From the Editor: I prepared a 2000 word version of my PhD thesis for easier reading. The title is Barriers to Universal Design in Australian Housing. I wanted to find out what the barriers are and if we could do something about it.
The simple answer is that the industry runs on regulations which holds the house building system together. So nothing will change without regulation. Outdated ideas about market segmentation, general resistance to change, and risk avoidance are key issues. Cost was cited most often as a barrier, but without any evidence of the costs.
The graphic shows that the house building industry is a system with several stakeholders. This system relies on everyone doing the same thing in the same way. The best way to achieve this is through regulation.
Read the conference paper to find out more about the complexities of the house building industry and why there is resistance to change from both builders and purchasers. You can also download the accompanying slide show from the 2011 FICCDAT conference.
The full thesis is available from the Western Sydney University archives. I did my best to make it as readable as possible within the constraints of academic writing.
(FICCDAT is, Festival of International Conferences on Caring, Disability, Aging and Technology.)
Hope I die before I get old
I presented this paper and presentation at the 2011 State of Australian Cities Conference (SOAC). It raises the issues of housing an ageing population in a context of industry believing retirement villages and aged care are the places to put older people. However, the majority of people will age in their current home – a home that is not suitably designed for this purpose. Around 200,000 new homes are built each year – each one a lost opportunity.
Download the paper Hope I die before I get old article PDF
Download the slideshow Hope I die before I get old Slideshow PDF
The cost of NOT including accessibility in new homes
When talking about the costs of including basic access features in new homes, we should also discuss the cost of NOT including those features.
Download an academic article from the Journal of the American Planning Association, by Smith, Rayer and Smith (2008) that spells out the economic argument using economic methodologies. The key point is that conservatively, a new home built today with a minimum of four different households over its lifetime is 65% likely to have an occupant with a permanent disability. If we include visitors the likelihood rises to 91%. It is often forgotten that people with disability live in families – not alone. This is an open access article.