Jönköping, in the south of Sweden, made continuous improvements in both the new and old areas of the city, in collaboration with disability organisations. The city also created a local ‘Access City Award’, for businesses or organisations that worked with their customers to improve accessibility. Out of 50 applications, Jönköping was designated the winner of the 11th edition of the Access City Award at the online ceremony on 1 December.
Announcing the winner, Commissioner for Equality, Helena Dalli said: “Creating a barrier-free Europe is about more than buildings and pavements. It is about commitment to change that improves people’s quality of life and that enables persons with disabilities to participate in society on an equal basis with others. Accessibility is important for everyone, and it is indispensable for persons with disabilities. I will ensure that this crucial subject remains in the forefront of our actions. The upcoming Strategy on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities 2021-2030 will be our main instrument to further improve all areas of the lives of persons with disabilities.”
The city of Bremerhaven in Germany and the city of Gdynia in Poland are the second and third place winners of the 2021 Access City Award.
Poznań in Poland received a special mention for accessibility of public services in times of the pandemic. Two further special mentions were awarded to Komotini in Greece for “accessibility as an opportunity for the whole city” and Florence in Italy for the “built environment”.
The Access City Award is organised by the European Commission together with the European Disability Forum, and is one of the actions of the EU Disability Strategy 2010-2020.
The Access City Award was launched in 2010 to raise awareness of disability and promote accessibility initiatives in European cities with more than 50,000 inhabitants. The prize is about ensuring equal access to city life for people with disabilities.
The Award goes to the city that has demonstrably improved accessibility in fundamental aspects of city living, and has concrete plans for further improvements.
The Access City Award is presented at the yearly European Day of Persons with Disabilities conference.