Red Deer has designed its way into being an international leader in promoting activity.
The city is the only Canadian municipality out of nine case studies of exemplary active cities featured in Nike’s Designed to Move campaign. The campaign addresses the sedentary lifestyle epidemic.
Red Deer was profiled as a fast-growing city with a commitment to creating an urban environment that enables physical fitness and mobility.
Mayor Tara Veer said the recognition speaks to the municipality’s progress in positioning itself as an active city.
“We’re a very young city,” said Veer. “We’re one of the youngest cities in Canada. Because of that we have focused on sport and development. You can really see how that has translated into our community’s identity.”
Veer said the international sports company took note of the city’s strides in extending the life of its existing infrastructure into the winter season.
The city undertook a study analyzing transportation modes and collecting data on movement as part of the Integrated Movement Study.
It resulted in strategies to improve walkability, cycling and transit use in the city through a Mobility Playbook, which provides the guiding principles on how the city grows and develops.
Jeremy Bouw, a city divisional strategist, said the city was contacted by Nike in November.
The company had come across Red Deer’s Mobility Playbook on the consultant 8-80 Cities website while doing research on what cities were doing to integrate active transportation into daily commuting patterns.
Representatives from the sports company visited the city and took photos of residents being active in November.
“One of the things that we are really excited about is that we are starting to make things accessible year round,” said Bouw. “People walk to work in the winter time. They bike to work in the winter time or they take the bus.”
Red Deer’s well-used trail system was highlighted in the report. The securing of the Canada Winter Games also demonstrated that the city has a long-term commitment to build an active city year-round.
Other top cities included Buenos Aires, Argentina, New York City, Copenhagen, Denmark and Adelaide, Australia.
For more information on the Designed to Move campaign, visit www.designedtomove.org.