Research Topic

Creating Active Cities

About this Research Topic

In 2016, WHO (The World Health Organisation) recognised the magnitude of the inactivity problem and introduced a suggestion to create active cities and encourage active living, to provide benefits related to health, environment and economy advocating strategies that target entire populations. These include the design of environments to promote physical activity for transportation and recreation as part of everyday life. In a similar direction, the United Nations (2019) suggested that active mobility, an important component of active cities, can provide:

• Economic benefits – For example, well-designed streets that enable walking and cycling can improve the economic performance of cities through reduced congestion.
• Social benefits, including enhanced security and safety. For example, well-designed facilities help improve personal security for pedestrians.
• Health benefits – For example, walking and cycling, can help address conditions exacerbated by inactivity, including obesity, heart disease, and high blood pressure.
• Environmental benefits – For example, shifting trips from motorized to cycling and walking can reduce tailpipe emissions and local air pollution. Pollution from motorized vehicles contain harmful chemicals including particulate matter, nitrogen oxide, and Sulphur dioxide that contribute to local air pollution.

The inactivity ‘pandemic’ is fast spreading. WHO estimates that one in four adults in the world – and more than 80% of adolescents – do not have adequate physical activity participation levels. This is, in part, due to pervasive and rapid urbanization and simultaneously industrialization, mechanization, and motorized transportation reducing the level of physical activity (Ulijaszek, 2018). Therefore, as recognised by WHO in 2016, there is a need to encourage active living via the creation of active cities.

A healthy and active city recognizes the value of active living, physical activity and sport by providing opportunities for physical activity and active living for all. Active living as an important component for urban planning, which enhances social cohesion, creates a more sustainable transport system (by supporting walkability and cyclability), and reduces inequalities in public health (Faskunger, 2021) An inclusive active living approach should aim to enhance opportunities for all population groups, while at the same time paying special attention to children and youth, older people, people and neighbourhoods with low socioeconomic status, employees, people with disabilities, and ethnic minority and at-risk groups. Lastly, the development of an active city also needs to focus on a variety of settings varying from schools to workplaces, health care settings, neighbourhoods and homes and recreation and sports facilities.

To further encourage and examine the creation of active cities, we welcome empirical and conceptual papers including, but not limited to, the following topics:

• Active mobility interventions (including last-mile travel)
• Promoting sports in urban environments
• Models of behavioural change for adopting an active lifestyle
• Accessibility for people with disabilities to enable integration and enhanced levels of participation
• Strategies for designing cities for active living
• Active living and age cohorts
• Active living and sport policy
• Smart cities and active living
• Recreational planning for active living in urban environments
• Marketing active living
• Active education
• Active spaces, workplaces and neighbourhoods
• Cooperation models and partnerships


Keywords: Active, Cities, spaces, sport


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

In 2016, WHO (The World Health Organisation) recognised the magnitude of the inactivity problem and introduced a suggestion to create active cities and encourage active living, to provide benefits related to health, environment and economy advocating strategies that target entire populations. These include the design of environments to promote physical activity for transportation and recreation as part of everyday life. In a similar direction, the United Nations (2019) suggested that active mobility, an important component of active cities, can provide:

• Economic benefits – For example, well-designed streets that enable walking and cycling can improve the economic performance of cities through reduced congestion.
• Social benefits, including enhanced security and safety. For example, well-designed facilities help improve personal security for pedestrians.
• Health benefits – For example, walking and cycling, can help address conditions exacerbated by inactivity, including obesity, heart disease, and high blood pressure.
• Environmental benefits – For example, shifting trips from motorized to cycling and walking can reduce tailpipe emissions and local air pollution. Pollution from motorized vehicles contain harmful chemicals including particulate matter, nitrogen oxide, and Sulphur dioxide that contribute to local air pollution.

The inactivity ‘pandemic’ is fast spreading. WHO estimates that one in four adults in the world – and more than 80% of adolescents – do not have adequate physical activity participation levels. This is, in part, due to pervasive and rapid urbanization and simultaneously industrialization, mechanization, and motorized transportation reducing the level of physical activity (Ulijaszek, 2018). Therefore, as recognised by WHO in 2016, there is a need to encourage active living via the creation of active cities.

A healthy and active city recognizes the value of active living, physical activity and sport by providing opportunities for physical activity and active living for all. Active living as an important component for urban planning, which enhances social cohesion, creates a more sustainable transport system (by supporting walkability and cyclability), and reduces inequalities in public health (Faskunger, 2021) An inclusive active living approach should aim to enhance opportunities for all population groups, while at the same time paying special attention to children and youth, older people, people and neighbourhoods with low socioeconomic status, employees, people with disabilities, and ethnic minority and at-risk groups. Lastly, the development of an active city also needs to focus on a variety of settings varying from schools to workplaces, health care settings, neighbourhoods and homes and recreation and sports facilities.

To further encourage and examine the creation of active cities, we welcome empirical and conceptual papers including, but not limited to, the following topics:

• Active mobility interventions (including last-mile travel)
• Promoting sports in urban environments
• Models of behavioural change for adopting an active lifestyle
• Accessibility for people with disabilities to enable integration and enhanced levels of participation
• Strategies for designing cities for active living
• Active living and age cohorts
• Active living and sport policy
• Smart cities and active living
• Recreational planning for active living in urban environments
• Marketing active living
• Active education
• Active spaces, workplaces and neighbourhoods
• Cooperation models and partnerships


Keywords: Active, Cities, spaces, sport


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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Submission Deadlines

22 October 2021 Abstract
11 February 2022 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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Topic Editors

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Submission Deadlines

22 October 2021 Abstract
11 February 2022 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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