by Roger P. Gervais

It’s been a pleasure to participate in Broadening the Base (BtB) and to work with such a wonderful group of individuals, who also acknowledge the importance of improving our affordable housing stock in Ottawa. I recently posted on my blog about the evidence that supports a transformation in the way we build new housing — one that removes architectural barriers in order to make them safer, more welcoming to all, and more sustainable.

As you can see from the evidence I’ve shared, VisitAbility as a minimum standard of Universal Design is gaining momentum domestically and internationally. It’s important to also ensure it’s done attractively to correct the myth that it’s ugly or institutional-looking.  There are a number of design websites that showcase beautiful Universal Design features, such as Houzz.com, so it’s not a matter of figuring out how to do it, it’s simply a matter of replicating best practices already out there on websites, social media and magazines.

As you noticed in the municipal section of my blog, I gave credit to Ottawa’s affordable housing sector for moving forward with accessible and VisitAble units, ahead of building code and other provincial requirements. It’s this type of courage and innovation that has increased our stock of affordable housing,welcoming everyone, and showing respect for human rights.  Our homes/dwellings have a significant emotional and financial value so it’s important to expand on the minimum requirement of 15% VisitAble units in the Ontario Building Code, like Ottawa’s Affordable Housing Unit has done. We need to ensure new affordable housing doesn’t exclude the growing number of Ottawa residents who need safer and more inclusive dwellings.

I look forward to the other blog posts and the first Open House for projects that BtB will be collaborating with. It’s an exciting time in Ottawa!.