Nowadays, there is an increasing demand for housing for people of various generations. The reason would be more people of Millennial generation tends to stay with their parents or some have gone back to stay with their parents. People of different lifestyles, namely, Millennials, Gen X, and Baby boomer staying together cause innovation in designing based on “Universal Design” or UD. This principle will produce a design that includes all needs of each family member by starting from looking for a solution on how to let all generations live equally and happily.
What is Universal Design?
It is a design for all genders, ages, and physical conditions by using a variety of materials to allow everyone to equally utilize the particular area. The design must be safe and useful without restriction on age and physical condition of the users living in that particular building and environment.
Principles of Universal Design
- Fairness: factor that allows everybody to equally make use of space. For example, physically-challenged individuals will have to be able to use the space without any difficulties.
- Flexibility: in using, for example, the design must be suitable for both right and left-hand users.
- Simplicity: simple and easy to use. For instant, pictorial or word instruction is provided for everybody to understand.
- Understanding: sufficient information must be provided for users to know how to utilize it.
- Safety: measures must be provided in case of any mistake or error
- Energy Conservation: labor-saving, lesser strength needed when utilizing.
- Space: appropriate size and location for all.
A Design for Happiness of All Members
Nowadays, universal design is being used to create the comfort of every member of the house. This is to ensure that everybody can enjoy their lifestyle in their own way. For example,
- Wash-basin for everyone: The wash-basin has to be fixed at a suitable height that wheelchair users, elderly, and everybody, in general, can easily access. There must be a railing nearby for users to balance themselves in case of an emergency.
- Illuminating water faucet: It serves as both light and faucet. The faucet itself can be turned into a direction that can be used comfortably. It is easy to use even in a place where the light cannot be reached.
- Automatic toilet cover: A toilet cover that opens and closes automatically. This helps the elderly or patients with back problems to access easily and reduces the risk of injury.
- Elevator chair: It was designed for in-house use to aid the elderly and physically-challenged for easier mobility.
- Door handle: A design for easy use and does not require much strength to utilize. This is suitable for children, elderly and wheelchair users.
- ·Censor lights: A design that helps young children, elderly and physically-challenged personals to access every room easily and immediately. This also helps to reduce the risk of accidents in the bedroom, bathroom, or staircase as well.
- ·AI Box robot: A voice user interface program that connects to home appliances such as light bulbs and electrical appliances. This allows home appliances to be controlled by voice or allows home appliances to be pre-set for easier access of elderly, physically-challenged personals and children.
Apart from designing products based on universal design, designing houses also adopt universal design as well. For example, during the designing process, every space in the house will have to be designed in such a way that it serves the lifestyles of people of all generations in the family. The floor has to be leveled and the entrance has to be large to allow easy access of the elderly. Also, the toilet needs to have wet and dry zones as well as an absorption floor that will minimize impact when accidents happened as well as slope way and toilet for elderly and wheelchair users.
Universal design helps everyone to live happily and ensures that the elderly, children, physically-challenged personals, as well as individuals with physical restrictions, can use appliances and lead their daily lives conveniently. It is a design that reflects a true value of equality of all.