New Residential Inclusive Design pilot credit helps increase accessibility

Our mission at the Mayor’s Commission for Persons with Disabilities in the City of Boston is to ensure that new buildings and spaces are accessible and designed with people of all abilities in mind. With that as a foundation, we worked alongside USGBC to adapt the LEED pilot credit for commercial Inclusive Design, published in 2019, and conceive its residential counterpart: the new Residential Inclusive Design pilot credit.

For the past seven years, the Boston Mayor’s Commission for Persons with Disabilities has worked to earn the trust of both Boston’s disabilities community and its talented design community through our advocacy for universal design principles and best practices. One of our most useful communication tools is our Accessibility Checklist; if your design team has been through the City of Boston’s Article 80 approval process, you may be familiar with it.

The checklist prompts design teams to think about inclusion during the early stages of the design, when there is the most significant opportunity to create universal design elements. Here in Boston, and through our contributions to this LEED pilot credit, we strive for more access than the minimum code requirements, which results in more inclusive design.

We are excited to offer this checklist as an Alternative Compliance Path (ACP) to achieving the pilot credit. As an ACP, the checklist will serve as a new tool to incentivize accessibility for projects in Boston. Projects in Canada will be able to use the Gold Level of the Rick Hansen Foundation Accessibility Certification as an Alternative Compliance Path as well. We invite other cities around the world to join us as well.

LEED’s Residential Inclusive Design pilot credit gives us a framework for increased accessibility and inclusion in buildings and rewards projects that use inclusive strategies, such as universal wayfinding, innovative adjustable technology, and the addition of a greater number of accessible housing units.

LEED offers this pilot credit to make space for innovations in universal inclusion and architectural access. This pilot credit will benefit people of all abilities, from our growing number of older adults to our young families pushing baby strollers and for the entire disability community.

We celebrate our well-established relationship with our constituents and the design community. We plan to continue having important conversations on creating spaces that promote equity and inclusion for those who live, work and play in our communities.

View the new pilot credit