Keith Christensen joined the USU Landscape Architecture and Environmental Planning faculty in 2008. After receiving an undergraduate degree in Agronomy, from Brigham Young University, Keith completed a MLA degree at USU in 2001. In 2010, Keith completed his doctoral research in disability disciplines at USU.
Keith’s areas of expertise include socially equitable planning and design, particularly related to individuals with disabilities. Prior to joining the faculty, Keith worked as a research scientist with the Center for Persons with Disabilities at Utah State University where he explored the relationship between design and social access (inclusion), social values, human rights, and social justice. Keith’s efforts included a number of federally supported research programs investigating the relationship between the built environment and the behavior of individuals with disabilities. Presently, Keith is evaluating the effect of current and proposed Americans with Disabilities Act Accessibility Guidelines (ADAAG) for the built environment on the emergency egress of individuals with disabilities using a microsimulation of individual behavior representing the diversity and prevalence of disabilities in the population and their interaction with the environment.
Keith developed and directs the Beyond Access program, a national technical assistance program on inclusive play environments for children with disabilities. The Beyond Access program works with industry partners, consumers, and advocates to move beyond minimal accessibility requirements to create inclusive play environments which recognize the child’s right to equality of play opportunity, full participation in play, and the independence of the child. Keith is involved in the planning and design of a number of inclusive environments, actively provides technical assistance on socially accessible design, and has lectured and published nationally and internationally on the subject.
Keith is licensed to practice landscape architecture in the states of Utah and Wyoming where he is actively involved in private practice. His diverse practice includes commercial and residential development, children’s gardens, memorials, landscape analysis, and illustration. Since 2001, Keith has worked with Utah’s Cooperative Extension program and Professor David Bell, providing planning and design services on over 70 landscape projects with rural communities throughout Utah.