The facts are clear. We have a pandemic on our hands. The joint problems of high levels of inactivity and unhealthy diets need to be addressed.

The good news is that, in different parts of the world, a wide range of programmes are being put in place locally and are having a positive effect. We’ve listed just ten here that give us hope for the future. They are examples we should look up to and learn from. There are many, many more...

New York City - urban regeneration encourages active living

The high line in New York is a new public park, created by converting an old elevated railway track in lower Manhattan into a green walkway for New Yorkers. 

China -  bicycle sharing schemes are rocketing

Over 500 bicycle sharing schemes now operate in nearly 50 countries around the world – from Barcelona to Buenos Aires to Brisbane. The two biggest are both in China, in Wuhan and Hangzhou.

London - changing how we move around the city

The Movement for Liveable London promotes discussion on how a fairer, healthier, greener and more pleasant future for London can be achieved by changing the way people move around the city. 

UK - growing food locally for better health 

Growing food locally around the UK is on the rise. Capital Growth, London’s food growing network helps people wanting to grow their own food at home, at an allotment or as part of a community group.

Brighton - transformation encourages walkers and cyclists

An award-winning scheme in New Road, Brighton has transformed an unloved street in an important cultural quarter into an attractive space for pedestrians and cyclists, now extremely popular with residents.

Canada - creating healthy cities 

8-80 Cities is a Canadian non-profit organisation dedicated to creating successful cities that are good for an 8-year-old and an 80-year-old. They nurture physical activity, human interaction and healthy lifestyles.

Sweden - fun can change people's behaviour for the better

Using fun to change people’s behaviour for the better can really work! In Stockholm, turning a set of stairs into musical piano keys tempted 66% of people away from taking the escalator. The craze has now gone worldwide. 

Bogota - a pioneering approach to urban exercise

Since the 1970s Bogota has pioneered Ciclovia, a traffic-free initiative now run by many city authorities around the world. Nearly 100 km of streets on Sundays are closed to vehicles and they are taken over by pedestrians and cyclists.

New York City - prominent staircases encourage people to walk up

The Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) in New York has been designed with prominent and impressive staircases to encourage people to use the stairs rather than the lifts. 

LA - increasing activity through the surrounding landscape

Los Angeles is determined, through its ‘Designing a Healthy LA’ programme, to transform a car-dominated city into one that will increase activity and general well-being. 

These examples are uplifting and show what can be done, in so many ways, by individuals and organisations.

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Active by Design

Design can help get people moving and living better, healthier lives.

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