A Study into the Application of Occupational Therapy Theoretical Framework in a Public Space Design for Kirkwood Neighborhood Park

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The discipline of landscape architecture and the profession of occupational therapy both aim to improve the quality of life for people and communities by removing environmental barriers for people in their everyday lives and increasing the compatibility of people with the environments they occupy. This is especially important in urban environments, where there are a multitude of barriers to green space and natural elements, including accessibility, safety, and proximity. All people, regardless of age, ability, demographic, or location, deserve access to environments that improve health and wellbeing. By working with occupational therapy practitioners in an interdisciplinary context to integrate the foundational goals of occupational therapy in design, landscape architects can create environments that improve health and wellbeing in ways that target the user group to promote engagement in meaningful activities. By doing so, landscape architects have the capacity to improve health for individuals and communities on a micro-level, while also addressing macro-level issues of environmental and occupational justice to provide accessible spaces that allow people to participate in ways that are personally meaningful to them. This research design thesis focuses on user-centered design to create a public space for the community surrounding Kirkwood Neighborhood Park, located in Hyattsville, MD.