Around 40 students from UIC Barcelona School of Architecture, who chose to take the subject Accessibility, have worked on projects based on 28 commercial establishments and their own homes. The initiative is part of the Accessible Commerce Without Barriers (CASBA) project, which ended on 27 January and was promoted by Barcelona City Council’s Municipal Institute for People with Disabilities (IMPD), with the aim of improving accessibility in the city’s neighbourhoods and on its public streets.
CASBA is a project that aims to raise awareness and educate different agents about accessibility in commerce. “It is a project that brings everyone together to improve well-being for all”, said Montserrat Ballarín, Barcelona City Councillor for the Eixample neighbourhood, at the closing ceremony.
Using service learning methodology, the CASBA project promotes improving the accessibility of the city’s neighbourhoods by having architecture students study public roads, facilities and local shops, as well as encouraging the participation and autonomy of people with disabilities and/or special needs.
For the fifth consecutive year, UIC Barcelona School of Architecture has taken part, led by the director of the Accessibility Area, Enrique Rovira-Beleta. “The world of accessibility”, explained Rovira-Beleta at the closing ceremony, “is very difficult to understand if you don’t experience it, and thanks to this project, future architects will take it fully on board. They have worked on projects that we are really very happy with”.
During the project, students were joined by people with disabilities from different organisations, the traders’ associations of the commercial areas in question and representatives of the Eixample and Nou Barris neighbourhoods, both of which benefitted from the work carried out for this 9th edition of the CASBA project.
Since its creation in 2013, the CASBA project has analysed the accessibility of 29 commercial hubs across the city and 756 shops, with the participation of more than 600 students from different schools of architecture. In addition to UIC Barcelona, the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya (UPC) and La Salle-Ramon Llull University (URL) have also participated this academic year.