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.  


3rd Australian Universal Design Conference

Call for Presentations now open

Banner for the conference The third Australian Universal Design Conference will be held at the Brisbane Conference and Exhibition Centre. The theme is, Home and Away: Creating inclusion everywhere. A call for presentations is now open. The Home and Away theme is to encourage contributions on housing and home, and on tourism and travel. The aim is to attract more practitioners in home design and construction, and tourism operators and businesses. With everything being connected via the digital world, we will also welcome contributions on digital accessibility. See the conference website for more information.  


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.



Jeremy the Dud – Dissing the ability

Three men and one woman sit close together on a bench. Jeremy is wearing a lanyard with a blue and white tag. The image is similar to the public toilet sign for men.Jeremy the Dud is a short film where people with disability are the mainstream group, while people without disability are the outsiders. Flipping the concepts around spells out the social conditions they live with 24/7. Jeremy wears a label that says, “without speciality” so that everyone can see he is different. “The tag is there to disclose Jeremy’s status to strangers, to make those “with speciality” more comfortable around him. It is meant to help him avoid embarrassing or offensive situations, he says, but in reality it makes him the subject of uninformed assumptions, belittling comments and patronising “well-meaningness” that borders on the absurd.” 

See the full twenty minutes on the ABC website, or view the trailer on the Guardian website.  



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.


UD Forum in Adelaide hits the mark

Jane Bringolf and Kelly Vincent after the universal design forum in a head and shoulders shot. Both are wearing dark green and glasses.The Universal Design Forum held in Adelaide last week focused on the built environment as a means of progressing the aim for Adelaide to be universally designed – an idea promoted by The Hon Kelly Vincent MLC after visiting Norway.  She said that although UD is not new, two key things have been holding us back – perceived financial burden and the idea that UD benefits only a few. “Universal Design is not about me any more than it is about each one of us” said Ms Vincent., and that the DDA is “nowhere good enough” to create inclusion for all.
Editor’s note: I had the honour of speaking at the Forum and there was one phrase that had meaning for me as it is another way of explaining universal design. It was  provided by Adelaide’s Lord Mayor Martin Haese: “Universal Design is a holistic approach with a fine grain result”.

Excellent speakers both locally and interstate gave their insights: Joe Manton, Kaare Kronkene, David Hobbs, Ro Coroneos, Peter Schumacher, and Daniel Bennett. Panel sessions rounded out the program.