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The Power of Inclusion: Universal Design in Landscape

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What makes a home or commercial building “visitable?” A level entry is one thing but how do you get there in the first place? How we structure the built environment makes a difference, and that includes the exterior environment—from site preparation and size and approach for use by all ages and abilities—whether residential, commercial or in public open spaces. Already built? Sometimes landscape modifications accommodate independent living. By incorporating the principles of Universal Design into landscape design—especially from the start—people are encouraged to fully participate in the indoor and outdoor environment.

Debra Guenther, Mithun

Debra Guenther, Mithun

The Northwest Universal Design Council (NWUDC) will examine many aspects of Universal Design in the landscape, from site preparation to aging in place. On November 15, 2016, the NWUDC and Seattle Commission for People with disAbilities welcome landscape architect Debra Guenther, FASLA, LEED AP BD+C, from Mithun, and architect Karen Braitmayer, FAIA, Karen Braitmayer Accessible Design and Accessibility Consulting, who will discuss the role of landscape design in improving accessibility and “visitability.”

Debra Guenther is a partner at Mithun, a local firm that has won many awards for “green” architecture and design, including public spaces that support healthy living and healthier neighborhoods. As a landscape architect, Debra has developed a diverse set of projects, and maintains a keen focus on policy and practice related to equity and sustainability. Learn more at

Karen Braitmayer, Accessible Design and Accessibility Consulting

Karen Braitmayer, Accessible Design and Accessibility Consulting

Karen Braitmayer is an architect who currently owns her own accessibility consulting practice. She has presented at two NWUDC events in recent years as a U.S. Access Board member, a position she was appointed to by President Barack Obama. Read more about Karen at

“The Power of Inclusion: Universal Design in Landscape” takes place on Tuesday, November 15, from 2:00–4:00 p.m. in the Seattle Municipal Tower Room 4050/4060 (700 5th Avenue, Seattle). For directions and parking information, click here.

This presentation is free and open to the public. CART captioning will be provided. RSVP and/or request other accommodations at

Contributor Irene Stewart staffs the Northwest Universal Design Council. For more information, visit or e-mail