A key GM Moving priority is to develop active and sustainable environments through active design, planning and infrastructure that makes the choice to be active easier and more appealing for everyone.
The places and spaces around us can have a positive or negative impact on whether, how, when, and where we move. Creating spaces and places for people in communities to connect to each other, to local shops and services and that enable easy and safe movement is key to supporting more active lifestyles.
We need to learn how to design and adapt places so that they support more active lifestyles. Good design of our streets and public spaces contributes to good public health, increased active travel, greater connectivity, improved sustainability and a general sense of wellbeing. Good design is active design and active design is good design.
There is growing understanding of the importance of good urban design and the role this can 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 and public spaces, to include recognition of the need to reallocate space away from the car and towards more people-friendly spaces, green and blue spaces and a network of interconnected walking and cycling routes.
Developing walking infrastructure such as clean, wide, even pavements, priority-crossing points on busy roads and junctions, lighting, places to sit and bins are key considerations to make walkable places. Other element such as public art, community greening projects and welcoming buildings are also part of creating walkable places. Find out more about making Greater Manchester a great place to walk here.
None of this can be done by any part of the system working in isolation: the best cycleways in the world, a clean air zone or greener public transport, will achieve little or nothing if they are planned in isolation. Embedding active travel as an accessible, convenient, integrated part of the jigsaw, whilst taking into account the key elements of place and the realities of people’s lives, can help to ensure that they can get to their destination without needing a car.
Greater Manchester Moving has the opportunity to provide collective leadership on this agenda so we can create places that support active, healthy, sustainable and thriving communities.
Greenside Primary wanted to ensure that their children and families were active throughout the lockdown and explored different ways to engage their cohort.