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EU Urban Mobility Observatory
News article12 December 2023

San Cristóbal de La Laguna wins 2024 Access City Award for advancing accessibility for persons with disabilities

Since 2010, the Access City Award has celebrated cities that make accessibility their priority, recognising the importance of accessible spaces towards achieving a truly equitable society.

Around 87 million people in the EU have a disability. Ensuring that persons with disabilities are able to access transport, shops, outdoor areas and online spaces is a question of equality, and ensuring we are building just societies where all peoples can enjoy daily freedoms. 

This year the award was presented by European Commissioner for Equality, Helena Dalli, at the Access City Award Ceremony on 1 December. This was part of the annual European Day of Persons with Disabilities conference, organised jointly with the European Disability Forum.

Out of 32 applicants, a European jury shortlisted five cities, with San Cristóbal de La Laguna (Spain) chosen as this year's winner of the 2024 Access City Award.

The Spanish City was selected for their all-encompassing approach to accessibility and commitment to enhancing the lives of people with disabilities. While urban spaces can at times be difficult to navigate for those with disabilities, San Cristóbal de La Laguna has prioritised accessibility across their urban spaces, transportation systems and social activities; the result is a more equitable and just city.

This was achieved through several dedicated and comprehensive initiatives across the city. For example, the city’s tram network, including vehicles and stations, is now fully accessible, while acoustic traffic lights and tactile paving have also been installed in the city centre, to increase both the safety and mobility of those who are visually impaired.

In 2021, the municipality launched a mobile space, “Orange Point”. This space acts as a point-of-contact at municipal events and guarantees accessible leisure. It provides sign language interpreters, anti-noise systems, and trained staff, as well as easy-to-read materials, that enable all people to enjoy organised events.

Furthermore, the city’s commitment to accessibility is further exemplified through efforts made to include persons with disabilities into the city’s decision making. This was done through the adoption of an institutional declaration for the defence of the rights of persons with disabilities and the development of a Disability Council and an ombudsman for persons with disabilities.

The Disability Council enables people with disabilities to be directly involved in decision-making through their consultative work; this ensures that San Cristóbal de La Laguna will be able to continuously integrate accessibility into their future policymaking. The Ombudsman, instead, provides independent advice to the city council, providing support and collaborating on future accessibility initiatives in the city.

 

The city of Łódź (Poland) was awarded the second-place prize for implementing comprehensive standards of accessibility to guide all municipal investments, and the city of Saint-Quentin (France) won third place for improving accessibility of the city’s public transport network.

In addition, Tübingen (Germany) was given special recognition for its urban planning that adheres to the New European Bauhaus and the principles of accessibility. South Dublin County (Ireland) also received a special mention for their landscape and playground areas that incorporated natural elements and varied landscapes, while remaining accessible.

 

Winners of the Previous Awards:

2023, Skellefteå (Sweden); 2022, Luxembourg City (Luxembourg); 2021, Jönköping (Sweden); 2020, Warsaw (Poland); 2019, Breda (The Netherlands); 2018, Lyon (France); 2017, Chester (United Kingdom); 2016, Milan (Italy); 2015, Boras (Sweden); 2014, Gothenburg (Sweden); 2013, Berlin (Germany); 2012, Salzburg (Austria); 2011, Avila (Spain).

Sources

Details

Publication date
12 December 2023
Topic
Monitoring and evaluationTransport for people with reduced mobility
Country
Spain