To answer the question: because it will benefit all Australians. UD features are easy to implement, and largely cost neutral, but the housing industry is fighting for the status quo. The two Royal Commissions related to aged care and disability care found that inaccessible housing prevented people from remaining at home and living independently. That’s why we need UD features in housing. However, there are a lot of myths and misconceptions in this space.
The Building Better Homes campaign calls for mandating universally designed features in all new homes. It’s also about creating resilient, flexible and sustainable housing. These features will increase general amenity and allow people to age in place. For people with a disability, it will allow them to live independently.
It has to be regulated across the housing building system so that the process stays efficient. There are too many stakeholders to consider in one-off exceptions.
Of course, most people resist change. However, resistance is sometimes founded on misinformation and myths that get perpetuated. Opinions and anecdotes get confused with evidence.
Jane Bringolf addresses some of the common myths and misunderstandings in her article, Why do we need universal design features in all new housing? Myths and comments include:
- only a few people need it
- I’ll worry about it when the time comes
- it costs too much
- it will look like a hospital