Wisdom & Folly: Two Attitudes Toward Universal Design

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Today's news clippings illustrate the Achilles Heel of the Me Generation - hubris - and its treatment - a bracing dose of reality therapy:Tortoise_and_the_Hare_-_Project_Gutenberg.jpg

     A survey released earlier this month by the National Association of Home Builders shows that baby boomers consider themselves high-tech, not high maintenance.

     If they are buying a new home, boomers want it to include high-speed Internet access, but most don't consider "universal design" - that is the design of the house to accommodate handicaps or disabilities -  a priority.  They would, however, like to have a first-floor master bedroom, or a home on one floor. In fact more than 70 percent want one-floor living. And most would like to live in the suburbs or rural areas.

    The 55+ Housing: Builders, Buyers and Beyond survey was conducted by the NAHB and the MetLife Mature Market Institute. [The study can be downloaded as .pdf here.]

Source: phillyBurbs.com

Yet the pioneering spirit of the Boomer Generation has surfaced again in the inclusive whole-lifespan thinking of Rosemarie Rossetti and Mark Leder:

Rosemarie Rossetti and her husband, Mark Leder, broke ground yesterday on a new house and a new way of life.

The 3,500-square-foot home outside Gahanna will serve not only as the couple's residence but also as a "universal design living laboratory," showcasing the latest features in handicapped-accessible homes.

"I want it to be a catalyst for change in the building industry," said Rossetti, a motivational speaker and writer.

Source: Columbus Dispatch

Jane Austen may have probed the subtleties of this Boomer Generation script of maturing into good choices in her novel "Sense and Sensibility." Apparently, if surveys are to be trusted, every generation still needs its troupe to act out the simpler fable of "The Tortoise and the Hare."

Rosemarie and Mark on behalf of a generation where some still need a "show me" project to grasp the personal implications of Universal Design as a social revolution, here's an anticipatory "Thank you. Keep on truckin'..."

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