"My vision for London to be the greenest of all global cities" Sadiq Khan
2019, March 29th
Following his election as Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan released A city for all Londoners as a document of intent seeking to answer London’s biggest challenges. Composed of 5 main topics (Accommodating growth, Housing, Economy, Environment, Transport and Public Space, and A city for all Londoners) this initial document was followed by subsequent detailed strategies for each of the five fields. In addition, Transport for London (TfL) hosts readily available data, research and studies on the economic benefits of walking and cycling on a range of spheres, which contributes to raising inhabitants’ awareness and approval towards the implemented strategies and evidence-based policies.
Finally, the numerous strategies incorporated under the leading Transport Strategy contain intersecting targets and a common vision, which are shared through cross-sectorial collaboration and multi-level governance involvement (topical programmes, involved of boroughs and TfL). Below is proposed an overview of recent and ongoing action plans and initiatives to make London a global active city!
TfL runs under the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, and the Greater London Authority. Focusing on active travel is set as a priority focus to encourage citizens to integrate more physical activity into their daily routines- by means of cycling, walking and use of public transportation. This field is seen as the easiest and most cost-effective way to reach most inhabitants. Although the focus is set on active transport, the strategy demonstrates how it will have cross-sectoral impact for issues such as integration, enhancing the environment, low-carbon economy, environmental objectives and consequently health. The mayor has stated his ambition to set London on the road to becoming carbon neutral by 2050, an ambition for which active transport is a pillar. In this sense, a Cycling Action Plan and Walking Action Plan complete the overarching Transport Strategy by focusing on two accessible key areas of active mobility.
Healthy Street for London is the framework through which it is intended to deliver the following objectives: making daily lives and activities more appealing to Londoners by improving air quality, reducing congestion and help all communities become overall healthier and greener. The strategy includes accessible information and infographics explaining why healthier and more active lifestyles are direly needed, and how they will benefit society at large, which are essential elements to gain public support and understanding.
To help evaluating the status quo and monitoring progress, 10 evidence-based ‘Healthy Street Indicators’ have been defined and furthermore, the goals of the Healthy Streets Approach are crossed through many other sectoral strategies thus enhancing the likeliness of their delivery.
Complimentary to Healthy Streets and also issued from the Mayor Transport Strategy, Vision Zero aims to eliminate all serious injuries and deaths linked to London’s transport by 2041. By making London’s public spaces and transport networks safer, this strategy feeds into the ambition of making the city safer, greener, and more attractive in order to encourage citizens to fully use them without concern.
Again under the Mayor’s Transport Strategy has also launched the Liveable Neighbourhoods programme that provides community-supported projects with grants in order to reduce congestion and improve local access to walking, cycling and public transport.
London Mayor, London councils and Sport England released the Blueprint for a Physically Active City in 2014, which was closely followed by the creation of London Sport. The latter is entrusted with promoting sport and physical activity across the city and with getting 1 million Londoners more active by 2020. Building a Workforce for the Future is part of the Blueprint and seeks to reach two priorities: enabling a broader workforce that can help get Londoners into more active lifestyles and equipping the work force with to better meet the physical activity needs of Londoners. The term workforce encompasses all individuals who have the possibility to contribute to making London more physically active such as: sport trainers and volunteers, community leaders, health advisors, general practitioners, social workers, transport staff, etc.
Throughout their activities, London Sport elaborated a freely accessible Funding Search Tool aimed at education and sport organisations, in order to support local networks and collaborations.
In 2007, TfL implemented a school and nursery accreditation scheme Sustainable Travel: Active, Responsible, Safe (STARS), which supports the latter to provide educational programmes about road safety and active travel to their pupils in order to enhance wellbeing and reduce congestion.
London Sport has released an online toolkit for Primary schools that will support them in the quest to get their pupils more physically active on a daily basis and get access to Sport Premium– a funding mechanism aimed at sustainable sport and physical activity improvements.
Active City Network brings employers together to participate in the initiatives promoting safe active commuting.
London Sport also puts forward the productivity benefits of an active workforce for employers, while offering them the opportunity to partner with Westfield Health, who in turn will guide employers to simple and effective solutions to foster more physical activity throughout their workforce.
Over a 4-year period, the London Sport Workplace Challenge encouraged over 680 London companies and organisations to participate in a fun competition that promoted sport and physical activity throughout the workforce.
The table is non-exhaustive and strives to offer a more concrete idea of how to become an Active City.