Universal building techniques help people thrive in living environments
MADISON, Wis. — Most people are familiar with handicap-accessible buildings and homes, but for many with a disability, a handicap design doesn’t go far enough.
Jane Earl, a longtime steward in the Madison community, is on a quest to help the city understand the benefits of universal design, ensuring that people of all ages and stages thrive in the living environments.
Diagnosed with muscular dystrophy at a young age, Earl knew that she would eventually face limited mobility. She decided to remodel her downtown condo using universal design. Working with TZ of Madison, she remodeled her unit from the ground up.
“Universal design is just that, it is universal, it is for everyone, and if we take that into consideration at the beginning stages of construction you don’t have to be spending money to redevelop and redesign,” Earl said.
Universal design is not handicap design, she stresses. Buildings should be built like this in the first place, contends Earl, and her new project is to help policymakers and contractors understand the importance of the concept as the city constructs new housing, particularly with the addition of new affordable housing in the Madison area.
Design firm TZ of Madison, who worked with Earl on the project, won the NARI (National Association of the Remodeling Industry) award for Contractor of the Year.
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