UC Law Journal


In the midst of pervasive national efforts at improving accessibility to public places for people with disabilities, there is no national design standard for making single-family residential housing accessible to the mobility impaired. As a consequence, people with mobility impairment often find that they are unable to safely and easily visit the homes of family, friends, neighbors, and colleagues because their housing is designed with exclusionary and unsafe features-features that would not be permitted if the property were a public place, a place of public accommodation, or publicly funded housing.

This Article questions the difference in inclusive design requirements as between public places and private homes. In so doing, it suggests that the difference rests upon two fundamental misunderstandings. The first is based on a failure to appreciate the public nature of private housing, and the second involves misperceptions concerning the ability (inability) of individuals to bargain for socially optimal outcomes in the market for private residential homes. In response to these conclusions, the Article supports a national inclusive design standard for all new single-family residential housing.

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