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In honor of the 30th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, ASLA-NY is hosting a virtual panel to explore the influence of ADA in accessible landscape design. The panel will be moderated by Len Hopper who will start us off with a background of the ADA. This will be followed by presentations by Karen Braitmayer, FAIA, the founder and managing principal of Studio Pacifica in Seattle, and Victor Calise, commissioner for the Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities in New York City.
Karen Braitmayer, FAIA is the founder and managing principal of Studio Pacifica, an accessibility consulting firm in Seattle. She and her team provide consulting services to local governments, school districts, architects, engineers, companies and individuals concerned with complying with Federal laws and State codes, as well as simply creating spaces that work for the unique needs of individual users. Karen also leads presentations and workshops around the country to further educate professionals about codes, standards, and inclusion.
Early in her career, it occurred to Karen that as an architect and a wheelchair user, it was possible for her to make a unique contribution to the field. Her professional focus on accessibility and her advocacy efforts for inclusion have certainly done that!
As a registered architect, Karen was admitted to the prestigious College of Fellows by the American Institute of Architects (AIA). In 2010 she was appointed by President Barack Obama to the United States Access Board, a policy position that she still holds today. Most recently she was awarded the 2019 Whitney M. Young Jr. award by the American Institute of Architects in recognition of her leadership in civil rights for people with disabilities, social sustainability, public policy and universal design. Karen is also an active volunteer and non-profit board member.
Victor Calise – As Commissioner of the New York City Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities, Victor Calise advocates for the disability community in all City decision-making.
Commissioner Calise chairs the Accessibility Committee of the City Building Code and leads efforts to integrate people with disabilities into the workforce through the NYC:ATWORK employment initiative. He also ensures that disability is at the forefront of the city’s emerging technologies including communication modes, autonomous vehicles, and digital accessibility.
Recognized as an expert on disability, the Commissioner frequently participates in national and international conferences. A dedicated public servant, Calise previously led efforts within the Department of Parks and Recreation to make the city’s park system—one of the most complex in the world—accessible in accordance with the Inclusive Design Guidelines.
Calise—an avid athlete—competed in the 1998 Paralympic Games as a member of the U.S. national sled hockey team. A native New Yorker, he is married with two daughters.
Len Hopper, RLA, FASLA, LEED AP, SITES AP, ISA is a landscape architect with Weintraub Diaz, an award winning landscape architecture firm known for creativity and innovation. The firm strives for design excellence in meeting the needs of clients, users, context, environment, health, and social issues as part of distinctive design solutions.
Len teaches the technology sequence of courses in the CCNY Masters in Landscape Architecture Program. He served as the Editor-In-Chief of the first edition of Landscape Architectural Graphic Standards and authored the Graphic Standards Field Guides to both Hardscapes and Softscapes. Len served as a committee member with the Sustainable Sites Initiative, a multi-disciplinary partnership of the American Society of Landscape Architects, the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center and the United States Botanic Garden, helping to establish a set of guidelines and performance benchmarks that provides the basis for the Sustainable Sites Initiative Rating System and User Guide.
Len Hopper is an active member of the American Society of Landscape Architects, serving as National President for 2000-2001. He served as President of the Landscape Architecture Foundation for 2005-2006. In recognition of his accomplishments and contributions, Len was elected to ASLA’s Council of Fellows in 1994 and was recipient of the President’s Medal in 2005. He received the NY ASLA Education Award in 2011.
1 LACES CEU (pending)
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