Map4Accessibility aims to develop a Pan-European accessibility mapping app which provides information on the accessibility of public spaces. The project will engage higher education students by combining community engagement and academic coursework, preparation and reflection via service learning. In such a way the students will learn through active engagement and work on a community-identified concern.
- Promote and increase service-learning, community engagement and strengthen civic skills among higher education students by offering academic credits for students’ involvement in the project activities,
- Gather and share best practices and expertise on digital and physical accessibility for universities and cities at large,
- Design a pan-European accessibility mapping tool based on an existing Portuguese application which provides information on the accessibility of public spaces,
- Promote the inclusive education agenda – including, but not limited to, higher education institution,
- Influence both higher academic and a variety of other institutions to improve accessibility on multiple levels.
Map4Accessibility aims to raise awareness of accessibility issues among HEI students, foster their civic engagement, support social inclusion and the creation of more physically and digitally accessible European institutions and cities.
The project will:
Increase higher education universities’ (project partners and beyond) staff awareness and understanding of digital, physical, and social barriers faced by people with accessibility constraints and provide tools they can apply for systemic change for better accessibility and to promote the inclusive education agenda
Impact on People with Disabilities and Restrained Mobility
All 5 barriers for accessibility to people with disabilities or restrained mobility will be tackled within the project in one way or another:
- Attitudinal – all project activities aim to raise awareness on issues related to accessibility disability and address multiple stakeholders,
- Organisational or systemic – HEIs will be directly involved,
- Physical (architectural),
- Information or communications,
- Technology-related ones will be addressed by the project.
Impact on HEI Students
- Raise awareness, heighten the understanding, social acceptance, and ownership of shared values among HEI student cohorts previously unaware or less aware of the impact accessibility restriction are having on vulnerable groups,
- Empower students to act as change agents to positively improve their environment in terms of physical and digital accessibility,
- Increase in the civic responsibility and social and personal growth of HEI students which gain first-hand experience and co-generate solutions for digital and physical accessibility obstacles via mapping exercises thus promoting equality, diversity, and non-discrimination in the HEI setting.
Impact on HEI Staff
- Gain theoretical knowledge on service learning and mapping methodologies,
- Apply an innovative methodology in their respective HEIs – service learning, community and accessibility mapping,
- Gain access to practical tools for contributing to create a more inclusive and accessible digital and physical environment within campuses and in local city environments,
- Build stronger student-teacher connections.
Impact on Other Stakeholders
The long-term aim of the mapping website and app will be to incentivise HEIs and cities towards introducing accessibility strategies both in terms of the built environment and public spaces, transport and related infrastructures, information, and communication, including Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) and public facilities and services but also legally binding accessibility standards and accessibility standards in the built environment which go beyond the legal norms.
Impact on Participating Organisations
Due to the project’s multidimensionality partner organisations will benefit from increased awareness of the issues targeted, knowledge in an area in which they are not experts and an increased knowledge skillset are regards the activities they would be undertaking in the project.
What do we do?
What activities are we implementing?
The project is defined in five work packages:
WP1: Multi-Stakeholder Co-design Process: HEI Service Learning and Community Accessibility Mapping
WP1 will pass through the following stages:
- Benchmarking HEI service-learning practices across Europe and gathering best practices,
- Benchmarking existing mapping solutions – mapping websites on the accessibility of cities, localities, institutions – across Europe,
- Gathering internal partner feedback and carrying out focus groups, surveys, exploratory walks to aggregate external multi-stakeholder feedback,
- Analysis of the data and defining the issues, stakeholder needs and requirements, application of specific techniques and tools for generating solutions,
- Defining the service-learning pedagogical approach to be applied within the project,
Consolidating the information gathered to define the overall Map4Accessibility methodology, including Service-Learning Pedagogical Methodology.
WP2: Iterative Development Phase
The app and website will provide precise and double-checked information about accessible places at the city level. It will be co-created with the active support of the target HEI students, representatives, and other relevant stakeholders – local citizens, accessibility environment specialists (architects, urban planners, etc.), city representatives. The mapping tools will to be used during the HEI-based Service-Learning activities. Students from the European Center for Digital Competitiveness from ESCP Berlin will be actively engaged in the content development and the design of the Guide with the activity being included as part of their curriculum in ESCP Business School – Berlin campus.
