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City of Paris “on the MOVE”

At the recent ISCA General Assembly, Sport Adviser Mr Paolo Guidi from the City of Paris’s Youth and Sports Department presented a vision for his city that would give more priority to physical activity promotion and facilitation across departments including transport and urban planning. The vision of Mme Anne Hidalgo, Mayor of Paris and Mr Jean-François Martins, Deputy Mayor of Paris, in charge of all the questions relating to sport and tourism, is a “humans first” approach – and it is a challenge for every city official to help make it happen.


Even in a metropolitan city like Paris, where the operational budget is about seven billion euro(1), and even though there is a specific budget for Sport and Youth, many actions are in other budget lines when it comes to physical activity. Whereas the investment budget has a four percent line for the sports and youth activities, he stressed that the high level of interconnection of everyday bureaucracy makes it difficult to maximise the spending efficiently.


In the light of Paris being awarded the 2024 Olympic Games and the new strategy to create more urban facilities, the challenge lies in creating purposeful active and open spaces with multidimensional uses. What is a moving city in 2017, and what could it be in 2024?


Paolo Guidi explained that in order to turn this vision into reality, different departments and city officials need to work better together. There are close to 52,000 people employed by the City of Paris, and the bureaucratic hurdles that need to be cleared to get a simple plan approved can often block even the brightest ideas.


However, using advocacy and finding ways to include all relevant departments in the decision-making process without excessive paperwork can be one solution. As Paolo Guidi explained, the real challenge lies in answering the following three questions:


1. What do we need from the sport organisations in order to make people more physically active?

2. How can we give Parisians access to facilities (24/7, and within 5 minutes of where they are)?

3. How can we make Paris one of the best running cities in the world?


Executing this plan is an ambitious task, which in reality means adopting the “humans first” concept following the COP21 guidelines for a creative city, he said, as well as connecting the work of various departments – transport, education, urban planning, art and culture, and youth and sport.


Paolo Guidi noted that the challenges for every city official are to:

1) Reach the people

2) Manage the facilities and the teams running them

3) Keep moving, be creative!


Implementing laws and action plans with these rules in mind could be the key solution to achieving the goals set for the City of Paris, he added.


The City of Paris is a partner in ISCA’s EU-supported MOVEment Spaces project, which is bringing cities/municipalities, grassroots sport organisations and experts in leisure facilities together to innovate the delivery of physical activity initiatives in urban spaces.


By Triin Ilves, ISCA


(1) See more about the budgetary system of the city of Paris here