Update on Building Ministers’ Forum and housing

Last week, Apartment block with blue windows and balconies with plants and washing drying.The Building Ministers’ Forum (BMF) met in South Australia and one item on the agenda was providing minimum accessibility standards for housing in the National Construction Code. The BMF is part of COAG. This is the excerpt from the Communique:

“The BMF agreed the ABCB Accessible Housing Options Paper (Options Paper) be used for broad stakeholder consultations about options for the inclusion of minimum accessibility standards for housing in the NCC. The Options Paper is expected to be released in September 2018, with the expectation of commencing a Regulatory Impact Statement in the first quarter of 2019.”

Kieran O’Donnell from the Australian Building Codes Board will be presenting at the Universal Design Conference in Brisbane 4-5 September. If you want to get ahead of the curve it would be worthwhile attending.

Tthe Australian Network on Universal Housing Design (ANUHD) has been heavily lobbying the BMF to get this on the agenda. ANUHD will be calling on organisations and individuals to show some people-power and respond to the options paper when it comes out next month. See more in the Government News on this important topic.

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Adaptable Housing Guide

Front cover of Your Home manual.“The livable and adaptable house” is a chapter in Your Home Technical Manual published by the the Australian Greenhouse Office.  If you still want use the Adaptable Housing Standard AS4299, and not the Livable Housing Design Guidelines, this guide will be useful.  There are many detailed diagrams to help explain design features and floor plans. For those who are not familiar with AS4299 it is worth comparing this outdated standard, which has not been revised since it’s inception in 1995, with the more relevant Livable Housing Design Guidelines. The full book chapter is publicly available through ResearchGate and was written by Jasmine Palmer and Stephen Ward.

Abstract: Many people, when building a new home, anticipate spending a number of years, if not decades, living in it. Others may conceive of a shorter stay. Whatever the intention, any new home is likely to have to accommodate changing needs over its lifetime. A livable and adaptable house is one that is able to respond effectively to these needs without requiring costly and energy intensive alterations. Australian demographics are changing rapidly, with average households becoming both smaller and older as an increasing number of people live independently in their later years. The balance between home and work life also places altering demands on our houses as many people choose to work from home. A single space may act at different times as a home office, a teenage retreat, a family study or a bedroom for an elderly relative. An adaptable house accommodates lifestyle changes without the need to demolish or substantially modify the existing structure and services.

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Equal access to sex workers

A woman wearing a mustard coloured jumper is hold the the hands of someone who is hugging her from behind. There is no head, just the torso.Almost everyone likes a hug, and sometimes something a little more intimate. Being a resident in an aged care home should not be a barrier to having this kind of intimacy whether it’s from a sex worker or a partner. An article in Aged Care Insite, Sex work in aged care more than just physical, discusses the issues of intimacy and sex work and “skin hunger”. For some clients of sex workers it is about being close and touching another human being rather than sexual intimacy. It’s about feeling the warmth of another body, feeling their heartbeat and breathing. When it comes down it, older people have the right to access sex and intimacy services just like anyone else – age shouldn’t be a barrier. However, those who live in their own homes might be in a better position than those in an aged care facility. Time for policies on this aspect of aged care to be universally designed?

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Symbol for disability or for access?

four white figures on a blue background showing a man and woman with a square head and a man and a woman with a misshapen head“Does the universal symbol for disability need to be rethought”? is the title of an article in the FastCompany blog. First question this raises is, “Is it a symbol for disability or a symbol for access?” The article proposes a variety of symbols for different disabilities. But do we need more symbols and if so, what purpose would they serve?  Some people might like to have a symbol they can relate to if they are not a wheelchair user. But could another symbol further stigmatise? For example one of the proposed symbols shows a person with half the head missing. Another shows a square head. Currently the universal and international symbol for access is more about buldings meeting legislative compliance than trying to send a message about different disabilities. The aim of universal design is to not need more symbols and labels, but to need them less. Have a look at the article and see what you think about the proposition of a multitude of symbols.

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Universal Design: Revolution or Evolution? A breakfast event

Flyer picture of three Barangaroo towers with the title of the event.CUDA and Lendlease have organised a breakfast event at Barangaroo in Sydney. Three great speakers, a light breakfast and networking all for just $10.

Jason Barker, Principal, Design for Dignity, will discuss how universal design was embraced during the development of Barangaroo. Chris Veitch, Access New Business (UK) will bring his international experience of inclusive destinations and tourism and the development of Visit Britain website. He will be fresh from the UD Conference in BrisbaneFiona Morrison, Commissioner Open Space and Parklands, NSW Department of Planning, will talk about inclusively designing guidelines for inclusive playspaces. Annie Tennant, General Manager, Sustainability and Culture, Lendlease, will chair the event. Download the flyer or register to attend using the links below. Our thanks to Lendlease for their support for this event.

12 September 2018 8:00am to 9:30am

Register:  https://udaustralia.eventbrite.com.au

Enquiriesevents.udaustralia@gmail.com or call 0431 345 235 for access enquiries.

