IncluDesign – Designing Beyond the Rules and Regs

IncluDesign – Designing Beyond the Rules and Regs

Submitted by Chiye Azuma

I still remember how vivid my world view became after I had taken my first plant id class at UCLA Extension some many years ago.  Street trees that were until then anonymous brown trunks with generic leaves had Last and first Names  — botanical names, to be sure, but beyond that were individual identities, and I learned their habits, their likes and dislikes; and I felt empowered to know that behind each of these trees there was a deliberate choice, be it right or wrong, for it to be chosen and planted where it was.

Just follow the yellow striped tiles around the big utility pole, and watch your head!

I think back to that experience, now, as I visit my aging parents in Japan and accompany them on daily tasks and errands around town. I’m seeing and noticing the small things that make a difference — for seniors like my parents who aren’t as nimble or energetic as they once were, and for me, the visitor saddled with cumbersome luggage.  Navigating the city streets and public transit with my parents, my eyes and senses are opened to a different way of appreciating the designed and built environment, which strangely enough, brought back long-ago memories of when I learned to tell a Siberian from an American Elm.

As landscape architects engaged in creating public spaces, I’m guessing that it is easy for many of us to get caught up in balancing real world constraints, aka codes and regulations, versus design.  Yet, I’d like to think that it’s not one way or the other, or that design needs to be sacrificed in order to meet code.

Why we include seating in playgrounds

Universal design and universal access is a big topic, and I am hoping that in upcoming posts, you will join me and Tim Gilbert as we explore inclusionary design, and designing beyond compliance with codes.

Any thoughts or comments, or topics that you’d like to share?  Let us know by sending us a message:  includesign (at ) cazuma (dot) com


IncluDesign is a joint column on universal access and design by Chiye Azuma, ASLA and Tim Gilbert, ASLA.  Chiye Azuma is District Landscape Architect/CIP Manager for the Livermore Area Recreation and Park District, overseeing the District’s planning, design and project delivery of capital projects.  She’s been recertified as a Certified Playground Safety Inspector since 1999, and is currently serving on the National Certification Board of the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA).  Tim Gilbert is Principal and Director of Universal Design Services with MIG, Inc. in Berkeley.  Tim is ICC-certified (International Code Council) as an Accessibility Inspector/Plans Examiner and certified by the State of California as an Access Specialist (CASp).



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