The American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) has published a new guide to universal design, the latest in a series of guides that include hundreds of freely-available case studies, research studies, articles, and resources from non-profit organizations around the world.
Everyone navigates the built environment differently, with abilities changing across a person’s lifespan. Universal design means that everyone, regardless of ability or age, can access and participate in public life.
ASLA’s guide provides a comprehensive view of which communities are underserved by the built environment. It also offers a set of new universal design principles that address the needs of deaf or hard of hearing, blind or low vision, autistic, neurodevelopmentally and/or intellectually disabled, and mobility-disabled adults and children, as well as concerns for older adults.
The new design principles identified ensure that public spaces are:
- Walkable / Traversable
Universal design projects and solutions in the guide are organized around different types of public space that landscape architects and planners design:
The guide was developed with the assistance of an advisory group that includes disabled landscape architects, designers, and experts:
- Danielle Arigoni, director of livable communities, AARP;
- Brian Bainnson, ASLA, founder, Quatrefoil Inc.;
- Melissa Erikson, ASLA, principal, director of community design services, MIG, Inc.;
- Emily O’Mahoney, FASLA, partner, Gentile Glas Holloway O’Mahoney & Associates;
- Clare Cooper Marcus, Hon. ASLA, professor emerita of architecture and landscape architecture and environmental planning, University of California, Berkeley;
- Danielle Toronyi, OLIN;
- Alexa Vaughn, Associate ASLA, Deaf landscape designer at OLIN.
The guide was written by Ian Dillon, master’s of landscape architecture candidate at the University of Pennsylvania, and Jared Green, senior communications manager at ASLA.