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By Kelly-Marie Rodgers, Strategic Lead - Healthy, Active Places | 28 March 2023 | TAGS: active travel, healthy active places, everyday moving, Kelly-Marie Rodgers

Following analysis of guidance from a range of bodies, we created principles that enable us to describe what we need from our built environment to enable healthy, active lives for all. Kelly-Marie Rodgers, GreaterSport's Strategic Lead - Healthy, Active Places, looks at the first: Everyday Moving.

We need to design movement back into our everyday environments to create the conditions to make moving a part of every day for all.

It is the simplest way to keep active and the most accessible.

It also is a strong indicator of whether you will be active in other ways.  

This everyday movement can come in a variety of forms from informal invitations to move or play (such as visible stairs in public buildings or fallen trees to climb) to well-connected walking, wheeling and cycling routes.  

Unfortunately, we know that everyday moving is not equally available to us all. People in lower socio-economic communities, with a limiting illness, or from a minority ethnic community are less likely to walk or wheel.

It is vital we all have the same opportunities in our neighbourhoods and streets. 

It's time to get us thinking more about how we build in everyday moving:  

Movement in all shapes and sizes 

Our language when it comes to everyday moving is often centred on how we get from A to B the quickest.

This will not get us moving more and is not representative of how we move.

We need to consider the types of moving that will give us joy and encourage us to be more active.

We need to use language that is representative of this diversity; enabling us to move out of the historic mindsets that pushed everyday moving out of our everyday environment.  

We stroll, stride, cycle, wheel, play, balance, hop, climb, clamber  


Edith Neville School, Architect: Hayhurst and Co Architects Photographer: Kilian O’Sullivan

 

Where are our invitations?  

We do not provide many opportunities to move and play in our neighbourhoods.

Since I started my role at GreaterSport I have spent a lot of time critically looking at our spaces with the lens of health and activity.

I see how infrequently we are asked by our spaces: “Would you like to move and play?” 

When we do have these cues, mostly, they are behind a fence with the movement prescribed to us.

To get to everyday moving we need to be more nuanced and inviting. We need to be able to stumble upon creative and fun invitations within our everyday.

These invitations do not need to cost more, be complicated or difficult to incorporate; they can be a ball games allowed sign, or a hopscotch pattern within the pavement.

There are opportunities in our spaces, let us grab them, big or small.

Junction 4 Skate Park 

 

Everyday experiences  

It can be difficult to be in-tune with how we feel in our spaces, but our bodies know and intuitively we vote with our feet.  

Historically, our places and spaces were always not created with how it feels to be in a space in mind, and this certainly was not equitable.

The experiences of women and girls, for example, are still not routinely factored in the design of our spaces.

To work towards everyday moving we need positive experiences, they need to feel good!

This is not a nice to have but vital to the sustainability of our communities and our mental and physical health across Greater Manchester.  

Wigan Community Garden 

 

The Basics 

Circular routes, cycle facilities, toilets, baby change, safety, water stations, resting spots, shade, maintenance of spaces, signposting, shelter… the list goes on!  

We do not always get the basics right, and they are easy to overlook.

We need to remind ourselves to look for their presence or absence and look for our opportunity to create the basic conditions for movement.  

The basics are a collective effort and do not sit solely with any one person or entity. 

The question is: What can you notice is missing and what could your contribution be to getting the basics right? 

Grey to Green project, Sheffield Photographer: Dani Cole 

Cover Image: Grey to Green project, Sheffield Photographer: Dani Cole 

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