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Secretary of the Future

What should the bathroom of the future look like?

Marketplace Staff Aug 31, 2016
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Micah Bazant for Marketplace

For our Secretary of the Future series, we asked a bunch of experts what the public restrooms of the future might look like.

It’s a potentially awkward topic, but as we’ve seen this year, the humble bathroom is the source of much debate and our experts found a lot of room for improvement.

As we were plumbing for answers, we turned the question over to you: what do you want to see in future restrooms? We took all of your suggestions and artist Micah Bazant used them to create the Bathrooms of the Future. Check out the full illustration, along with your suggestions, below. 

1. “If gender neutral bathrooms are going to become the standard (which makes sense), then we have to design a toilet that takes care of raising and lowering the seat without touching it. Perhaps a pedal on the floor similar to the mechanism to open a hands free garbage can.” – Lia Paradis

 2. “Deeper restroom stalls, so we don’t have to straddle the bowl to open the door. Architects seem to allow for door clearance without thinking of the space occupied by a person standing between the toilet and the door.” – Lori Orme Raborg 

3 and 4. “There is no door on the outside of the restroom (like school bathrooms) for safety and sanitary reasons … A lightboard that tells which restroom stalls are occupied or out-of-service (like in Taiwan trains) would also make bathrooms more efficient.” -Sarah Cotterman-Muffin

5. “More private stalls (making any kind of gender distinction irrelevant) and more communal sinks.” -Shelley Denison

6. “Could we please just make the stall doors without gaps? Is that so hard?” -Camille Parker Grow

7. “Footpedal spring-loaded valves to operate the sink — no more hand valves or those stupid electronic ones that either dont work so often or get stuck on!” -Christopher Maxwell

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