SDG #11 is aiming for Sustainable Cities and Communities. This goal is about making cities inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable. Sport can contribute to this goal in several ways.
Sports celebrate diversity and amplify the importance of respect and equality in society. We’ve talked a lot about how sports can be used as tools for better inclusion of all people. 2SLGBTQ+ people, people with disabilities, newcomers, and women and girls are all better included in society when we plan for it.
I think this goal goes back to the earlier topic of sport in an urban setting. We need to make sure that we are planning for access, and that there is opportunity for sport in any setting in the city. Workout stations, playgrounds, open parks in the city, these are all important aspects to having healthy, sustainable communities. And also making these accessible to people with disabilities. This also includes incorporating active transport in a city’s development plans. By planning for sports in a city I think this gives the community the place to grow and thrive.
Is a city sustainable if we do not provide spaces for people to live healthy lifestyles? This is why urban planning is so important. We must work with our city planners around the world to ensure that our cities are planning for success. Sports and recreation must not be left out, and the sports industry must be part of the conversation on how to develop a city. We need to be proactive, not reactive.
Not to go too much into this topic again but there are two challenges with our current approach to urban development. Firstly, in densely populated areas, there is limited space for sport venues, and in low populated areas, urban sprawl makes sport venues really hard to get to. We need to plan our communities around community centres. We need to change the way we develop our cities and think smarter about the spaces that we occupy.
A really great organisaton in Canada that is building accessible playgrounds is Jumpstart. All kids have the right to play, and this makes sure that those rights are protected.
Policy makers need to plan for inclusion and plan for accessibility. Sports and recreation are at the centre of a sustainable city, they are the lifeblood that keep it’s people healthy and happy. Making sure that we are planning our cities around sports and recreation is a really big component of this goal.