Remodelling a sloping urban open space with a heritage building is no easy task. Taking a universal design approach is one way to solve the issues. The re-design of Schandorff Square shows how to turn a parking lot into a park using a universal design framework.
The problem was making a city space, with a heritage wall and gate, on a sloping site into a pleasant place to walk, and to have informal get-togethers.
The height difference of seven metres was the main challenge. But with some universal design thinking to drive the design they came up with a successful inclusive and accessible design. Lots of seating areas and visual contrast increase the accessibility of the site. In addition, designers also found the right mix of plants to suit people with allergies.
See more detail on the story about this universally designed open space and the difficulties they overcame. Several photos illustrate the final design, and the designer explains their universal design approach in a Vimeo video.
Editor’s Note: Norway has almost no flat land and is at the forefront of rolling out universal design everywhere. So the myth that you can’t do universal design on sloping sites is put to bed.
Re-modelling a city park
A landscape study brings together aspects of universal design and accessibility with wellbeing. Using an existing park in a Polish city as a case study, researchers had to weigh up the advantages and disadvantages of eliminating some features in favour of others.
For example, the loss of a sports field in favour of a new recreational feature suited to a wider range of age groups. A sensory garden and a garden pavilion where food stands could operate are a major plus. The paper goes into some technical detail, with lots of charts showing their assessment criteria.
When the remodelling of the park was complete, the final assessment phase showed increased visitation. However, getting to the park was still problematic due to the poor accessibility from nearby streets. This is a key point and something emphasised in the Everyone Can Play guideline that has the three key elements for a successful play space: Can I get there? Can I play? Can I stay?