On December 3, the International Day of Persons with Disabilities, it was announced that Göteborg, Sweden is the winner of the Access City Award 2014. The award is organized by the European Commission together with the European Disability Forum and was presented in Brussels during the Accessible Tourism in Europe event.
In 2010, the Access City Award was launched in order to raise awareness about disability and promote accessibility projects being undertaken by European cities with more than 50,000 residents. Each year since, it has been presented to the city that has improved accessibility in four key aspects of city living: built environment and public spaces, transport and related infrastructure, information and communication, and public facilities and services. The Award aims to encourage cities to share good practices and inspire each other to ensure equal access for persons with disabilities.
It is Göteborg’s commitment to increasing accessibility to transport, housing, work and employment that make it this year’s clear winner. When accessible housing becomes available, persons with disabilities are given priority. Around 300 workplaces are being equipped with personal aids each year. The city is continually working to make public facilities such as amusement parks, playground and the university more accessible.
'''A city for everyone!' – this is Gothenburg's slogan. Having won this year's Access City Award goes to show that for Gothenburg this is more than just a slogan," said Vice-President Viviane Reding, the EU’s Justice Commissioner. "The city's inclusive approach of integrating people with all disabilities into society has helped Gothenburg becoming this year’s winner. People with disabilities still face too many barriers in everyday life, but cities like Gothenburg are leading the way in making life more accessible for all. Congratulations to Gothenburg."
Second place went to Grenoble, France and third place was awarded to Poznan, Poland. Both cities have demonstrated significant progress in making transport, education, accommodation, shopping, culture, sports, tourism, and employment accessible for all.
Honorable mentions went to:
1. Belfast, United Kingdom for 'Built Environment and Public Spaces'
2. Dresden, Germany for 'Information and Communication Technologies'
3. Burgos, Spain for ‘Public Services and Facilities’
4. Malaga, Spain for ‘Transport and Related Infrastructures’