June 07, 2006

Chuck Nyren Chews on the Universal Design Concept

Chuck Nyren writes, "Universal Design, originally developed for people with disabilities, has become a major player in the housing industry. " And, as we know, it is scoring with the travel and hospitality industry also -- but not yet as well covered in the media.

Mr. Nyren continues,

But there is still a stigma attached. If not for the disabled, Universal Design is for old people – and Baby Boomers (at least according to popular myth) eschew anything that smacks of ‘old’ or ‘senior.’ For them, UD is patronizing, condescending – as if we’re babies again and in need of playpens so we won’t hurt ourselves or get into much trouble.

And he's right -- at least as far a "accessible design" is being communicated when "Universal Design" is the appropriate message.

His solution is astute. Part verbal crafting but fundamentally "speaking to the condition" he suggests the phrase "Next Stage Housing." Note his observation:

Past generations tended to get excited about modern conveniences that would make their lives easier. They'd walk into a planned housing unit and exclaim, "Look! It's got this and this and this and this!" The more features, the better. The more 'planned,' the better. It was time to start a new life. Time to be rewarded for all the hard work, and relax.

Not so with Baby Boomers. We take most modern conveniences for granted. And we don't want to start new lives, but continue the lives we already have.

Baby Boomers will be anticipating a seamless transition. Instead of "Look! It has this and this and this," we'll be sniffing around for friendly, useful spaces. You'll want us to say, "Look! There's a perfect place for my pottery wheel," or "There are plenty of windows and sunlight.

I like where he's going with this. Read more at Selling Universal Design to Baby Boomers I'll be watching for his next article about his presentation at The National Association of Homebuilders 50+ Housing Symposium last April in Phoenix.



For more work by Chuck Nyren see:

Advertising to Baby Boomers

Nyren Agency


Posted by rollingrains at June 7, 2006 07:36 PM