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We are in the process of upgrading the community portal infrastructure. The process will be realised in the summer break period and the system will be back in full operation from September 1st. All accounts, scenarios, projects, and resources along with the community structure will be transferred automatically and no further actions is needed from you. For your current activities we are recommending the use of the new interface available at https://www.schoolofthefuture.eu/osos

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Friendly Cities for All
Hosted by OSOS, contributed by Bernat on 18/02/2019
How can we promote urban accessibility in the milieu?

Friendly Cities for AllFriendly Cities for All aims to promote civic awareness in the field of urban accessibility. It is an interdisciplinary action research initiative that uses service-learning and the OpenStreetMap tools with a triple objective:

  1. to RAISE AWARENESS about functional diversity and social inclusion
  2. to DIAGNOSE COLLABORATIVELY with a free software technology application, and
  3. to ACT AGAINST THE BARRIERS that limit our cities' accessibility for everyone.

The project combines the learning part (awareness + development of technological competences) with the service (diagnosis and action of complaint / advocacy).

It is an initiative of social innovation for the construction of friendly cities for all people who seek to satisfy social needs that currently are not adequately covered by the market or the public sector, opening a space for citizen participation. Thus, teenagers and people with disabilities map their surroundings (sharing the results in OpenStreetMap) and make suggestions for improvement (writing an accessibility report). The initiative has grown since its’ born in 2012, being promoted by Zerbikas Foundation (as Service-Learning program, http://www.zerbikas.es/) within the different institutions and collectives. Since 2015, more than 1000 students have been involved, from more than 10 High Schools in The Basque Country (Spain).

Friendly Cities for All is an ongoning project whose results are shown at http://www.ciudadesamigables.org/

Some results:

  • 10% of the students have changed their opinion about the relation between urban accessibility and disability
  • 90% have changed their vision about their neighborhood
  • 75% percent have changed their perception of people with disabilities

Friendly Cities 4 all project

Besides, by the moment, more than three thousand stores, portals and sidewalks evaluated and two square kilometers are surveyed (in Great Bilbao area). About the data recollected by the students: sidewalks are mostly green (accessible) and portals and stores are mostly red (not at all). Students realised about it AND have been discussed the difference between public and private; the need of a collective awareness.

This Accelerator aims the students to discover their milieu by finding which services are accessible (or not) by people with disabilities. There are some categories proposed by the platform (roads, services and buildings) and different levels of accessibility (total, limited, no accessible) that can guide students in where to look for, and how to categorize each element of the surroundings.

We encourage you to visit http://ciudadesamigables.org/ to find more information about this initiative.

Learning objectives

  • Interdisciplinary: Connects subjects like Mathematics, Ethics, Language, Computing, etc. with the reality
  • Participation and Citizen Science: Emancipatory and participatory approach. The youth and people with disabilities work together and are the protagonists of the reflection and action processes. Promotion of scientific and solidarity vocations.
  • Responsible use of new technologies:  Students map their city using OpenStreetMap, a Free Software platform.
  • Promoting inclusion: Presence, participation and learning. Educational and Social Inclusion: support needs. In addition, through methods such as “put yourself in my place”, each participant receives and shares the experience from other points of view.
  • Empowerment and Engagement: Teenagers interact with the civil and political environment of their city, proposing architectural improvements to institutions and friendly routes to people with disabilities, who also learn and contribute as a right and a duty.

RRI principles

One of the key aspects of OSOS is the inclusion of RRI — Responsible Research and Innovation — principles (more information at RRI-Tools.eu). This is how this Accelerator fits into the RRI model:


Students will be able to improve the accessibility of the cities in which they live with the support of stakeholders who help and guide them by sharing their knowledge of the topic.

I.e.: students can research the accessibility of their environment with the guidance of stakeholders from their community (i.e. local government to know the current law, associations of people with disability to know their real needs when living in the city), and then discuss how to improve accessibility with the support of these external agents. Students will be able to propose changes and improvements to the accessibility issues found.

Public Engagement

Students could involve different type of stakeholders, especially organizations close to people with dissability, who will give studnets feedback in different phases of the project, in order to give the best solutions according to the problem addressed by this Accelerator.

I.e.: students will be in contact with the public administration to know the current legislation in accesibility, and with organizations of people with disability to know their feedback about which places can be improved.

