Mar 31

Design Assumptions ‘Stop Buildings Being Inclusive’

Matthew

With the UK’s ageing population come new challenges and one of them is how we adapt our homes to make them suitable for us as we get older and our mobility worsens.

One academic in Australia is looking at how to combat the issues surrounding the inclusivity of the built environment.

Professor Catherine Bridge, who runs the Livability Design Lab at the University of New South Wales (UNSW) in Sydney, said that one of the issues holding more buildings back from being inclusive is current assumptions about design.

“The idea of wellbeing is modelled on a healthy, middle-aged man, and so that is how it [the built environment] is designed,” she said.

Professor Bridge added: “This is not representative of the population… especially those [the elderly and disabled] who experience some form of functional impairment.”

She also said that inclusion is one of the areas of accessibility that’s often overlooked in built environment design and stressed that architects and designers should take a more proactive approach to their designs to make them more inclusive.

By doing so, they can help people live in their homes for longer and prevent hospital admissions.

If you’re looking at making your home more accessible, the bathroom is a good place to start. Fitting easy access showers is one thing to consider as these can look great and will make it easier for you to continue to use your bathroom unaided as you get older.

This isn’t just something you have to consider as you get older either. The Guardian recently highlighted the rise in multi-generational living in the UK, with the total number of multi-generational households in Britain thought to number 1.8 million.

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