What is the "New European Bauhaus" and what can it deliver for persons with disabilities?

What is the "New European Bauhaus" and what can it deliver for persons with disabilities?

The European Commission has published a new initiative: the “New European Bauhaus“. For those who are confused about this title and wonder what it means, you are not alone. But behind this abstract name are hiding some interesting initiatives.

First of all, it is one of the many initiatives that have its roots in the “EU Green Deal“, the strategy that aims to reduce EU carbon emissions. Most people will have heard of “Bauhaus” in connection with architecture in design, as it describes a style of early 20th century design focusing on functionality as well as form. In this new initiative, those two things are connected to think about how our spaces can be “beautiful, sustainable, and inclusive”. It concerns architecture, urban spaces, and also the work environment.

Why is this initiative relevant for persons with disabilities? As it is related to architecture and urban planning, it is also connected with Universal Design or Design for All. Inclusive environments have to be accessible as well. It also relates to Standards, such as the new European Standard on accessibility and usability of the built environment (EN 17210). It is an opportunity to highlight accessibility as part of the wider sustainability debate and mainstream it in architecture and design.

What is the Commission planning concretely:

  • the “New European Bauhaus Prize”
  • several pilot projects that are yet to be defined
  • provide financial support through ad-hoc calls of procedures (yet to be defined) for innovative ideas and products
  • co-designing projects with partners

How can we get involved?

While this initiative could definitely be relevant for the disability movement, it remains still to be seen if it will really result in concrete measures as there is no fixed budget foreseen for it. At its current stage, it is also still very vague. We will continue following the development and keep you updated on further steps.

Marie Denninghaus – Policy Coordinator