Universal Design for the Home

Friday, September 19, 2008

By Wendy A. Jordan

Universal Design (UD) is coming of age. Once a home design specialty that was little known, of limited interest, and a source of embarrassment more than pride, it is attracting widespread media attention and taking on (as befits its name) almost universal appeal—and with good reason. The concept emerged years ago out of the need to make homes safe and accessible for the elderly, the handicapped and the very young. Some of the design options were good-looking, but others seemed institutional. Today, there are so many stylish, beautiful, good-sense universal-design options that choosing them has become a “why not?” rather than a “why?” decision.

Universal Design for the Home features a blend of beautiful projects, creative ideas, and substantive planning information. Highly visual, the book features projects showing room contexts, as well as detail shots. The mix of projects encompasses small and large houses; one-story and multi-story houses; and ideas for general accessibility and comfort as well as some targeted more directly at handicap accessibility. There is an emphasis on remodeled projects, but new homes designed with an eye toward accessibility—present and future—are included as well. Chapters cover the spectrum of accessible home planning, from room arrangements to kitchens, baths, entries, and exterior areas. The book displays fresh, inspiring design ideas as well as must-have, good-sense solutions, such as wider doorways. Basic specifications, how-to tips, and other technical content are featured throughout the book in easy-to-find boxes and sidebars. (Description from barnesandnoble.com) Call number: NA2547 .J56 2008

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One Response to “Universal Design for the Home”


  1. by Konrad Kaletsch, October 8, 2008
    http://www.universaldesignresource.com/

    It is fantastic to see new books on universal design appear. This is an area that has been little reviewed since it last received some attention about ten years ago. Wendy A. Jordan’s book is a welcome contribution. One day, I hope to walk into my bookstore and stand in front of a whole bookshelf dedicated to universal design, barrier-free access, aging-in-place, visitability, elder care and every incarnation that shows life lived in a context of ongoing opportunities not diminishing ones. Universal design goes way beyond serving a few; it truly benefits all.

    How successfully we take on this endeavor has everything to do with our economic vitality ten years from now. As much as environmental responsibility shapes the vitality of our planet in years to come, universal design shapes our social sustainability. People who remain independent and able to contribute to our society do so much more for our well being that if they are marginalized. The wonderful news is that universal design is here and it looks good.

    My name is Konrad Kaletsch and I am the founder of Universal Design Resource. Coming soon will be a library page at http://www.universaldesignresource.com/; it will be a pleasure to recommend “Universal Design for the Home.”


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