Beyond barriers: an Innovation Center for more accessible cities

A pilot project promoted by Intesa Sanpaolo Innovation Center, the Group’s competence center to support the growth of startups and activator of projects to support innovation ecosystems

To guarantee a full, independent and inclusive life for every person, the accessibility of public space, like the quality of working space, is fundamental. Improving the living and working conditions of people with visual impairments during home-work travel and within company spaces, breaking down sensory barriers and allowing greater autonomy of movement and higher levels of well-being, is the objective of ‘Oltre the barriers’, a pilot project promoted by Intesa Sanpaolo Innovation Center, the Group’s competence center to support the growth of startups and activator of projects to support innovation ecosystems.

The initiative was born from the experience and skills gained by Intesa Sanpaolo in the social field and from the #RealizzAbile ideas competition aimed at the Group’s people, invited to propose useful ideas and ideas to improve the working environment for disabled people. The interest and collaboration of the City of Turin has made it possible to valorise the winning ideas by extending their reach to public spaces and to accelerate, thanks to a motion voted last month in the City Council, the drafting of the Plan for the elimination of barriers architectural (PEBA). The Municipality of Turin and Intesa Sanpaolo immediately involved the associations dedicated to disabilities in Beyond Barriers, entrusting them with the role of certifying bodies for the projects, making the initiative an example of synergy between the public, private and third sectors.

The area affected by Oltre le barrier is the one delimited by the Corsos Peschiera, Ferrucci, Francia and Bolzano within which the Intesa Sanpaolo skyscraper, the Officine Grandi Riparazioni, the Palagiustizia, the Porta Susa station, the Palazzo della Metropolitan City, the former Rai skyscraper and the GTT car park. The startups Digitarca and We Glad, part of the network of promising young businesses supported by the Intesa Sanpaolo Innovation Center, have created a digital representation of the territory, reporting all the obstacles for the blind and have made it available to the Municipality and the Associations.

An important prerogative of the project is its potential replicability, which would allow its extension to other urban areas or other cities. “Intesa Sanpaolo stands out for its commitment to people with disabilities: over 70 disability managers representing multiple Bank structures support and enhance the contribution of each person; the Group conducts numerous disability projects with bodies and associations, participates in discussions on the various experiences gained and is committed to spreading awareness and respect, inside and outside the Bank. Joining this project, with the support of the technological skills developed by the Intesa Sanpaolo Innovation Center, is attributable to this sensitivity”, declared Patrizia Ordasso, Head of Trade Union Affairs and Intesa Sanpaolo Welfare.

“I immediately believed in this project which contributes to improving the lives and autonomy of people with disabilities”, comments the councilor for Mobility and Innovation Chiara Foglietta. It is an important collaboration which leaves the city with a replicable heritage in other areas and which is fundamental in planning the removal of architectural barriers that the city is committed to doing”.