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Lifetime adaptable housing in Europe

Technology and Disability

Author: Nielsen, C. W., Ambrose, I.
Type: Journal Article
Year: 1999


In Europe, the development of housing designs which address the needs of people with disabilities began some 30 years ago with specialised housing solutions, and simple adaptations. They addressed the needs of wheelchair users, in particular. Building legislation and welfare legislation (e.g., rental subsidies) supported the building of this special housing, which enabled a higher degree of integration in the community for citizens with disabilities. The past ten to fifteen years, however, has seen a paradigmatic change in many European countries with the introduction and refinement of so-called Lifetime Adaptable Housing standards within mainstream housing. In this approach, the goal has become one of ensuring that newbuild and renovated housing stock is technically capable--at low cost--of accommodating the widest possible range of user needs, that is, for persons with all types of disabilities, families with small children and seniors. This paper gives an overview of European experiences in bringing disability access standards to mainstream housing, based on a survey of eighteen countries. The paper documents the existence of a variety of technical standards as well as differing economic incentives and legislative powers between the countries. The paper concludes that new partnerships between builders, architects and organisations of people with disabilities have advanced the practice of building adaptable housing considerably. Yet, there is considerable scope for technical research and development targeted towards new, flexible housing types.

Further Details

Full Title: Technology and Disability
Pages: 26
Volume: 10
Issue: 1
Accession Number: November, 2010
Work Type: Journal Articles
Keywords: Europe, design, modification, disabled, assistive technology
Reads: 178