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Housing for an ageing society: adapting housing design toward universality is the minimum requirement for inclusion.

Inclusion by Design, Planning the Barrier Free World

Author: Kose, S.
Year: 2001
Type: Conference Paper


The whole globe is ageing and Japan is no exception. Rather, it is the fastest graying society in the world and a quarter of its population will be 65 and over in 2015. It is sure to suffer from capability deterioration of the ageing people in the environment. To solve problems related to the trend, the Japanese Construction Ministry started a five-year research project on design for the ageing society in 1987. Design For All Ages was set as the key concept, discarding the traditional idea of special design for the aged. It is a clear departure from age segregation that has been the idea of sheltered housing scheme. It assumes that residents will age in place and that the dwellings should be able to respond to the changing needs of residents. After all, dwelling is the basis of people's life, and disability should not adversely affect people. During the development stages it has tried to integrate existing knowledge with new ideas derived from experiments etc. Basic concepts for dwellings that have been finally adopted are: safety; accessibility; usability; affordability. The above can be interpreted as follows in terms of design guidelines: (1) Basically flat floor, no door sills, no step differences, unless vitally necessary. (2) Handrail installation at critical places, such as stairs, bathroom, toilet and entrances. (3) Wider corridors and doors. The final guidelines are based on the discussions of effectiveness, design and economic feasibility, climatic conditions and cultural tradition. Just to issue guidelines does not ensure that they will be put into practice. In that sense there was a strong mechanism in Japan for implementation. The Japan Housing Loan Corporation has given prospective clients lower interest rates for housing loans and has been a driving force for economic growth. The Corporation now took a decisive step to ask for barrier-free or energy-conscious design to be eligible for the lowest interest rates, starting fiscal 1996. Along with the issuance of guidelines, consumer education was also done through various measures. These new moves will work to promote construction of barrier-free design. In addition, aged persons who are more vulnerable and experiencing difficulties in daily living tend to live in dwellings that are full of barriers. It is a problem that needs urgent solutions.

Further Details

Pages 7 p.
Publish Location Montreal, Canada
Publisher Canadian Council on Rehabilitation and Work
Accession Number December, 2010
Keywords Asia, older, housing improvement, rail, door, universal, design, policy compliance

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