Creating a walkway with universal design

Stovner Tower in Oslo. Aerial view showing the looping walkway built on large timber poles - a walkway with universal design.Lookout towers are usually built with steps, so how can you make them accessible? The answer is of course a ramp, but not just any ramp. The Stovner Tower in Oslo shows how you can create a beautiful walkway with universal design. It curves and loops for 260 metres until it reaches 15 metres above ground. This provides excellent views of the city and landscape beyond. Located on the forest edge it is a destination for everyone to enjoy.

The project is described in detail with several images on the DOGA website. The key part of the design was the co-design process and community consultations. This was essential for gaining community support at the beginning of the project.

The path is wide enough for two prams or wheelchairs to pass each other. The slightly inward sloping railing gives an additional sense of safety.  Lighting at night makes it attractive as well as safe and accessible both day and night. 

The Stovner Tower illuminated at night.The tower has become a popular destination for both locals and visitors. It’s used for weddings, meditation, exercise, celebrations and encourages people to experience nature.

This project is an example of collaboration between local government, landscape architects and contractors. Universal design drove both the design process and design outcomes. It won a landscape architecture award for universal design in 2020. There’s a video showing it with snow and lighting on the visitor website.

Norway has universal design written into their planning and zoning codes. Other articles on Norway are: 

Schandorff Square: Parking lot to park 

Taming the wilderness with inclusive design