What is CS4EB all about ?

It is not specifically about adapting a space for wheelchair access.

Neither is it specifically about decorating, but it does promote making the best choices in furnishings and accessories.

More than that, it is about making a home, office or any built environment into an attractive, comfortable, safe, fully accessible, and welcoming place for you, your family, and everyone who visits you.

Three people with mobility aids jumping .
A silhouette of a group of people with varying abilities.

Obviously, every body looks and functions differently.

Perhaps you are a southpaw living in a right-handed world.

Maybe you are beginning to feel the limitations of aging, or you are one of those brave souls who roll through Mid-town in a wheelchair.

Whether we go through life with a medical or psychological condition that is permanent, temporary or recurring, ever one of us could benefit from a world that embraces the principles of universal design.

Incorporating the principles of UNIVERSAL DESIGN or INCLUSIVE DESIGN into any renovation or newbuild project will create an intrinsically good design.

Universal Design is important for everyone.


The fact is, we already use universal design every day but we may not realize it.


Any time we ride a bicycle over a lowered curb; any time we rely on a “talking” elevator to tell us when we have arrived on a specific floor; any time we walk into a building through an over-sized revolving door; any time we reach for a lever rather than a typical, round door knob, or every time we “zoom” the computer screen to 150 percent so that it is more legible, we are using a design that has been conceived to accommodate everyone.


More and more, universal design is creeping into our everyday lives, making things a little bit easier for everyone and, like the best types of design, few people will notice.

 


 

 

The senior population explosion
 

According to economists, the “baby boom” generation began at the end of World War II, at a time when reunited husbands and wives created a population explosion. Those of us in our late Fifties/early Sixties, represent the last of that demographic.


In a 2005 housing survey, 83 percent of people age 45 and older plan to live in their current homes for as long as it is possible. But almost one in four expect that they, or someone in their family, will have trouble getting around that home within the next five years.
 

Most homes in North America are more than 20-years-old. As these buildings age along with their residents, they can become more difficult to live in, and to maintain. A home that is suitable to an able-bodied 55-year-old may have too many stairs or hard-to-reach areas for a 70-year-old.


Everyone’s abilities, and therefore their needs, change over the course of their lives.


It uses ergonomic principles, which are designs to minimize physical effort and discomfort and maximize efficiency, to increase efficiency, reduce repetitive stress to the body, and eliminate barriers and hazards. All this promotes safety, independence and dignity.


Many features that are considered accessible and adaptable are also universally usable. For example, round doorknobs are inappropriate for people with limited use of their hands, but lever handles are usable and beneficial to everyone, including people who have no hands.


Sometimes an ordinary device can reflect universal design simply by placing it in a more practical way to meet a person’s needs. For example, lowering light switches and raising outlets to 18-inches (46 cm) above the floor places them within reach of most people without the need to bend or stretch. Bathtub controls located toward the side of the tub, rather than the center, provide the same benefit.

Picture of a lowered sidewalk curb.
A picture of an over-sized revolving door.

Left: The ubiquitous, but invisible lowered curb featured multiple times at the corners of all urban streets.

Right: Oversized revolving doors are designed to accommodate a wheel-chair user along with a caregiver.