Danish company Pressalit, known for designing products for the physically disabled, have commissioned a new whitepaper exploring the rising demand for disability-friendly spaces.

With Australia’s National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) set to launch in the coming years, one can expect the prospect of designing for disability to receive a bit of a shake-up. While certainly dealing with an intimidating set of numbers, an estimated 12,000 homes – mostly apartments – will have to be built by 2020 in order to provide housing for some 27,000 people with disabilities.

A clear social distress has been highlighted among those living with a disability. There are clear concerns among those with disabilities that while they may be recognised as present in the community, they still cannot participate fully within it. Furthermore, discrimination and exclusion are regularly present, despite the Disability Discrimination Act of 1992 being in place to prevent as much, and have led to instances such as wheelchair-bound people unable to access facilities such as schools and places of work that are treated as a given by other members of the community. Public transport is harder to access, potential applicants are rejected from jobs they are otherwise eligible for, and children with disabilities are harder to find schooling for.

By and large, the cause of problems – and the potential solutions – for many of the concerns expressed by the families of and those with disabilities lie with the A+D industry. Architects and designers have the perhaps unique ability to design for disability from the outset of a project, in the process both enabling higher levels of autonomy, and assisting with removing the stigma associated with disability. With the NDIS launching in the next few years, Australia is in a prime position to incorporate disability-friendly domestic, educational and commercial spaces into future development beyond the targets of the scheme.

The white paper provides a clear outline of the systems currently in place to prevent discrimination in a variety of day-to-day settings, and how discrimination nonetheless occurs. Despite that, there are a number of benefits to inclusive environments that have previously been overlooked, as more people are starting to recognise and call for in their designs.

To find out more about inclusive environments and the rising demand for disability-friendly spaces, download the free white paper here