On the 10th of June 2021, EUD attended the strategic dialogue meeting organised by the European Commission (the Commission) on the ‘New European Bauhaus (NEB)’ initiative, which was launched in October 2020. The NEB will provide space for conversations on the places we inhabit. It aims at exploring how we want to live together in the future while respecting our boundaries and protecting our environment. It is about our daily lives, and focuses on creating more sustainable, and inclusive places for us all.
During the meeting, the Commission provided participants with feedback from surveys and studies on connecting the European Green Deal to our living spaces. Many of the responses highlighted challenges that individuals face in the society. The respondents especially emphasised the lack of sustainable housing and accessible transport and built environments, and the exclusion faced by marginalised groups such as Roma, migrants, and persons with disabilities.
The European Disability Forum (EDF) stated that when designing sustainable and inclusive places, the construction sector must consult civil society organisations. The European Network on Independent Living (ENIL) claimed that we need to ensure that the funding under this initiative goes to places of inclusion, not institutions that segregate persons with disabilities. The common viewpoint from the dialogue was that we need better accessibility and durability of the built environment in all areas of life for all people.
The initiative is in its early stages and will unfold in three phases: co-design (Oct 2020 – June 2021), delivery (Sept 2021 – onward), and dissemination (Jan 2023). It is great to see that the Commission is seeking to make our daily lives, transport and built environments more inclusive and sustainable. For the deaf community, it is important to be part of this initiative to ensure that throughout the process, accessibility is understood in all its senses and especially from the deaf perspective.