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Physical activity facilities becoming more important centres for social life

Oliver_LOA Study Tour

The MOVE Congress 2015 concluded with a special study tour offering an exclusive view from inside to new sport and physical activity facilities in Copenhagen.

Oliver Vanges from the Danish Foundation for Culture and Sports Facilities (Lokale og Anlægsfonden) presented new trends in planning and development of facilities for sport and culture, and followed the traditional conference session with a visit to come of Copenhagen’s real-life examples.

Today people need more light and open spaces for their daily workout, he said. The modern facilities are designed in a way to give access to more people and to offer opportunity for passers-by to have a look inside and make them want to join in.

As more women are becoming active, the facilities’ design should be adjusted to their expectations for nice places for socialising and spending of great time with friends. Youth sport facilities also offer space for hanging-out of teenagers which turns them into important centers of communities’ lives. More than ever before today gyms, sport halls, parks and other sport venues play the role of social and cultural integration centers for the neighborhoods, especially for socially deprived groups.

As the outdoor training trend continues to develop fast the cities should reconsider their outdoor spaces. They should develop facilities for open-air training that are in line the current mix of outdoor activities preferred by the communities. Knowledge on the proportion and trends in the outdoor activities would be crucial for planning of future open-air sport facilities. The use of modern technologies and new design concepts offer great opportunities to add value to all kind of sport facilities in the modern cities.

One of the two study tours took MOVE Congress delegates to a visit to several water-related facilities planned and operated by Copenhagen municipality.

WaveKalvebod Wave (left) is a modern promenade which brings the citizens back to a channel pier space offering a nice environment for jogging, strolling, biking, kayaking or swimming in the water. It integrates the water with the cityscape and makes it part of citizens’ lives.


SwimIslands Brygge Baths (right) is an open-air swimming facility opposite the Wave. It is constructed on pontoons and includes a swimming pool, children’s pool and diving pool and facility. It offers free access to the citizens of Copenhagen in the summer. Both facilities are designed by the same architect.

Prismen 2Prismen Sports and Cultural House (left) is a great example of putting sport and culture to the core of building communities and integrating deprived groups. The facility offers modern design and functionalities available to the neighborhood community in one of the quartiers of Copenhagen.


Maritime Youth Center Amager is another municipal project demonstrating smart use of venues which used to be part of heavy industrialised areas. It offers water leisure and sport activities to the children from the nearby neighbourhood.

By Ralitsa Zhikova

Photos by Ralitsa Zhikova and Georgi Staykov

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