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European Commission Vice-President Viviane Reding handed on December 3rd the Access City Award 2013 to Berlin in recognition of its comprehensive and strategic approach to creating an accessible city for all. The award is organised by the Commission together with the European Disability Forum, and was presented on the occasion of the annual European Day of People with Disabilities conference in Brussels.
The prize aims to encourage cities to share their experience and to improve accessibility for the benefit of all. European cities today have a steadily ageing population, as well as 80 million people with a mild to severe disability. These Europeans have difficulty getting around in the urban environment and making full use of the services and facilities which others take for granted.accessibility has important social and economic benefits.
The jury selected Berlin (Germany) for its strategic and inclusive disability policy, which has invested heavily in turning the formerly divided city into an accessible, barrier-free environment. The jury highlighted Berlin’s transport system and investment in accessibility for disabled people in reconstruction projects. Berlin's comprehensive approach to accessibility is fully embedded in the city’s policies and broadly supported by its decision-makers.
The other finalists were:
The European Jury also decided to attribute special mentions in each of the four key areas of accessibility. These went to:
This is the third annual edition of the Access City award. The first went to Avila, in Spain, and the second to Salzburg, in Austria.