ACCESSIBLE HOUSING

  • What is “accessible?”
    An accessible house includes features that meet the needs of a person with a disability - open turning spaces within rooms, wheel-in shower stalls, and kitchen work surfaces with knee space below.

 

  • What is Universal Design? Why do we need it?
    Universal design aims to create housing which could be used by anyone regardless of ability or disability. It goes beyond mere accessibility, and demonstrates an underlying commitment to including as wide a range of users as possible, including those with vision, hearing or other disabilities.

Take a video tour of a universal design apartment by clicking here.

 

  • What is a Visitable Home?
    A visitable home includes basic accessibility features that allow most people to visit, even if they use a wheelchair. Basic features include a level entry, wider doors, and an accessible washroom on the main floor.

 

  • What is an Adaptable Home?
    An adaptable home is designed to be adapted economically at a later date to accommodate someone with a disability. Features include removable cupboards in a kitchen or bathroom

Common Aging-in-Place Features:

  • One no-step path to a no-step entry that can be at the front, side, rear, or through a garage (1/4–1/2 in. thresholds)

  • No step access to patios, balconies, and terraces (1/4–1/2 in. thresholds)

  • Doorways have at least a 34 in. wide clear opening with appropriate approach clearances

  • Door handles are 34–38 inches from the floor

  • Hallways and passageways are 42 in. clear minimum

  • Access to at least one full bath on the main floor with reinforced walls at toilets and tubs for the future installation of grab bars

  • Cabinetry in kitchen that allows a person to work in a seated position

  • Light switches and electrical outlets 24–48 in. from finished floor

  • Stairways have tread widths at least 11 in. deep and risers no greater than 7 in. high

  • Good lighting throughout the house including task lighting in critical locations (e.g. under kitchen cabinets)

  • Non-glare surfaces

  • Contrasting colors to promote good perception of edges and boundaries

  • Clear floor space of at least 30 x 48 in. in front of all appliances, fixtures, and cabinetry

  • Front-loading laundry equipment

  • Ample kitchen and closet storage or adjustable shelving within 28–48 in.

  • Comfortable reach zones

 

(Steinfeld and White, 2010)

What does universal design look like?

Video of universal design apartment in Montreal:

Sheet 1 : The project (experience303.ca)

It's A Human Right

Ontario Human Rights Commission

Canadian Human Rights Commission 

The Canadian Human Rights Commission is responsible for monitoring Canada's implementation of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. The Convention promotes and protects human rights for people with disabilities.  The Commission is in charge of keeping track of, or monitoring, how the Convention is put into action in Canada. It is the Commission's job to identify gaps and problems that need to be fixed. 

 

Reports:

For more information:  

CMHC

Unitarian Commons

https://www.hrlsc.on.ca/en/how-guides-and-faqs/human-rights-ontario

 

The Accessible Housing Challenge to All Developers:

 

Build a residential building that fully uses universal design (all units), advertise it as “Euro-design”, and do not tell anyone it is universal design (fully accessible) until 80% of the units have been sold. 

As one architect suggested: “Call it 'Euro-design' and everyone will want it”.