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This year, the longstanding POLIS-member Dresden has applied for the ”Access City Award“ of the European Commission. Dresden has about 13 000 cultural monuments which provoke a careful balance between monument conservation and the needs of disabled persons. The city’s continuous efforts of being a barrier-free city are highly effective.
As the capital of the Free State of Saxony, Dresden has about 530 000 inhabitants. In consideration of the growing importance of science and a dynamic economy, Dresden appeals to specialists from all over the world and has a high birth rate. To raise the quality of life for its citizens, Dresden has introduced many groundbreaking measures.
At the present time, Dresden’s city centre is nearly barrier-free and the most important public buildings, museums and venues are accessible for everyone. Additionally, there are about 170 free parking spaces and about 70 toilets for disabled persons in the city centre, which is an untypically high rate for a German city. To reach those places, most of the public transport in Dresden’s city centre was created in a barrier-free way, which is also a greatly beneficial for mothers with prams, travellers with heavy and bulky luggage or elderly persons.
A lot of continuative offers using IT-media amplify Dresden’s endeavours. As a basis of them, the websites of Dresden are largely designed in a barrier-free way, which permits the readers to use a screenreading programme. Besides a various supply of print media, you can also find on Dresden’s websites an interactive city map showing barrier-free ways, stops, parking spaces and toilets next to detailed information about the accessibility of public buildings. Disabled people have the possibility to participate in a mobility training.
Sign language translation or speech-to-text reporting can be requested for public proceedings such as city council meetings. With a hand-held transmitter, visually impaired may stop public transports, listen to announcements again or let them hear the number of the train or bus.
The integration of disabled persons has always had a high status in Dresden’s politics and is efficiently discussed in many different councils. Already in 1996, the first guideline for a barrier-free city was decided. Since 1997, there is an appointee for handicapped persons who is a contact person for persons concerned but also for the city itself, councils and associations. The local advisory council for disabled people advices the city council since 2004. And with its local action schedule from 2012, Dresden was one of the first German cities willing to realise the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
Furthermore, Dresden’s Transport and Development Plan VEP 2025+ includes the needs of disabled persons. In addition, there is a steady information exchange between Dresden and its neighbour cities to evaluate the taken steps. The city of Dresden is also part of national and international working groups dealing with that topic to present its opinion in many ways. Local working groups as a constant factor attend and control the city’s measures on a high-educated level. Over and above, handicapped persons play a part in those working groups and have the chance to integrate their valuable opinion for better solutions. The City of Dresden supports them, for example, by organising events and citizens are informed via print media, press releases and the website of Dresden.
The winner of this year's "Access City Award“ will be announced on 5 December in Brussels.