We need sustainable cities and sustainable physical activity
The Outdoor Sports Euro'Meet ended today in Viana do Castelo. It was a success in terms of attendance, with 450 participants from approximately 25 countries, sharing knowledge, providing a unique experience to the participants, networking and recommendations for the near future where we should leverage “sustainable outdoor physical activity”, be “green”and plan “sustainable cities”.
Tadhg Macintyre of the University of Limerick, after praising the “fantastic” organization of this event and the “groundbreaking work that the European Network of Outdoor Sports (ENOS) has been doing, said in the conclusions of this conference that “sustainable outdoor physical activity is the goal we should focus on and the more it happens in nature the greater the benefits, so this why we need sustainable cities and sustainable physical activity. The solution is in nature. Be green!”
From these three days of knowledge sharing and debate centered on four main themes resulted in recommendations which will subsequently be submitted to the European Commission.
For one of today's key topics, Urban Outdoor, whose keynote speaker was Jacob Schouenborg, Secretary-General of the International Sport and Culture Association, the main recommendations were: based on the fact that urban outdoor sport should be an open concept that includes all outdoor physical activity, whether it is in parks, streets, rivers or lakes in urban areas, the geographical proximity of an outdoor location that allows one to play, have fun and be physically active should be mandatory in current urban planning; public urban spaces should be designed to meet the needs of people, not cars, and a prominent role in planting trees and developing new natural areas should be put in place; involve all partners and citizens; develop dedicated actions to specific audiences, especially women, families, children; and in each new urban development, the correct assessment of the population’s well -being.
Joel Pereira, Professor at Sports and Leisure Superior School (ESDL), of Polytechnic Institute of Viana do Castelo, was the main speaker for today's second theme - Inclusive Outdoor. The final recommendations on this topic highlighted the needs of: training of coaches; public spaces to include marine space planning; equipment that meets the needs of everyone, including people with disabilities; establish social inclusion partnerships in natural areas; and create champions.
The recommendations presented for the Blue Growth theme, based on the motto “we are water”, focused on: reconnecting the population with water, through cooperation, which highlighted the excellent example of the Viana program “Náutica nas Escolas”, and through the training of environmental awareness; the existence of an integral planning strategy that not only works from top to bottom but also from bottom to top, involving partners and the local population, and facilitating access for all.
In #BeActive, Be Healthy, Be Outdoors, in which there was a strong approach with the Urban Outdoor theme, highlighted the need for: more collaboration and knowledge sharing; better value of sports/ outdoor activity; rethink the education, whether through the physical space of schools to include more green elements or the children to enjoy more outdoors; favor a fair access to physical activity and not to just a specific groups; have influential planners and rethink the planning, like the examples of Silkeborg, Viana do Castelo or Sheffield; and strengthen research capacity.
The 5th Outdoor Sports Euro´Meet was organized by the City Council of Viana do Castelo, ENOS, the Portuguese Institute of Sport and Youth, the Porto and Northern Portugal Tourism Entity, the ESDL and Surf Clube de Viana.
Pictures: Juliana Calheiros