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Inclusion & Access for Disabled Folx in Landscape Architecture

Alexa Vaughn-Brainard & Danielle Toronyi
Tuesday, 2/23
Presentation - 3:00pm - 4:30pm EST / 12:00pm - 1:30pm PST
Discussion + Happ Hour - 6:00 - 7:00pm EST / 3:00-4:00pm PST

Co-sponsored by the AIA Housing and Community Development Knowledge Committee

Session Description:

Alexa Vaughn-Brainard and Danielle Toronyi have worked to discover parallels between their own communities and different disabled communities’ needs, with the over-arching question: how can landscape designers, architects, and planners create more accessible and inclusive landscapes for disabled folks across the spectrum of disability? Alexa will share her work with the Deaf community, DeafScape: Applying DeafSpace to Landscape, followed by Danielle discussing designing for Autistic and Neurodivergent people.

They will help the audience become more comfortable in understanding how to work with disabled stakeholders and experts in the design process, to encourage intersectional collaboration, and to educate on some methods for implementing principles of Universal Design to the public realm, through the lenses of the Deaf community and the Autistic and Neurodivergent community. This will furthermore encourage a social model view of disabled people (away from the predominant medical model worldview), to illustrate that the built environment needs to be fixed and designed to adapt to disabled people, not the other way around.

Alexa has continued this research through her fellowship with the Landscape Architecture Foundation (LAF) – the Fellowship for Leadership and Innovation – by interviewing disabled experts in design and related fields, to discover methods to create a living toolkit for landscape architecture and allied fields to use as a guide. These methods will be discussed as precedent, for understanding and use by attendees in their own design projects, from process through product. Resources, predominantly created by disabled people, will also be shared.

The discussion between Alexa and Danielle will be open to Q& A and discussion. Alexa and Danielle would like to share their experience working with disabled people with the audience and to answer questions about methods, implementation, and future dissemination of forthcoming research.

#findyourpeople #learntogether #designwithcommunities #communitydesign


Speaker Bios:

Alexa Vaughn-Brainard is a Deaf landscape designer in OLIN’s Los Angeles office, a 2018 University Olmsted Scholar (UC Berkeley), and a 2020 LAF Olmsted Fellow. Her research explores methods to more effectively include Disabled people as stakeholders and experts in the design process and she is currently working on creating a living toolkit for landscape architects and planners to use to create accessible and inclusive landscapes. She has served as advisor to the ASLA Universal Design Guide and is actively involved in OLIN’s People Lab. Her work in DeafScape: Applying DeafSpace to Landscape, originally published in Ground Up Journal, has been widely featured.

Danielle Toronyi is the Research Development + Knowledge Manager at OLIN, a landscape architecture, planning, and urban design studio in Philadelphia, PA, USA. Danielle curates OLIN's information resources and manages an extensive library and archive collection. She also co-facilitates OLIN Labs, a platform for OLIN's research, development, and education communities of practice. Danielle’s research is situated within Universal Design and is focused on designing accessible sensory, particularly acoustic, public urban space. Her recently published articles include “Neurodiversity in the Sensorial City" (KERB) and “Hidden Geographies: Design for Neurodivergent Ways of Hearing and Sensing” (Cities & Health).


February 23rd, 2021 from  3:00 PM to  4:30 PM
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