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Epidemiology, Biostatistics and Prevention Institute

SPAcE: supporting policy & action for active environments

The SPAcE project (Supporting Policy and Action for Active Environments)
addresses many of the concerns raised in European policies, in particular the low levels of physical activity identified in the Eurobarometer (2010) report.

Five of the eight SPAcE partner countries are above the EU average for physical inactivity. The EU Guidelines for Physical Activity (PA) (2008) identify a number of environments for promoting physical activity, including education settings such as schools, workplaces, health care settings, services for senior citizens and the urban environment.  The project incorporates all of the above settings (with a focus on urban settings, cycling and walking) through a coordinated, multi-layered approach to the development and integration of policy and intervention, into action at a local level.
This approach is recommended in the EU Guidelines for PA and also several WHO and NGO guidelines and strategies. These policies emphasize the importance of the environment to support physical activity in schools; for active transport (walking and cycling); in the urban design and community settings. They also support the use
of an integrated approach to intervention design, development and implementation.

The SPAcE project seeks to develop policy that is evidence-based, specifically with key country representatives; academics; policy makers; and practitioners. The project addresses the above objective by stimulating enhanced participation in physical activity through the development of UActivE Action Plans in five implementation sites (cities/towns) in the EU (Trikala-Greece, Toledo-Spain, Tukums-Finland, Brasov-Rumania, Palermo-Italy). It aims to liaise and work with WHO, HEPA Europe, and national and regional governments of partner countries, to develop a programme and supporting materials that can be embedded into policy across partner countries in the EU to encourage more people to take part in physical activity as part of everyday life.
The project will develop UActivE through the development of UActivE Action Plans
in five implementation sites. These five partners are supported in their development
by experienced academics, policy makers and practitioners. The aim is to raise awareness of the importance of health-enhancing physical activity through enhancing and promoting the urban environment. The overall aim of the project is to make the healthy choice the easy choice through creating healthy urban environments. In doing so, SPAcE aims to increase the physical activity level of the communities involved
in the project, and support and encourage social inclusion through more active participation.

To address the aims outlined above, the SPAcE project has the following objectives:

  1. To share current good (evidenced based) practice of the implementation and promotion of an Urban Active Environment (UActivE) to increase population level (community) physical activity levels;
  2. To establish working groups in five EU member states to develop an UActivE Action Plan with a focus on creating environments to support physical activity for the creation of a more physical active environment;
  3. To support the members states to develop and embed the UActivE Action Plan into policy/practice in each designated city/town;
  4. To support Member states in developing competencies in the assessment of value of the UActivE Action Plan through training in the use of the Health Economic Assessment Tool (HEAT);
  5. Development of three tangible outputs, namely:

1. Output 1: EU UActivE Summary of Evidence and Good Practice document;

2. Output 2: Guidance document ‘How to Create and Evaluate an UActivE’ including case studies x5 from project partners;

UZH acts as expert and reviewer of the UActive Plans and supports communication and dissemination, in particular through linking to relevant EU and WHO partners.


For more information and to participate please visit the project page.

Weiterführende Informationen


Sonja Kahlmeier (Project Leader)