Goal 4: Supportive Environments

Ensure the provision of supportive physical and social environments that encourage participation in recreation and help to build strong, caring communities.

Supportive environments include:

  • the social infrastructure that puts community members in contact with one another to promote improved critical social connectedness (e.g., social recreation that includes such things as arts and crafts);
  • the physical environments within the recreation sector through connected systems of trails, and the natural and built environments; and,
  • the food environment in recreation settings.

4.1 Ensure the provision of accessible, inclusive, and welcoming recreation and parks facilities and outdoor spaces in all neighbourhoods, communities, and regions.

Operational Ideas:

  • Consult community members to find out how to make spaces and places accessible and inclusive.
  • Incorporate safety into facilities including drug- and smoke-free environments.
  • Create “quiet space” and “ethical spaces” in recreation and parks spaces.

Strategic Ideas:

  • Identify and work with other organizations that are involved in community-building initiatives (e.g., age-friendly communities, healthy cities/communities, community food centres, community safety and wellbeing initiatives).
  • Increase the use of existing spaces for recreation purposes such as schools, religious venues, vacant lots, and alleys.

4.2 Monitor and advocate for the revitalization, restoration, and/or renewal of recreation and parks physical and social infrastructure.

Operational Ideas:

  • Create spaces in neighbourhoods and larger spaces that put community members in contact with one another to promote greater social connectedness. Add benches, tables and chairs, picnic benches, large games (e.g., cornhole) to public spaces.

Resources:

Strategic Ideas:

  • Learn about and consider adopting the 3-30-300 Rule for promoting health and wellbeing: 3 trees from every home, 30% tree canopy cover in every neighbourhood, 300 metres from the nearest public park or green space.
  • Advocate for infrastructure funding that supports both indoor and outdoor spaces

Resources:

4.3 Support placemaking strategies that encourage community residents to actively engage in activating communities to increase physical activity and social connectedness.

Operational Ideas:

  • Connect with healthcare professionals to ensure recreation and parks is a critical component of social prescribing efforts and supports.
  • Support community artists to create mural art in alleys, on the side of buildings, and anywhere that needs beautifying.
  • Create adult playgrounds that feature swings, playground equipment, lawn games, food, and entertainment.

Resources:

Strategic Ideas:

  • Work with municipal leaders and social services to define and expand the role of parks and recreation as a solution to help people experiencing homelessness. Develop a policy that describes the role of parks and recreation in dealing with encampments in parks, public spaces, and facilities.
  • Determine ways to decentralize facilities, such as using natural ice rather than just “man-made” ice; use spaces traditionally used for sport for other pursuits such as kite flying.
  • Instill in community members that they need not “come to us” but, rather, that they can initiate change in their communities and neighbourhoods.

4.4 Develop and/or implement education strategies that increase knowledge about how recreation and parks contribute to enjoyment and quality of life, including both physical and mental health.

Operational Ideas:

  • Work with municipal leaders and social services to define and expand the role of recreation and parks as a solution to help people experiencing homelessness. Develop a policy that describes the role of recreation and parks in dealing with encampments in parks, public spaces, and facilities.
  • Determine ways to decentralize facilities, such as using natural ice rather than refrigerated ice; use spaces traditionally used for sport for other pursuits such as kite flying.
  • Instill in community members that they need not “come to us” but, rather, that they can initiate change in their communities and neighbourhoods.

Strategic Ideas:

  • Advocate for the role that recreation and parks play in delivering essential services such as emergency preparedness, emergency services and relief, community supports (e.g., immunization clinics, food banks)
  • Influence public policy by working with other government departments to consider how their policy decisions may affect the community’s health and the role of recreation and parks in contributing to health.

See Health in All Policies.

4.5 Create food environments in recreation settings that support health and reduce the risk of chronic disease. Food environments include the foods and beverages available, food and beverage marketing, and spaces to eat.

Operational Ideas:

  • Provide healthy food options at recreation venues and parks as per policies created.
  • Promote healthy food choices in recreation venues and parks with rationale for this approach.

Strategic Ideas:

  • Create policies that require and support the increase of variety of healthy food and beverages at recreation and parks facilities.
  • Create supporting resources that summarize healthy food and beverage options that should be offered and/or provided most of the time at recreation and parks facilities.
  • Ensure that the cost of healthy food and beverage options are equivalent to, or lower than, that of less healthy alternatives.
  • Create and implement healthy food policies for meetings and events.
    • Purposefully address the role that recreation plays in combating social isolation and facilitating social connectedness.

Operational Ideas:

  • Work with community organizations, local media, and health care professionals to reach all members of the community to encourage them to participate.
  • Work with health care professionals to establish social prescribing
  • Offer programs that include social time, such as partner-based activities, coffee time after the program, and walking clubs.
  • Work with neighbourhoods to lead or support placemaking initiatives.

Strategic Ideas:

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