“Part of our obligation as architects is to help drive social change,” says Toronto architect and accessibility champion Susan Ruptash. Her impassioned call for better design is detailed in this opinion piece in Canadian Architect magazine (http://www.canadianarchitect.com). Ms. Ruptash offers the following insight in her article.
Housing is an ongoing challenge for many people with disabilities, as the cost of housing keeps rising – exponentially in many communities. On her blog Free Wheelin, writer Karin Willison describes the “tiny house” on wheels as a solution that is affordable and can be easily worked into existing communities.
A Toronto builder has caught onto the idea of intentionally designing condos that are easily modified to accommodate people with disabilities. Most builders don't currently offer accessibility as a standard option, and adding such features or retrofitting an existing unit can run to thousands or tens of thousands of dollars.
Domenic Cuda previously worked for a home construction company. A tragic ATV accident ten years ago had a life changing effect on Cuda which left him with complete paraplegia. Cuda asked his former employer, Fred Losani, to collaborate with him to build a fully accessible home for him and his family.
Affordable housing is an issue which is front and centre in many communities. It is an issue which affects everyone, especially the younger generation who struggle to save enough to use as a down payment. Housing affordability coupled with onsite supports is also vital for people with disabilities who can benefit from increased independence.
Moving houses can be one of the most stressful times in a person’s life. Often, the reason for the move is because its layout is no longer compatible with the abilities of the aging homeowner. Many homeowners are now thinking proactively about future challenges in their accommodation needs by ‘Renovating for Life.’ This trend means homeowners are upgrading their existing homes by considering their future needs and not just what colour palate is in Vogue today.