GEO 150 / ENV 150
Environmental Science and Policy
Campus, Mapping, Mapmaking, GIS, Accessibility, ADA accessibility, Paths
With Smith College being a residential campus for a diverse population of students, accessibility around campus is extremely important for the wellbeing of these students. All students should have access to physically accessible paths to move around campus.
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was passed in 1990. The act addresses a wide range of topics related to accessibility, including but not limited to: physical accessibility and accessible design, equal employment opportunity, discrimination prevention, and benefits. This project focuses specifically on physical accessibility across Smith College campus. The standards referenced for the rest of this report are based on the most recently updated ADA standards from 2010.
Most of the buildings on campus were built before the passing of the ADA, and because of this they are not required to meet ADA requirements unless they are subject to large-scale renovations. In order for Smith to truly be an equitable institution, it must be proactive and implement changes to make campus more accessible as soon as possible instead of just waiting for major renovations. Through this project, we will investigate the extent to which the campus is accessible to all students through evaluating select criteria for campus pathways and identifying potential areas for improvement. In our data collection, we prioritized paths on the basis of being essential for traveling across campus and accessing frequently used academic buildings, parking lots, and facilities. We also primarily focused on paths because our community partner is the Smith College Botanic Garden, who wanted to know how they could use Smith’s 21st century landscaping plan to improve accessibility on campus. The criteria we chose to focus on include path width, the presence of cracks/potholes/obstacles that hinder accessibility, path slope, the presence of stairs, the presence of railings, and path material. All of these factors are important to consider when thinking about potential physical barriers that can hinder movement.
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© 2023 The Authors
Gould, Lily; Kraft, Olivia; Pasbjerg, Allison; and Schildbach, Mia, "Smith College Campus ADA Accessibility Report" (2023). Class Project, Smith College, Northampton, MA.