A qualitative study on how Danish landscape architectural firms understand and work with accessibility

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During the past decade, Danish policies and legislation have increasingly focused on accessibility, which, by virtue of adopting the UN Sustainable Development Goals, has spurred new demands for the expertise of Danish landscape architects. Surveys indicate as much as 27% of the Danish population have a physical disability. Therefore, landscape architectural firms play an important role in designing accessible, public and green spaces, which could reduce the number of people who experience disability in their everyday life arising from inaccessible designs. Despite this, peer-reviewed research has not attempted to qualitatively understand how landscape architects approach accessibility in their daily practice.

Based on a grounded theory analysis of 15 semi-structured qualitative interviews with randomly selected landscape architectural firms, this study aims to describe how landscape architectural firms approach and perceive accessibility.

The results of the study show a complex understanding of accessibility among practising landscape architects, with firms focusing on the role of Danish building regulations, the programming of accessibility and professional aesthetic dilemmas. Moreover, accessibility is perceived with some frustration as an element that takes valuable space from green areas due to clients' lack of willingness to provide resources for integrated solutions, landscape architects' own limited expertise and knowledge of integrated accessibility solutions and insufficient regulatory leeway.

As accessibility is a major element of the tasks within contemporary landscape architecture, graduates need additional training in accessibility, which, in turn, necessitates additional research into accessible design solutions.

Original languageEnglish
JournalArchnet-IJAR : International Journal of Architectural Research
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)536-553
Publication statusPublished - 2022

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