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Active design more important for people with disabilities

MEDIA RELEASE For Immediate Release `

2nd December 2015

Active design even more important for people with disabilities

Urban planners will need to design for a growing number of people with disabilities in Auckland to encourage physical activity.

Healthy Auckland Together spokesperson Dr Julia Peters says that people with disabilities are much less likely to be physically active, because they have more limited access to public spaces and recreational activities.

“We now believe that people with disabilities benefit even more from physical activity as it encourages social connection, improves daily functioning and promotes independence. It also prevents diseases such as coronary heart disease, type 2 diabetes, depression, and some cancers,” she says.

“While the proportion of people with disabilities in Auckland at 19 percent is fewer than the rest of the national average at 24 percent, this will change as our younger population ages. And this still means we're talking about 285,000 residents who need well designed communities so they can keep healthy,” Dr Peters says.

People with disabilities want a range of options from informal recreation, through organised sport to active transport, requiring thoughtfully designed urban infrastructure and more accessible facilities and sports clubs.

Marking the United Nation’s International Day of Persons with Disability on Thursday 3 December, Dr Peters points to Auckland Council’s Auckland Design Manual as a resource for inclusive parks, streets, and buildings.

As a coalition of local government, health agencies, NGOs, university and disability consumer groups, Healthy Auckland Together partners want to see a city with more opportunities for physical activity for everyone.

If streets, parks and local facilities are designed to be fully accessible, then everyone, including pregnant women, families with toddlers, people recovering from injury and older people would find it easier to enjoy being active outdoors.


Dr Julia Peters is Clinical Director at Auckland Regional Public Health Service and a spokesperson for Healthy Auckland Together.

Healthy Auckland Together

Healthy Auckland Together is a coalition of 21 organisations representing local government, mana whenua, health agencies, NGOs, university and consumer interest groups.

Our members are committed to creating healthier environments through policy change, infrastructure design, planning and advocacy. This requires working together and with others, across the whole system - transport, urban planning, sport, food supply and retail, education and business.



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