The European Commission has launched the third edition of the Access City Award, which recognises and celebrates cities with over 50,000 inhabitants implementing exemplary initiatives to improve accessibility in the urban environment.
The Award is part of the EU's wider effort to create a barrier-free Europe: improved accessibility brings lasting economic and social benefits to cities, especially in the context of demographic ageing.
Approximately 80 million EU citizens have a disability. With the ageing of our society, the number of people with a disability or those with reduced mobility is growing. Providing everyone access to city transport, public spaces and services and technology has become a real challenge. However, providing accessibility also gives economic and social benefits and contributes to the sustainability and inclusiveness of the urban environment.
Initiatives presented to the competition will be assessed by the jury for their integrated approach across four key areas: the built environment and public spaces; transportation and related infrastructure; information and communication, including new technologies (ICT); public facilities and services.
The jury will particularly look at the impact of accessibility measures on the everyday life of people with disabilities and the city as a whole, and it will consider the quality and sustainability of the results achieved. Cities will also have to demonstrate active involvement of persons with disabilities and their representative organisations in the planning and implementation of the city’s accessibility policies.
Cities with over 50,000 inhabitants from across Member States can submit their applications online until 5 September 2012. For more information please visit ec.europa.eu/justice/access-city
The Access City Award was launched in 2010. In the inaugural edition, the Award went to Avila, in Spain. In 2011, 114 cities from 23 EU countries participated as candidates and the winner was Salzburg, in Austria.