Economic arguments are often seen as the most persuasive way to change the design of mass market homes. Research papers over several years have produced solid economic arguments for universal design, but they have failed in their quest. So the issues are beyond those of economics. Regardless, for those who want the research, here is a list of papers, including the cost effectiveness of home modifications (or not needing them in the first place). This is not an exhaustive list, but gives and idea of what work has been done.
The cost of NOT including accessibility in new homes This landmark article by Smith, Rayer and Smith (2008) uses complex economic methodologies to show that a new home built today has a 60% likelihood of having an occupant with a permanent disability. It is often forgotten that people with disability live in families – not alone. They followed up this work in 2011 with similar results.
A cost benefit analysis of adaptable homes by urban economist Martin Hill of Hill PDA. This conference paper was written in 1999 and shows how long these arguments have been running. The context is adaptable housing – the forerunner of universal design concepts in housing. It was prepared for the NSW Department of Urban Affairs and Planning.
Home adaptations: Costs? or Savings? A survey of local authorities and Home Improvement Agencies: Identifying the hidden cost of providing a home adaptations service.
R&D incentives for UD in housing: Norwegian experience. This article discusses financial incentives in the context of creating change in the mindset of the house building industry.
Accessible housing: costs and gains This article evaluates the costs and gains of modifying homes
Using Building Information Modeling with UD Strategies This article develops a technical framework to evaluate the costs and benefits of building projects.
Universal design in housing from a planning perspective A comprehensive look at the housing landscape, an ageing population, and the need for universal design in housing.
Universal design in housing – does it really have to cost more? In a down to earth fashion Kay Saville-Smith discusses the “size fraud”
Barriers to Universal Design in Australian Housing is a short paper based on a thesis which gives an indication of why economic arguments alone are insufficient to bring about change.