Visitability Design: The
a design approach that integrates some basic accessibility features into all
newly-built housing. This approach increases the capacity for those people with
disabilities to be able to visit homes of friends and relatives. It is
important also for those who may from time to time need to use wheelchairs or
other adaptive equipment. Visitability
concepts are important also because it adds some accessibility features to
single-family detached housing or townhomes where Fair House Act requirements
do not apply.
Visitability makes houses relatively easy to adapt
in the future, allowing current residents to remain in their homes as they age,
rather than being forced to move as more features become necessary to maintain
focuses on the three structural features most essential for a person with
mobility impairments to visit or live in a home at least temporarily and
possibly even permanently, depending on an individual's needs. These three
- one zero-step entrance on an accessible path of travel
- doorways that are 32 inches clear throughout the floor
- basic access to at least a half bath on the main floor
during design and planning, these features are extremely cost-efficient and
provide advantages to non-disabled consumers as well.
The IDEA Center (Center for Inclusive
Design and Environmental Access) at the University of Buffalo is a leader in
the field of Visitability, Universal Design, and home modification. For more
information, you can visit their website at: Visit the IDEA website.
another aspect of visitability that moves from the realm of a design concept to
an avenue of social change. Many advocates view it as a movement to change home
construction practices so that virtually all new homes--not merely those
custom-built for occupants who currently have disabilities--offer a few
specific features that make the home easier for people who
develop mobility impairments to live in and visit, and improve the quality
of life for people with disabilities.
For more information, go to the Visitability.org website, hosted by
the National Council on Independent Living. NCIL collects resources and
information about visitability.