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Inclusive Design: Creating Accessible Spaces for All

Creating Accessible Spaces for All

Society has been making a greater push for equality in recent years, with widespread initiatives in place to ensure that people from all backgrounds and demographics get their fair chance at life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

This movement has spread to the world of commercial design, where modern architects are exploring innovative ways to create spaces that people of all ages and physical ability levels can enjoy equally. Keep reading as we delve into several tenets of inclusive design and how it can help create accessible spaces for all. 

Ensure Adequate Railing

Although it plays the important role of securing stairwells, decks, and balconies, ailing is often considered a bit of an accessory or accent in most buildings. However, when it comes to designing accessible spaces, commercial hand railing takes center stage as one of the key components of ensuring a building’s functionality. 

Not only do bathrooms have to have railings at the appropriate height to be ADA compliant, but showers, bedrooms, and walkways all should have adequate railing to guarantee that residents can perform their day-to-day functions. There are many modern handrail choices that present a sleek and attractive aspect while ensuring durability for daily use. 

Include Accessible Pathways With Proper Slope Gradient

Creating Accessible Spaces for All

Accessible spaces must ensure that all hallways, walkways, elevators, and entrance ramps are built wider and on the proper slope gradient to accommodate people with mobility devices. In addition, all areas must be clear of obstructions that would inhibit access for people who require extra space. 

Have an Elite Fire Safety Infrastructure

It is easy to assume that fire safety for assisted living facilities is a step ahead of standard commercial buildings. While this may or may not be true, there is no denying that assisted living facilities require a little extra attention to detail with their fire safety plan. 

It all starts with having a detailed fire escape plan in place and communicating it effectively to all occupants. This infrastructure, coupled with top-notch fire prevention equipment, gives all residents the best chance of a successful evacuation. Some equipment to consider for an assisted living community includes:

  • Elevator smoke containment curtains

  • Vertical smoke and fire curtains

  • Horizontal smoke and fire curtains

  • Perimeter smoke and fire protection

In addition, it is critical to regularly check the condition of all fire alarms, fire extinguishers, and sprinkler systems, as well as conduct periodic fire drills to guarantee that all fire safety protocols are being followed. 

Incorporate Ways to Use All Senses

Creating a truly accessible facility is about finding ways to accommodate people from all walks of life. As such, it is a great idea to include features that appeal to all of the senses.

One idea that has been trending in recent years is sensory gardens. Sensory gardens use a diverse range of elements, such as plants, animals, chimes, and sculptures to promote diverse sensory engagement. In addition to their sensory benefits, they are also great spaces for occupants to practice stress relief and mindfulness. 

Choose Durable Construction Materials

Creating Accessible Spaces for All

There has been increasing interest in durable construction materials in recent years thanks to their role in sustainable design. Simply put, durable materials require far fewer ongoing resources than less robust products, helping promote the environmental friendliness and cost-effectiveness of commercial buildings. 

The importance of durable building materials is magnified even more when designing accessible spaces. Renovations often result in occupant displacement, which can be more than just an inconvenience for people with accessibility needs. 

As such, choosing the most durable materials is one of the best ways to keep an accessible facility operating seamlessly. The floor is one area that will especially be put to the test, as some mobility devices will destroy cheap flooring. It is better to go with rugged, yet elegant flooring options such as polished concrete or epoxy terrazzo to guarantee the highest performance in the face of all types of traffic. To leverage these durable flooring types even further, consider adding radiant heat flooring and non-slip coatings to ensure that they are as warm and safe as possible. 

Leverage Automation As Much As Possible

Creating Accessible Spaces for All

Automation is becoming a key trend in the world of eco-friendly design, as smart controls and motion-detected features can greatly improve energy efficiency in commercial buildings. In addition, automation is a critical component of creating accessible facilities.

Automation can help people with disabilities enjoy all of the features that a building has to offer. Motion-detected doors and lights can allow them to move freely throughout the facility, while smart controls for HVAC and window treatments can help improve the comfort of the space. 

Better Together: Design Inclusive Spaces for All to Enjoy

In the modern social landscape, it is critical that the door not be closed on anybody, regardless of their demographic profile. One way to accomplish this is through a commitment to inclusive design. By considering the principles discussed above, architects and designers can truly create spaces that are accessible-and enjoyable-for all.


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