x200Applying universal design principles to existing homes: the diverse impact of home modifications

Phillippa Carnemolla: Faculty of the Built Environment UNSW

Abstract: Applying universal design principles to an existing environment, as in the case of home modifications, can have significant impacts beyond the physical environment. Home modifications can be considered the application of universal design principles in the setting of an existing home environment. There is evidence to suggest that the impact of home modifications extends across both community and individuals.

The implementation of home modifications impacts the availability of accessible housing supply in the community, and the care demands across the population. Home modifications also address the complex needs at an individual level of older people and those living with disability. Research in the fields of housing and health provides evidence that the impacts of home modification include improvements in accessibility, independence, caregiving support and wellbeing. This research explores the depth and range of impacts of home modifications. This discussion is based upon the preliminary results of exploratory research developing an economic model of home modifications which will ultimately consider the associated costs and benefits of the home modifications impacts across the health and housing sectors. Contact the author or go to the University of New South Wales Faculity of the Built Environment website for more on this research, go to the paper for the 2012 UD Conference held in Lund, Sweden.