Assessment of national policies (1st interim report)
Assessment of national mechanisms (2nd interim report)
Agreement on good practice criteria (the draft version of proposed European guidelines)

Assessment of national policies

(Work Package 1 - Lead Partner: TNO Leiden, Netherlands)

  • Report WP1: Full version - European comparison of national policies:
    PDF Download (1.2 MB)
  • Presentation MOVE2009 - World Congress on Active Cities, Copenhagen, by Prof. Dr. Alfred Rütten, European comparison of national policies:
    PDF Download (6 MB)

In the first assessment phase, qualitative interviews with experts and policy makers were used to collect information about existing policies for the development of infrastructure for leisure-time physical activity (LTPA), like national laws, guidelines, and action plans.

Although guidelines and actions plans exist in all 12 participating countries, results from IMPALA show differences in their implementation, utilization and practice. Existing policies deal with merely one type of infrastructure or one specific physical activity. In Finland for example, the national action plan on sports facilities is implemented. Germany and Austria implemented actions plans to stimulate bicycling. Few comprehensive policies exist that are based on a intersectoral and integral understanding of infrastructures and physical activity, The Norwegian Action Plan on Physical Activity is the only example in which several governmental sectors (e.g. health/sports, urban planning, culture, environment, labour, etc) collaborate to improve diverse areas of society to stimulate PA.

There is also a lack of policies on broader and efficient use of and improved access to existing infrastructures. Opportunities for physical activity that reach all population subgroups and generations are hardly considered. In most countries local governments are autonomous with regard to operationalisation of national guidelines/action plans for the development of infrastructures for LTPA. In Lithuania, the private and not the public sector mainly regulates infrastructures for sport and physical activity. In all participating countries, the range of policy sectors involved in the improvement of infrastructures (for LTPA) is broad. Usually, involved sectors such as sports, urban and spatial planning, environment, health, tourism, and economics operate independent from each other.


Click to enlarge
Three main types of infrastructures

Assessment of national mechanisms

(Work Package 2 - Lead Partner: University of Jyväskylä, Finland)

Report WP2: Full version - European comparison of national mechanisms
PDF Download (1.2 MB)

In a second assessment phase, further qualitative interviews were used to collect information on existing national mechanisms and instruments. The analysis of all three types of infrastructures for LTPA was carried out by using four chronological phases in the development of infrastructures i.e. planning, financing, building and management.

Four general planning approaches (inventories, per capita approaches, needs assessment, participatory planning) can be differentiated. A majority of the countries had an inventory of infrastructures. About half of the countries apply per-capita-approaches for developing infrastructures. Few countries use systematic and comprehensive approaches such as a needs assessment or participation of relevant stakeholders and different sectors. Building, financing, and management of infrastructures do not often consider policies and systematic mechanisms to promote social equality, intersectoral collaboration and participation.

The upcoming IMPALA guidelines on improving infrastructures for leisure-time physical activity will therefore put a focus on these aspects.


Agreement on good practice criteria

(Work Package 3: Lead Partner: University of Erlangen-Nuremberg, Germany)

Based on the information from the assessment phases, a set of quality criteria for policies and mechanisms has been developed. These criteria are presented in new guidelines on improving infrastructures for leisure-time physical activity, including examples of good practice. Existing policies and mechanisms in the participating countries were evaluated against the guidelines of good practice. The guidelines will also enable other relevant organisations and countries to assess relevant policies and mechanisms. This can be used for further improvement of policies and mechanisms on the development of infrastructures for leisure-time physical activity.

IMPALA European Guidelines (PDF, 1.4 MB)

The presentation of the proposed European guidelines took place at the international conference:

POIN 2010 - Policies and Infrastructures for Physical Activity and Sport:
Good Practice in Europe

November 8th and 9th, 2010 - Frankfurt/Main, Germany

Additionally, good practice examples were presented at the conference - find a list at the POIN2010 website.