Way back at the end of 2018, the Heart Foundation co-hosted a forum in Hobart to address a simple question: What makes an active, liveable city? The event was attended by well over 100 participants from Tasmania, interstate and overseas, who heard presentations dealing with topics like the benefits to community health of connected travel corridors and public open spaces, in particular how they encourage active transport (walking, cycling – even catching public transport involves significantly more activity than driving). There was also a great deal of discussion on the government policy behind it all and how it might evolve to better incorporate elements of active living. There was a host of examples of cities and towns across the world who’ve taken on and beaten the challenge of getting people moving in the interests of better health.
At the end of the event, guest speaker Professor Jim Sallis from the University of California challenged everyone in the room to "keep it going". And they did. In March last year the Tasmanian Active Living Coalition (TALC) was launched, a partnership between a number of organisations including the Tasmanian Government, Menzies Institute, the Planning Institute of Australia, Hobart City Council and Metro.
Built Environment Policy Advisor at the Heart Foundation Keith Brown, Chair of TALC, said that active living is a way of life where physical activity is a part of our daily routine.
“It’s where communities are planned so that people can easily walk, cycle or catch a bus to school or their workplace. It means healthier lifestyles for residents, more social and safer neighbourhoods, not to mention the economic and environmental benefits that follow,” said Mr Brown.
Coalition partners have undertaken to work together to influence and inform policies, decisions and strategies that encourage the creation of active living environments. Together they have far-reaching influence throughout state and local government.
“Through raising the profile of active living and advocating for improvements in the built and natural urban environments, levels of physical activity are expected to rise while the incidence of heart disease and other ailments falls,” said Mr Brown.
“If physical activity were a pill, we’d all be taking it.”
You can see some terrific examples of community projects that improve our physical activity levels at healthyactivebydesign.com.au.
- Provided by the Heart Foundation, Hobart.