European cities today have a steadily ageing population, as well as a growing number of persons with disabilities. These Europeans have difficulty getting around in the urban environment and making full use of the services and facilities which others take for granted.
The Access City Award recognises and celebrates a city's willingness, capability and efforts to ensure accessibility in order to:
The Access City Award is open to all EU cities of over 50 000 inhabitants. In Member States with less than two of such cities, urban areas composed of two or more towns may also participate if their combined population exceeds 50,000 inhabitants. The award recognises and celebrates cities which proactively support accessibility for persons with disabilities and take exemplary steps to improve accessibility in the urban environment.
Europe is now an essentially urban society, with four out of five EU Citizens living in towns and cities.
Retaining the pleasure of city living, as cities become ever more congested, is a challenge for all. This is especially the case for persons with disabilities, elderly people, and those with reduced mobility or other types of temporary impairments. These groups risk becoming effectively excluded from significant parts of city life, suffering marginalisation, exclusion and isolation.
Limiting a city's access to just a part of the population while ignoring a significant other part, is economically, socially and politically unsustainable. What's more, it is simply not fair. For all persons to enjoy their human rights, allowing access to the conditions necessary to enjoy a full life is imperative.
The Access City Award is an action through which the European Commission is trying to ensure equal access to a full city life for persons with disabilities. This Award rewards and promotes the progress that individual cities are making in this area.
Local authorities play an important role in improving the living conditions of people in urban areas.
Through this competition, many ideas, initiatives and best practices have been put on show for evaluation and possible adoption by other cities across the EU.
By sharing experiences and raising awareness of accessibility initiatives, we hope that the success of some cities can be an inspiration to others across Europe.
The net result will be greater accessibility for persons with disabilities, enabling them to go about their daily business independently like the rest of the community.