Introducing Guy Harris, founder of AccessiblePRS.

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Introducing Guy Harris, founder of AccessiblePRS.

Why accessibility is not just a niche, but an industry benchmark standard for good design. Meet Guy Harris and find out what property means for him.

Guy Harris AccessiblePRS

I’m Guy Harris. I’ve set up AccessiblePRS to increase the supply of accessible wheelchair housing in the UK. It’s something I know about having spent over 20 years in the property sector, the last 17 years as a full time wheelchair user. My past projects put me in the perfect place for this role. I have experience in sales, development and investment, in the UK and Germany. On top of this, my personal experiences as a wheelchair user mean that I understand the difference between interpreting regulations and how people will actually experience a design.

My love for property stems from the possibilities that good design provides for humans to live our best lives. I mean, I’ve often wondered that, as a society, we place people in squalid housing, and then vilify resultant actions or behaviours. It’s not ok. Inversely, if a person lives in an environment which meets accessibility needs, they have freedom to be and freedom to contribute. For example, bathing your baby might seem a small thing, until you can’t do it because of the layout of your home. The link between housing and mental health is inextricable, but more on this another time.

Listening to discussions on accessible properties in the media, it always struck me that accepted convention misses key points about accessibility. The narrative is out of kilter with the reality and the benefits: accessible design is about enduring, flexible and good design, and we are all going to need accessibility in our lives, to some degree.  The point is, accessibility is mainstream. Inclusivity is an industry standard for good design that enhances the lives and opportunities of humans, allowing dignity and autonomy from cradle to grave.

Inclusivity is an industry standard for good design that enhances the lives and opportunities of humans.

Designing homes which genuinely work for everyone - families, older people, people with disabilities - and which promote sustainability and good mental health are good for business too. People I speak with totally understand this argument. They see the relevance to their own lives, they understand the business rationale. Yet there remains a difference between knowing this and knowing how to achieve it. This is where I come in.

I want to understand your project objectives and motivations: they are crucial as we look to find a way that everyone can experience them together. For investors and landlords I can help with asset acquisition, design guidance and tenant sourcing. For developers and designers, I am a collaborative consultant providing design input and advising a credible strategy and content to promote what you’re doing. For wheelchair users, I can help you find your next rental home.

The conversation on inclusive design is growing, both in volume and participant numbers. It’s here to stay. I’m pleased to grow my client base and professional network, approaching accessible property with a commercial perspective.