EU and International: Eurocities - Working group 'Barrier-free City for All'

Eurocities - 2010

Third meeting of the working group Barrier-free City for All on 29/30 November 2010 in Brussels

28 representatives of 9 cities took part in 3rd meeting of the working group "Barrier-free City for All" (WG BCA) on the 29th and 30th of November 2010 in Brussels.

Ms Placencia-Porrero, representative of the European Commission Directorate General for Employment, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities, spoke on the 2010-2020 European strategy for people with disabilities, in particular in the context of EU implementation of the UN convention. A key aspect of the strategy is a renewed commitment to a barrier-free Europe. Ms Placencia-Porrero emphasised the importance of networks, above all at an urban level, and called for closer cooperation between the WG "Barrier-free City for All" and the European Commission.

The latest developments in and future requirements for European standards were examined and discussed with experts from European standards institutions and associations. All participants agreed that the development of common European standards is an important tool for realising a barrier-free Europe. Martin Prager, representative of the European Office of Crafts, Trades and Small and Medium-sized Enterprises for Standardisation, advocated a system of directives, standards and guides.

Concrete measures for implementing the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities were set out by the City of Barcelona. Practical examples from Dresden and a virtual tour of Berlin clearly demonstrated that, alongside wheelchair access, orientation and guide systems for people with sensory disabilities in particular demand creative solutions. There was particular interest in an innovative project concept for a play park in which children can overcome barriers through play and which promotes mutual respect.

In the field of everyday life, planning concepts for barrier-free sanitation were presented by the Zentralverband Sanitär Heizung Klima (German Association of Plumbing, Heating and Ventilation Contractors).
Discussions highlighted great differences in the implementation of concepts and measures for overcoming barriers in the various cities. Following on from these discussions, close cooperation with the European Commission is to be launched in the coming year to define a concrete commitment to a barrier-free Europe.

More information about the proposed topics you can find here:
UN Convention
European Charta
EU Disability Strategy 2010-2020:
German Association for Sanitary Installations, Heating and Climate, Barrier-free Bathroom: Architecture competition Schindler Award:

Second Working Group Meeting Barrier-free City for All,
June 21-22, 2010 in Copenhagen

"Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design" was one of the issues dealt with by the Working Group Barrier-free City for All on its second meeting. After the successful kick-off in Berlin in March 2010 the meeting was now held at the EUROCITIES Mobility Forum on June 21-22 in Copenhagen. The work was based on the implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
During their two-day meeting, 30 representatives from 12 European cities and organizations exchanged their experiences and ambitions on the subject of a barrier-free public space and transport. Individual working group members took the opportunity to present their working approaches as well as interesting case studies in more detail and to name a number of as yet unresolved questions.
The next working group meeting will take place in the EUROCITIES meeting rooms in Brussels on November 29/30, 2010. The EU policy to implement the UN Convention and issues of standardization ought to be the focus of discussions at that working group session.

Launch of the working group "Barrier-free City for all"
from March 10 – 12, 2010 in Berlin

On the initiative of Berlin, a working group was formed within the context of the Mobility Forum in order to learn more about interesting developments in other European cities and bring together a network of stakeholders to promote developments in the field of the "Barrier-free city", both conceptionally and practically. Stigmatisation and special solutions were to dispensed with in favour of developing design for all.

Themes for the exchange of experience included:
  • Barrier-free design of traffic and street space
  • Access for all to public transport
  • Barrier-free public spaces (buildings and open spaces)
  • Barrier-free utilisation of services/communication
  • Marketing strategies
The exchange of experience was focused on how the interface between administration and implementation can be successfully organised using modern technology and equipment, as well as developing forward-looking solutions in cooperation with associations and organisations. The development of a common level for Europe, combined with an understanding for different problems, would be a meaningful goal.

In the longer-term there are plans to implement experiences and further issues within a special EU project.

The kick-off meeting for the working group took place from March 10 - 12, 2010 in Berlin.

Working group Barrier-free City for all in Berlin
Working group "Barrier-free City for all" in Berlin