Five Ways to Build Accessible and Inclusive Spaces for All Ages and Abilities
As the world becomes increasingly aware of the importance of accessibility and inclusivity, the field of design is rapidly evolving to meet the needs of people of all ages and abilities. Here are some of the top trends in accessible design that are transforming the way we think about the built environment:
Universal Design: This approach to design seeks to create spaces that are accessible and usable by everyone, regardless of age, size, or ability. Universal design principles include things like wide doorways and hallways, grab bars and handrails, and lever handles on doors and faucets. These features make it easier for people with mobility impairments to navigate and use spaces, but they also benefit everyone by making it easier to move around and interact with the environment.
Assistive Technology: Advances in assistive technology are making it easier for people with disabilities to interact with and control their environment. For example, voice-controlled smart home systems and automated doors and windows can make it easier for people with mobility impairments to access and control their home. In public spaces, interactive displays and touchscreens can be designed with accessibility in mind, using large buttons, high contrast text, and voice control options to make them usable by people with vision or mobility impairments.
Accessible Outdoor Spaces: Outdoor spaces, including parks and trails, can be challenging for people with mobility impairments to access and use. However, there are a number of design strategies that can make these spaces more accessible. Ramps, railings, and other assistive features can help people with mobility impairments navigate uneven terrain, while sensory gardens and other inclusive design elements can make these spaces more enjoyable for people with sensory impairments.
Inclusive Transportation: Transportation is a critical component of accessibility, and there are a number of trends in this area that are making it easier for people with disabilities to get around. For example, low-floor buses and trains with accessible entry and exit points can make it easier for people with mobility impairments to access public transit. In addition, ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft are increasingly offering options for people with disabilities, including wheelchair-accessible vehicles and assistive technology for people with visual impairments.
Inclusive Design: One of the most important trends in accessible design is the idea of inclusive design, or designing spaces and environments with the input and involvement of people with disabilities. This approach ensures that the needs and preferences of people with disabilities are considered from the very beginning of the design process, rather than being an afterthought.
About the Author
Bradley Schurman is an expert on demographic change and how it disrupts social, cultural, political, and economic norms across the United States and around the world. His deep understanding of population shifts, coupled with his grasp of emerging trends, makes him an authoritative voice into the future of everything.
He’s the author of THE SUPER AGE: DECODING OUR DEMOGRAPHIC DESTINY and the founder and CEO of the global research and advisory firm, The Super Age. He’s written for Newsweek, been quoted by The Wall Street Journal, New York Times, and USAToday, and regularly appears as a guest on podcast, radio, and television shows around the world.
To learn more about the power of inclusive spaces, please visit The Super Age to schedule a consultation.