Everything that can be made accessible
Are monumental buildings really excluded?
Our conference was the conclusion and evaluation of a year’s work. What have we been working on for the past year? What we have been working on for three years is the creation and further development of the Barrierfree Pécs database. In the past year our activities, which we called the “sticker” project, started in 2018, were supported by the citizens of Pécs themselves with their donations, through the “Élő Adás/Live Broadcast” fundraising event of the Pécs Community Foundation. We also owed them a summary and evaluation, which was an excellent opportunity for the conference held on 10. November 2021 at the House of Civil Communities in Pécs.
We grouped the presentations of the conference into two main topics:
The importance of accessibility, target group and how accessibility is to be made. Within this we tried to focus on the possibility of accessibility of monument buildings by experts. After all, during the development of the Barrierfree Pécs database, we also ran into ahalf-way response several times, saying that “it is not possible to make it accessible here, because it is a monument, we cannot touch it”.
We felt that this was more of a “blanket” than the truth, but now at our conference it became clear with the lectures of architects/Rehabilitation Engineers Henriett Szabó and Ildikó Tamasy Kakusziné that this was not the case. People also want to visit the historic buildings, including people with disabilities, so accessibility is equally mandatory. Of course, it is necessary to take into account the possibilities of a particular building, but this does not exclude for example the Colosseum in Rome, the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona, or the many, many monument buildings in Dresden being accessible to everyone (emphasis here: EVERYONE). Moreover, accessibility must be true not only for buildings, but also for services, including the entire chain of services.
Our other topic was the presentation of databases that really explore accessibility and evaluate them according to peer expert criteria, and cooperation between them. Our association presented the database of Barrierfree Pécs, which has developed into a professional one in 3 years. There are currently 72 locations in it, according to 12 categories, in Hungarian and English. Our goal remains to help the local population and tourists who visit here, to make their lives predictable, and to promote accessible tourism. This year, in cooperation with the Tourism Development Department of Pécs MunicipalityJV, the database can be scrolled through in the form of a handy publication, for the time being only in Hungarian, but the aim is also the English publication.
We heard interesting lectures on the Facebook site “Gurulva a nagyvilágban” (“rolling around the world”) and Access4you, and a short text introduction about Hungary4all. The mother-daughter duo of Gurulva a nagyvilágban (Victoria Pálinkás and Beáta Tanka) cover the accessible locations during their many journeys, while Budapest’s entire transport has been explored and the country’s petrol stations have also been searched. Access4you has developed a certification system as a professional business to evaluate accessible locations. As founder and managing director Balázs Berecz said, it is possible to move up in this system, which will encourage each location to further develop in the field of accessibility.
The target group is always very broad and far from limited to people with disabilities. Accessibility is equally important for the elderly, families with young children, temporary injured or even suitcase pullers, so there is a need for broad cooperation. This is what we “database creators” will be working on in the near future, and at the conference we decided to continue the professional consultation very soon.
Public work is also important, as a database works effectively when it reaches as many people as possible.
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You can find our Barrierfree Pécs database here in English: