ADA after 30 Years
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ADA after 30 Years

Apr 29, 2022
Video Length:  1:09:25
Presented By:  Jeremiah Farmer

It's been 30 years since the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Join us for a recap of the goals and intentions behind ADA, plus a discussion of what the next 30 years might hold. For example, is it time to pass another Amendment Act to extend the ADA further, or should we continue to wait for more court decisions to pave the accessibility ramps of the future? As with all our webinars, this presentation will be live-streamed for those who have difficulty hearing.

Webinar Contents:

Note: The following catalog of content covered in this webinar is time stamped to allow you to follow along or skip to sections of the video that are relevant to your questions. You can also search for content on this page using the FIND command in your browser (CTRL + F in Windows, Command + F in Mac OS.)


  • Intro/TOC
  • Brief Recap of the ADA
  • Timeline of Events Since
  • Law vs. Implementation vs. Reality
  • Looking to the Next 30 Years

0:00 – 5:59: Intro/TOC

6:00 – 19:36: Brief Recap of the ADA

What is the ADA? (6:00)

Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990

  • Continued the groundwork laid in section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973
  • Prohibits discrimination based on disability in all areas of public life
  • Establishes accessibility requirements on public accommodations
  • Strong focus on employment opportunities for the disabled
  • Unique in its enforcement, via civil lawsuits


Timeline of events up to ADA (10:45):

  • 1791: Bill of Rights passed: Speech, religion, assembly, search, seizure, trial
  • 1868: 14th Amendment: Formerly enslaved people are citizens with equal rights
  • 1964: Civil Rights Act: Prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, or natural origin
  • 1973: Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities in federally assisted programs
  • 1990: Americans with Disabilities Act prohibits discrimination in all public accommodations
  • 2008: ADA Amendments Act broadens the term "disability"
  • Still waiting on:
    • Currency
    • Residential
    • Full adoption


Learning through Cinema (16:55):

  • Crip Camp
  • Music Within
  • Born on the Fourth of July

19:37 – 28:51: Timeline of Events Since

Major Milestones (20:37):

  • 1999, 2002: SCOTUS decisions limit scope of ADA
  • 2002: Barden v. City of Sacramento, sidewalks are covered by ADA
  • 2002: Access Now v. Southwest Airlines, ADA does not cover websites
  • 2005: Spector v. Norwegian Cruise Line, cruise ships apply to ADA
  • 2007: Bates v. UPS, civil settlement regarding deaf workers
  • 2008: ADA Amendments Act expands discrimination protection
  • 2008: Target website lawsuit, civil settlement
  • 2008: Michigan Paralyzed Veterans of America v. University of Michigan, disabled seating, concessions, and parking must be uniformly distributed
  • Latest Federal guidelines and European law has applied accessibility to websites, but still not the law in the U.S.

28:52 – 52:43: Law vs. Implementation vs. Reality

Quick sidebar regarding currency (28:52)


Parking (33:00)

  • Accessible parking (33:20)
  • Meanwhile, EV parking (34:14)
  • A possible solution? (35:40)


Housing considerations (40:34)


Something to consider: Hip surgery is one of the most common joint replacement operations in the United States (48:04)


"What can I do as a landscape architect?" (48:28)


Inclusive design (48:50)


Use the tools at your disposal. (Example: changing the camera height in SketchUp to gain a different perspective) (50:18)

52:44 – end: Looking to the Next 30 Years

What should/might happen with the ADA over the next 30 years?

  • Rescinded as law, go back to letting business and property owners do whatever they want
  • Stay in exactly the same form and not change at all
  • Continue to be tested by court cases and additional amendment acts as necessary
  • Those building the future (landscape architects) will do the right thing and make everything everywhere accessible


How will we pay for it? (54:42)


And be creative! (56:08)


Continue to push the envelope (Seattle raised intersections example) (57:00)


Commitment to action (58:27):

I, as a landscape architect and steward of the Earth, vow to:

  • Always fight for disabled access on every project I work on
  • Inform clients and owners of the benefits of inclusive design and the risks of neglecting it
  • Require full ADA access on every project, and will quit any job that does not
    • I will be an advocate for the disabled with every project
  • Hire a disabled person, talk to a disabled person, just ask what they need instead of relying on some formal standard
  • Help craft the next generation of laws guiding accessibility



Everyone will be disabled at some point in their lifetimes. (1:00:08)


Discussion on website accessibility (1:02:46)


Discussion on residential accessibility (1:04:33)

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