On 11 March, close to 200 participants from 70 countries joined the online Workshop “Active Spaces: Fostering Active Communities”. This second event of the TAFISA Mission 2030 Workshop Series was held in partnership with the Liverpool John Moores University (LJMU) and the International Association for Sports and Leisure Facilities (IAKS).
In their welcome words, TAFISA Secretary General, Wolfgang Baumann, highlighted the great potential of Sport for All still to be unleashed, while IAKS Secretary General, Klaus Meinel, insisted on the significance of open spaces and urban development as key factors to develop active spaces and active lives. Their interventions were followed by an enlightening overview of the state of play of the Active Spaces field by TAFISA Commissioner for Education and LJMU Pro-Vice Chancellor for Research and Enterprise Prof. Keith George. Prof. George, the Workshop’s moderator, introduced a new approach for the comprehension of the interaction between open spaces and physical activity: spreading the range of environment types in which physical activity can be integrated into our lifestyle opens up a host of new targets and possibilities.
Representing Taitung City, Chinese Taipei and the APEC Sports Policy Network, Joshua Yu presented the case of one of the most visited regions in Chinese Taipei, Taitung, which embraces the concepts of organic tourism and wellness travel. This innovative approach for tourism promotes sustainability by combining traditional culture with innovation and technology. Taitung relies on blue and green spaces to nurture the improvement of health indicators for both the local population and global travellers.
Mr Yu was followed by Eleonora Bauer from the Municipality of Buenos Aires, who showcased the Estaciones Saludables (“Health Stations”) across the city of Buenos Aires, a pioneering initiative started in 2012 to connect people to active lifestyles and healthcare. These unique boxes are embedded in the fabric of the city in strategic and accessible spots, and are equipped with diverse features to cater to the citizens. Despite the current global situation, new initiatives aim to reach new target groups and offer more health-boosting activities.
Eugene Nzabanterura, from the Rwanda Olympic Committee, highlighted the role that sport and physical activity play to strengthen the unification of the country. This objective constitutes one of the biggest motivators for the organisation of “Car-free days” twice a month: the roads in Rwanda are temporarily closed to cars and strictly dedicated to physical activity and sport from 7am to 11am. The events also include the provision of medical services and check-ups in various locations around the cities. Among many benefits resulting from the programme, social cohesion, health awareness through physical activity, and a reduction in CO2 emissions have been observed.
Tackling the relevance of moving from inactive spaces to active places, Oliver Vanges from the Danish Foundation for Culture and Sports Facilities outlined the work of his foundation in Denmark and the expected mega trends according to their research. Vanges stressed the relevance of multifunctionality as a pivotal element to reach a more diverse group of users. The presentation concluded with examples on how new or obsolete infrastructures can be (re)designed to allow for physical activity to take place in more than one way, and encourage more than one single activity.
The Workshop’s last speaker, Nicky Yates, on behalf of the Liverpool City Council, introduced the various policies on active spaces implemented since 2005 as a key priority for the city, along with the significance of engaging local communities and partnerships. Yates took the opportunity to acquaint the audience with “The Great Outdoors Pledge” , an initiative aiming to rethink the active lifestyle of citizens and communities.
The Workshop continued with a Panel Debate including speakers as well as Margit Budde from Playfit, Germany and Dr. Bernard Baptiste from Mauritius Sports Council. Budde outlined how the Playfit company worked with networks of stakeholders to provide outdoor physical activity equipment as a service for citizens. Dr. Baptiste then shared on what specific active communities strategies were developed in Mauritius to tackle physical inactivity, such as Active Mauritius: 35 actions to achieve a 35% of the population active.
TAFISA would like to once again thanks Workshop partners LJMU and IAKS for their involvement and support, as well as the speakers for their enlightening contributions and all participants for their enthusiasm and constructive questions.
Relive the Workshop through our video replay below or on YouTube.
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