Find out about the champions of accessibility and how they are ensuring equal opportunities for all to take part in day-to-day life in their cities.
This year saw even more applicants than last year, and given the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic, some cities even got a special mention for their efforts in ensuring accessibility to those who were debilitated by the virus.
The Access City Award 2021 report highlights the best practices carried out by Jönköping, Bremerhaven, Gdynia, Poznań, Komotini and Florence to make their cities more accessible and ensure that all the citizens are able to take part in community life in an independent and equal manner.
Each of the winners offered solutions and innovative approaches towards removing various accessibility barriers for citizens.
Jönköping won first place after a stand out approach in consulting citizens to find out what practice would be best for them.
Nestled in between woodlands and water, accessibility requires attention in Jönköping. By listening directly to elderly, disabled and others living in the city, Jönköping identified solutions and even set up a local award for businesses in the city to reward them for improving their accessibility.
This grass-roots initiative could serve as a model for the rest of the EU.
These inspirational approaches to including all citizens and granting them equal access to city life deserve our recognition and celebration. Find out more by reading the full report.
Komotini | Urban Regeneration Programme
For the past 20 years, the municipality has been implementing the Urban II Community Initiative Programme, which focuses heavily on accessibility and social inclusion. It has invested millions of euro in this regeneration programme, which is now in its third phase.
Through the programme, the municipality has embedded accessibility in its policies and strategies. Many investments have focused on the built environment. The programme has improved the bus network and created 20 km of accessible walkways and a digital map of the routes.
Three quarters of city-owned buildings are now accessible, including the city hospital, medical centres, police academy, theatres and the library.
The Komotini campus of the Democritus University of Thrace, home to around 10 000 students, is also accessible. Some 90 % of schools are already accessible and the rest should soon follow as the municipality has set a target to make all city-owned buildings accessible by 2021.
Investments have also focused heavily on sports and leisure. All sports facilities in the city are now accessible, as are 47 of its 60 playgrounds. There are six accessible entry points to beaches on the local coastline.