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When Cities Move Children

Aim and target group

The aim of the project is to examine the impact of urban renewal on 11-15-year-old children’s level of physical activity and movement patterns in and around the Haraldsgade area in Copenhagen.

The project will determine which physical settings and areas support physical activity and movement among children in their leisure time. In addition, the aim of the project is to contribute to examining children’s movement patterns when they are outside by linking new methods (GPS, accelerometer and GIS) to the public health field.

The knowledge generated by this project should make Danish municipalities and schools better at creating activity promoting local settings for 11-15 year old children to prevent the rise in physical inactivity which generally characterises the Danish population.

The intervention 

The intervention is defined by the changes that will be made to the physical settings in the Haraldsgade area during the period spring 2010 to spring 2012. The Haraldsgade area is physically bounded by Jagtvej, Tagensvej, Lersø Parkallé and the Ringbane railway.

Currently, the following funding has been allocated by Copenhagen Municipality to revitalise the area :

  • DKK 24 million for the improvement of buildings and open spaces
  • DKK 7.5 million for two urban renewal projects
  • DKK 13 million for project development and establishment of four selected projects in the cityscape and traffic schemes for the Haraldsgade area.
  • Furthermore, money has been raised for a number of small building projects.

Design and target group

Lundehusskolen, Rådmandsgadeskole, Kildevældskolen and Klostervænget Heldagsskole participate in the project. At these schools, all 5th to 8th graders (11-15-year-old children) will take part, totalling approximately 600 pupils. Together, these four schools admit approximately 40 percent of all 5th to 8th graders living in the Haraldsgade area.

Two measurements have been carried out at the participating shools, the first one in the spring 2010 and the second, spring 2012. All 5th to 8th grades at the participating schools will take part in both measurements. A measurement comprises two parts:

  1. All pupils should answer a computer-based questionnaire.
  2. The pupils will be equipped with accelerometers measuring their level of physical activity, and GPSs monitoring the children’s movement patterns. This equipment should be worn by the participating pupils for one week during daytime.

Registration and evaluation

To examine whether urban renewal has an impact on the children’s level of physical activity, registrations will be made before and after the revitalisation of the area. Registrations are based on:

  1. Measurements to determine the level of physical activity among the children (accelerometry).
  2. GPS measurements showing the children’s movement patterns when they are outside during leisure time.
  3. Computer-based questionnaires on health, social status and behaviour.
  4. Observations in the area, and interviews with the district revitalisation secretariat to examine the organisational and communicative support of the intervention (implementation).

Time schedule

The project is completed.

Last Updated 19.10.2023