Sports

Build an Active Hong Kong Through Healthy Urban Planning

  • 2018-03-14

Jeff Tsang Pui-san, a 19-year-old Hongkonger, seldom exercises. The only chance he gets to work out is during his daily commute, running from his home to the metro station for about 10 minutes. “I live in Cheung Sha Wan, a densely populated district in Hong Kong. Although there is a sports ground near my home, it is usually occupied by trainings as well as athletic meets,” Mr. Tsang said. “When it is opened to (the) public, it would be packed with people. This makes it difficult for me to jog there.” Mr. Tsang’s level of physical activity is far below the standard recommended by the Hong Kong government, that is, to exercise at least 30 minutes a day. Like Mr. Tsang, one-third of the respondents in a  survey conducted by the Chinese University of Hong Kong. said they rarely or did not exercise in the past six months. Yet according to the Planning Department, 2.3 % of the land, equivalent to twice the size of Hong Kong International Airport, is zoned for recreation and sports. An international study conducted by Professor James Sallis of the Department of Family Medicine and Public Health at the University of California found that urban planning is an important element to encourage people to exercise. The findings also indicated residents who live in activity-friendly environments could achieve 68 to 89 minutes more physical activities a week than others. The report said that people who live in walkable neighbourhoods that are densely populated, have interconnected streets, and are close to shops, services, restaurants, public transport, and parks, tend to be more physically active than those in less walkable areas. This is because a less car-dependent lifestyle means people are more likely to walk. Apart from safety, jobs and access to services, Paul Zimmerman, a district councillor …