Article by Margaret Ward and Jill Franz, published in Housing and Space: Toward Socio-Spatial Inclusion (Social Inclusion, Vol 3 No2). An Open Access Journal.
This article outlines the findings from interviews with industry personnel about incorporating the 8 features agreed in the Livable Housing Design Guidelines. This is a telling paragraph: “In summary, when providing the eight features for visitability, the interviewees identified two themes for non-compliance (“lack of thought” and “otherness”) and three themes for compliance (“fashion”, “requirement’ and “good practice”). Although all dwellings provided some features, no dwelling provided a coherent path of travel necessary to make a dwelling visitable. Some examples of this incoherence were: a step-free driveway which led to a step at the door; a wide front door which led to a narrow corridor; and a narrow internal doorway which did not allow entry of a wheel-chair to a spacious bathroom. The provision of these access features separately and severally did not provide visitability as an outcome in any of the dwellings.
This academic paper and presentation was made at the 2011 State of Australian Cities Conference (SOAC) in 2011 by Jane Bringolf. It raises the issues of housing an ageing population in a context of industry considering retirement villages and aged care are the places to put older people. However, the majority of people will age in their current home – a home that is not suitably designed for this purpose. However, some 150,000 new homes are built each year – still to the same old cookie cutter method – and there is no sign of change even in 2015.
From the Editor: I prepared a 2000 word version of my PhD thesis which is worth another look given the proposed changes to the National Construction Code for housing. Basically, my question was, why we are still building and designing homes as if none of us is ever going to grow old? The simple answer is that the industry runs on regulations to hold the house building system together, so nothing will change without regulations.Readthe paper to find out more about the complexities of the house building industry and why there is resistance to change from both builders and purchasers. You can also download the accompanying slide show from the 2011 FICCDAT conference.
(FICCDAT is, Festival of International Conferences on Caring, Disability, Aging and Technology.)