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Archive for the ‘ACCESSIBILITY’ Category

"Say Manure!" -Rich Haag. (Photo by Daniel Jost)

“Say Manure!” -Rich Haag.
(Photo by Daniel Jost)

AUSTIN, TEXAS—The Council of Educators in Landscape Architecture conference began on Wednesday with a rousing and hilarious rant by Richard Haag, the 89-year-old landscape architect from Seattle best known for his design of Gas Works Park and his early advocacy for edible plants. The speech veered in numerous directions. At one point Haag polled the audience to see what topics they wanted him to focus on, and, to his surprise, they chose trees. Some of the most memorable lines and moments:

“I have known for 50 years that landscape architecture is the fine art of visual swindles.” [Arguing that no rendering can truly capture the landscape in all its complexity.]

“Landscape architecture is the only profession that embraces nature as a lover. Biophilic, we were biophilic before they started combining words like that.”

On the landscape architecture profession: “Right now we’re on the top. We have what I call the power of procreation. But it can be threatened by other technologies moving in, and we damn well better take control of it.”

“Every idea you have, give it away, because you get a better one in return.” (more…)

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Private homes are rarely accessible to people in wheelchairs. Jackie Simon, a real estate agent from Montgomery Village, Maryland, hopes to change that. “We still allow our single-family homes to be built with front porches and steps at every entry,” Simon lamented in the August 6 Washington Examiner.  “If your neighbor is having a PTA meeting in her home and you [are] a wheelchair user, you can’t go to that meeting,”

Simon is part of the “Visitability” movement, which aims to eliminate barriers that make it difficult for disabled people to find housing and visit the homes of friends, family members, and neighbors. Concrete Change, an organization at the center of the movement, argues that all new homes should have three simple features: at least one entrance without stairs, a half bathroom on the main floor, and interior doors with 32 inches or more of clearance space.

You can read more about visitability on the group’s web site and in a pamphlet put together by the University of Buffalo’s School of Architecture and Planning. A few localities, including Pima County, Arizona, have adopted visitability requirements for new houses. But some have questioned mandating visitability. Click the following links to read about concerns raised by prominent New Urbanists and the National Association of Homebuilders.

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From the June 2012 issue of LAM:

Rian K. Long

By Elizabeth S. Padjen

Brick, beans, and cod—you know we’re talking about Boston. But nobody bakes beans anymore, and the feds have clamped down on cod fishing. Now, even brick is under siege. In the country’s most famous walking city, the dominance of the venerable paving material has been challenged by the decidedly more pedestrian concrete and asphalt.

Leading the attack on brick sidewalks is the city’s Commission for Persons with Disabilities (CPD), which believes that clay pavers do not—and, perhaps more important, cannot—meet the guidelines established by the state’s access code and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Both codes require continuous smooth walking surfaces with no variations greater than a quarter of an inch. Although brick sidewalks are blamed for tripping hazards and obstacles to canes used by the blind, the most frequently cited concern is wheelchair vibration—a sensation similar to the buh-bump, buh-bump rhythm familiar to anyone who has ever pulled a wheeled suitcase over uneven pavers or driven over cobblestone.

(more…)

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From the May 2012 issue of LAM:

2010 ADA Standards for Accessible Design

Ten ways the new ADA regulations will affect landscape architects.

By Daniel Jost, ASLA

A major upgrade to the fine points of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) has gone into effect, and landscape architects will have to take note of the many changes that will affect their work. March 15 was the compliance deadline for revised standards of the ADA that were issued by the U.S. Department of Justice in September 2010. The new standards include a number of changes that will significantly affect the design of landscapes and public spaces and, in the process, make many more types of activities available to people with disabilities. (more…)

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PLAY IT SAFE

Worried about how the new ADA regulations will affect projects you’re working on? An article in LAM’s May issue breaks out 10 changes that you’ll want to know about. In the meantime, the International Play Equipment Manufacturers Association has come up with a checklist that specifically looks at what’s required in terms of accessibility for playgrounds.

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U.S. FHWA Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices

New regulations related to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) went into effect yesterday without much fanfare.  Many of these standards will affect landscape architects, including new rules for recreational boating facilities, fishing piers and platforms, golf facilities, mini golf courses,  play areas, swimming pools, spas, and stages.

New construction that begins on or after March 15, 2012, must comply with the 2010 ADA Standards for Accessible Design.* A short summary of the changes can be found in a document on the ADA website, here, and a complete copy of the new standards and guidelines for meeting them are available here. The Department of Justice also released a separate memo in January, providing technical assistance related to its new pool and spa regulations. (more…)

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