Tuesday, March 18, 2008

universal design

So down the street from my house, near our little man-made lake, is an abandoned building. This is an uncommon thing in our neighborhood as we're a nice planned community. So plans are being made to remove this "eyesore" and replace it with- you guessed it- TOWNHOMES!

These will be no ordinary townhomes, however. These partially county-funded gems will follow the new Redevelopment Housing Authority (RHA) resolution requiring any new county-funded housing projects be built using universal design practices. Apparently someone is worried about the aging population in Fairfax County.

Universal design essentially means handicapped access. Switches are lower, you can fit a wheelchair under the kitchen sink, elevators, and door levers instead of knobs (a new trend I really don't like- hard to keep kids from opening doors with levers).

So I'm wondering...do they really think this type of house is going to appeal to people outside of the disabled community? Is there a plethora of wheelchair-bound folks dying to live in a townhouse in Burke Centre that I'm not aware of? Seems like another fun trendy thing Fairfax County is doing to be "cutting-edge." Wouldn't it make more sense to require new county-funded construction to be built to greener standards? That's a trend that's really hot right now that we can all get on board with.

What I'm really wondering though, is where is this abundance of people nearing retirement age? The "aging population" of Fairfax County is in general tremendously physically active. My Dad lives here, he's retirement age...and he runs or bikes like 5 miles each weekend. I'm not seeing compromised mobility in his near future. I'm also pretty sure these folks might want to move from this hugely expensive area when they get down to living off those nest eggs. This must be somebody's pet project.

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