What is Map4Accessibility?

Map4Accessibility develops a pan-European accessibility mapping app to provides information on the accessibility of public spaces across 4 European cities. The project employs service-learning to engage higher education students and other stakeholders in its community mapping practices. By combining community engagement and academic coursework, preparation and reflection both students and other stakeholders will learn through active engagement and work on a community-identified concern.

What are we developing – our Map4A11y App


Our Progressive Web App (PWA) is an accessibility map which outlines the physical and web accessibility of various objects and provide precise information on accessible places at the city level. It covers accessibility standards, embeds Universal Design Principles and adds improvements to an already existing app – + Acesso para Todos – which serves as the foundation on which the Map4A11y app is being built. It is adapted, co-designed and co-developed through service-learning activities with higher education students.

The aim of the app, in addition to assisting people with various abilities while navigating the urban environment, will be to influence higher education institutions and cities to adopt accessibility strategies on:

  • the built environment and public spaces, public facilities, and services,
  • transport and related infrastructures,
  • information and communication, including information and communication technologies,
  • legally binding accessibility standards and
  • accessibility standards in the built environment, which go beyond the legal norms.

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Service Learning (SL)

Service-learning is a pedagogical approach which combines community service or engagement into the curriculum. The learning derives from the active engagement in the community and work on a real-world problem. The aim is to give students a sense of civic engagement and responsibility and work towards positive social change in society.

Accessibility mapping

Accessibility mapping is the activity to map the physical and web accessibility of various places and objects.

Progressive Web App (PWA)

A progressive web application is a type of application software delivered through the web, built using common web technologies including HTML, CSS and JavaScript. It is intended to work on any platform that uses a standards-compliant browser.

Community mapping methods

Community mapping methods can be mapping parties, exploratory walks, and urban walks.

Exploratory walks

Exploratory walks are a community participatory tool to assess needs in public spaces (squares, streets, green spaces, but also public institutions such as university campuses). The participants will walk within the city to (i) identify the issues that limit their possibility to access and enjoy it and (ii) collectively explore solutions to make public space adapted to their needs. Depending on the issues, targeted participants can be disabled people, women, children, the elderly or local citizens.

Mapping exercise

A mapping exercise is a simple and effective way of analysing a given area and discovering potential for development.

Universal Design Principles (UDL)

The 7 Principles of Universal Design were developed in 1997 by a working group of architects, product designers, engineers, and environmental design researchers. The purpose of the principles is to guide the design of environments, products, and communications. They include:

  • Principle 1: Equitable Use
  • Principle 2: Flexibility in Use
  • Principle 3: Simple and Intuitive Use
  • Principle 4: Perceptible Information
  • Principle 5: Tolerance for Error
  • Principle 6: Low Physical Effort
  • Principle 7: Size and Space for Approach and Use

Map4Accessibility will follow and apply the universal design principles throughout the project.

Digital Mapping

Digital Mapping is the process of storing and displaying map data in a digital form.

Mapping tool

Mapping tools is an online map that can create, import, convert, share, and customize geographical data.

Community Mapping Practices

Community Mapping involves residents in identifying the assets of their neighbourhood, looking at opportunities and creating a picture of what it is like to live there. Community mapping can encourage people to become powerful advocates for the transformation of the spaces in which they live, becoming more civically minded in the process.

Mapping Parties – Micro mapping

The purpose of a mapping party is to achieve a well-defined mapping aim using a small group of mappers in one day or less. Micro mapping parties can work well for casually bringing local people together with less organisation needed.

Urban Walks

Urban walks involve mapping the urban environment via a questionnaire prepared based on exploratory walks. They aim to acquire quantitative data to respond to the needs of the participants.

European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System (ECTS)

The European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System is a standard means to compare academic credits. ECTS allows credits taken at one higher education institution (HEI) to be counted towards a qualification studied for at another. ECTS credits represent learning based on defined learning outcomes and their associated workload.

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