The Americans with Disabilities Act ensures that people living with various physical and mental challenges can make their way around cities. But just because you can technically get somewhere doesn’t mean it’s a pleasant experience. People in wheelchairs are still a third more likely to be killed by cars than walking pedestrians. Elderly people can struggle to find a place to rest. And kids with developmental challenges might be overstimulated by activity around them.
That’s why the American Society of Landscape Architects, a professional organization for 15,000 landscape architects in the United States, has just published a guide to applying universal design principles—or designing for everyone—in parks, streets, and other public spaces. Better still, the guide is rich with examples of cities that have done things right.
Take a look at the slideshow above to see how design can make our cities a more pleasant place for everyone to live. Notably, the changes aren’t even always that hard to make. Sometimes you just need wider paths, some well-placed plants, and a softer touch with light and color. Such updates aren’t necessarily that costly, they just require the intent and concern of city planners to do things right. To learn more, check out the full guide online.