Poetry of movement - FOJAB drives new ways of designing sports environments

How can sports halls be made more inclusive and multifunctional so that more people are attracted to exercise? Architects at FOJAB will investigate this together with the City of Malmö, researchers, users and cultural practitioners. The research project Movement Poetry is funded by Formas.

Physical activity is essential for good and equitable health. At the same time, we are generally less active and the gap between those who are physically active and those who are not is growing. Buildings and spaces for sport can be found in many parts of our cities and communities and should be important and attractive places for everyone. But far from everyone uses them. The problem is largely about a lack of well-functioning spaces, rather than a lack of spaces.

Movement Poetry is a collaboration between architects at FOJAB, researchers in sports science, diversity issues and place development at Malmö and Lund University, and the leisure administration at the City of Malmö. The project has been granted funding from Formas within the call Gestaltad livsmiljö för hälsa och välbefinnande.

Together with artists, cultural practitioners and not least those who use - or do not use - the places today, they will explore how an innovative and sensory design can add new values to traditionally designed sports environments and open up for a broader and more inclusive use.

- There is a great need for sporting environments and we want to maintain the sporting function. But we also see a need to problematize the design of sports environments, which are often designed based on certain norms and expectations. By adding more values, more people can be attracted to movement," says Emma Pihl, project manager for Rörelsepoesi and architect at FOJAB.

The project will create and disseminate knowledge about new ways to design sports environments so that they can contribute to increased physical activity for everyone, not least for groups that do not move much today.

- The proportion of children and young people who are active in sports should increase and sporting activities are also largely unevenly distributed, in terms of both socio-economics and gender. By taking new steps in the development of our sports areas, we are trying to achieve a more equal and accessible range of leisure activities," says Thomas Sterner, Head of Department at the City of Malmö's Leisure Services.

Many halls around the country are facing renovation and one goal of the Movement Poetry project is also to show how, through the transformation and refinement of what already exists in a sustainable way, environments can be created that open up for more uses, functions and users, rather than building new ones.

The benefits are not just about improved physical health.

- By making sports environments more attractive to more people, we can ultimately also reduce loneliness, increase social contacts, increase safety and create more vibrant and attractive cities," says Emma Pihl at FOJAB.