Research-based standards for accessible housing: a literature review and exploration of accessibility problems

Tina Helle, Susanne Iwarsson, Åse Brandt

Publikation: Konferencebidrag uden forlag/tidsskriftAbstraktForskning


Since standards for accessible housing seldom are manifestly based on research and vary cross nationally, it is important to examine if there exists any scientific evidence, supporting these standards. Thus, one aim of this study was to review the literature in search of such scientific evidence. Another aim was to explore the potential impact of different standards, in terms of prevalence of accessibility problems among groups of common older persons, characterized by their combinations of different functional limitations.
Guided by the question: What research with the potential to inform research-based accessibility standards is available?, a descriptive literature review was conducted. The studies should be empirically based, published during 1990 to 2010, target adult persons, published in peer reviewed journals or, as architectural competitions, PhD-thesis or conference presentations. We contacted 22 leading researchers and resource persons, conducted a database search in CINAHL, PubMed, PsyINFO, socINDEX, ISI and Google Scholar, using 28 search terms in 81 combinations and hand searched 22 relevant scientific journals.
The explorative part of this study was based on empirical data on older citizens and their housing environment in Sweden, Germany and Latvia (n=1150), collected with the Housing Enabler instrument. Applying statistical simulation we explored how different national standards for housing design influenced the prevalence of common environmental barriers. Kaplan-Meier curves, illustrated differences in the magnitude of accessibility problems among groups of older citizens with typical combinations of functional limitations.
Out of a total of 2,879 hits resulting from the search, seven publications were included in this review. Most hits were identified by the database search (n= 2,577), resulting in the inclusion of one publication. Contacts to leading researchers in the field identified five publications. The hand search of 22 journals led to one publication.
We have exemplified how the prevalence of common environmental problems in housing environments is influenced by different national standards for housing design, as well as the consequences of such differences in standards, in terms of prevalence of accessibility problems among older citizens with different combinations of functional limitations.
Conclusions fields:
Since research on accessibility with the potential to inform standards for housing design is very limited and difficult to identify, there is a reason to question the evidence based for such legislation. The results of this study showed that the definitions of environmental barriers determine the prevalence of environmental barriers and accessibility problems, with marked differences between countries and older citizens with common combinations of functional limitations.
StatusUdgivet - 2010
BegivenhedICADI - New Castle, Storbritannien
Varighed: 3 maj 20106 maj 2010


ByNew Castle