WP3 Local civic engagement – HEI case studies
WP3 will actively engage, train and lead HEI students from 4 case studies to conduct service learning ECST activities – exploratory and urban walks – in their cities. Once the app has been designed and developed, and the first build released, the project will enter the piloting phase.
The piloting will aim to test:
- Service-Learning activities and the experience of the students involved,
- The web accessibility of the mapping website and app. A cascade assessment process will be carried out:
- a) disability accessibility of the mapping website and app,
- b) assessment of the user interface,
- c) assessment of the process for inputting content and leaving reviews.
- Ability of the mapping tools to achieve their main purpose – map the physical and web accessibility of various objects. A handbook on Applications of Service Learning for accessibility and inclusivity of HEI students will be realised at the end of the WP3.
Within the framework of the WP3, the following main activities will be done:
o 4 Exploratory walks will be carried out as explained in task 3.1. The service-learning activity will be the exploratory walks aiming to identify issues that limit possibilities to access public space and exploring solutions to adapt to the needs of the disabled people, women, children, the elderly, local citizens. The Exploratory Walks will engage 10-15 stakeholders per local setting, for a total of approximately 50 people engaged and will gather relevant information useful as well as work as a basic training activity for the urban walks to be conducted by each HEI.
o 4 urban walks with HEIs will be carried out engaging a total of 50 people per location or 200 people for all four locations. The urban walks will provide the quantitative data through mapping of the urban environment to respond to these needs. The walks, also called case studies, will be done in the cities of the students. Students from all universities will receive academic credits for their involvement in the activities.
These activities will be carried out in 4 cities: Catania (Italy), Blagoevgrad (Bulgaria), Berlin (Germany) and Lisbon (Portugal). The local HEI partners will be the responsible for each exploratory and urban walk.
WP4: Stakeholder engagement, book release and replicability
WP4 deals with the ongoing communication, dissemination of the project’s results to the largest possible audience. It aims to maximise the project’s visibility, support the Service-Learning methodology, engage stakeholders in a continuous dialogue and as contributors to the mapping activities, raise awareness of the project to the wider public, and promote the activities, tools and results of the project.
- Create the proper promotion and sharing project tools, including a promotion, and sharing plan,
- Create general promotion and sharing at the hyperlocal, local and EU level,
- Network and engage with projects, organisations, and campaigns with similar purposes,
- Organise a final conference to ensure the replication of the project’s results and mapping tools at a broader scale,
- Condense best practices and lessons learnt to create an open access book (PR5) to serve as a toolkit for HEI institutions and cities on how to best foster physical and digital accessibility.
WP5: Project administrative and financial management
WP5 aims to ensure that there is an efficient coordination and communication between consortium partners. Respect of the deadlines, quality of deliverables and reports will be verified. This will be implemented thanks to a quality plan and various management tools.
- Ensure the optimal coordination of human and financial resources,
- Optimise the integration and interrelation between WP activities,
- Ensure the functioning and efficiency of the Steering Committee,
- Monitor of the project and the quality of the work,
- Ensure the timely and appropriate reporting to the Italian National Agency
What will be the results?
The following results will be achieved:
- 4 Universities in 4 countries – Germany, Italy, Bulgaria, and Portugal – and their student organisations will be engaged in at least 20 distinct organised academic recognised Service-Learning Community Mapping Activities – exploratory walks, urban mapping walks, mapping parties – engaging 380 students or other stakeholders,
- 12 Multiplier events would be organised engaging more than 473 stakeholders,
- 181 HEI students or stakeholders with disabilities to be direct participants in the project activities,
- More than 2500 stakeholders will be made aware of the project and its results,
- 5 Project Results will be released and all of them will be open access and available on the project’s website and distributed via own and partners’ networks:
Who are we?
Map4Accessibility gathers 7 partners from 5 different EU Member States (Italy, Germany, Bulgaria, Portugal and Belgium) having complementary profiles allowing them to have the ideal competence-based mix to design and implement a truly impactful collaborative project.
1. Università degli Studi della Tuscia – the coordinator | UNITUS
Profile: The University of Tuscia (UNITUS) established in 1979 is a public medium size university active at all levels of studies: undergraduate, masters, PhDs and specialisation schools.