Gender equality

Students could work in gender-balanced teams to solve social, urban problems, and could look for gender-neutral solutions to them. 

I.e.: students should consider gender equality when proposing changes to the environment to improve the accessibility of different places. They could also analyze if female and male perspective on accessibility is different.

Science Education

Students will use science to solve real problems in the surroundings of their schools, following a research approach that will allow them to investigate the environment, look for real problems, find out solutions and implement them.

I.e.: students can use technological platforms (like OpenStreetMaps) to map the issues they find about accessibility in the surroundings of the School. Also maths and physics could be used to provide solutions to the issues found.


This accelerator proposes to achieve interesting social values for the community, reflecting what students have learnt during the project to become a more inclusive society, including both students and also neighbours, families and other stakeholders.

I.e.: students will use what they have learnt to disseminate the need of improving accessibility in urban areas, including both public and private spaces. They can reflect and discuss about the need and impact of accessibility in the city.

Open Access

Students will use online platforms, open and free, to disseminate their findings during the project. They could also use social networks and/or other content platforms to write a diary of the project.

I.e.: students could use online platforms, like OpenStreetMap or Google Maps, to map the accesibility issues they have found in the street, places or parks in their cities. This information will be shared publicly and will be free to any interested user.

Available partnership opportunities

Pedagogical profiles

Students from High Schools; graduate and postgraduate students from universities; people with reduce mobility from disability organizations or associations of older people.


Workers of disability organizations

Public administration

Students may ask public administrators for further information (like maps, policies, etc.)


Local and international volunteers from the Free Software Community of OpenStreetMap.


From engineering, social sciences and education.

Recommended resources


  • MapsAccessible entrance, room and amenities to receipt people with reduce mobility to the workshop in the School
  • Maps printed on paper (it is easy from fieldpapers.org) and folders for each group of 5 students that goes out to map
  • Manual wheelchairs to share the experience with the students in the map action
  • Cameras/mobile phones to make pictures and videos
  • Computer room with internet (at least a computer each 4 students) to upload their data.

Human resources

  • A coordinator team that make/receipt the contact with the community
  • People with reduce mobility to speak in the workshop and to get out to the mapping party with the students in teams
  • Teachers to support the field groups and the action-research along the academic course in the subjects involved in each High School
  • People in the public administration that pay attention to their report.

Other Suggestions

"Friendly Cities for All" is a citizen science project in which students get involved in the reporting of urban accessibility of their environment. To this end, a space for collaboration between students, professional users and functional diversity associations, teachers, researchers and representatives of the municipal administration will be generated; where the scientific role will rely on the students while the other agents act as educational companions in the process of the scientific action.

Friendly Cities for All Methodology

The ultimate goal is that students complete all the phases of a scientific project, which promotes civic awareness on urban accessibility with the formulation of hypotheses, data collection, interpretation, analysis, and presentation of findings to stakeholders. For this it is indispensable to train students "technologically" (open data sources, tools for visualization and analysis of geospatial data, etc.) and "socially" (concepts and implications of accessibility). Thus, from different areas, knowledge and community experts, they learn how to do science while making a real contribution to their environment (Service-Learning methodology) with specific products (such as making accessibility reports or friendly routing).

In fact, the foundation of the project from the perspective of the functional diversity, allows a broader conception of disability and / or aging; not only in terms of age groups and barriers, but from a global perception of the rights, opportunities / bias settings, surpassing the model that highlights the difficulties in and from the people.

Interdisciplinary and cooperative learning are essential in this proposal. Thus, the relationship between the scientific process, technological development and civic engagement of students in dialogue with society is consolidated.

We have developed several resources for this project. Here are some links with further information:

Organization in charge of this Accelerator

Aitziber Mugarra, aitziber.mugarra@deusto.es

DeustoTech EnergyDeustoTech logo

University of Deusto – Faculty of Engineering. Bilbao, Spain


University of Deusto, Bilbao

Keywords: Accessibility, Disabilities, Urban Accessibility, Service-Learning, Maps
Learning Objectives: Interdisciplinary, Participation and Citizen Science, Responsible use of new technologies, Promoting inclusion, Empowerment and Engagement
Rating: -/5
Views: 701
Languages: English, Catalan
Students age group: 9 - 12
Subject domain: Science, ICT, Engineering, Technology
# of students participating: 50
Updated on: 26.09.2019


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