We would like to share with you a project we’ve been working on during the past few weeks. It’s called How would you like to move? (Hoe Wil Jij Bewegen? in Dutch), and it aims at inspiring locals to sport (more) in the public space, as well as to get feedback from them about how they are using the public space of the city to sport. How Would You Like to Move? is part of Groningen municipality’s bigger project: The Moving City (De Bewegende Stad). The project objective is to make Groningen a better place to be active in, both by physical interventions and communication.
For those of you who aren’t familiar with Groningen: it is the city with the highest share of cyclists in the world, and the Dutch city with the highest percentage of biking commuters (source in Dutch). In addition, 19 out of every 20 of Groningers are satisfied with their healthcare. Oh, and it’s also the youngest city in the Netherlands, and one of the youngest in Europe, with 50% of residents under 31 years old.
So with such a great starting point, how do you make Groningen even more sporty, active and healthy? We had few ideas:
Convince people that they have plenty of opportunities to sport right outside their doorsteps. For free!
Approach everybody: Dutch and internationals, young and old, sporty and those who are less so.
Remind that being active and healthy is not only about sporting. It is recommended to perform at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity at least 5 days per week. Just by actively commuting to work, by walking or cycling for instance, one can fulfil this goal.
We interviewed locals and asked them how and why they sport in Groningen’s public space. The films which are in Dutch have English subtitles, just press the CC button at bottom right corner.
Outdoor fitness park is a public place where you can exercise - just like in a gym - but for free. The first outdoor fitness park in Groningen was opened earlier this year in Paddepoel, and as Dew explains: it offers a friendly atmosphere and modern machines.
Being active is not only about playing in a sport team or going daily to the gym: it can also be about having an active lifestyle. Meet Hiske, she takes her children to school with a cargo bicycle, and then cycles to work on the other side of town. At the end of the day, she cycles over 20 km! A good workout, isn’t it?
Erwan Vaujany studies physiotherapy at the Hanze University of Applied Sciences in Groningen, the Netherlands. He explains why he likes to do Slacklining in Groningen: just enjoying doing a relaxed, environmental friendly activity with a friendly community. Slacklining is an activity of balancing on a rope that is fixed above the ground, normally in between trees.
Of course you can sport outside alone, but sometimes it’s easier, and more fun, to do it in a group. Meet Gaby, who sees how ever more people start running in Groningen, and also join her running group. She also loves running alone, because she can start working out right outside her doorstep.
What do you think about the films? Do you have more ideas how to use the public space to get fit? We’d be happy to know!