Author : Jenny Fu
Homes England, the non-departmental public body that funds new affordable housing in England, is implementing plans to improve diversity and inclusion in the housing sector.
In its first Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion Report, Homes England identifies the steps and measures that must be taken to ensure a more inclusive, equal, and diverse property. Homes England is also committed to meeting the needs of diverse communities. It aims to address the situation by identifying gaps in the current market and taking steps to address them.
Inclusive Design Is About Creating Places Everyone Can Use
The way places are designed can affect the user in many ways, including their ability to communicate effectively. The purpose of an inclusive design is to eliminate the obstacles that may force people to put in the excessive effort. It allows everybody to participate confidently in routine activities without having to seek outside support. An inclusive approach to design offers new visions of how we interact with the environment. It creates new opportunities to implement problem-solving skills creatively.
By designing and managing properties inclusively, we can make life easy for many, including disabled people, the elderly, and families with small children. We can relieve the frustration and hardships they face within a property that has not taken their unique needs into consideration. According to UK property designing experts, there are fundamental principles at the heart of inclusive design. If they are implemented properly, it can make the place fit for use by everyone.
Placing People At The Center Of The Design Process
Designing should lead to creating spaces that allow people to form a vibrant and robust community. This can be achieved by including as many people as possible in the design process, as it helps promote well-being, social cohesion, and satisfaction for all.
Example: The first move should be to replace steps with a gentle incline between floors. Adding low window sills will ensure a better view for all effortlessly. Wheelchair access should not be regarded as an optional extra but must be at the base level of the designing process.
Acknowledging Difference and Diversity
Good design can only be achieved if the environment crafted meets the needs of a large number of people. Inclusive designing involves identifying barriers that everyone will likely experience at some point. The inclusive design process should not impose disabling barriers. While it is imperative to grasp the unique needs of wheelchair users and mobility-impaired people, it is equally essential to comprehend the problems faced by people with learning problems, mental illness, and visual and hearing impairments.
Example: Doors across the property must be highly visible. Place quality non-slip mats at strategic points.
Offering A Wide Array of Choices
Trying to meet every need is impractical because thats simply not possible. However, designers must consider the diverse nature of the residents and visitors and remove visible barriers and obstacles. Disabled people do not have standardized issues. By considering their needs within the design process, designers can ensure that everyone shares the benefits. High design standards and wider choices must be provided to meet the access requirements of all users.
Providing for Flexibility
The core principles of inclusive design demand an understanding of how the property space will be used and who will most likely use it. Places must be designed in a manner that they can quickly adapt to changing uses and demands. Make space for everyone, from toddlers to elders, and everyone in between.
An inclusive design provides an environment that is convenient and pleasing to use for everyone. This involves using proper signage and providing adequate lighting. Access to a property is not just about physical convenience. People must have sufficient information before they leave or enter the property to feel confident to access any space. These inclusive design principles will help people use the place with comfort, dignity, convenience, and confidence. People can make choices independently without having to exert undue effort.
As Operating Partner and Asset Manager to many purpose built developments in the Build to Rent sector including city centre high rise, single family housing, later living and inter-generstional living, as part of the project development team our role is to plan inclusivity in.
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