Blog Archives

Universal Design Makes “Cents”

Moving or remodeling are not only expensive, they are extremely disruptive. Families get established in their neighborhood, children don’t want to leave their friends, and the elderly want to” age-in-place”. Unless a change in employment necessitates a move, most people would rather stay in their home, especially now that the downward spiral in real estate values has made it impossible for millions of people to sell their home.

Unfortunately,  the inevitability of changing needs is making it necessary for millions of people to leave their home. Our population is aging and yet we keep building homes that are neither  accessible nor adaptable.

We’ve also seen a large increase in the number of multi-generational families where elderly parents move in with their children and grandchildren, therefore making it necessary inevitability  make alterations to accommodate the varied needs of each age group.

Why then do we continue to build houses that have to be taken apart as needs change?

If we build homes based on universal design principles, we increase the supply of housing suitable for the elderly and we increase the value of our homes because “universal” homes are suitable for everyone.  From a marketing point of view we increase the pool of potential buyers for our homes. People with special needs can purchase our “universal” homes and, with minor modifications, make them fully accessible, safe, and functional for everyone

Concrete Change, which promotes the concept of “visitability” has published an in-depth study of the cost of adding universal design features to new construction. Visit them at:

remember:  Good Design Today, Better Living Tomorrow

Andrée Langlois