European Commission Access City Award, Third Edition, 2013
22/07/2012 | 0 comments
The European Commission opened the competition on 22 May for the third “Access City Award”, the European Award for Accessible Cities. The annual prize recognises and celebrates cities that are dedicated to providing an accessible environment for all, and for persons with disabilities in particular.
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.
Access City Award 2013
Cities with at least 50,000 inhabitants have until 5 September 2012 (16.00 Brussels time) to submit their candidacy for the award.
“The doors of our cities must be open to everyone”, said European Union Justice Commissioner Viviane Reding. “There is a strong case for accessibility. This award honours those that are showing how cities can be made accessible: by sharing experiences, the successes of some can be an inspiration to others across Europe”.
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. Giving 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.
In line with the United Nations Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities, accessibility is one of the pillars of the European Union’s Disability Strategy 2010 - 2020 which aims at creating a barrier-free Europe for all.
The selection process
The selection will take place in two phases, with a pre-selection at the national level followed by a final selection at the European level. In the European competition phase, a jury composed of accessibility experts including representatives of the European Disability Forum will select out of the national nominees four finalists to attend the award ceremony in Brussels.
The ceremony will coincide with the European Day of People with Disabilities Conference on 3-4 December 2012. The winner of the competition will be recognised as the “Winner of the Access City Award 2013”.
The European Jury will also give special “mentions” to cities that have achieved notable successes and results in specific areas or aspects of accessibility.
Accessibility needs to be implemented in a coherent and systematic manner in goods, services and infrastructure. Initiatives will be assessed 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 organizations in the planning and implementation of the city’s accessibility policies.
How to apply
Applications can be submitted on-line until 5 September 2012 (16.00 Brussels time) in English, French or German via http://ec.europa.eu/justice/access-city.
The Access-City Award’s first and second editions
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. The Award was given to the Austrian city of Salzburg at a ceremony in Brussels on 1 December 2011.
The three other finalists were: Krakow (Poland), Marburg (Germany), Santander (Spain). In 2011 the jury assigned special mentions to: Terrassa (Spain) for the built environment and public spaces; Ljubljana (Slovenia) for transport and related infrastructures; Olomouc (Czech Republic) for information and communication, including new technologies; and Grenoble (France) for public facilities and services.
EU policy on accessibility
The EU Disability Strategy 2010-2020 provides the general framework for action in the area of disability and accessibility at EU level to complement and support Member States’ action. In this context, the European Commission is preparing a proposal for a European Accessibility Act, to be presented in December 2012.
Specific provisions on accessibility are contained in EU legislation in areas such as transport and electronic communication services. The EU makes use of a variety of instruments beyond legislation and policy, such as research and standardisation, to optimise the accessibility of the built environment, ICT, transport, and other areas, and to foster an EU-wide market for accessible products and services.
The EU also aims to improve the functioning of the assistive technology market for the benefit of people with disabilities and supports a “Design for all” approach that benefits a wider part of the population, such as elderly people and those with reduced mobility.
For more information
Read more about the Access City Award on: http://ec.europa.eu/justice/discrimination/disabilities/award/index_en.htm
European Disability Strategy 2010-2020
United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities
ENAT Accessible Cities pages