Inclusive club engaging with urban planners to create more accessibility for the blind

Solution
The Urban Mobility Club
Organization
The Alternative Methods of Social Integration Association
Country of Implementation
Romania
Region
Europe
Subregion
Central and Eastern Europe
City
Bucharest
Start Year
2017
First published
16.01.2022

The Urban Mobility Club, initiated in Bucharest, is a pan-European community that promotes the inclusion of people with disabilities in the urban life through workshops and other activities. In addition to people with disabilities, representatives of the real estate sector and the administration are encouraged to participate.

A goup of about 10 people, some of them blind, stand around a table while touching and feeling a wooden carved map of sorts. The camera zooms in on their hands. Next to the wooden map there lies a white cane.
Urban Mobility Club in action: the community is working with a tactile map of the city of Bucharest

Solution details

People

Iris POPESCUWebsite
“It initiated my first steps, I let my guard down, emotions aside and learned to get rid of inhibitions.” Elisabeta Plaiasu, Visually Impaired Member

The Urban Mobility Club is a skill-sharing community founded in 2017 by the Alternative Methods of Social Integration Association, an NGO based in Bucharest, Romania. The club brings together people with and without visual impairments to develop more accessible solutions for public spaces; and has produced various tools and services, such as tactile maps of the city of Bucharest, and has organized more than 100 webinars.

Problems Targeted

People with visual disabilities in Romania have few opportunities to participate in urban life because there is little awareness of accessibility and inclusive design.

Solution, Innovation and Impact

The Urban Mobility Club (UMC) organizes a community that promotes participatory learning and collaboration on accessibility and inclusive design through a range of activities. Persons with visual disabilities and professionals who impact the built environment – such as architects, urban planners, and public administrators – are particularly encouraged to join. Through its workshops, UMC has been able to produce the first tactile maps of the city of Bucharest, which has helped improve navigation for the approximately 6,000 people with visual disabilities who live in the city. The club also runs trainings for members with visual disabilities on urban mobility and coding, with the intention to further improve and scale digital applications such as Tandem, an app that helps visually impaired users navigate the subway system. Other activities include workshops focusing on ceramics, cooking, personal development, and music. Workshops and online chat groups are entirely free, and participants both with and without disabilities are able to learn from professional trainers.

Funding, Outlook and Transferability

UMC’s annual budget is €35,000, which covers rent, human resources, equipment, and transportation. Since 2017 it has received €159,000 in funding from the Orange Foundation, ING Tech, and Société Générale. UMC will also scale up its activities in the city of Cluj and will launch more technology-related activities, such as an IT hub to teach children with visual impairments how to code. The whole UMC model can be easily replicated in other cities.

Media

Pictures

A goup of about 10 people, some of them blind, stand around a table while touching and feeling a wooden carved map of sorts. The camera zooms in on their hands. Next to the wooden map there lies a white cane. Urban Mobility Club in action: the community is working with a tactile map of the city of Bucharest

Videos

Related information

Solutions with the same:

Country of Implementation

Romania

Region of Implementation

Europe

City of Implementation

Bucharest