UD principles for Australia’s aid program

DFAT UD guidelinesThe Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade stipulates that all overseas aid programs must follow the Principles of Universal Design. They have produced a comprehensive guide to all types of development projects including water, health, education and the built environment. It is useful to see how thinking universally about design can produce such a clear guide to inclusive practice and accessibility. This document was updated with a 2016 brochure with ten tips for promoting universal design in aid projects. There is also the companion document Development for All: 2015-2020 Strategy.  

Missing Middle – Medium Density Housing

Housing affordability within Australian cities is resulting in greater levels of multigenerational living.  Increasingly, developers are responding to this market by designing “houses with flexibility, a universal design for all ages,” Makoto Ochiai, Sekisui House.

In NSW, a Medium Density Design Guide has been developed to encourage supply of housing between apartment and free-standing dwellings.  

NSW Apartment Design Guide

NSW Apartment Design Guide coverThe NSW Department of Planning Apartment Design Guide includes a small section on universal design. It defines universal design as, “… an international design philosophy that enables people to continue living in the same home by ensuring that apartments are able to change with the needs of the occupants. Universally designed apartments are safer and easier to enter, move around and live in. They benefit all members of the community, from young families to older people, their visitors, as well as those with permanent or temporary disabilities” (P 118). 

In the design guidance section, it refers to the Livable Housing Design Guidelines (Silver Level, equivalent to visitability), but continues the reference to a proportional number (20%), which means universal design is not universally applied. Consequently this becomes specialised housing rather than mainstream housing. The old Adaptable Housing Standard (AS4299) continues to be referenced. The new apartment guide replaces the NSW Residential Flat Design Code. 

NSW Building Design Requirements

Logo for NSW Land and Housing CorporationThe NSW  Land and Housing Corporation has updated their Building Design and Product Requirements. and Design Standards. 

The Design Standards establish the standards that all new housing and major refurbishments of existing NSW Land and Housing Corporation housing stock must meet. The document may be taken as performance and functional guidance rather than prescriptive requirements for:

  • Projects undertaken by the affordable housing or community housing sector which are mainly privately funded, or
  • Aboriginal Housing Office projects.

The Design Standards include five non-negotiable Design Principles and the Design Features emphasise:

  • Liveable Housing Design
  • Functionality
  • Flexibility
  • Sustainability and
  • Innovation

Banyule City Council Liveable Housing Guidelines

UD-logo-200x200Edited transcript from live captioning of the presentation by Shawn Neilson and Joel Elbourne who outline the process of engaging with developers to encourage the uptake of Banyule City Council’s Liveable Housing Design Guidelines in new housing developments. They show how it is possible to get buy-in from developers using local government resources. The title of their presentation is, Improving housing for people across their lifespan. Banyule City Council also has a Liveable Housing Policy. However, the policy indicates the notion of a proportion of new dwellings, which means the policy applies only to multi dwelling developments. 

Edited Transcript in PDF or in Word document.

Link to presentation slides and transcript on Prezi (August 2015) 

Link to presentation slides and transcript of 2016 outcomes so far.