From 2020/2021 Academic Year 3 International Study programmes are taught in English respectively in Human Rights, Circular Economy and Forestry and Environmental Sciences. Since 1987 UNITUS has participated in the Socrates/Erasmus Programme and has always been very active both at the national and international level by participating in several projects financed by the EU. Currently Departments and its researchers are involved either as coordinators or as partners in 18 projects in the Seventh Framework Programme (FP7).
2. Association de Recherche et de Formation sur l'Insertion en Europe Belgium | ARFIE
Profile: ARFIE (Association for Research and Training on Integration in Europe) was set up in 1992 as a European NGO to improve the support, social inclusion, and availability of services to people with disabilities, people with important dependency needs and with associated mental health needs. Through more than 25 years of close collaboration between service providers and training and research centres in the disability field, ARFIE has delivered numerous European projects and publications on disability issues, all with the aim to disseminate good practices on how the UN Convention on Rights of Persons with Disabilities could be implemented. Аs an ordinary member of the European Disability Forum, ARFIE has been in close collaboration with organisations and other stakeholders defending the rights of persons with disabilities and promoting social inclusion. ARFIE represents a platform for professionals to compare and develop best practiceс across different countries about quality of life and equal opportunities of disabled people.
Role in the project: ARFIE will be involved in all the work packages and will also strongly contribute to the sharing and promotion of results since it has proved expertise in this field as also notable outreach:
- At EU level ARFIE works closely with other EU umbrella organisations working in the disability field, EU institutions representatives and the Intergroup on disability in the European Parliament. ARFIE is also a member of the European Disability Forum (EDF).
- At regional and local level ARFIE can count on its members, from several EU members States: research centers and social service providers.
3. Università degli Studi di Catania | UNICT
Profile: The Department Civil Engineering and Architecture (DICAR) is part of University of Catania, one of the oldest University in Italy, founded in 1434, with more than 40,000 students. DICAR gather competencies in civil engineering and architecture. DICAR hosts Master’s Degree Courses in Civil Engineering, Environmental Engineering, Building Engineering and Architecture and a PhD course in Urban Risk Assessment and Mitigation. Particularly, programmes about Geographical Information Systems and Planning are developed within the MSc courses of “Build Engineering and Architecture” and “Architecture” and the PhD course in “Urban risk Assessment and Mitigation”. The Department facilities include several laboratories, with teaching and research aims. Particularly, the “Laboratorio per la Pianificazione Territoriale e Ambientale” (LAPTA) conducts research and runs activities in urban and landscape planning, GIS, regional sustainability, environmental and transportation analysis. LAPTA includes the most important software suites for GIS and remote sensing. UNICT have actively participated in the last years in hundreds of projects belonging to all European Programs. Among the research fields are included: sustainable planning, climate change, integration between planning and transportation systems, biodiversity and ecosystems services, environmental sciences, information and communication technology, historical heritage conservation.
Role in the project: UNICT will support with the project the following activities:
- scientific support for the development and coordination on accessibility topics and related app,
- organisation of events with stakeholders concerned with accessibility,
- lectures and teaching activities on Spatial Sustainable Urban Planning and accessibility,
- development of teaching materials,
- enrolment of students’ teams,
- design and development of students’ teams to work on the test the developed app,
- presentation of results of the project at major international conferences,
- monitoring the overall project quality, in terms of progress and development of the app.
4. South-West University Neofit Rilski | SWU
Profile: South-West University “Neofit Rilski” (SWU) was founded in 1976 in Blagoevgrad. With a history of over 40 years, the University has gained a reputation as a leader in the sphere of science and education in Bulgaria and on the Balkans. At present, it is recognised as one of the forefront classical universities in South-Eastern Europe. The University is accredited with maximum assessment grade by the National Evaluation and Accreditation Agency, which guarantees the quality of the educational service in 77 Bachelor’s, 120 Master’s programs after completion of higher education and 88 Doctoral programs. The training is conducted in 30 professional areas in the fields of the humanities, the technical, management, social, pedagogical, legal, and economic sciences, the arts, health care, public health and sports. South-West University “Neofit Rilski” implements scientific research that is also co-funded by different European programmes.
The university is in the process of adapting to respond to the specific needs of students with disabilities. Currently the academic and administrative authorities have been instructed to support students who need special attention when testing or training and the university has a dedicated centre for students with special needs.
