If you want to know what people think about accessible housing, the findings from a recent survey will give you a good idea. With the prospect of a Regulatory Impact Assessment of accessible housing on the horizon this is a timely report. There are four narratives that frame the report: the housing industry view; the government view; prospective buyers’ view; and the perspective of people who need mainstream accessible housing. The survey was initiated by Australian Network on Universal Housing Design and the data were collated, analysed and discussed by Courtney Wright and Jacinta Colley from Griffith University. It is a lengthy but detailed report. Essential reading for anyone interested in this topic and/or who wants to know the history behind the universal design in housing campaign that goes back nearly 20 years. Dr Courtney Wright will be presenting the findings at the 3rd Australian Universal Design Conference in Brisbane 4-5 September.
My Home Space is an interactive online tool that takes you through the design details of all parts of the home including spatial requirements. The website has a video explaining how to use the guide. The tool is enhanced by references to assistive technology. The information in the tool takes the form of “things to consider” and is provided in the context of the NDIS. However, some of the design tips are useful for most homes. There is a companion paper, Government perspectives on housing, technology and support design within Australia’s National Disability Strategy that explains the background and the methodology for developing this tool. This is the work of Libby Callaway and Kate Tregloan from Monash University who will be speaking at the upcoming Australian Universal Design Conference 4-5 September 2018.
Although more than ten years old, Housing for Life the principles still hold. That’s because universal design principles are timeless. There’s the usual attention to access, circulation spaces, and fittings. It also includes thermal comfort, security, lighting, operating controls and maintenance. Lots of diagrams and drawings help with explanations from a builder/designer perspective. There is also a handy metric conversion chart for people still using imperial measures. Master Builders Association ACT developed the guide with funding from Commonwealth Department of Veterans’s Affairs.
Other handbooks include:
- Livable Housing Design Guidelines
- Landcom Universal Housing Design Guidelines
- Dementia Friendly Homes
- Whole Building Design Guide
Go to the Housing Design Guidelines section on this website for more about kitchens, bathrooms, lighting and other aspects of home design.
Editor’s Note: this document is not readily available online. The link to this copy is from my files. It is available through the National Library of Australia (Trove) if you want hard copy. Or you can try the MBA ACT. The references to the Adaptable Housing Standard are less relevant now – see more recent guidelines.
While this set of guidelines is focused on Ireland, there are some good ideas that are not country specific. The online resource produced by the Centre for Excellence in Universal Design is divided into separate downloadable sections:
- Home location and approach
- Entering and moving around
- Spaces for living
- Elements and systems
The Design Guidelines complement Universal Design Guidelines for Homes in Ireland and are intended as a first step in raising awareness. They provide a flexible framework for designers to apply the guidelines creatively to all new home types through incremental steps. The Home Design Guidelines are informed by research, a literature review of national and international best practice and guidance and a consultation process with key stakeholders.
Several Australian developers are claiming that apartment living is now the top choice for older Australians who want to either downsize or have a home with level access in the front door. However, it’s arguably no real choice if all you have to choose from is a retirement village or an apartment. While apartments usually provide a level entry, the internal design of the dwelling may not in fact support people as they age. Apartment kitchen design is an important consideration and is tackled in an article from Korea. Although many older people will not need to use a wheelchair at home, the design parameters are geared around wheelchair circulation spaces. The article includes several drawings of different sized kitchen layouts based on the analysis of user reach range and other capabilities.
They conclude that there will still need to be specialised housing designs for people with specific limitations: “But a better alternative is to make common housing more accessible, usable, and universal for the highest number of people with varied capabilities…”.
Abstract: The purpose of this study is to suggest designs for apartment kitchens without major redesign for the elderly or the disabled, who are a fast growing population in Korea. According to the concept of universal design and the need to support various users as much as possible, five criteria for analysis were developed based on research on the mobility of wheelchair users: clear floor space, work flow, universal reach range, area for later use, and safety. Using the criteria developed, the accessibility and usability of five kitchen subtypes were investigated through the analysis of architectural documents. The result shows that kitchen layouts in Korean apartments are typically difficult to navigate for wheelchair users. Modification of the locations of the refrigerator, sink, and range was mainly required for appropriate clear floor space, work triangle, and countertops. Moreover, alternatives to five unit types were suggested without the need to increase the current kitchen size. For application of universal design to kitchen design, considerations for not only the size, the shape of the kitchen and its appliances but also for clear floor space, work triangle, countertop, reach range, and knee clearance formed by the location of each appliance are required.
KY Kang, KH Lee, Journal of Asian Architecture and Building Engineering.