By Rachel Payne
It had been less than 48 hours since experts from Italy and abroad sat on the MOVE Congress 2014 stage to start the discussion on open and active cities. In the meantime, 36 speakers and moderators had led over 300 delegates through the many interwoven factors that make cities inviting spaces or barriers for physical activity.
On the closing evening, three of these speakers pinpointed three areas they know better than most in which they thought the delegates could push for more action.
René Kural, from the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, Schools of Architecture, Design and Conservation, used his own experience in architecture to identify the design element of urban planning as something that should be influenced:
“As an architect, I know that if a client doesn’t want an active city, it won’t happen. That’s why we should educate our architects,” he said.
Niamh Murphy, from the Waterford Institute of Technology in Ireland, said she saw great power to be gained from research in the field of sport and physical activity, and that the MOVE Congress was a promising platform to share the results:
“I saw some good examples of people using good data that can influence policy makers,” she said. “So how can we harness the excellent science to go alongside the excellent practice?”
Like Murphy, ISCA Secretary General Jacob Schouenborg also pointed to the value of questioning authorities and other stakeholders in prime positions to create change in order to help drive that change. Advocating for sport and physical activity among policy makers is something that even the average citizen should feel that they can do, he said:
“Be confident enough to say to them that physical activity is a human right – why are you not giving it to us?”
ISCA President Mogens Kirkeby closed the MOVE Congress 2014 with an accent on creativity and inventiveness, as well as the power of grassroots organisations to make things happen. He highlighted a term used by Dutch speaker Remco Hoekman, “orgware” (as opposed to software and hardware), to emphasise that you need sound organisational structures in place for facilities to work and for busy people to want to be active in them.
The final nod to creativity and inventiveness was made in the unveiling of the NowWeMOVE anthem and video, compiled by AudioFuel duo Howie Saunders and Tom Currie during the congress. The song features the MOVE Congress 2014 delegates’ voices, with the men and women being recorded separately from opposite sides of the room.
Innovative, active and truly in the spirit of the MOVE Congress.
See you next year!