Street sports are sports held in urban environments (Cities), these sports are usually portrayed at as non-commercial and non-professional activities, but this is all changing. Street sports are an expression of the spontaneous, improvisational and creative origins of sport adapted by human ingenuity to the urban environment. In historical terms their origins are traceable to the very earliest evidence of sports in Greek and Roman civilisation.
Street sports are a hybrid form of other sports and reflect the adaptation of conventional sports to the cityscape and is only matched by the diversity and hybridization of culture in our contemporary world. Unfortunately, today we live a very busy lifestyle, this is found in all ages. Between School, private lessons, work, overtime etc. People find it hard to fit physical activity in their schedule during the week. This is why we are seeing physical activity becoming more and more detached from typical sport facilities. People are seeking other alternatives.
Here is where Street Sport is on the rise, people are looking for alternative ways to be physically active and are turing to sports that are today being called, Sports For All. It is found that “sport for all” activities help participants as it provides pleasure and fun, health benefits, improvement of physical and mental condition, and the possibility of meeting new people. Keeping in mind that nobody will be doing this activity for competition. Busy and overworked people need physical and mental relaxation instead of the stress of competition and this shows that modern sport for all should put fun and pleasure above rivalry.
The economic boom in Malta in recent years has brought much wealth and progress to the island but it has also brought the disappearance of local, neighbourly relations and the consequent loneliness, alienation, and atomization of the residents. This applies especially to people who came to Malta in search of work and haven’t yet established closer relations with other members of the local community.
How to activate public spaces to encourage physical activity.
Through Street Sport, public spaces which once might have not been used are being activiated by street sport athletes and as a result are promoting physical activity. Take for example the public space below, one can easily see that the arcitecture was designed for both padastrians to sit and relax and for somone with a BMX or Skateboard to pratice their sport. This sort of design and architecture increases the worth of such public space as its it promoting a healthy and active lifestyle.
Barcelona in Spain is probably on the fore front of this deign and implementation of their city’s public space, everywhere you look. One can find areas where s/he can be physically active. If it may be with a BMX, Skateboard, Basket Ball, Football, Inline Skates, Parkour, Dancing etc. They designed their infrastructure in a way which caters the need for someone to use the space for sitting and also covers the needs of the youth to be physically active, this in the long term helps also in the fight against addictions on Alcohol and Drugs. Youth who want to be physically active usually do not want to do it under the influence due to the risk in injury it might have. Here are some of the many designs they have implemented all over the city.
As MSSA, one of our main functions as an organisation is to promote these designs and to advise policy makers to implement such features to our public spaces. Imagine with our beautiful weather, we have these sort of public spaces for us to enjoy.
One might argue that such activities in public space might damange the place or cuase a nuisance to neighbors, this could be very true if you had a public space which was designed not to cater for such activities. As we have seen implemented in Barcelona above, when public spaces are designed and implemented in a way that caters for these activities. We find that the objects do not get damaged because the right material is used and that the neighbors actually enjoy seeing youth outside being active rather than being inactive and causing trouble as a result of boredom.
Yes you will also find those youth that might cause some problems, but why should the people who actually want to be healthy and active suffer for such a small minority? Why shouldnt public spaces which are funded by our taxes be built in a way that caters for all citizens?
WE ARE HERE TO MAKE THIS HAPPEN! So let do it together!