The Americans with Disabilities Act and Equal Access to Public Spaces

Barry A. Whaley, Jonathan G. Martinis, Giuseppe F. Pagano, Sara Barthol, Jessica Senzer, Pamela R. Williamson, Peter D. Blanck

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Since the passage of the landmark Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, the United States federal government, states, and localities have passed laws and created policies intended to ensure that people with disabilities had full and equal access to public spaces. Nevertheless, more than three decades after the ADA, people with disabilities continue to face architectural and other barriers to community inclusion and participation. This article describes laws, policies, and initiatives that are implemented in the United States at the federal, state, and local levels to address these barriers, examines their effectiveness, and describes the views of advocates working in furtherance of the rights of people with disabilities and the inclusiveness of public spaces. We conclude by providing brief recommendations for ways federal, state, and local governments may ensure people with disabilities have full and equal access to public spaces.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number5
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2024


  • accessibility
  • disability law
  • disability rights
  • discrimination
  • public spaces

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Law


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