Activity should be part of developers’ thinking from the very outset of design, ensuring they tap into the expertise of the physical activity and sport sector, the Connect Series audience heard on Tuesday (5 November).
The second London Sport Connect Series event, Housing, Health, Happiness? Laying the Foundations for London’s Physically Active Future, focused on physical activity and the urban environment.
The series aims to grow a community which strives to tackle the biggest issues facing London and creating positive social and economic change through physical activity and sport.
And Geremy Sagoe, Head of Policy and Public Affairs at ukactive, believes the physical activity and sport sector has lots to offer those involved in planning and design to make healthier developments.
He said: “Developers need to have confidence to reach out to the sector, for advice and expertise.
“We worked recently with Barking Riverside Ltd who reached out for advice on how to incorporate physical activity and sport into the development from the outset of their thinking.
“It’s a smart obligation, in the interests of the developer, wanting to make happy, healthy, thriving developments. What is necessary to do that? Physical activity really supports that concept.
“We always talk about the physical and health benefits of activity but what is sometimes forgotten are the social benefits – connecting people together.
“In an age where people expect more from organisations and expect them to stand for something there's a strong obligation for them to get involved in activity.”
In a previous role, Madelin was responsible for delivering Argent’s 67-acre King’s Cross development and knows first-hand how businesses and the economy benefit from active design.
“Every business I know is saying 'our productivity is really bad' and the government has just started asking ‘why, why are there such mental and stress challenges, and we don’t have social connections?’
“We are expected to start work at 8am, finish at 6pm, Monday to Friday, and you don’t get to stop.
“I’m not saying you have to go play football, basketball or netball or go on a scooter or bike just stop and get out and walk and meet and talk to people, that’s still exercise.
“We can do that on big developments. At Canada Water we are going to facilitate that.”
Earlier, Dr Katie Hunter had set the scene with a policy view of physical activity and the urban environment before Nina Mehmi shared insights from the London Legacy Development Corporation.
Fellow keynote speaker Pip Jackson emphasised the importance of accessibility and inclusivity at sports and leisure settings with Nicky Roche CBE closing the event with an ‘In Conversation With’ piece.
The Connect Series will return in January as London Sport continues to explore the ways that physical activity and sport connects with the urgent issues facing decision-makers in the capital.
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