The Austrian city Salzburg wins the Access City award 2012 the European prize for making cities more accessible to people with disabilities.
The Access City Award - Sets out to showcase and reward cities with over 50 000 inhabitants which take exemplary initiatives to improve accessibility for persons with disabilities in the urban environment.
The annual honor aims to award efforts to improve accessibility in the urban environment and to foster equal participation of people with disabilities. The European Commission commended Salzburg's long-standing commitment, coherent approach and excellent results in improving accessibility, achieved with the direct participation of people with disabilities.
Viviane Reding, the EU's Justice Commissioner, presented the award on the occasion of the European Day of People with Disabilities. The initiative - organized in partnership with the European Disability Forum (EDF) - is a key action under the EU's disability strategy (IP/10/1505 and MEMO/10/578) and aims to promote accessibility initiatives in European cities.
"Making life accessible for everyone is at the heart of our strategy for a barrier-free Europe," said EU Justice Commissioner Viviane Reding. "The Access City award helps to highlight and promote good practice across Europe, at a time when an aging population is making accessibility for all a necessity. Accessibility can be a stimulus for innovation and economic growth. This is particularly relevant in the current economic climate. I would like to see an Accessibility Act for Europe and intend to come forward with a proposal by the end of 2012."
The European jury selected Salzburg for its outstanding achievements in all key accessibility areas: the built environment and public spaces; transport and related infrastructure; information and communication, including new technologies, public facilities and services.
The other finalists were (in alphabetical order):
The second edition of the Access City award received nominations from 114 cities in 23 EU countries. Participating cities had to provide evidence of their efforts and achievements in guaranteeing equal access for everybody, regardless of age or ability. National juries composed of people with disabilities and experts on accessibility pre-selected thirty-one applicants for the European level selection.
Accessibility means that people with disabilities have access, on an equal basis with others, to the physical environment, transportation, information and communications technologies and systems, and other facilities and services.
This is the second annual edition of the Access City award. The first went to Avila in Spain (IP/10/1641).
In addition to the winner and three finalists, this year the jury also assigned special mentions to: