Access Cities Award competition advances towards the December final

In this inaugural edition, 66 European cities from 19 EU countries have been competing to receive the Access City Award 2011.

The innovative European competition sets out to showcase and reward cities of over 50,000 inhabitants which act as proactive supporters of accessibility for persons with disabilities and take exemplary steps to improve accessibility in the urban environment.

In each Member State from which entries were received, national juries were composed of representatives of national Disability Councils, national authorities and accessibility experts. These juries selected from their national applicants up to maximum three cities as National Nominees. The national pre-selection round resulted in a total number of 30 competitors that was submitted to the European Jury, which is composed of a Chairperson, four technical experts for each of the main accessibility areas as well as one representative each of the European Commission and of the European Disability Forum.

Out of the 30 national nominees, the European jury has selected four European cities as finalists. These cities are (by alphabetical order):

  • Avila, Spain
  • Barcelona, Spain
  • Cologne, Germany
  • Turku, Finland.

All four cities have developed comprehensive plans to address accessibility in the four domains identified in the competition. 

The overall winner will be announced in Brussels on the 2nd of December during the Award ceremony taking place on the occasion of the European Day of People with Disabilities conference in the presence of Her Royal Highness Princess Astrid of Belgium, Ms Viviane Reding, Vice-President of the European Commission, Mr Jean-Marc Delizée, Secretary of State of Social Affairs, in charge of disabled persons (Belgium) and Mr Yannis Vardakastanis, President of the European Disability Forum.

European Champion for Accessible Cities Award

In addition, a second Award - the European Champion for Accessible Cities Award – was planned to be given to a network of cities or organisations that have been outstanding in championing accessibility in the urban environment in 2010 with a demonstrable impact on the improvement of accessibility in cities and/or on cities' commitment to do so. 

This year, on the basis of the quantity and the quality of the applications received, the European Jury has decided not to give the European Champion Award.

European Jury

The European Jury is composed of:

  • The Chairman, Mark Eccleston, Silver Medal at the 2004 Athens Paralympics on wheelchair tennis and member of the first British team to win the World Team Cup (Davis Cup of wheelchair tennis); he is also a motivational speaker and consultant.
  • Inmaculada Placencia-Porrero, Deputy Head of the Unit for the Integration of People with Disabilities of the European Commission
  • Silvio Sagramola, European Disability Forum representative, Director of Info-Handicap and EuCAN project coordinator
  • Ann Frye, international specialist on the transport needs of disabled and older people
  • Monika Klenovec, architect, accessibility consultant and business coach
  • Jesus Hernandez, accessibility director at the ONCE Foundation
  • Klaus Miesenberger, researcher and teacher of practical IT support for the integration of people with disabilities

Source: European Commission