Designed to Move: Active Cities

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July 1, 2015
By Chad Spoon
Designed to Move: Active Cities

Across the globe, many people do not live in places where they can walk to work or take the stairs. Children can’t always walk or bike to school safely. Roads are designed for cars, instead of the people who ride in them. Cities pay a high price – financially and in the health and well-being of residents. Fortunately, a solution exists. It’s about creating an active city.

An active city designs urban spaces for movement by all. It prioritizes active transport. Parks and play spaces are the norm. There are incentives for active schools and workplaces.

A new report, Designed to Move: Active Cities, is a blueprint for city leaders in creating an active city, regardless of city size or location. The report shows that cities with physically active populations are not only more economically competitive – they also benefit from increased productivity, improved school performance, higher property values, and improved health and well-being.

The report includes:

  • A comprehensive summary of the evidence base that shows an active city can be a low-cost, high-return on investment that impacts more than just health.
  • Proven interventions in the parks, urban design, transportation, schools and workplace settings where city leaders where city leaders can focus investments.
  • Specific recommendations for city leaders to make any city an active city.
  • Case studies of bright spots across the globe of cities already designing for physical activity.
  • An in-depth list of tools and resources to help guide the design of an active city.


Download the Active Cities Full Report, Executive Summary and Infographic.

The report was introduced by Sustrans, Active Living Research, and Nike at the Active Cities Summit in Bristol, UK in mid-June. The Summit brought together leading experts in the field to identify the legislative and policy changes needed to make active cities across the globe a reality.

Take a look at some of the press coverage from the Summit:


The Active Cities report prominently features an extensive literature review that ALR conducted to understand the co-benefits of activity-friendly environments on physical health, mental health, social benefits, safety/injury prevention, environmental sustainability, and economics. A publication, complete report, and slides about the co-benefits of active design are available.

Help spread the word

  • DesignedToMove: #ActiveCities. Blueprint for city leaders on how to design a city for #physicalactivity. @AL_Research
  • New report from shows an active city is a competitive city. #ActiveCities @AL_Research
  • Our bodies are designed to move. Our cities should be too. Report shows how to create #ActiveCities. @AL_Research
  • #ActiveCities are investment in greater human, economic, social & enviro capital.ROI across all aspects of civic life
  • Review by @AL_Research shows #ActiveCities can be low-cost, high-return investment impacting more than just health.
  • #ActiveCities report provides case studies & recommendations for city leaders to make any city an active city.
  • Designing #ActiveCities creates economic, health, social, safety & environmental benefits, @AL_Research review shows
  • #ActiveCities create economic benefits: inc home value, more retail activity & reduced healthcare costs @AL_Research

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