Chester is Britain’s most accessible city
The world population is increasing, and so is the number of people who live in urban areas. In the European Union, 87 million people live with a disability, says EC statistics. Therefore, the cities need to become more accessible. The number of projects which are turning cities into more inclusive and accessible ones keeps on growing.
It is important to note that a city does not become accessible only by adapting its infrastructure to people. Social inclusion is also important in providing equal conditions for all the inhabitants.
Accessibility in the city of Chester has been a long-term approach, and now it is the most accessible British city which is constantly trying to make more business, facilities, and services fully accessible to people with disabilities. It was the first British city to win the coveted European Access City Award in 2017 for its commitment to ensuring that the historic city continues to become more accessible for all.
The Access City Award recognizes and celebrates a city’s willingness, ability, and efforts to become more accessible. It has been created in order to guarantee equal access to fundamental rights and improve people’s quality of life. By winning this award, the city of Chester showed that it has set high standards to ensure that everybody, regardless of age, mobility or their overall abilities, has equal access to all the resources and pleasures cities have to offer.
The city has unique elevated walkways above its four main streets which are 100% suitable for wheelchairs and was chosen for this award because of its inclusive measures for people with disabilities in different sectors, in particular tourism.
Chester has a rich history. It is famous for its Roman heritage, 700-year-old medieval ‘Rows’, Eastgate Clock, Racecourse, and distinctive black and white buildings. It was made sure that the main tourist sites are wheelchair-accessible, and this way the city enabled accessible tourism for everyone. This also made the city more welcoming and a better place for living, working or visiting. Wheelchair users are able to access the walls and information panels around the city and the City Centre Access Guide shows where the access points in the city are.
The city of Chester also made public transport buses accessible for wheelchair users. There is also the Dial-a-Ride scheme which uses wheelchair-accessible vehicles and makes transportation around the city pretty easy for everyone.
Cheshire West and Chester joined the World Health Organization Global Network of Age-friendly Cities and Communities in 2018. This is a network for sharing ideas and best practices between places committed to making their neighborhoods welcoming and accessible. (photo credit: Mohamed Hassan/Pixabay)