Declaration of Kuldīga on the accessibility of historical urban environment to all.
The findings included in the resolution refer to persons with reduced mobility and specialists who create the environment as well as to other interested parties that take participation in creation of accessible cultural history environment.
Declaration of Kuldīga on the accessibility of historical urban environment to all
Kuldīga, 11 October 2013
Self-government of Kuldīga Municipality, Latvia
State Inspection for Cultural Heritage Protection, Latvia
Organisations for the blind "White Stick", Russia
Latvian Umbrella Body for Disability organisations SUSTENTO, Latvia
Association of the Blind in Liepāja, Latvia
Latvian Association of Architects, Latvia
Association "I can see" ("Es redzu"), Latvia
Architect/the mayor of Plovdiv Ilko Nikolov, Bulgaria
Architect/editor in chief of the "Project Baikal" ("Проект байкал")
Elena Grigoryeva, Russia
Latvian Association of the Deaf, Latvia
Association "You can" ("Tu vari"), Latvia
On the basis of:
Article 9 of the UN Convention On the Rights of Persons with Disabilities;
European Disability Strategy (2010–2020);
Law on Protection of Cultural Monuments of the Republic of Latvia, Chapter four Preservation of Cultural Monuments;
Article 12, paragraph b) of the Framework Convention of the Council of Europe on the Value of Cultural Heritage for Society;
Clause 6.1 of the Kuldīga Town Development Programme.
Historical town centres are the part of the cultural heritage which is admired, enjoyed and utilized by a majority of society. Therefore it is very topical to deal with issues on preservation of their authenticity and integrity as well as on how to fulfil our modern needs by using them in a sensible and gentle way. In Latvia, the 'Historical town centre of Kuldīga' has been recognised as a state protected urban development monument and the 'ancient river valley of Venta in the Kuldīga Old Town' has been included in the Latvia's National list of the UNESCO World Heritage moreover, Kuldīga has been recognised at European level as well and it has earned the European Heritage Label. At the same time, Kuldīga is a living urban environment in which constant social processes take place.
During the discussion which was held in Kuldīga, experts and environment users gathered to test the historical urban environment and the renovated public objects, the participants also got acquainted with international experience in the field of environment accessibility.
The participants of the discussion acknowledge the following:
1. Kuldīga Old Town is being made following the basic principles of accessible built environment, taking into account cultural history values and using innovative solutions that are characteristic of the particular part of the Old Town.
2. The work on the accessibility of the urban environment must be continued, making it accessible to all. The following objective must be included in the town development strategy – provision of environment accessibility and universal design principles. Accessible urban environment development strategy to be attached.
3. Strive to provide maximum environment accessibility in the historical town centres, as far as it does not impose risks on the original substances of culture historical values and on the preservation of the urban environment's authenticity.
4. Accessibility can be achieved by using natural materials characteristic of a particular environment, for instance, wood, metal, stone. Synthetic materials that are not desirable for the particular environment would not be used.
5. Built environment accessibility shall be primarily provided from the facade side. In cases when it is not possible due to objective reasons, the accessibility must be provided as follows:
5.1. from the flank facades or inner yard facades, giving information on the accessibility;
5.2. placing information on the nearest accessible service place.
6. It is necessary to use innovative solutions that must be carried out by professionals using modern technologies – mobile platforms, GP systems, placing of information on the website about the accessibility, audio guides, tactile maps, etc.
7. Systematic consultations are necessary during the project planning and development process. User organisations must be involved in the decision-making process, thus making the environment accessibility as effective as it can be in real life circumstances.
8. Formal approach to the environment adaptation must be avoided.
9. Training of professionals and students in environment accessibility is necessary.