The most accessible European city will be awarded 2011 Access Award City

Next 2nd and 3rd December in Brussels it was given the award for the 2011 Accessibility Award Access City that promotes improving accessibility for people with disabilities in the European scene.

The Access City Award is a prestigious award that sets out to showcase and reward cities with over 50,000 inhabitants which take exemplary initiatives to improve accessibility in the urban environment.

City authorities in any of the 27 EU Member States are invited to apply. In small Member States, urban areas composed by more than one town but with at least 50,000 inhabitants will also be eligible.

To be considered, initiatives must have been implemented within the past five years.

In the context of a steadily ageing population living in European cities and its correlation with disabilities, it is recognised that improved accessibility has important social and economic benefits.

Approximately 80 million Europeans have a disability, including 16% of those of working age. Meanwhile, almost 70% of those with disabilities are over 60. As disability is so closely linked to ageing, it is likely to affect everyone at some point in their life. Accessibility is therefore a key element of the European Union’s disability policy.

Accessibility to public buildings, transportation, information and communication, including technologies can ensure sustainable economic and social benefits in the long term. In addition, in line with the United Nations Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities, accessibility will remain at the core of the new EU Disability Strategy 2010-2020.

Besides, a second Award will be given to networks of cities or organisations that have been outstanding during 2010 in championing accessibility in the urban environment. Its success can be an inspiration to other cities across Europe.

Applications will be submitted before 23rd September 2010. The selection will take place in two phases, with a pre-selection at the national level being followed by a final selection at the European level. In the European competition phase, the finalists will be selected to attend the award ceremony in Brussels, which will coincide with the European Day of People with Disabilities Conference on 2nd-3rd December 2010.