Interview of Laska Nenova
NowWeMOVE campaign manager at ISCA
2019, December 19th
Addressing the needs of the growing urban population and relying on the EU Physical activity guidelines International Sport and Culture Association (ISCA) started a new project called MOVEment Spaces to promote and enhance facilities for physical activity in urban spaces. We sat down with ISCA's Laska Nenova to understand the context and future prospects behind this initiative
Can you tell us about your project and why do you tackle the question of physical inactivity through sporting facilities in urban spaces?
In a worldwide analysis conducted by ISCA’s partner International Association of Sport and Leisure Infrastructure Management IASLIM (2015), it shown that the ratio of public spending on erecting and maintaining public sport and leisure facilities on the one side, and investing in the programs of physical activities taking place in these facilities and spaces is a surprising 15 to 1 in Europe on average. This is an example of the need for fundamental deliberations as to how public money is spent and on what.
So, with the two-year MOVEment Spaces project we brought together five European cities (Barcelona, Birmingham, Paris, Wroclaw, and Plovdiv), five NGOs and experts to collect, share and implement good practices that encourage participation in physical activity in an urban setting. The project was aimed at gaining a better understanding of how sports organisations and municipalities could work together for the programming of already existing public places and sporting spaces. By bringing stakeholders from different sectors together to share their experience and best practices, we aimed to create dialogue and inspire other local communities to do the same.
The project activities and experimentation focused on three public space areas: active parks, public squares, and open water facilities, and the overarching objective was to build the capacities of the participating stakeholders to program and carry out physical activity initiatives set in urban settings
How is your project planning to reach the inactive persons in order to make more people more active ?
As a member organisation with more than 260 members across the world, we know that our members and partners are the right ones to find the best ways to reach the citizens of their respective countries. Of course, for them to do so, they need access to the latest information and knowledge.
With that said, one of the project objectives was “To build the knowledge base for quality urban space physical activity programming”, so together with partners we identified 130 good examples and selected 65 good practices that illustrate the three focus spaces of the project (Active Parks, Public Squares, Open Water Facilities), as well as the three themes (Partnerships, Inclusivity and Stakeholder Involvement). The good examples are coming from more than 20 countries that demonstrate ways of enabling active lifestyles through innovative urban design and city planning. We hope it will be a source of inspiration for civil society organisations and municipalities across the globe. In addition we gathered and shared 15 existing tools (handbooks, guidelines) that help cities and sport organisations to develop and replicate best practices and working methodologies.
We have designed the MOVEment Spaces online course, to be used by grassroots sport and/or community organisations, local authorities to discover how to find opportunities to work together to deliver physical activities in urban spaces and create a positive social impact.
All of the above materials are open source, and any interested organisation can access them, learn from them and thus work in the direction of devising local programs that fight physical inactivity.
Fighting for public space is often a challenge. How do you support grassroots sport organisations in convincing cities to prioritize sport and physical activity?
Fighting is such a strong word. We believe in collaboration and mutual understanding of objectives. So, our support of grassroots organisations – members and partners is to provide replicable knowledge which they can also use in their local contexts. We facilitate knowledge exchange through the MOVE Transfer process created by ISCA) from organisation to organisation, country to country and continent to continent.
With the MOVEment Spaces project, we can safely say that the activities executed through the project’s lifetime increased the capacity of the organisations and cities involved in the project activities. Both the sport organisations and partners representing cities believe that the instant access to quality training material – through the online course for example – can improve the work of many organisations delivering activities in urban/open spaces. The repository of so many great cases from different parts of the world can provide endless inspiration for those interested.
Find out more: https://movementspaces.isca.org/