But fortunately I watched the Daily Review tonight, so I got my dose of annoyance and outrage today too. Oh, good.
Am I not paying attention or has this been snuck in under the radar - the new regulations stipulating that all new apartments (presumably also houses, but the topic of the news report was apartments) must now be constructed so as to accommodate wheelchair users? Like, totally regardless of whether any wheelchair user is going to actually ever live there? A guy from OBOS was interviewed and he showed some blueprints and whatnot from the new buildings they're putting up at Ensjø ... the smallest apartments there apparently cost 1.5 million, now with these new regulations that they have to follow, they would have gotten so much bigger that they would have cost 2.1 million. Because as-is they are too small for the wheelchair (which has to be able to be turned around fully in every room! wtf!) so under the new regulations these small 'starter apartments' will have to be constructed larger. Whether or not it's necessary. o_O
These regulations apparently took effect as of July 1st. Have I been sleepwalking or has anyone else missed this as well? I have to say that I think it's crazy. Yes, of course, there must be a number of 'wheelchair-friendly' homes available. But not every single one! To paraphrase Jack Nicholson, we're not all in wheelchairs, baby. The building industry has tried to get the new regs made more lenient, ie, with room for exceptions, but no such luck. Apparently this has not even been considered ... which, if true, is nuts, IMO. But then again, this info came from Liv Signe Navarsete, who was interviewed, and I'm really not sure how trustworthy she can be considered anymore. She came off like an idiot, I have to say. She said that ... let's see if I remember it correctly ... that now we're in 2010 and it really is only reasonable to expect that everywhere in our society should be accessible to everyone. Say what??
No, everywhere does not need to be accessible to everyone! Like for instance, my home. Precisely because it is a private home and not a public place. My apartment is not wheelchair accessible (second story walkup) but that is not a problem for wheelchair users - it is only a problem for me when it comes time to sell the place, if & when that happens ... because I will then have a smaller pool of potential buyers. But seriously, how much smaller? Again, we're not all wheelchair users. They are a rather small minority and will likely always be just that. And 'everywhere' will never be accessible to them. They can't walk, deal with it. Being disabled makes your life more difficult ... that's why it's called disabled. Yes, of course they should also be able to get apartments where they can live comfortably. But why make EVERY apartment bigger just so they can live in a few of them? Let's say someone wants to build a highrise (or what passes for a highrise in this country). Why not have them make some of the apartments in that building wheelchair accessible, and the rest as usual? Is there really a huge interest among wheelchair users for 12th floor apartments? Wouldn't they prefer, maybe, ground floor, first and second? Then make smaller and cheaper apartments in the higher floors, so that young people with normally functioning bodies and normal wages can afford to get into the housing market at some point?
I am a little shocked that I missed this when it happened. Was it not discussed? I don't remember hearing anything about this at all. Which maybe is the best thing, overall, for my blood pressure. o_O
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