Common Ground Found For New Urbanists and the Disabled

Disability-rights activists have criticized New Urbanists for raising entrances above ground level, which hampers accessibility. The 'Lifelong Communities' charrette in Atlanta found the two groups mending ways.
April 27, 2009, 2pm PDT | The Intrepid Staff
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"For [Andrés] Duany, the Miami architect, and for Eleanor Smith, the Atlanta-based founder of the disability rights organization Concrete Change, the charrette turned into an opportunity to forge agreement on at least some elements of a joint agenda. As a result of the discussions, Duany acted to "ensure that all mandates for elevated entries will be removed from the SmartCode," said Scott Ball, charrette project manager for Duany Plater-Zyberk & Co. (DPZ).

'What I'm happy about is that there's been a shift in the thinking,' Smith said at the conclusion of the week-long charrette. 'The dialogue was really different - more cooperative and less antagonistic than in the past. So hopefully we're at a turning point.

Over the past several years, Concrete Change has criticized new urbanist house and apartment building designs that put entrances one or more steps above ground level - a height that makes porches more habitable and give interiors more privacy from the street, but at the expense of preventing wheelchair-bound people from entering."

Thanks to Renee Brutvan

Published on Wednesday, April 15, 2009 in New Urban News
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