There is growing understanding of the importance of design and holistic thinking about our spaces.

Both these elements have a role to play in contributing to active lives, creating health and wealth for the region, and a more sustainable future.

This is reflected in policy changes and a growing public and political appetite to change the way we design, plan and treat our streets, buildings and public spaces; putting our health and happiness back into the heart of Greater Manchester’s built environment.

To create healthy active places we need a collective vision describing the places and spaces we want to create across our city region.

Following a thematic analysis of guidance published by a range of bodies, from Sport England to the Town and Country Planning Association, we have created principles that enable us to describe what we need from our built environment to enable healthy, active lives for all.

Banner Image: Grey to green route

Image Credit: Dani Cole


Our healthy, active places principles are: 

Further details please contact

Everyday moving

Creating the conditions for a cultural shift to make moving a part of every day for all.

  • Invitations to move and play
  • Well designed networks of walking, wheeling and cycling routes for travel and leisure
  • Compact/connected neighbourhoods


Embedding joy within everyday experiences for fulfilling lives.

  • Space to inhabit, enjoy and for everyday play
  • Places for art and culture
  • Celebrating the identity of neighbourhoods/communities
  • Encouraging social interaction

 Space for nature

Creating natural and holistically sustainable spaces.

  • Sustainable and carbon conscious places and spaces
  • Green and blue spaces for a healthy population and planet
  • Connected networks of big and little spaces

 Nourishing places

Considering what our bodies and minds need.

  • Clean air, daylight, healthy food
  • Warm and comfortable environment
  • Supporting mental wellbeing

 For everyone

Ensuring that everyone and every body across GM have healthy and actives places to enjoy.

  • Sensitive to people and communities
  • Considering individual needs
  • Accessible and welcoming to all
  • Challenging spatial inequities

 Rooted in communities

Places that are designed with our communities.

  • Co-production of spaces
  • Space for communities to own, inhabit and love
  • Promoting local champions

  In all our places 

Healthy spaces across our lives.

  • Homes
  • Workplaces
  • Education
  • Leisure
  • Healthcare
  • Community/faith centres

  Integrated places

Health and activity integrated in our communities and places.

  • Health and wellness cues and facilities integrated into communities
  • Diverse and mixed-use neighbourhoods