Interesting article from Popular Science about Vancouver passing an ordinance to prohibit the installation of doorknobs in new housing. Levers, it seems, are more ergonomically desirable – especially for older folks and those with arthritis.
In Vancouver, the humble doorknob is being phased out. Kind of. Effective in March, new housing will be required to install levers on doors and faucets, instead of the good-ol’ round knobs of our forefathers.
Cue: libertarian cries of government overreach and nanny-state-ism and evil G-men in suits entering homes and stealing all of our doorknobs despite our constitutional right to them. Fine. But anyone against the idea might feel differently when they’re pushing 80.
The idea behind Vancouver’s decision is that, despite being of a more vintage grade than levers, doorknobs kind of suck. Ergonomics studies investigating different types of water-dispersing mechanisms have shown that lever-style faucets are far preferable to their knob counterparts. (Yes, there are studies for everything.) Knobs, you see, involve pronating and supinating your wrist, (stretching it, basically) which is less fun for everyone, but probably won’t make you run out and immediately and switch to levers. Maybe you like your nice art deco knobs.
Unless, that is, you’re elderly. You get older, maybe you get arthritis, and this doorknob-to-lever issue stops being academic. Other studies have shown that the type of handle a door has is important to the elderly, and that lever-style knobs function better. One of the most in-depth studies I could dig up, a look at homes for the elderly in Malaysia, went so far as to study the actual measurements of people in homes for the elderly, and apply that to ergonomic door design.