IHCD Home - Inclusive Design at home

Downtown Boston Storefront Hub

IHCD has decades of leadership and experience in design that works for everyone. IHCD Home focuses on making homes that do more, that support health, safety, comfort, and confidence. This new program offers opportunities for exploration and inspiration as well as practical information in a showroom-research-testing- demonstration-learning space in IHCD’s downtown Boston storefront headquarters. 

Featured resources include:

  • Takeaways: Tip Sheets that pair functional limitations with home design solutions + Product Sheets for recommended materials, technology, hardware, furniture, appliances, lighting and more.
  • Videos + presentations – choose from a menu of options. Take a seat. Explore!
  • Books – a selection of the best publications on inclusive residential design as well as inclusive/universal design. Peruse the 80 residential design books in the IHCD Library.
  • Join others to learn about strategies, models, loan programs, and new ideas through a regular schedule of presentations and events.
  • Hard-to-find digital publications on residential design from around the world organized in a single QR code.
  • Rotating exhibits of products and technologies that look good and work from around the world.
  • Make an appointment to talk to a designer about your needs and ideas.

A parallel web-based resource will offer a larger audience access to most of the resources in the live space along with videos of presentations from the Boston headquarters.   A new case study category on renovated homes will be added to IHCD’s global inclusive design case study collection in order to share stories of individual residential renovations. www.UniversalDesignCaseStudies.org

IHCD’s goal is to prompt awareness and to build household and community capacity to take action to make inclusive housing a viable expectation for anyone.  Sharing proven design solutions, guidance, methods, materials, products and technology can generate fresh insights. We intend to make it easier to create healthier places to live that don’t just remove barriers but facilitate quality of life.  

IHCD has shifted its language to embrace “inclusive design,”  long a synonym for “universal design” but one that affirms human diversity now in terms of ability and age but also culture and economic status


IHCD Home has partnered with an initial set of organizations and plans to expand the collaboration in order to maximize the impact of IHCD Home.  Core partners are schools of interior design (New England School of Art and Design [NESAD], Mount Ida, Endicott College, Boston Architectural College [BAC] and Rhode Island School of Design [RISD]).  IHCD will host interior design interns to staff and maintain the showroom and website and will also engage the students as primary designers supervised by both IHCD designers and their faculty to design small renovations for clients who’d not otherwise be able to hire a designer.

IHCD is also partnering with Youth Build Boston’s (YBB) vocational training programs geared towards young people aged 18-24 who are interested in the building trades and YBB’s Designery for high school students interested in design and construction. YBB is involved with a varied set of local affordable housing projects at any one time and plans to integrate inclusive design in those projects through this collaboration with IHCD.

Why now?

Five trends are the impetus to IHCD Home:

  1. We have real problems to solve that effect every family
  • longer lives in which most of us will experience a mix of chronic conditions and intend to keep the homes we live in now;
  • higher prevalence of complex mental and cognitive conditions (anxiety, autism, dementia), all with acute sensitivity to our home environments and especially to light, acoustics, air quality;
  • higher expectations that we will manage rehab and recovery at home for everything from sports injuries to the replacement of joints and organs, to unanticipated health crises.

We need to make our homes into places that minimize our limitations, support us in a crisis, and enhance our comfort, confidence, and sense of control every day.

  1. Home is now a place where healthcare happens. Avoiding acute hospitalization, getting procedures done at home, or recovering at home after very brief hospitalizations all demand urgent attention to taking action to improve physical design and to add helpful technology.
  1. Societies around the world are grappling with similar challenges and needs. We need to share global practices, precedents, and products to make sure that our choices take advantage of all available knowledge.
  1. To date, scant attention has been paid to opportunities for low-cost inclusive home improvement solutions that can work for ordinary people for whom professional design services are out of reach. We need to catalyze attention and energy for affordable innovations at home and share what works quickly and broadly.
  1. An appetite for design for health and wellness attracts individuals, couples and families from a first home throughout the lifespan.

Who’s the Audience?

  • Homeowners
  • Renters
  • Entrepreneurs
  • Designers
  • Architects
  • Engineers
  • Community Development Corporations
  • Housing Management
  • Faculty
  • Students
  • Hackers
  • Contractors
  • Health and Human Services Organizations

Who is the Institute for Human Centered Design (IHCD)?

IHCD believes in design that changes lives.  Today, we live longer and survive more than at any time in history and we need design that anticipates diversity of ability in order to make our shared good fortune work.  The best design solutions are grounded in human experience. IHCD’s work start with a conviction that the extraordinary diversity of bodies and brains challenges and inspires us to better solutions.

Founded in 1978 and headquartered in Boston, IHCD is a global leader in the inclusive design movement.  IHCD meets its mission through an unusual mix of education, technical assistance, consulting, interdisciplinary design services and research.

Digital Resources