Running is a burgeoning activity in cities across Europe. In some cities, it is a prominent activity while for others it is a nascent practice. In all cities running speaks to the desire to encourage citizens to adopt healthier practices as well as being part of a suite of ideas to foster more sustainable urban places. In Brussels, recently there have been calls for running to feature more prominently within the city. In the Brussels Parliament, Flemish Socialist politician Jef Van Damme introduced an initiative that brought together a broad coalition of colleagues to propose the implementation of a running (or jogging) plan. The idea is to help to promote running as an everyday practice by improving visibility and availability in public spaces. In addition, the plan will aim to make Brussels the running capital of Europe. Brussels has several parks that are popular for running this includes the Bois de la Cambre and Parc Cinquantenaire. The plan aims to improve running in places that are not as picturesque or attractive to runners. In recent years, the city authorities have renovated Parc Josaphat and the pathways around the Ixelles lakes which has opened these areas to more runners and people wanting to use the spaces to relax. These spaces are now friendlier for families and people of all ages with the addition on new surfaces, lighting, and regular maintenance. The aim of the plan is to encourage city authorities to improve public running infrastructure. This would entail providing signs for routes, improving lighting, and providing toilets, lockers, and fresh drinking water. If the plan is adopted it could become a blueprint for other cities across Europe.
Photo courtesy of Canal.Brussels