The universal design approach accommodates a tremendous range of ages, heights, and physical abilities. For specific physical needs that might require more particular design emphasis and solutions, universal design is a great foundational approach. It provides an integral part of the overall design and construction and is a great place to begin creating effective and functional living environments.
The more universal design solutions, strategies, concepts, and methods that can be incorporated into the exterior and interior living environment of new construction, the more it will add to the overall safety, comfort, convenience, accessibility, and desirability of the people who are buying new homes - and the people that are invited into those homes or choose to visit the people who purchase and own those homes.
If specific wheelchair access were to be created or accommodated on the exterior of various new construction homes, or the base cabinets under sinks or cooktops removed to provide access even when when that treatment wasn't needed or requested by a particular homeowner, that might look visibly out-of-place to a casual visitor and call attention to the design.
Steve Hoffacker, CAPS, C,E,A,C, is a licensed Certified Aging-In-Place Specialist instructor and best-selling author of universal design books. To learn about this and other programs for aging-in-place or universal design, visit stevehoffacker.com or call 561-685-5555.