Most of the multi-family housing from the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s was not built with accessibility in mind. As our society ages, the number of people with mobility, visual, hearing or cognitive limitations is growing. The availability of suitable and affordable housing is limited. This information helps building owners, property managers, developers and non-profit organizations make better barrier-free renovation decisions.
The functions, activities and elements that make up a building need to be strategically placed. Manipulation of space, light, colour, texture and materials, architecture helps all users to make positive and purposeful choices for independent movement.
Consider entrances, vertical circulation (moving up and down within a building), and bathrooms when renovating a building for persons with disabilities. The condition of these 3 elements largely determines the cost of a renovation. Renovations can be costly but are manageable when you consider the alternative of the disruption of relocating.
Accessible design makes good sense for the following reasons:
- It’s marketable: an accessible housing project meets the needs of more consumers.
- It’s affordable: an accessible housing project offers greater flexibility and reduces future renovation costs.
- It’s flexible: an accessible housing project is adaptable to residents’ future needs, allowing for easier and more affordable renovations.
- It benefits everyone: an accessible housing project benefits more people with permanent or temporary disabilities and lets residents age in place.