Architectural Barriers Act & ADA Floor Plans

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The Architectural Barriers Act #ABA is the godfather of all #disability accessible buildings. They say, and I agree, that you can’t know what tomorrow might look like without knowing what has happened in the past. The history of accessible housing for the disability community has been a piecemeal approach and is often misleading to its coverage. You have probably heard about the Fair Housing Act because the law covers both rent and homeownership; it sure to cover everyone’s housing situation. You also might have heard about the ADA and the term “ADA compliant”. But have you heard about the Architectural Barrier Act? You should because it is the grandfather for every accessible dwelling for the disability community.

The Architectural Barrier Act was passed in 1968 with the sole focus on making federal buildings and its leasing buildings barrier-free. Barrier-free only; not accessible in the way we think of it today. I think most of us in the disability community consider accessibility as all-encompassing. Not based on the dwelling being a federal building and providing only accessible portions that are used by the public. That is exactly what the ABA is focused on in 1968 and even today. Preventing barriers to access the building and nothing more. It has no intention of making the building accessible to the extent one lives in like a home or even used 40 hours work week. Other laws have addressed the other aspect of accessibility.
The ABA that only focused on accessible federal buildings caused a cascade effect. It allowed people with disabilities a physical presence in federal buildings. I believe without it, the 1973 Rehabilitation Act would not have been created that extended accessibility to programs run by the federal government. In fact, in a
blog article I published, the longest nonviolent protest that occupied a federal building was people with disabilities over much-needed regulations to implement the 1973 Rehab Act. The federal agency at that time housed many social programs that are now separate federal agencies, one being the HUD. If you don’t believe me that the #ABA that allowed people with physical disabilities into a federal building to sit in protest for 28 days not have an impact later on the HUD, well the ABA codes are often reflective in the American Disabilities Act #ADA in its guidelines and the Fair Housing Act #FHA.

The advocacy and all of the laws after the ABA have also influenced the housing market business. By integrating a lot of accessible features into business dwellings, I believe has destigmatized or reduce bias. You see this when you find homes for sale that are all about age-n-place, mother-in-law suites, and other universal ideas are present in the mainstream real estate market. It doesn’t mean they actually follow the codes found in all of the laws. Rather it is more from practicality design. A senior citizen with health conditions may not want to climb the stairs and want all major functions on the ground level. This practical design focus and reduced bias, has in fact standardize the development of homes or additions by purchasing floor plans (read more in my blog) that are already designed for the disabled community.
Learn more by visiting my website
(www.horizontalhouses.com) and listen to the episode.

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