Physical activity facilities in corporate plans

Why this is important

Infrastructure and community facilities provide places for people to be physically active in formal or structured activities, or in informal activities. Children and adolescents living in communities with parks, playgrounds, trails and recreation programs tend to be more physically active than those living in neighbourhoods with fewer recreational facilities.(1)  For example, a 2006 study of 1,556 adolescent girls found they reported 35 additional minutes of physical activity per week for each park located within 800 metres of their home.(2) The teenagers were also more active when parks were lit and had walking paths.Studies on adults have also found positive associations between physical activity and accessibility to recreational facilities (3, 4), including being in close proximity to local parks.(5)

Strategies

  1. Increase access to physical activity facilities
  2. Plan and develop outdoor and indoor physical activity infrastructure and facilities by:
    • undertaking an open space inventory (public and private) and preparing a physical activity action plan to address deficiencies and needs. Consider the areas of increased risk of low physical activity levels — such as low socio-economic areas — and ensure facilities in these locations are consistent with the rest of the local government area (see Physical activity plan in the Operational Plan Tools section and Open space inventory in theGIS/Analysis Tool section for more information)
    • preparing master plans for new open space areas
    • upgrading facilities of existing parks and open space to encourage their use, including the provision of signage, shelter, shade, play and exercise equipment, drinking fountains, security and public art
    • promoting multi-use of sport, recreation and other community facilities
    • investigating opportunities for dual use of private and school sporting facilities for use by the general community — for example, outside of school hours. This is an opportunity in all locations but is particularly important where there is limited space and where facilities are scarce. For example, in inner-city areas where there is limited space to provide additional facilities, the joint use of private facilities would assist in meeting community needs
  3. Identify and acquire land (or designate existing council land) for physical activity and community facilities and support this with appropriate infrastructure, staff and funding. Ensure the Priority Infrastructure Plan and Infrastructure Charges Schedule is developed to reflect the infrastructure planning where relevant (see Neighbourhood planning – Active communities checklist in the Planning Scheme Tools section for more information)
  4. Undertake ongoing maintenance of parks, open space, physical activity, recreation and sports facilities to improve safety and viability of these areas; prepare a maintenance standard and strategy for delivery
  5. Support sport and recreation clubs by:
    • providing them with information on how to access funding
    • assisting with their ongoing development and planning
    • developing a directory of sport and recreation clubs in the community
  6. Develop a Physical Activity Advisory Committee with membership from sport, recreation and community groups, local councillor/s, council officers from various departments and state government representatives.

Other sources of information

  • Open Space Strategies: Best practice guide: this UK practical guide is on how to prepare, deliver, monitor and review open space strategies. It includes best practice examples showing the value and practical benefits of a strategic approach to open space. (seewww.cabe.org.uk)
  • Good Sports: is a program that supports community sporting clubs to be safe, healthy and family friendly environments. It aims to reduce alcohol and other drug problems, increase the viability of sporting clubs and improve the range and quality of sport options available within the community (see www.goodsports.com.au/)

Case Studies

References

  1. Davison, K.K., Lawson, C.T. 2006, ‘Do attributes in the physical environment influence children’s physical activity? A review of the literature’, International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity, vol. 3, no. 19.
  2. Cohen, D.A., Ashwood, J.S., Scott, M.M., Overton, A., Evenson, K.R., Staten, L.K., Porter, D., McKenzie, T.L., Catellier, D. 2006, ‘Public parks and physical activity among adolescent girls’, Pediatrics, vol. 118, no. 5, pp. 1381-1389.
  3. Kahn, E.B., Ramsey, Ramsey, L.T., L.T., Brownson, R.C., Heath, G.W., Howze, E.H., Powell, K.E., Stone, E.J., Rajab, M.W., Corso, P. 2002, ‘The effectiveness of interventions to increase physical activity: A systematic review’, American Journal of Preventive Medicine, vol. 22, no. 4 supplement, pp. 73-107.
  4. Humpel, N., Owen, N. and Leslie, E. 2002, ‘Environmental factors associated with adults’ participation in physical activity: A review’, American Journal of Preventive Medicine, vol. 22, no. 3, pp. 188-199.
  5. Saelens B., Sallis J., Frank L. 2003, ‘Environmental Correlates of Walking and Cycling: Findings From the Transportation, Urban Design, and Planning Literatures’, Annals of Behavioral Medicine, vol. 25, no. 2, pp. 80-91.