Recognising that simply telling people to buy gym memberships or start jogging at lunchtime isn’t enough, urban planners and designers are coming up with ways to encourage more physical activity within the spaces we spend most of our time.
Design movement in NYC
In New York City, a design movement is being developed to tackle obesity – set to overtake tobacco as the leading cause of preventative death in America. ‘Active Design’ is about designing cities and buildings in a way that encourages people to exercise and gives them a workout as they interact with their environment.’
At the heart of the design concept is acknowledging that the community’s underlying motivation is not about health but about what is convenient and enjoyable. Where the moral appeal to exercise because it’s good for you hasn’t worked, Active Design aspires to change the environment to reshape the choices available. Design aspects include making stairs more prominent in building design, bike share programs, storage facilities in urban spaces and ensuring our environment is stimulating enough to want to walk in. More on Active Design here: nyc.gov
City Peaks in the UK
Ditching the office elevator and turning a trip up the stairs into a competitive mountain climb is the basic premise of City Peaks Challenge, a novel fitness initiative in the UK. Using near field communication technology, competitors swipe their Oyster travel cards on readers at the bottom and top of the office staircase and track how far and fast they climb. Before setting off on the challenge, players create a log in on the City Peaks website and as they move through the challenge; their name is recorded next to their mountaineering flag on the faces of London’s landmark buildings. When a building has been conquered, the group all move to the next building and start the challenge again. The concept was developed by UK creative agency, Digit, for its own employees. Located on the fifth floor of a London office building, Digit saw their work space as a ready-made exercise machine and developed the interactive fitness game to make the most of it. Find out more at: citypeaks.co.uk
New office design for Medibank
To echo Medibank’s strong commitment to support better health, a new ‘green’ Melbourne office has commenced construction and is due to open in 2014. Offering features designed to promote better health in the workplace; the new space includes extensive bike storage facilities, a sports court, green parkland, healthy food options and plenty of natural light. Instead of jumping in an elevator, the building’s design will encourage people to move towards the stairs and rather than remain seated at a desk all day, different activities will be held in various work places to promote movement and diversity. Medibank employees are looking forward to this healthy work space and living and breathing Medibank’s ‘for better health’ purpose in their own work environment.
For more information about work health visit medibankhealth.com.au