CAP4Access is part of a broader trend within EU-funded research to exploit swarm intelligence and collective awareness for turning Europe in a more inclusive and more sustainable place to live. The European Commission, a passionate proponent of the phenomenon, speaks of “collective awareness platforms for sustainability and social innovation”, in short: CAPS. The basic idea underpinning all CAPS initiatives is the ambition to exploit network effects, made possible by the Internet, ubiquitous computing and mobile connectivity, for enabling collective but distributed knowledge creation.
On 1-2 July the European Commission hosted the first international conference dealing exclusively with this emerging field. Under the title CAPS2020 the event brought together more than 200 attendees with a keen interest in how to use online and mobile networks to enable new forms of societal cooperation and collaboration, to increase participation in collective actions and to pioneer new cooperative solutions to sustainability issues.
CAP4Access was among the initiatives presented and discussed at the event. The project is well suited for demonstrating how the CAPS approach can look in practice: CAP4Access is developing a set of innovative tools with which people with mobility impairments (and their friends and supporters) can contribute to, as well as benefit from, collective knowledge about accessibility of the built environment. This will boost public awareness of the challenges faced by people with mobility constraints and of the ways in which everybody can help them participate fully in social life.
The tools being developed by CAP4Access will also empower mobility impaired citizens by giving them easy access to fit-for-purpose data about the accessibility of their immediate environment. Pictures and presentations are available at http://caps2020.eu/caps-conferences.