Post image for Beyond the ADA: Universal Design and Inclusion

Beyond the ADA: Universal Design and Inclusion

September 5, 2017

Wednesday, September 27
$75-175 | 5 HSW


This course meets the California ADA continue education requirements.

Lunch will be provided!


The ADA – Americans with Disabilities Act – is one of the most significant pieces of social legislation of the 20th century, following its predecessors to reaffirm the rights of all individuals to make personal choices and for equal access to opportunities. In addition, the ADA recognizes and reaffirms the diverse nature of disability.

But, for most design professionals, there is confusion between the intent of the ADA, as a civil rights law, and various related design guidelines such as UFAS, the ADAAG, the FHAG, DOJ Standards and building codes. The term ADA has become synonymous with a building code section, stripped of its underlying purpose and heart. Product literature claiming to be ADA Approved or Compliant only underscores the confusion between civil rights and design guidelines.

Secondly, most ADA training sessions tout themes such as issues to avoid or how to avoid complaints, establishing an alarmist tone and presenting people with disabilities as the problem – an adversarial position. That training is targeted to design professionals, agencies and clients, not on behalf of people with disabilities. This style of training does nothing to respect individual needs and the diversity of the ADA.

Luckily, we believe that architects and landscape architects are among the more progressive of professionals and, when it comes to promoting inclusion and respect for the individual, they would genuinely be interested in going beyond mere code compliance and would see such enhancement as another opportunity for better design. The

Richard Bosch Architect, and Georgena Moran, with facilitation assistance from Sharon Mitchell, joined by Sandra Burtzos, Project Manager, Portland Parks & Recreation, and Joshua Klyber, Project Manager, Code Unlimited

Purpose of the training session
The overall purpose of this training is to shift the focus of the design community away from mere code compliance to recognizing that the architectural professions, more than others, can further the original intent of the ADA – to promote the idea of individual choice and life pursuits.

Architects will come away with refreshing discoveries and clarifications:

  • The nature of disability is personal and individual and should not be categorized;
  • People with disabilities seek life experiences way beyond designated accessible facilities and, in fact, may consider predetermined accessibility solutions as limiting, perhaps even segregating; and
  • People with disabilities tend to view their situation with pride, knowledge and, yes, even humor.

The presenters – three groupings of topics
The two primary presenters will be Richard Bosch Architect, and Georgena Moran, with facilitation assistance from Sharon Mitchell.

Richard, the team leader, is an architect and accessibility expert with 15 years experience as the ADA staff architect at Portland Parks and Recreation, and over 25 years when including other public agencies, notably the State of Hawaii.

Georgena conducts ADA site assessments of existing buildings and facilities, as well as being ICC Certified as an Accessibility Inspector/Plans Examiner; as a wheelchair user, she will provide an essential and refreshing perspective.

They will be joined by Sharon Mitchell, a local media specialist, also experienced in facility assessment, and with public and media presentations. Georgena and Sharon are the principals of Access for All and Mind on Accessibility, WBE [woman-owned] and ESB [emerging small] businesses.

All three are core members of Access Recreation, an ad hoc committee promoting coordinated trail design and information sharing. AR received a Making a Difference award from the City of Portland and a three-year grant from Metro to conduct trail reviews in the Portland metro area.

Two new presenters will provide greater topic diversity
Over the past five years, these three have presented on several occasions at the AIA, and many other venues, always with an emphasis on the civil rights intent of the ADA. This time they will be joined by two other individuals, both project managers, one from Portland Parks & Recreation, Sandra Burtzos, and the other from CodeUnlimited, Joshua Klyber. Their topics will complement the civil rights emphasis, by providing a more diverse and technical counterpart.

Sandra Burtzos is a registered landscape architect who manages capital projects at Portland Parks & Recreation. Sandra has a passion for children’s play and learning environments, having attained a Masters of Education with a Montessori focus. She has merged her two career paths to lead projects to develop unique play environments and public spaces within Portland’s parks system. Recent projects Sandra has led include Westmoreland Park’s Natural Play Area, Dawson Park, and Couch Playground and Harper’s Playground, both universally-accessible, inclusive play environments.

Sandra will provide a one-hour segment dealing with the current state of accessible playgrounds and the newest in accessible playground equipment – but with the emphasis that Inclusion is the ultimate goal, not just accessibility. For this reason, members of the local chapter ASLA and other landscape architects will want to join this presentation.

Joshua Klyber is a licensed ICC Accessibility Inspector/Plans Examiner. With CodeUnlimited for the past 5 years, he has been providing accessibility consultation to architects, developers, and owners in order to facilitate permit approvals, lessen liability, and assist maintenance forecasting. Always looking towards the intent of the codes, he looks for creative solutions that satisfy both the requirements of the standards and the needs of the clients and users.

Joshua, as the team expert on local and California building codes, will provide two segments:

  • the first will deal with the importance of understanding implications of Scoping and application of the Safe harbor rule, especially as it relates to the Fair Housing Guidelines;
  • the second, joined by Richard, will be an interactive session exploring common mistakes and a series of discussion topics, using examples from the class members.