Luxembourg City – a model of accessibility

The European Union has recognised the efforts of Luxembourg City to make itself ‘accessible for all’ – not least children – with the 2022 Access City Award.

A jury of accessibility experts for the EU recognised the city for its wide range of innovative solutions and improvements to enhance accessibility for persons with disabilities.

The city has made accessibility a priority through a ‘Design for All’ approach designed at making access easier for everyone, including for persons with disabilities. Low-floor buses equipped with ramps are present across the city as well as visual and audio announcements on buses and at bus stops.

Imagine your child being unable to play with other children because the playground is not accessible

The city regularly consults its citizens with disabilities, to ensure its action has the desired effect. Luxembourg City makes information about political decisions accessible for everyone by making key council meetings available in sign language, on top of spoken language and accessible transcription.

Helena Dalli, European Commissioner for Equality, said: “Imagine that you want to take a bus but you cannot board it. Or that your child is unable to play with other children because the playground is not accessible. Accessibility makes a real difference in daily life. It is about autonomy and equality. This is why with the Access City award we recognise the efforts to make cities more accessible and inclusive. I congratulate this year’s winner, Luxembourg City, for its commitment to equal opportunities for persons with disabilities.”

The European Commission received some 40 applications for this year’s award. Second place went to Helsinki, the Finnish capital, while Barcelona came third.

Special mentions were reserved for Leuven in Belgium for mainstreaming accessibility, including in the digital area, and Palma in Spain for improving access to the physical environment, including beaches and parks.

Background

Around 87 million people in the EU have a disability. The Access City Award, organised by the European Commission together with the European Disability Forum, is one of the actions of the Strategy for the rights of persons with disabilities 2021-2030 to build a Europe without barriers.

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 persons with disabilities. The initiative aims to encourage cities to inspire one another to innovate and share good practices.

The award is given to the city that has demonstrably improved accessibility in fundamental aspects of city living, and that has concrete plans for further improvements.

The Access City Award is presented at the yearly European Day of Persons with Disabilities conference, which is attended by around 400 participants from all over the European Union.

Author: Simon Weedy

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