Advancing Accessibility Compendium

Designing for Accessibility: A Compendium

A Companion to the Advancing Accessibility – Creating through Design Symposium
Mount Royal University, Calgary Alberta Canada
November 25, 2010

Compiled and written by:
Mark Iantkow, Accessible Housing Society
Janice Rieger, Department of Interior Design & Art History, Mount Royal University

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Advancing Accessibility – Creating through Design Symposium

The November 25 symposium, taking place at Mount Royal University, involved some 99 delegates from developers, home builders, contractors, mill works, regulatory officials and realtors. All were energized and attentive with three keynote speakers: the first speaker (Professor John Brown, Faculty of Environmental Design, U of C) presenting on “visitability research” (encouraging a certain percentage of new home construction to be literally visitable by people using wheelchairs). The second speaker (Mr. Geoffrey Olsen) concentrating on renovations to his own home for his functional usage as a person using a wheelchair, and the third speaker (Mr. Ron Wickman, Architect) presented on principles of universal design and how they can effectively be applied to new construction.

While the three keynote addresses provided the basics and background information of the day during the morning, the afternoon was dedicated to “building an accessible home” where all delegates present became involved with understanding disability and responding in a constructive and creative way to plan for the construction (or renovation) of a house for an owner or renter having a physical disability.

Where do we go from here? With the synergistic energy created throughout the day, a seed was planted for private industry to work in unison with various levels of government and with agencies providing supports for people with disabilities to plan for more inclusive living in our Calgary community. It is anticipated the idea of visitability will flourish in new construction and that future designers will have an integral part of their design-school curricula dedicated to universal design.

Thank you to all who participated for your time, energy, and commitment to expand the range of housing options and create inclusive communities. Please refer to the Designing for Accessibility Compendium for more information.