The City of Helsinki’s accessibility policies apply to the mobility around and use of buildings and outdoor areas. Additionally, the City of Helsinki’s accessibility plan also requires that all public places be built and renovated in a way that makes them accessible.
The purpose of the City of Helsinki’s accessibility policies is to serve as the shared general guidelines on accessibility for all the City and its divisions. The divisions are responsible for implementing the accessibility policies and making them part of their normal operating processes and procedures. One of the accessibility policy aims is to increase cooperation between the divisions, thereby ensuring the continuous implementation of accessibility.
The accessibility policies have been divided into five focal areas: zoning and traffic planning, public buildings, public areas, housing and services. The policies apply to all divisions whose operations fall under these themes.
The accessibility policies include both existing and new policies, divided into the focal areas.
The Accessibility Policies 2022–2025 replace the accessibility policies approved by the City Board in 2012 and the City of Helsinki’s Accessibility Plan for 2005–2010. The City of Helsinki’s Accessibility Plan for 2005–2010 formed the foundation for an accessible Helsinki. It was approved by the City Board on 14 November 2005.
Realisation of the accessibility policies
City of Helsinki audit committee’s Assessment report
Objective of the assessment
The main question in the assessment was whether the accessibility of the built environment has been realised in accordance with the City’s objectives. In relation to this, it was assessed whether the common principles of accessibility have been realised, whether the accessibility policies have been realised in the focus areas of accessibility (land use planning and traffic planning, buildings, public areas, living environment and services) and whether accessibility has improved according to the accessibility indicators. The accessibility policies were prepared in 2012, and the last time the City Board was reported on their realisation was in 2016. Representatives of the Council on Disability and Council of the Elderly were interviewed for the assessment, among others.
The objectives of the City of Helsinki that are in line with the accessibility policies have been achieved, for the most part. The City of Helsinki has carried out nationally and internationally significant work related to accessibility. For example, it has prepared accessibility guidelines to ensure the accessibility of the built environment and drawn up a service map to provide information on accessibility. Based on the assessment, the accessibility perspective is taken into account well in the planning phase of the built environment but not always in final inspections. The Accessibility Working Group monitors accessibility, but there is no named party to whom it should report. The City divisions, service entities and certain services lack contact persons who are in charge of accessibility issues and who can also influence the realisation of accessibility. Additionally, accessibility training and orientation organised together with disability organisations has not been provided recently. Users such as representatives of disability organisations are not being used sufficiently as experience experts or service testers.