Access City Award 2012

In Portugal, Dianova was designated national coordinator of the Access City Award 2012 campaign launched by the European Commission – Direction for Justice, to promote accessibility in the urban environment for people with disabilities. The new edition of the Access City Award is open for applications until September 20th, 2011 and the winner will be announced at the Award Ceremony in Brussels on 1-2 December 2011.

Excerpt from Presentation Brochure

Most people take it for granted that they can hop on a bus to go shopping, surf the internet or enjoy a TV series. For 80 million Europeans with a disability, there may be numerous obstacles that put these activities out of their reach.

(…) Accessibility is at the core of the European Disability Strategy 2010-2020 and it means that people with disabilities have access – on an equal footing with other people – to the physical environment, transportation, information, communication technologies and to other facilities and services. It is a pre-condition for participation in society and in the economy. However, there is still a long way to go before we fully achieve our goal.

Viviane Reding, Vice-President of the European Commission, Commissioner for Justice, Fundamental Rights and Citizenship

Goals and Actions

The Access City Award is an innovative competition between European cities, launched in 2010 to promote accessibility in the urban environment for people with disabilities. It is about ensuring equal access to city life for people with disabilities. The Award is given to the city that has demonstrably and sustainably improved accessibility in fundamental aspects of city living, and that has concrete plans for further improvements.

The Award covers actions in the areas of:

–    the built environment and public spaces;
–    transport and related infrastructures;
–    information and communication, including
–    Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs); and
–    public facilities and services.

Accessibility is a cornerstone of inclusion

Access City AwardFor a society based on equal rights, a barrier-free environment is a key to providing its citizens with autonomy, freedom of choice and the means to pursue an active social and economic life. For people with disabilities, elderly people, and those with reduced mobility or other types of temporary impairments, environmental barriers result in a high risk of marginalization, exclusion and discrimination.

Accessibility is therefore essential for them to exercise their fundamental rights and to fully participate in society. The right to education or to engage in work, voting rights, access to documents, freedom of movement, access to leisure and cultural facilities such as libraries, theatres, hotels and restaurants, etc., can only be enjoyed by people with disabilities if their environment – with its buildings and public spaces, transport services and infrastructure, information services and related technology – is accessible to them.

Deadline for submission is 20 September 2011 – submission language preferably English, but French and German will be accepted