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Why we must avoid retro-fitting activity into built environment - again

Blog post   •   Oct 14, 2019 12:49 BST

Relationship Manager Matt Roebuck has done extensive work with urban sports in recent years and, in this blog, explains why the sector must work with developers to ensure activity is front and centre of future plans for London.

'NO GAMES': That was the sign that confronted me on my way to meeting members of a local community who wanted to re-design their local play facilities.

You might think I was disheartened, but this isn’t the first sign I’ve seen that has taken the ‘No Ball Games’, ‘No Skateboarding’, ‘Keep off the Grass’ culture of restricting physical activity and play to its unnatural conclusion.

For example, you may remember our work alongside Haringey Council and Homes for Haringey to remove 'No Ball Games' signs from an area in London here.

And it's examples like this, that show just why the next London Sport Connect Series, on physical activity and the built environment is so important.

If you attended the Active London conference last month, you might have met organisations like UK WallballFactory Eleven and Essex Cricket in the Community, who have re-imagined and adapted sport for the urban environment.

You could have also engaged with organisations like PlayInnovation and Street Space, that have supported the community-led regeneration of Valence Park, and others who are involved in adapting spaces – our urban landscape – to support people to be more active.

But the lesson you can derive from the ‘No Games’ sign is that if we are to create active urban environments then ‘adapting sport’ and ‘adapting space’ can only take us so far.

We must also think long-term. 

We must reconsider the culture, policy and investment priorities that direct the growth and regeneration of our towns and cities to be supportive and permissive of an active culture.

Bringing in experts in urban development, architecture, access and the environment, our Connect Series event will pick up from our session at Active London and focus on how we avoid being in the same position of retro-fitting physical activity into our built environment in 30-years-time.

The next Connect Series event Housing, Health, Happiness? Laying the Foundations for London’s Physically Active Future takes place on Tuesday 5 November. 

To register your interest in attending, click here and complete the form.

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