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WATCH: Sport England’s active design guidance is essential for planners

The public body, which is focused on building and developing community sport systems, wants to make it easier for grass roots groups, local authorities and more create healthier environments for people and planet. 

bird's eye view of playground

With cycling, walking and wheeling forming a key part of masterplans to keep Britain on the move while reducing road traffic and emissions, pressure is mounting on decision-makers to embrace the active travel boom. However, if history has taught us anything it’s that poor planning and weak or unsuitable design choices can render even the best ideas redundant. 

Clearly taking this into account, Sport England has published new guidance and support for active design. Presented as 10 key principles that can be applied to both natural and built environments to help people become more active in their everyday lives, the information has been compiled with assistance from Active Travel England and the Office for Health Improvement and Disparities. 

Specifically aimed at planners, designers and anyone involved in delivering and managing public spaces, the fundamental principle is ‘Activity For All’, with the other nine built around this and divided into three categories. These are; supporting active travel (activating spaces, walkable communities, providing connected active travel routes, mixing uses and co-locating facilities), active, high-quality places and spaces (network of multi-functional open spaces, high-quality streets and spaces, providing activity infrastructure, active buildings inside and out), and, finally, creating and maintaining activity (maintaining high-quality flexible spaces, activating spaces). 

Three individual packs are available to download – overall active travel guidance, a summary of the 10 principles of active design, and the active design checklist. These can be accessed for free from Sport England. The organisation has also released two videos, the Active Travel Launch Webinar  and What Is Active Design? You can watch them both below. 

More on active travel and design: 

Downing Street’s ‘new’ active travel funding is needed, but nothing new

England’s 1/3 active travel budget cuts leave ‘net zero in tatters’

Can public right of way play into the country’s net zero ambitions?

Image: DroneflyerNick

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