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Thanks for your support

A tile showing all the logos of conference supporters.Thanks to all our conference supporters for promoting our upcoming conference. Is your association logo there? Perhaps you could get CPD points for attending.  Looking forward to seeing you all at the conference – only three weeks to go! 

For more detail and to register see the conference website. The theme is Home and Away: Creating inclusion everywhere. This is a conference for the people who make the decisions that create inclusion. So anyone involved in housing and built environment, destination planning, tourism and place making should come along. It’s a great program!

  • Two day registration is $675.00 + GST
  • One day registration is $400.00 +GST
  • Student registration is $350.00 + GST

Missed the earlybird rate? Email Jane udaustralia@gmail.com.

Logos include: ARATA, AIB, ANUHD, LGNSW, Philip Chun, SCAAN, RICS, ATDW, QAUHD, Touched by Olivia, SCAAN, University of Cambridge. Hosted by COTA Queensland and CUDA, and organised by Interpoint Events.

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Occupational therapists as designers

Graphic of a handshake with purple hands. The hands have words on them such as cooperate and connectOccupational therapists and universal design have much in common, says James Lenker and Brittany Perez in their article, The role of occupational therapists in universal design research. They argue the case for including the skills and knowledge of occupational therapists across the spectrum of design disciplines and in research activities. In their role at Center for Inclusive Design and Environmental Access, they have successfully collaborated with five different disciplines: architecture, human factors engineering, urban planning, digital media and occupational therapy. This is a three page paper is easy to read and promotes the importance of collaboration for the best implementation of universal design and inclusive practice.

You can also find out more from Elizabeth Ainsworth and Desleigh de Jonge about the relevance and application of universal design in occupational therapy practice on the ResearchGate website. 

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Which way is up?

A sign post with one sign saying this way and the other saying that way.Signalling the right way to go has to account for cognitive abilities, visual acuity, and spatial awareness. As people age some of these abilities decline. Consequently, considering the needs of this group in wayfinding design will make wayfinding easier for everyone.  Mishler and Neider have identified five key points and explain them in detail in their article. They are: 

  1. Distinctiveness: the information should have cues that are informative to the route and can be distinguished from the surroundings.
  2. Consistency and standardisation: information overload can be avoided with the consistent placement, size, colour and shape of signage.
  3. Simplicity: limiting each sign to three or four units of information, because people tend to glance rather than read, and avoid visual clutter.
  4. Isolation: keep the signs away from other visual clutter to help focus attention in the right place.
  5. Reassurance: letting people know they are still on the correct route especially if the destination is a long way from the directional sign.

The title of the article is, “Improving Wayfinding for Older Users with Selective Attention Deficits”, in Ergonomics in Design.  Here is part of their conclusion:

“Because maps and other layout information may not be easy for older adults to use, providing environmental support through wayfinding signage might be the best way to mitigate these difficulties. However, visual selective attention, which is needed to find and read a sign, declines in old age, which makes it particularly important to adhere strictly to certain guidelines for signage design.

Adhering closely to the principles of distinctiveness, consistency and standardization, simplicity, isolation, and reassurance should help not only to improve wayfinding performance for all users but also to reduce the performance gap between older and younger users.

Providing age-inclusive signage could help to maintain high mobility in older adults, prevent them from becoming isolated from their communities, and therefore help to avoid the mental and physical health issues that tend to be comorbid with age-related isolation. Age-inclusive signage design is therefore an increasingly important topic in an aging population.”   

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Can everybody hear me? Protocol for meetings and events

Front cover of the protocol for meetings and events. People who can’t hear well at meetings tend to avoid them. This means their voices are left out of focus groups and community consultations. Consequently, hearing issues are not heard or catered for (excuse pun). It also means they don’t go to group events at restaurants or even family gatherings because it gets frustrating and also tiring when trying to concentrate on listening all the time. Ideas for Ears in the UK is actively advocating for people with hearing loss and has developed the Hearing Access Protocol for meetings and events. it provides guidance on how to run meetings and events so people with any hearing ability can hear and follow them. The Protocol was developed by people with hearing loss. You can download the PDF version of the Protocol. People with hearing loss should be able to participate in civic events and activities on the same basis as others.

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Lights, Camera, Action: Training actors with disability

A man stands against a greenbox bacground with lights and cameras around himWhat’s involved in training actors with disability? This is one topic that needs a lot more exploration now that people with disability are being included in productions. One place to start is the material that’s been developed for Universal Design for Learning (UDL). Deric McNish’s book chapter, Training Actors with Disabilities, provides an interesting perspective on the issues and discusses various approaches to theatre courses. You will need institutional access for a free read. The chapter can be purchased from SpringerLink.

Abstract: This essay presents accessible training methods for students with disabilities in college acting, voice, and movement courses. It presents teaching strategies selected from a survey of prominent professors, as well as from actors with disabilities that have worked professionally and completed an actor training program. This paper presents some valuable perspectives on a largely unexplored topic and offers multiple approaches, including ways to adapt popular acting, voice, speech, and movement pedagogies for the greatest variety of students, ways to effectively communicate with college students with disabilities, ways to apply Universal Design for Learning in practice-based theatre courses, and responsible strategies for portraying disability identity during in-class scene work.

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