The European Commission rewarded the most accessible cities at a ceremony during the annual European Day of Persons with Disabilities Conference in Brussels, on 5 December.
This year, 26 cities across the EU participated in the competition. After strict selection procedures made by national and EU juries, four European cities were shortlisted:
At the closing ceremony of the European Day of Persons with Disabilities conference the European Commission announced Lyon, France, as the winner of the Access City Award. The city was rewarded for its inclusive and universal accessibility.
Lyon's public buses are 100% accessible, and access to culture for all is also ensured, thanks to the inclusion of accessible equipment in libraries, such as reading machines, audiobook readers and magnifying screens. The city has also developed digital tools for people with disabilities, and in terms of work integration, 7.8% of civil servants are people with a disability. This is significantly higher than the legal minimum quota of 6% required by the French legislation.
The European Commission also rewarded the city of Ljubljana, Slovenia, and the city of Luxembourg with a second and third place respectively. Ljubljana integrated accessibility in its overall policy, appointing a special advisory committee with elderly and people with disabilities on board so that they are directly involved in the city’s policymaking. The city of Luxembourg has put a lot of effort into raising awareness among citizens to avoid stigma in relation to disability and building a highly inclusive city in which everyone feels comfortable.
Finally, the city of Viborg in Denmark received a special mention for reconciling its historical heritage and hilly landscape with an accessible infrastructure.
Why an Access City Award 2018 if it all happens in 2017?
The Access City award allows the winning cities to showcase their efforts in making life more accessible for disabled and older people during the following year. Like this, the winners will continue raising awareness of accessibility across their city and across Europe. EU cities will also keep the commitment to implement their proposed plans for the future and share their practices in the EU Member States.
Best practices in 2017
Your initiatives can inspire other cities to improve their policy and activities in the field of accessibility. As in previous years, a brochure with the outcome of the Access City Award 2017 and the winning cities was published by the European Commission.
Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs, Skills and Labour Mobility, Marianne Thyssen emphasises in the brochure that accessibility policy plays a key role in removing the barriers people with disabilities still face in their daily lives. ''Accessibility thrives when there is the political will to make it happen and when policy makers actively engage in dialogue with experts, people with disabilities, companies and service providers. Making cities accessible will, in the end, benefit all people".
You will find detailed information in the brochure on the innovative projects, funding and contact information of each winning city. Reading the brochure (PDF file) can give you an idea of which of your existing projects could be highlighted in your application. At the same time, the brochure’s content could inspire you to start new projects to improve accessibility in your cities. You can also watch what happened during the ceremony for the 2017 Access City Award.