Kitchen remodel with universal design

Picture of a large kitchen with lots of storage and an island bench at two heights. There is a second sink lowered and with access underneathWhile the design and build remodel blog site is a commercial venture, it provides some good tips for things to think about when fitting a new kitchen. Learn the Characteristics of a Universal Design Kitchen Remodel emphasises both functionality for the whole family and aesthetics. Space, Layout, Doors, Traffic Patterns, Workstations, and well designed fittings are all covered – that includes lighting. There are links to three more blog pages. Thanks to Lifemark NZ for this one. 


ACAA Newsletter

Front cover of the latest newsletter from ACAA. it shows a man clad in leather just about to get on his motor bike.The Association of Consultants in Access Australia’s latest online newsletter has an interesting article on the history of the access movement in Australia. The other item of interest is titled Blind Speed – the story of a man who lost his sight some time ago, but has become a leader in the field of various sports. He aims to claim the record for the fastest speed on a motorbike – blindfolded! It also has a wrap up of their recent conference in Brisbane, and the inaugural Max Murray oration. There are items of additional interest for access consultants.  


Barclays debunk five myths

Five red balloons in a row with the title 5 common myths about accessibilityNeat video by Barclays Bank that debunks common myths about customer complaints, costs of being accessible, access being someone else’s job, it’s too small a market for all that time and effort, and accessible design is boring design. Towards the end there is a great statement, “accessible design should work well for those who need it, and be invisible to those who don’t”. A really useful video for anyone promoting accessible customer service in our digital world, and for others wondering if it really is worth the effort. The video is captioned. You can find out more about Barclays work in this area. They also have a Twitter feed.


More care, less cost?

Head and shoulders of two women happily smiling. One is older and one is younger.Many people think that technology will save money in the aged care sector, but maybe time to think again. Seems best outcomes are when socialisation is provided. The answer to staying at home longer, apart from an accessible home, is to use technology, but use the savings for social visits from real humans. A recent study shows that when home based care services are increased the greater delay of residential care. While this seems obvious, this study confirms it. The research also found that people who used social support services, such as companionship visits and assistance to attend community-based social activities, stayed in their own homes for longer, compared with those predominately receiving domestic assistance, personal care or in-home respite. The evidence can also help older people understand they have choices about where they are cared for. This article was sourced from Aged Care Insight.  


Some Light Relief

The portable toilet has an exterior design of Victorian beach huts. Brightly coloured. They are low to the ground and can be made accessible with addition ramping to overcome the little step. They are placed on a green field.When you gotta go, you gotta go. To make this event more interesting we now we have international toilet tourism awards. These toilets are not just functional, they are interesting too. However, not sure if all are accessible judging by the comments. You can read more about each of the winners and the judges comments in the different categories. Queensland, Northern Territory, New South Wales, and Victoria all have winners. Toowoomba’s portable toilet took out the main prize. Other winners are from the USA and New Zealand. And yes, there is such a thing as World Toilet Day.  Get your toilet nomination ready for next year’s awards – let’s see some creative and accessible toilets as winners!. Submissions open next February.   

The winning entry looks like an old farm shed. Outside there is a wooden fence rail like you see in the Western movies, with all sorts of farm clutter around. The entry door looks accessible but there is no information about the inside design.


The toilet pictured above as beach huts is one in the Toowoomba Portable Toilet range, and the one to the left depicting a rustic theme is the overall winner for 2017.



Auckland makeover misses the mark

A cascade of steps at varying angles to each other in front of a building. Palm trees stand in front of the building and at the top of the steps. A small number of people are sitting on the grey concrete steps.After seeing the Auckland Design Manual and the work they have done on promoting universal design, it is a pity that the designers of Auckland’s Freyberg Place didn’t seem to refer to it. Simon Wilson gives a good critique of the new public space, both positive and not so positive. It is good to see how he pinpoints what would be glaring errors to followers of inclusive/universal design. See the article for the design “errors” that really just amount to thoughtlessness. Form has overtaken function in this example. In a separate article by Chris Barton, the issues of design and development are outlined.

Auckland is a city built on steep grades in all directions. So accessible paths of travel are always going to be a problem. Freyberg Place is designed deliberately with steps, says Chris Barton, which are supposed to replicate lava flows. The steps are meant to double as seating, but there are two things missing: back and armrests and some shade and rain cover. While there is poor pram and wheelchair access, at least more mobile people could sit in comfort.


Cutting car use closes health and wealth gaps

A dark car viewed front on showing grille and headlightsThe Conversation has published another article in its series Healthy Liveable Cities. We know that active travel has positive health benefits. But now entering the debate is the cost of car ownership – costs which are often not calculated by car owners. The article describes four scenarios on housing and car ownership and the weekly costs to the households. The costs range from over $300 a week to $24 a week using Melbourne as the benchmark. Costs of public transport vary considerably from state to state and from city to regional areas, but the point is made. The article is based on research from University of New South Wales and is well worth reading to the end.

Editor’s note: Poverty can be exclusionary when people are constrained from participating in the basic activities of life.