Livable Housing Design

adaptable homes

A livable home is designed and built to meet the changing needs of occupants across their lifetime.

Livable homes include key easy living features that make them easier and safer to use for all occupants including people with disability, aging Australians, people with temporary injuries, and families with young children.

Importance of a Livable Home

A livable home is designed to be:

  • easy to enter
  • easy to navigate in and around
  • capable of easy and cost-effective adaptation, and
  • responsive to the changing needs of home occupants.

Livable homes enhance the quality of life of all occupants at all stages of their life.

What are the benefits of a livable designed home?

All Australians benefit from homes designed with comfort, safety, and ease of access as core design features. These features make the home easier for parents to man oeuvre prams, easier to carry the shopping into the house, easier for people with a disability or temporary injury to get around and easier to move furniture.

These same features enable key living spaces to be more easily and cost-effectively. Thus, these can be adapted in meeting the changing needs and abilities of home occupants, such as ageing baby boomers and people who have or acquire a disability.

Is there a market?

Mainstream adoption of key livability features into new housing makes sense for several reasons:

  • The significant ageing baby boomer demographic represents a growing market for age-friendly, livable designed housing.
  • The number of Australians with a disability will inevitably rise as the population grows and ages.
  • One in five (close to 4 million) Australians currently have a disability of some type – about 320,000 are children.
  • Research indicates a 60 percent chance that a house will be occupied by a person with a disability at some point over its life. This person is likely to be someone you know – a parent, child, sibling or friend.
  • The family home accounts for 62 percent of all falls and slip-based injuries and costs the Australian population $1.8 billion in public health costs.
  • The cost to the homeowner, including key livable housing design features (in this case the silver level) is 22 times more efficient than retrofitting when an unplanned need arises.

A national survey has shown that the majority of recent home buyers, builders and renovators, and people aged 60 plus believe that livable housing design features make a home safer and more functional for all.

© 2012 Livable Housing Australia

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