The Lebendige Stadt Foundation, together with the German Federal Ministry for Family Affairs, has proclaimed Schwerin (Germany) Best Barrier-Free City in Europe. The ceremony took place on 6 September 2012 in front of about 500 guests at the Gesellschaftshaus Palm Garden in Frankfurt.
Every year, the Foundation presents an award in recognition of innovative civic projects. For the European Year 2012, the German NGO and the Ministry sought projects and concepts promoting the independence, mobility and participation of all people in civic life. These include factors such as the accessibility and usability of buildings and infrastructure or ease of access to services, communication facilities and sources of information as well as other forms of support and assistance designed to improve participation and involvement.
The jury of the Barrier-Free City European competition praised the winning concept, as well as the exemplary commitment to accessibility of the German towns of Bayreuth, Furth and Taunusstein, Luxembourg City (Luxembourg) and Sosnowiecz (Poland).
Some 150 towns and cities took part in the competition, which carried a total cash prize of 15,000 Euros.
"The competition has shown, that despite tight budgets, large cities can honour their commitment to better accessibility. Particularly commendable are also the many private initiatives that not only relieve the public purse, but also promote social cohesion and mutual help" said Alexander Otto, Chairman of the Lebendige Stadt Foundation.