Accessibility Design Principles for Landscape Architecture – The Terrain

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2021 ASLA Professional General Design Honor Award. Inspirational trips for all. Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming. HDLA / image: Charlie Craighead

New ASLA Research Report: Free downloadable resource available to ASLA members. Self-study exam available for 1.25 PDH (LA CES/HSW).

In order to lead the planning and design of inclusive, healthy, equitable and safe environments, landscape architects have an obligation to know and work within accessibility standards. To address this need, ASLA’s Professional Practice Committee created Accessibility Design Principles for Landscape Architecture: ADA, ABA and other accessibility standards and guidelines as a technical overview of national accessibility standards and guidelines.

The primary focus of this document is the Americans with Disabilities Act of 2010 Standards for Accessible Design (ADA Standards). These standards exist within a complex web of conventions, codes, and documents related to national, state, and local governmental and nongovernmental organizations. Each entity focuses on its role in supporting and achieving greater accessibility in the environment and society at large.

The purpose of this overview is to encourage landscape architects and designers to take a broad view of accessible design. This will help designers avoid missing significant and unique variations in accessibility requirements that may apply to a project.

ASLA members can To download Accessibility Design Principles for Landscape Architecture: ADA, ABA and other accessibility standards and guidelines for free and can buy and pass a self-study exam to earn 1.25 PDH (THE CES/HSW).

ASLA publishes ASLA Research Reports to encourage professionals to share their specialized expertise in landscape architecture. ASLA views these reports as important contributions to a necessary and ongoing dialogue among a large and diverse community of landscape architecture scholars and practitioners.

Dilworth Park's fully accessible and flexible Canvas Fountain is a nod to the historic central plaza's former use as Philadelphia's first aqueduct and public fountain.
ASLA Professional Urban Design Excellence Award 2020. Dilworth Park. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. OLIN. /image: OLIN/ASLA Affiliate Sahar Coston-Hardy

Many thanks to the authors and contributors of this report.

Contributing authors:

  • Drew Braley, ASLABrowning day
  • Carl Kelemen, FASLAKMS Design Group, LLC
  • Nate Lowry, ASLAMackay Sposito
  • David Milligan, FASLAIntersectionDFM
  • Emily O’Mahoney, FASLA, 2GHO | Gentile Holloway O’Mahoney & Associates, Inc.
  • Jason Radice, ASLAUniversity of Maryland
  • Jeffrey Tandul, ASLAEnvironments

ASLA Accessibility Subcommittee Peer Reviewers:

  • Shawn Balon, ASLAShowcase for community design
  • Chris Dacus, FASLA
  • Sally Horsey, ASLAHalff Associates, Inc.
  • Patricia Matamoros, ASLA PartnerSavino Miller Design Studio
  • Phil McDade, FASLAPLMLA
  • Alexa Vaughn, ASLAMIG

Visit asla.org/researchreports for the full catalog of ASLA Research Reports, including:

  • Accessibility Design Principles for Landscape Architecture: ADA, ABA and other accessibility standards and guidelines

  • An Introduction to Landscape Performance + Metrics for Landscape Architects: Measuring Landscape Performance in the Field

  • Suburban Street Stormwater Retrofit: An Introduction to Residential Right-of-Way Improvement

  • Integration of BIM technology in landscape architecture, 2nd edition

  • Guidance: Principles and Practices, 2nd Edition

  • Plant soils for landscape architecture projects

  • Therapeutic Garden Design Forum

  • Pit and Quarry Reclamation Planning, 2nd Edition

  • Geographic Information Systems: Using Tools for Informed Growth, 2nd Edition

  • Successful Ecological Restoration: A Framework for Planning/Design Professionals

  • Green roof infrastructure

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