Universal Design in Homes Around the World: Trends for Hoteliers to Watch


In the US AARP has taken leadership in promoting Universal Design for homes through their Social Impact initiatives. Prince Williams County, Virgina in the US has a Universal Design demonstration home. A project is underway at the Universal Design Living Laboratory in Columbus, Ohio. In Brazil Sandra Perito has been doing so for several years at Universal Home.

In Australia Alex and Desiree have come at the field from the consumer standpoint and offer a unique voice as they disseminate Universal Design thinking by turning their home into a demonstration project at Universal Design Renovations.

From the web site:

Home renovations and home improvements can be stressful at the best of times, for those of us who want to consider the needs of the wheel chair bound or elderly, the stress levels can get even higher.

This is the place I found myself.

Early in April 2006 my partner Desireé suffered a significant stroke while we were on holidays interstate. Months on, she is still in full time rehabilitation and together we are facing a lengthy period of her being wheel chair bound.

We live and work in Sydney Australia and are fortunate enough to own a duplex house on the far south coast of New South Wales. We intend to renovate this duplex so that not only is it friendly to Desireé and I but will also provides a easy living holiday venue for those families that have similar accessibility issues. We hope to involve the private sector in this project. It will be an ideal vehicle to showcase products in a hands on environment.

We are going to use the seven principles of universal design to guide the project.

* Principle 1 : Equitable Use
The design is useful and marketable to people with diverse abilities.
* Principle 2 : Flexibility in Use
The design accommodates a wide range of individual preferences and abilities.
* Principle 3 : Simple and Intuitive Use
Use of the design is easy to understand, regardless of the user's experience, knowledge, language skills, or current concentration level.
* Principle 4 : Perceptible Information
The design communicates necessary information effectively to the user, regardless of ambient conditions of the user's sensory abilities.
* Principle 5 : Tolerance for Error
The design minimizes hazards and the adverse consequences of accidental or unintended actions.
* Principle 6 : Low Physical Effort
The design can be used efficiently and comfortably, and with a minimum of fatigue.
* Principle 7 : Size and Space for Approach and Use
Appropriate size and space is provided for approach, reach, manipulation, and use, regardless of the user's body size, posture, or mobility.

I want to invite you to travel this journey with me via this website.



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