Role in the project: SWU will be one of the partners with a case study on HEI accessibility within the project. In addition to the Bulgarian case study, they will be responsible for the Handbook on Applications of Service Learning (PR4): an Innovative Pedagogical Approach to engage students and teachers for accessibility and inclusivity leader and piloting participant as one of the case studies.
5. ESCP Business School, Campus Berlin| ESCP
Profile: ESCP Business School, Campus Berlin is a state-recognized higher education institution (HEI) based in Berlin, Germany and is an integral part of ESCP Business School: the world’s oldest business school. Through its research, ESCP develops a singular concept to management disciplines based on a multicultural, interdisciplinary, and open approach to the major challenges of tomorrow’s world. The ESCP community is committed to promoting pluralism through respect for cultures and all forms of diversity. ESCP’s European identity enables the provision of a unique style of cross-cultural business education and a global perspective on international management and sustainability issues. For ESCP in general and ESCP Berlin in particular an international research focus is linked with excellent teaching and high-level management training. Consequently, research and development is the backbone of ESCP Berlin. The activities of ESCP faculty members reach across teaching, research, and academic programme leadership. Besides, ESCP increasingly supports transversal research conducted with nonmanagement disciplines, facilitated by its numerous academic alliances and partner universities. ESCP has a particular expertise in 3 academic key areas, namely sustainability, entrepreneurship, and digitalisation with a foundation of international management.
Role in the project: ESCP will contribute to the community mapping and case studies. Students from the European Centre of Digital Competitiveness will be actively engaged in the content development and the design of the Open Access Book (PR5) with the activity being included as part of their curriculum.
6. Associação Salvador Portugal | AS
Profile: Associação Salvador is a Portuguese non-profit organisation working to promote the integration of physically disabled people in society. With the objective of improving these people’s quality of life, the organisation develops projects to raise awareness, disseminate knowledge and promote social integration in the fields of sports, employment, training, events, and personal development, providing adapted equipment, promoting accessibilities, school awareness (from
kindergarten to university), road safety programmes and promoting equality of rights. They have 16 paid staff in Lisbon and Porto, and in 2019 they have had the contribution of 163 volunteers who have offered more than 4.600 hours of their time to benefit the projects. Their 12 ambassadors (people with disabilities that represent them in initiatives all over Portugal) also participated, boosting the impact of the events. Associação Salvador has also had several initiatives that counted with the involvement of students, from high school to university. In 2018 the organisation launched the + Acesso para Todos app, which enables users to rank the accessibility of Portuguese public places and file an official complaint whenever a place is not accessible.
Role in the project: The main involvement of Associação Salvador will be in the design and development of the project’s app based on their own +Acesso para todos app, expertise in disability awareness events and campaigns organisation.
7. Evroproject OOD | EP
Profile: Europroject (EP) is a French-Bulgarian consultancy specialised in the setting-up of European research & innovation projects specifically under the framework of ERASMUS+, Horizon Europe and LIFE. Europroject has broad experience in project management, dissemination and exploitation, web design and development, including the creation and maintenance of project websites and online platforms and adherence to accessibility standards. The company has developed a wide network and strong relations with research organisations, local public bodies, NGOs, training centres and private companies. EP currently participates in the implementation of 10 EU projects, including large-scale ones, and benefits from the wide experience of its French mother company Euroquality, which has been the project manager of more than 30 EU projects over the past 10 years. Europroject’s teams have specific knowledge and competences in the fields of environment, energy, climate change, social sciences and humanities. In 2020 Europroject and Euroquality became part of the Italian group TINEXTA, merging innovation consulting expertise with their subsidiary Warrant Hub S.p.A.
Role in the project: EP’s web design and development team will lead the development and creation of Map4Accessibility Guide on Inclusive Digital Accessibility, provide support for the compliance of all project outputs to industry accessibility standards, support the development of PR3 and the project’s website and communication tools and provide advice to partners on the daily administrative and financial management due to its familiarity with the rules, procedures and reporting of Erasmus+ projects.
8. Advisory Board
Role: The Advisory Board will:
- Serve as a validation body for all project results and milestones based on the quality standards to be set up,
- Enable the broad dissemination and replication of the project’s outcomes,
- Provide ongoing multi-sided feedback on the project’s development and the resolution of any issues consortium partners can potentially encounter using the External review framework for advisory board members.