New model for creating physical activity friendly cities

A Physical Activity Friendly Environment (PAFE) facilitates and stimulates people to be physically active or to do sports. Many Dutch cities tend to include PAFE in their city policy. The Knowledge Centre for Sport & Physical Activity Netherlands designed a model that helps to create these safe, activity friendly environments.

The Netherlands has a dense sports infrastructure: there are approximately 21,1 sports facilities per 10,000 inhabitants. In each area code, at least three different kinds of sports facilities can be found. The average distance between home to the nearest sports facility is just over 600 meters. No wonder that the Dutch, compared to other Europeans, are most satisfied with their sports facilities (European Commission 2014).

In many Dutch municipalities, initiatives are growing to create an environment that promotes physical activity. PAFE-policies are part of municipal city planning strategies. The Dutch can choose from roughly 35,000 km of cycle paths, and more bicycle highways for commuting and recreational purposes underway.

Developing physical activity friendly cities: PAFE model

The Knowledge Centre for Sport & Physical Activity Netherlands has developed instruments (a model, a scan, an indicator, a roadmap, a whitepaper, and a theme website) and published more than a hundred articles on Physical Activity Friendly Environment about good and best practices, policy examples, and scientific research results. The PAFE-model consists of software, ‘orgware’, and hardware.

Download pdf: Physical Activity Friendly Environment model

International participations

Many cities consider a Physical Activity Friendly Environment to be a goal in their policy (also due to the new National Strategy on Spatial Planning and the Environment in which health
is a key factor. The Knowledge Centre has participated on an international level in Active City projects of WHO (a technical package for increasing physical activity), HEPA, TAFISA (Active Cities), and physical activity friendly environment project IMPALA (Finland, Germany, I, Est, A, NL).


Knowledge Centre for Sport & Physical Activity NetherlandsKnowledge Centre for Sport & Physical Activity Netherlands
Phone: +31 (0)318 49 09 00