Meet Our Speaker

Thea Kurdi
Thea Kurdi

Vice President, DesignABLE Environments, Accessibility Expert, Educator, Trainer, Speaker

What is adaptable, visitable, and universal housing?

In this session, Thea explains what the differences are between  adaptable, visitable, and universal housing. It provides an overview of disability, accessibility legislation, and the built environment. In Canada, approximately 6.2 million individuals report having one or more disabilities, with the population of individuals aged 64 and over projected to increase to 23% of the total population in the next decade. The role of accessibility legislation, such as the Accessible Canada Act, the National Building Code, and the Human Rights Code is analyzed. The importance of Canada’s international agreements to meet the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals and Convention on Rights with Persons with Disabilities demonstrate the need to integrate accessibility in housing. International efforts regarding accessible housing are discussed including Better Living Design, Lifemark, and Habinteg. Accessible housing modifications and successful examples of accessible housing developments are shared. Including cost-effective ways to ensure housing is sustainably made and operated while being inclusive and affordable.

    The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedom and our Human Rights Code was changed 35 years ago. The fact that our National Building Code still does not facilitate useable accessibility in all new developments and retrofitted buildings has created the accessible housing, workplace, and urban design crisis that we face across the country. Anyone interested in sustainable design will know that if we look at our demographics there is nothing more sustainable than accessibility in all design.” Thea Kurdi

    “The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedom and our Human Rights Code was changed 35 years ago. The fact that our National Building Code still does not facilitate useable accessibility in all new developments and retrofitted buildings has created the accessible housing, workplace, and urban design crisis that we face across the country. Anyone interested in sustainable design will know that if we look at our demographics and the lifecycle cost of renovations there is nothing more sustainable than accessibility in all design.”

    Thea Kurdi has over 20 years of experience specializing in barrier-free and universal design for architectural projects of varying size and complexity. As an educator, she is frequently a guest speaker at lectures for design students, including at Waterloo School of Architecture, Ryerson University School of Architecture and George Brown College Interior Design. She is a member and instructor at the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada teaching about Successful Accessible Design. Thea has focused her career on helping clients understand what usable accessibility means, how universal design is better design for everyone, and how to achieve the Human Rights Code.

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