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

Eurocities - 2011

"Berlin - City for All" - Application Movie for the EUROCITIES Award (in English)
"Grasping Berlin – Shaping Berlin"

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Video script, in English and in German

Berlin shortlisted for Eurocities Awards 2011 in the category "innovation"

Berlin has been shortlisted for the EUROCITIES Awards 2011. EUROCITIES is the largest European city network comprising more than 140 large cities in over 30 European countries. The Eurocities Awards recognise outstanding achievements in the categories of 'innovation', 'participation' and 'cooperation' in urban development. For each category, three cities have been shortlisted. An international jury will decide on the awards winners at the annual EUROCITIES conference in Genoa in November 2011. All shortlisted projects have been chosen because they contribute to putting citizens and their issues at the focus of urban planning.

Berlin has applied for the category 'innovation' with a tactile model entitled "Grasping Berlin - Shaping Berlin". Dedicated to the concept of Design for All, the model renders it possible to experience the typical urban structure of Berlin both haptically and with other senses. This is consistent with the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRDP) that calls for a stronger consideration of the needs of people with disabilities in the urban environment in the future.

In order to offer all people and especially people with low vision and visual impairments the opportunity for information on the urban fabric and architecture of Berlin, a haptically experienceable model at the scale of 1:2000 has been developed. The model features marked light / dark contrasts and a realistic material consisting of synthetics mixed with sand, thus addressing both the visual and the tactile sense.
A special feature of the tactile model is to highlight landmarks at a scale of 1:500. This allows for a more intense 'grasping' of Berlin architecture. It is planned to develop a 'speaking model' in the future, using a special technology to convey information as acoustic message or as sign language presentation. The model displays the area between Deutsche Oper und Strausberger Platz as well as between Charité and Mehringplatz.
Exhibition: "Grasping Berlin - Shaping Berlin" (Tactile model)
Additionally, Berlin has composed innovative planning handbooks on "Design for All" in English and German. The handbooks were elaborated in cooperation with local associations for the handicapped and have already received international attention as a ground-breaking work on barrier-free building and design of public space. As rules and standards for architects and urban planners, they encorporate design principles according to the UNCRDP. Social sustainability, diversity and aesthetics as concerns of building and urban planning in Berlin are equally considered as demographic developments.

Future work will include an additional handbook volume on "Design for All - Public Transport Space Berlin" in a similar design. User-friendly fact sheet are to further facilitate the implementation into planning processes. Berlin aims at becoming a metropolis of Design for All, which will greatly benefit both inhabitants and visitors of the city.

Fourth meeting of the working group Barrier-free City for All
on 27/28 June 2010 in Vienna

The 4th meeting was opened by the Vice Mayor of Vienna, Mrs Mag.a Maria Vassilakou and the Permanent Secretary for Building and Housing of the Senate Department for Urban Development of Berlin, Mrs. Hella Dunger-Löper.

35 experts from 16 European cities and European associations discussed during two days the implementation solutions of accessibility in urban areas.
The lack of accessibility concerning public transport and public space and the impact on the participation, particularly for people with disabilities, was illustrated by the video "Prague needs Revolution" with interviews of people with disabilities.

Based on the new construction project Vienna Central Station, currently the most important infrastructure project in Vienna, including the development of an entire district, experts discussed various requirements of accessibility. Experts from the city of Vienna presented the implementation of the Viennese transport master plan and the "Actionplan for Pedestrian". The actionplan was set up to develop an attractive net of pedestrian ways, considering the principles of Design for All.

On the second day different orientation and traffic information systems have been presented. Currently different technical systems are used in navigation systems for blind people. In future common standards could reduce the cost for marketable products.

Practical examples of guidance systems for blind and visually impaired people were explained during an on-site visit at the station Praterstern and the in 2010 new built station Stadtlau.

The presentation of best practices illustrated the variety of practised solutions. The experts agreed, that these practical experiences of the cities should be used in the future as a basis for uniform solutions in European cities.

Eurocities - 25 Jahre