Barrier-free Vienna – a city for all
Centre of Excellence for Barrier-free Planning, Building and Living
In order to ensure that as many people as possible can move freely around the city and participate in public life, it is the aim of the City of Vienna to remove not only existing barriers but also prevent their emergence in the future. Barrier-free planning and building is specifically promoted, and advice and information is provided to raise awareness of obstacles in construction design. This also benefits people without disabilities, because a city without obstacles increases quality of life for all.
In the 1990s, the City of Vienna enshrined barrier-free building in the Building Code, and in 1994 it laid down the objectives for a barrier-free city in the urban development plan.
Implementing the Federal Law on Equal Treatment of Persons with Disabilities, the Vienna City Administration has also included the regulation of safety of use and barrier-free design in the Building Engineering Ordinance.
This provides the city with an efficient control instrument for prescribing obligatory barrier-free construction for all new and remodelled buildings.
Since 2008, the City of Vienna has had a separate Centre of Excellence for barrier-free planning, building and living. This Centre of Excellence provides advice for the barrier-free planning of new buildings or remodelling and processes grant applications for housing renovation projects. In 2010, 369 grant applications were filed and approximately EUR 2.3 million was paid out. The Centre of Excellence works on an interdepartmental basis across all local government departments and is also involved in important official procedures. It liases between politicians, disabled associations and the Vienna City Administration and organises information and discussion events to promote and raise awareness.
Vienna supports the barrier-free design of housing for people with disabilities in a variety of ways. Thanks to the statutory requirement for barrier-free building, public buildings and open spaces are designed in a manner that they can be used by everyone. By providing ramps or lowered kerbstones, guidance systems for the blind, signal systems or ensuring diversions around building sites are kept barrier-free, the city makes getting around the city safer and easier for all. Low-floor vehicles and barrier-free tram stops and underground stations enable all Viennese to use public transport.
As well as monitoring building design or public passenger transport, the city also pays attention to guaranteeing barrier-free access with its Internet presence. Using the Web service "Reporting obstacles in the city" citizens may report obstacles, such as steps or lack of guidance systems for the blind, directly to the Centre of Excellence. In many cases, such reports lead to an improvement in the criticised situation. There is a "barrier-free city map" available on the Internet and people with disabilities can use it to create their own barrier-free route for reaching their desired destination quickly and safely.
Facts & Figures
- Total grants awarded in 2010 EUR 2.3 million for 369 projects
- 143 on-site inspections including funding advice/month
- 290 telephone enquiries answered/month
- 200 email enquiries and responses concerning barrier-free building/month
- Approx. 38,000 visits to the website at barrierefreiestadt.wien.at
- Austrian Federal Constitution, Art. 7(1) of the General Provisions (purpose of state definition)
- Federal Law on Equal Treatment of People with Disabilities 2005
- UN Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities (in force in Austria since 26 October 2008)
- STEP 2005
DI Markus Damm
Tel. +43 1 4000 84268
Fax +43 1 4000 7997
- Municipal Department for Urban Renewal and Assessment in Matters of Housing Construction and Promotion ( MA 25)
- reporting obstacles in Vienna
- reporting obstacles in Vienna
- Vienna Social Fund – Advice for Persons with Disabilities
- Assistance for Persons with Disabilities, information and advice
- Ombudsman for the Disabled
- Vienna Federal Social Welfare Office
- Equal Treatment of Persons with Disabilities
- Start-up-enterprise centre for people with disabilities
- Barrier-free access network