Smart Cities Library™

Cities Without Barriers

While big cities are still struggling with their general accessibility, many smaller cities have already done everything to be accessible to all.

Europe, the home of gray cobblestones and ancient castles, isn’t the most accessible continent in the world for people living with disabilities, in part due to its varied landscape and medieval heritage.

The European Commission estimates that one-fifth of the population of the EU will be living with a disability by 2020, with cities scrambling to embrace accessibility, not simply by bolting it on to existing infrastructure, but by including it by design. Many European cities are paying close attention to urban engineering and the use of assistive technology to improve their city’s overall accessibility for both residents and tourists. While sprawling metropolises continue to grapple with accessibility, smaller cities have gone above and beyond and shown how a clever mix of design and technology can make our urban spaces open to all. To help move things along, every year since 2010 the EU has given one city the Access City Award, naming it the most accessible city in Europe, having prioritised accessibility in urban planning. Here are five cities in Europe which have been made accessible thanks to clever uses of technology, design and engineering.

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