Helsinki and the Finnish city of Joensuu have been awarded for promoting accessibility. Awards to the cities were presented on Thursday, 15 November 2018, at a gala seminar celebrating the 80th anniversary of The Finnish Association of People with Physical Disabilities.
The City of Helsinki was presented with an honorable mention for expanding the accessibility feature of the Helsinki Metropolitan Service Map into a national service. The City of Joensuu was presented with a Good Accessibility Act award for improving accessibility in the recreational island of Ilosaari.
The Helsinki Metropolitan Service Map is an online service that helps users to search for and locate services provided by the metropolitan cities. The map includes municipal services including schools, day care centres and public health stations, but it also includes private services provided by enterprises.
Users can set their preferences including accessibility in their profile on the Service Map. When they specify if they move with a stroller, a walker or a wheelchair, or if they are visually impaired or use a hearing aid, they are shown any known accessibility information about a chosen route or location. Chosen routes are provided with instructions in writing.
The goal of the honorable mention given to Helsinki is to encourage the City to continue the development work and to commit other municipalities to add to and maintain the Service Map’s information.
Petri Pohjonen, Director General of The Finnish Association of People with Physical Disabilities, and Espoo Mayor Jukka Mäkelä challenged Finnish cities last spring to make proposals for good accessibility acts. The challenge was accepted by 12 cities, which together made a total of 26 proposals.