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European project searches for the best in outdoor access

A new project aims to find some of the best examples of inclusively-designed outdoor public spaces across Europe.

Five European specialists in inclusive design have secured European Commission funding – through the Leonardo programme – to research how public spaces can be made more “engaging and accessible”.

The UK partner in the research – the Centre for Accessible Environments (CAE) – is appealing for disabled people and their organisations to tell them about their favourite improvements and innovations in public spaces.

They want to hear about examples such as the most accessible town squares, inclusively-designed parks, public spaces with art works that everyone can enjoy, and accessible signs.

The Training Tools for Accessible Towns project – which will also examine how legislation and standards vary from country to country – will lead to new training materials to help builders, access consultants, architects and planners create accessible outdoor public spaces.

Wai Chan, CAE’s project development manager, said she hoped the project would “showcase best practice and help remove and prevent barriers to access” and “find innovative solutions and ideas that have worked”.

She added: “We appreciate there is no such thing as the perfect public space but are looking for examples that show some innovation and good practice. For example, the redevelopment of Trafalgar Square led to better crossing routes, improved public sanitary facilities and lift access.”

Kevin Davis, CAE’s chief executive, said the project would provide “an indispensable resource for anybody working on public realm schemes, whether in the UK or Europe”.

The project is being led by ARVHA, a research and training organisation in France. The three other European partners are BBM-Grup, an architecture agency in Romania; Roma Tre University’s department of architecture and design in Italy; and Omada 80, a Greek architectural firm.

To share a good practice example with CAE, email: or tel: 020 7840 0125.

News provided by John Pring at