Piloting total system change to encourage active lifestyles in cities

Sport England core cities evolution programme


Encouraging active lifestyles through projects with pharmacies, employers, and reablement services

Urban Foresight was commissioned to act as an embedded research partner for a twelve month Sport England trial in Newcastle, managed by Newcastle City Council.

The trial focuses on encouraging active lifestyles through projects with pharmacies, employers, and reablement in adult social care.

The concept of the trial was to think about total system change: the complete range of systems in the city which affect people, and which influence choices and habits over activity. This ranges from transport, to housing, to urban planning, through to the influence of media, social and cultural networks.

Our role was to act as a critical friend for the programme, offering advice and feedback on the process the team are undertaking.

As the embedded research partner, we explored the assumptions of their work, unpicked the way they interact, and helped to come up with better ideas for achieving their desired change.

We approached this as an opportunity for a transformational trial, understanding what could be replicable elsewhere. It benefited from our experience of collating the knowledge and processes of various stakeholders into actionable recommendations.

The overall goal of our the Core Cities Evolution Programme is to define a robust model for achieving a health and care objective – and empower a range of public authorities to take more sophisticated system change approaches in the future.

This type of project combines a clear public policy aim, with data analysis and advice, to create long-term change.