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New Homes in the Ordinary Housing Stock: Can Universal Design Meet the Needs of Severely Disabled People?


The paper questions whether universal design of new dwellings in the ordinary housing stock can accommodate the extensive requirements that homes for people with severe disabilities have to meet. Four case studies are used to illustrate the range of needs and ways to provide for them. One is a small child born with extensive brain damage. The other three are accident victims. Two of them have brain injuries affecting both motor and cognitive functions, while the third suffered a broken neck causing extensive paralysis. All four have considerable needs for assistance due to mobility problems, cognitive difficulties or both, and needed homes that were specially adapted to their needs. The necessary construction works include new construction as well as adaptations and extensions to existing dwellings.Based on the four cases, the paper attempts to deduce general functional requirements relating to housing for the general market. These could by extension apply equally to housing for elderly people, homes for adults in working age and families with handicapped children. In conclusion the paper argues whether ordinary dwelling types intended for the general housing market can reasonably be expected to meet requirements that are as extensive as these.


Academic chapter/article/Conference paper




  • Jon Christophersen


  • SINTEF Community / Architectural Engineering




International Association for Universal Design; Manzoh Yoshihama


The 2nd International Conference for Universal Design in Kyoto 2006. Proceedings



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