John and Matthew answer a viewer a question from Frank, about visitability options in residential homes.

For more info on the “Habitat One” home featured in today’s episode, click here.

For more info on Concrete Change visit:

  • Brad W

    Another really good segment. We have some client projects in our first year engineering design course which deal with this issue. Usually, the engineering students gravitate to mechanical solutions such as elevators, stair lifts, robotic stair climbers, etc.. Next time, I think I will suggest a trip over to the school of architecture for some collaboration.

  • http://s John Brown

    This is a huge, but largely invisible, issue. I am glad to see that your students are dealing with it. Coincidentally, I spent this past summer working with two research assistants and a faculty colleague in our architecture school developing an environmental scan of visitability research. It is on the radar in a lot of jurisdictions. Unfortunately, it is not as often realized in actual projects. Private market housing developers and contractors seem particularly resistant to it.

  • Paul C


    I participated in a similar type project quite some time ago, wherein the overall design of a home for the local Habitat for Humanity chapter was to be wheelchair accessible. I post this only to demonstrate that even in a “traditional” looking home (i.e. front porch) visitability can be accommodated. In this particular case the long portion of the porch is actually the ramp yet from the street it appears as a traditional porch and this was in a newer area. Had there been more space on the site it would have been nice to provide both the ramp and space for outdoor seating (i.e. a porch swing), unfortunately in this case, there was not.

    p.s. sorry about the grainy photo and the angled wall John, my pre-slowhome days….

  • http://s John Brown

    Paul C,
    Thanks for this contribution to the discussion. It is a very clever solution. I particularly like the way that the ramp is concealed and that the front door can be reached by both stairs and ramp.

    For those readers who may not be familiar with accessibility standards the circle you see in the Paul’s plan indicates the 60 inch circle that is required to turn a wheel chair around. It is usually drawn in strategic locations in the floor plan to demonstrate accessibility.

  • Terri

    Hello, I’m having trouble getting the video to download today. After a few minutes, it still says “transferring data from” Anyone else having technical difficulties?

  • Jim G

    Hi. I have the same problem as Terri. Sometimes the video doesn’t download after one or two minutes. Sometimes it downloads quickly. (I have recently bought a new computer with Windows7.)

  • steve@slowhome

    Hi Terri and Jim G,

    We’re experience the same problems here in the office. I’m working on re-uploading the video. It should be good to go in about 20 minutes.

    Sorry for the technical difficulties.


  • Terri

    Hi Steve,
    Thank you! It works fine now.

    John and Matthew,
    Interesting discussion–again! I hadn’t thought about the ramping issue before. Thanks to Frank, too, for raising the question.

  • Frank

    John and Matthew:

    Sorry that I was unable to join the discussion earlier. Thanks for a clearly articulated and interesting discussion of “visitability” and for the links. The ramp along side the long lot provides an effective solution especially for those narrow lot homes built in recent years. One which I had not considered.

    As we have seen from past examples these narrow houses often have a primary or secondary side entrance along the side of the house. The distance from street to entrance can provide an ample rise in height to allow for modest elevations above grade.

    As always, I appreciate your thoughtful analysis and examples. Thanks again.

  • Jim G

    Also video worked for me.
    Thanks Steve

  • Anonymous

    I am having problems with the audio….. I have my sound up full and the video sound full too…. still , at times, can’t hear you….