Kelly Vincent, Member in the Legislative Council for Dignity for Disability in the South Australian Parliament explains in this radio interview the recent legislative gains for universal design in planning and infrastructure. In the interview she explains,
“We’ve been successful in getting some amendments up for that Bill through the parliament for Universal Design. So looking at how we can build more accessible buildings and public spaces for South Australia now and far into the future.” She goes on to say that it wasn’t plain sailing as misinformation about cost clouded the decision making.
“Our original amendment had words to the effect of, that the planning and development code must implement Universal Design principles. Unfortunately certain lobby groups got in the ear of the Planning Minister and had a bit of a talk about the perceived cost. Which is very disappointing for many reasons, not least of which is that it’s a completely false argument. The research all strongly shows that Universal Design is the majority of the time cost neutral. When it’s done as part of the planning process rather than as a retrofit or an afterthought. It does in fact show that if it does have a cost impact it will add between 0.5 of one percent, so half of one percent, or two percent. So two percent of the whole planning cost or the whole building cost in terms of the Adelaide Oval or the Festival Centre or even a house is really not that much. And when there is a cost it will actually be really cost neutral in the future because of the more people that can get into the place and spend their money there.” This all sounds familiar to those following the fortunes of universal design in the built environment. No-one seems to challenge the detractors by asking them for their cost calculations so that they can be analysed.
You can listen to the podcast by clicking on the image, or you can download the transcript by going to this link