Atlantic Cities: Accessible places

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As reflects the chapter 3 of the Charter of San Sebastian, the Atlantic cities are committed to “Support initiatives in favour of solidarity and social cohesion, promoting equal opportunities, help for the elderly, the poorest, combating all forms of discrimination, and encouraging active community involvement.” Accessibility is a key point on this strategy.

This week, Association of Handicap of France has released its barometer of disabled-friendly cities, which features three Atlantic cities in its record: Nantes, first in the ranking for the third time, Caen, third classified and Rennes as fourth.

The barometer evaluates the following concepts: a suitable framework of life, accessible municipal facilities and a proactive local policy. This barometer also takes the vision of the concerned town.

For Nantes, “accessibility is a subject of society which not only affects a part of the population but that serves all. This vision of society is applied to the entire city of Nantes including also the 24 communes of the metropolitan area. A comprehensive policy has been implemented to make it accessible to small businesses”.  In the case of Rennes, “it is really their long term policy that allows this ranking today. Rennes Metro is fully accessible as almost all bus lines are. The cultural facilities have also been taken into account by the City Hall.” As for Caen, the barometer considers that the Council “no longer considers accessibility as a binding standard, but as something positive” and “A major effort at the level of transport has been achieved this year. Today there is that the vast majority of buses are accessible and fully for the tram. The bus drivers are trained to welcome persons with disabilities“.

In this sense, last December, Santander (Spain) has been finalist in EU award for disabled-friendly cities 2012, due to its good planning in urban accessibility programs, which has adhered to an approach of universal design, as well as the quality and sustainability of the results achieved, as acknowledged by the report of the European Commission.

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