Amsterdam Accessible for All – the first Amsterdam Local Inclusion Agenda


Travelling by public transport, going to school, doing something fun or interviewing for a job. For people with a disability, these ordinary things can be a challenge. According to the UN Convention for the rights of persons with disabilities, everyone should be able to participate in society. To make this a reality, municipalities are drafting local inclusion agendas. A local inclusion agenda is comprised of the elements that the inhabitants of that municipality consider to be the most important for the coming years in the area of accessibility.

The municipality of Amsterdam is one of the first municipalities that are creating this local inclusion agenda (also referred to as LIA). They are doing this together with Cliëntenbelang Amsterdam (representing client interests) and Amsterdammers with disabilities. Amsterdammers with disabilities are a broad group with many different types of disabilities, which could lay on the physical, mental, social, digital or other level. Some disabilities are visible; others are not. They are experience experts, client interest advocates, volunteers, caregivers, inhabitants, professionals, civil servants and politicians. It is quite a task to create a cohesive and coherent agenda representing these diverse interests.

The proces 
Perspectivity’s Anna Kogut, Anne van Marwijk, Marjolein Kok and Monique Janmaat were approached to facilitate this process. The goal of the process was to arrive at a local inclusion agenda for Amsterdam consisting of a limited amount of focal points that are considered to be most important for the coming three years for this diverse group of diverse people and their diverse interests and needs.

In a process of half a year, a series of meetings were organised with the support of Wolfpack to arrive at this local inclusion agenda. During five meetings in different parts of the city, Amsterdammers with and without disabilities shared their personal stories about the accessibility of the city and their wishes for the future. These stories were collected through using research tool Sprockler and can be read and listened to here. Next to these meetings, it was also possible for Amsterdammers to share their stories online.

After these meetings and the collection of the stories, a large meeting was organised on the 12th of November 2019 in the Zuiderkerk. During this meeting, we entered into dialogue with each other through using a process inspired on Appreciative Inquiry, reflected on the stories and answers collected and together chose the ten most important focal points for the coming three years. These ten points form the local inclusion agenda and can be read here. They talk, for example, about public transport, walking routes through the city and accessible toilets.

Results
The special thing about this process is that the stories that were collected by the 140 inhabitants during the previous meetings and online served as input for the conversations during this large meeting (and that there wasn’t a small group analysing what they meant). In this way, the diversity and common elements in needs and wishes were continuously visible for all participants of the local inclusion agenda, for inhabitants and professionals as well as civil servants.

On 27th of January 2020, the ALIA was officially presented to councillor of the department of care Simone Kukenheim in Pakhuis de Zwijger.

What next? The LIA is an advisory tool for policy making in the integral area of accessibility. The municipality of Amsterdam will shape the focal points in the coming period. One year after the presentation of the ALIA, participants will be invited to evaluate what has happened in one year. The intention is to repeat the process and create a new ALIA every three years.