What is Universal Design?

Universal Design, also known as Inclusive Design is the design of environments and products to be usable by all people without the need for adaptation or specialized design. Universal Design is a process that enables and empowers a diverse population through improving human performance, health and wellness and social participation. Universal design is truly for everyone, despite widespread confusion about it only being for people affected by disability. As such, universal design wouldn’t be needed if disability wasn’t part of being human.

Something that’s universally designed will work for as many people as possible, regardless of difficulties with (1) upper body movement, strength, and/or sensation, (2) lower body movement strength, and/or sensation, (3) balance, (4) vision, (5) hearing, (6) cognition and memory, (7) activity tolerances, (8) speech and/or communication, (9) chemical sensitivities, (10) sensory tolerance, (11) needs for caregiver assistance, and (12) extremes in height and weight.

7 Principles of Universal Design

Focused on creating an environment in which people with or without disabilities can live and work with independence and dignity

Equitable Use

Design for a range of people

Flexible Use

Adjust to suit the users’ needs

Size and Space

Design with respect for the users

Simple and Intuitive

The building is easy to understand

Devices assist the user

Perceptible information

Tolerance for errors​

Design seeks to improve movement

Low physical effort

the building operates with little effort

What is Visitability?

Visitability is a measure of a place’s ease of access for people with disabilities. The concept focuses on creating a community that is accessible and incorporates a basic level of accessibility that allows people with disabilities to visit a home. A house is visitable when it meets 3 basic requirements: a zero-step entrance, doors with 32”-34" of clear passage space, and one accessible bathroom on the main floor. Visitability has intergenerational benefits for: A young mother with a baby stroller - The UPS driver delivering packages - A homeowner having a new fridge delivered - A college kid moving out with all of their belongings - Grandma visiting her grandkids.

What is an ADU?

An Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) or Additional Dwelling Unit is an additional legal dwelling space on your property. This can be in your basement, above your garage, an extension to the back of your house or an additional coach house. Though this is a small space, typically 700 square feet or smaller, it should still be livable and accessible. Entry and exits are two factors that are important to consider when creating an ADU. Working with Elderspaces and Occupational Therapy allows us to anticipate the necessary changes to the home space and incorporate Universal Design and Visitability principles.

Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU)

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