Richard Voss reminds us that all of us are ageing all the time. Consequently, we need to think ahead in the design of our cities. He makes a good point that by the time the ink dries on new access codes they are already out of date. His five ways to improve accessibility of cities are based on universal design principles. These don’t date, they evolve.
First, he recommends providing incentives to include universal design features in housing. As we know, this mitgates major renovations, especially at a time when you can least cope. Lifemark in New Zealand has the answers here.
Second, Voss says we have to wake up to the fact that we all need universal design. He points out that accessibility is not all about wheelchairs.
Third, we should combine common sense with building codes. Here Voss talks about merging universal design with heritage codes.
Fourth, create a new innovation industry around accessibility. Voss says we should get universal design embedded in the retrofit of buildings. It will make them more sustainable and resilient as well as accessible.
Fifth, set achievable targets for each development sector. Discussions around inclusion affect every sector: workplaces, retail, hospitality, transportation, etc. Links between disciplines are essential.
Voss concludes that universal design has no extra cost if implemented early in the design process. Unfortunately, not many people believe this because from past experience, change usually means extra cost.
The article by Richard Voss was posted on Linked In.