What is Visitability?

Visitability is an affordable, sustainable and inclusive design approach for integrating basic accessibility features into all newly built homes and housing.

Visitability is based on the conviction that inclusion of basic architectural access features in all new homes is a civil and human right and improves livability for all. This project was a collaboration between the IDeA Center and Concrete Change.

Founded by Eleanor Smith of Atlanta, GA, Concrete Change has been a leader in advocating for and otherwise promoting visitability for many years.


Visitability: An Inclusive Design Approach for Housing 

This report provides a summary of the goals, benefits, and features of inclusive housing design. It previews a 2010 book entitled Inclusive Housing: A Pattern Book. Excerpts from the book along with an annotated version of the new ICC/ANSI A117.1 Type C visitability standards will give you a better understanding of what visitability is and why it is important to housing design.

Download a PDF version of the report.
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Increasing Home Access: Designing for Visitability

This report examines the different types of visitability initiatives and evaluates their potential for improving the prospects for aging independently in one’s home and community.

This In Brief was co-authored by Jordana Maisel, Eleanor Smith and Edward Steinfeld and was published in August 2008 by the AARP Public Policy Institute.

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Visit-ability: an Approach to Universal Design in Housing

This is a 48-page resource offering a complete overview of visitability requirements, the philosophy of the initiative, and resources in United States. The book contains “best practice” case studies highlighting successful implementation of specific visitability projects in several different communities nationwide.

This booklet was compiled and developed as a publication of the RERC. on Universal Design at Buffalo, with the assistance of Habitat for Humanity chapters in both Buffalo, N.Y. and Rochester, N.Y. The grass-roots advocacy group Concrete Change in Atlanta, Georgia provided valuable assistance, and funding was provided through the U.S. Department of Education and the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (N.I.D.R.R.).

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Visit-ability: an Approach to Universal Design in Housing

As the population ages and faces a greater number of physical disabilities, housing and community design must be re-examined. This research explores the growing need for accessible housing in the United States and the recent emergence of visitability as an affordable and sustainable design strategy aimed at increasing the number of accessible single family homes and neighborhoods. Both a qualitative and quantitative methods approach was utilized to study the evolution of accessible housing policy in the United States, the history and fundamental principles of visitability, and the number and diversity of visitability initiatives and programs. The research explores existing theories on innovation diffusion to help understand trends in the visitability movement. The research also examines the challenges and controversies currently surrounding the visitability movement and potentially threatening its future success.Download a PDF version of the report.