The European Commission has launched the seventh edition of the Access City Award, the European prize for accessible cities.
Organized by the European Commission together with the European Disability Forum, this initiative aims to give recognition and visibility to cities that are committed to improve urban accessibility, particularly for elderly and disabled people.
Last year’s winner of the Access City Award was Milan. The second place went to the German city of Wiesbaden, while Toulouse won the third prize and the special mention as “Smart Accessible City”.
Vaasa in Finland has instead received a special mention for its efforts to enhance the working environment for elderly and disabled citizens. Another special mention was awarded to Kaposvár (Hungary) for its commitment to improve the accessibility of public buildings.
With the Access City Award 2017, the European Commission invites EU cities with more than 50.000 inhabitants to compete. Applicants will have the opportunity to present their strategies and actions designed to improve the urban environment accessibility in four areas:
- built environment and public spaces,
- transportation and related infrastructure,
- information and communication, including information and communication technologies (ICT);
- public facilities and services.
Eligibility, selection procedure and awarding ceremony
Candidate cities must demonstrate that they adopted a consistent approach to accessibility in all four areas and have an ambitious vision for the future in tackling accessibility in the city.
Attention will be paid to the impact of these measures on everyday lives of people with disabilities and the city in general, taking into account quality and sustainability of the results.
Urban centres will also have to demonstrate the active involvement of disabled people and their organizations in the planning and implementation of policies and local initiatives to improve accessibility.
Applications should also focus on facts and number, including qualitative and quantitative data in order to underline all innovative activities that led to success.
The selection of applications will occur in two phases: a pre-selection at the national level (up to three cities per country), to be followed by a final selection at the European level.
In the second stage, a panel of experts in accessibility, including representatives of the European Disability Forum, will award the winners of the first, second and third prize between the selected cities at national level. In addition, two cities will be awarded a special mention in the categories “Access to work” and “Accessible Smart City”.
The “Access to work” special mention awards efforts to ensure that public employment services and private sector initiatives facilitate the access to work and make accessible information on open positions to people with disabilities.
Special mention in the category “Accessible Smart City” will recognize the efforts made by cities to become smart in an inclusive manner, in particular by ensuring that technologies, user interfaces and services are accessible to people with disabilities.
The awarding ceremony, which will coincide with the annual “European Day of People with Disabilities” Conference, will be held in Brussels on 29 November 2016.
The deadline for submission of online applications is 8 September 2016.
Applications must be submitted through the registration form accessible on the Award Website.
A general overview of the Access City Award is available too.
Specific information regarding the 2017 Award are provided in the documents Guidance note and Participation rules.