Universal Design

What is Universal Design?

“Universal Design is the design of products and environments to be useable by all people, to the greatest extent possible, without the need for adaptation or specialized design.” -Ron Mace

Universal Design embodies the concept of implementing practical and pleasing designs that are easily and widely useable by a great number of people. It can be applied to personal and professional environments, products, and communications.

Universal Design, as it applies to the home environment, can increase the accessibility, visit ability, and usability of spaces that can be utilized by as many people as possible, regardless of age, mobility status, cognitive ability, or physical impairment.

Why is Universal Design so important? It is not uncommon that someone with a disability cannot enter a home or a store because the building is not accessible. Many times, even in their own homes, people with disabilities are not able to access their own bathrooms or kitchens because their house was not originally designed with accessibility in mind. Implementing universal design principles, such as a ramp and a wider entryway to your home, will allow aging parents or friends with impaired mobility to visit because they can now enter your home with ease. Making hallways 48″ wide will allow people with impaired mobility to have access to all parts of the house. And incorporating a roll-in shower into your bathroom will enable a guest who uses a wheelchair to bathe. Furthermore, a business that incorporates universal design would provide access to all potential customers. For instance, a business with ramps at the entrance would allow for parents with strollers as well as people who use scooters, walkers, and wheelchairs to enter and shop in their store.

Contrary to popular belief, architectural design and modification incorporating Universal Design Principles does not need to be expensive. A new home with a well-planned design to accommodate accessibility and functional living may add only one percent of the final selling price of the home. Costs to modify an existing home will vary, but you can expect costs to be significantly higher on major renovations due to structurally changing the home. In either case, you will have a home that will be accessible and functionally usable for many years to come.

Explore our website to learn more about Universal Design as it applies to the home environment. Cal-Diego strongly advocates for the implementation of Universal Design as a standard in all architectural design. If you are a paralyzed veteran and are planning on modifying your home or designing a new home, contact your local PVA for additional information and assistance.

Leave a Reply