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Denmark leading the way in active living

IAKS Conference "Innovative outdoor activity areas" in Odense, Denmark on 5-6 Oct 2022

On 5 and 6 October, the “Lab for Innovation and Play” at SDU Southern Denmark University in Odense was packed with 50 experts from 11 countries for a day full of information, learnings, and discussions.

Internationally renowned researchers from SDU presented their findings about „Active Living“. Jens Troelsen, Jasper Schipperijn, Bjarne Ibsen, and Signe Højbjerre Larsen (all SDU Department of Sports Science and Clinical Biomechanics) shared their knowledge around the question “What does active living mean for developing cities and providing infrastructure?”

Maria Keinicke (KEINGART), Rachel Kenny (ARUP), and Mikkel Hjort (Transparent Design) presented exemplary projects and approaches for “temptations to move”, “walkable cities”, and “participative design”. Casper Lindemann (DIF) and Jens Øyås Møller (LOA Foundation) showed examples of successful trail centres for outdoor sports as well as for water sports.

The SDU Sports Science Department and the prize-winning Athletics Exploratorium were the perfect setting for presenting and discussing innovative ideas for facilitating active living. Some (provocative) conclusions were: Don’t build or upgrade any facility, unless you know what the community in the neighbourhood needs, and without knowing which institution, group or club will take the “ownership” of the facility to fill it with life and activities.

Hitting the nail on the head, Maria Keinicke summed up her five steps to meaningful innovation:

  • 1) Base everything on knowledge from research
  • 2) Find local evidence by listening and learning
  • 3) Develop different scenarios
  • 4) Create a new synthesis by pushing boundaries
  • 5) Evaluate and adjust to improve and learn.

Presentations of the conference are available as download for conference delegates and IAKS members. Simply reach out to the IAKS headquarter and ask for your password.

Picture gallery

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This is what people say

„Great to finally visit the Athletics Exploratorium in Odense, an innovative athletics facility that offers so much more to the students at SDU! It ‘dares’ to engage, turns ‘failure’ into fun and encourages to ‘master’ a sport.“

Irina Korneychuk
Senior Associate, FaulknerBrowns


„Great conference!“

Signe Højbjerre Larsen
Associate Professor at SDU Research Unitof Movement, Culture and Civil Society


„A great couple of days in Odense exploring external active spaces. Denmark continuing to lead the way in the critical area for active cities and moving in nature.“

Mike Hall
Partner, FaulknerBrowns