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ISCA Awards jury share how they selected this year’s MOVEment Spaces winners

Last week we were proud to announce the four winners of the first ISCA Awards for MOVEment Spaces. Three of these awards (pictured above and below), which recognise partnerships that have transformed urban spaces into active spaces, were selected by a panel of experts, while the People’s Choice Award was selected by the voting public.


We spoke to two of the members of the expert jury to find out exactly what they were looking for when selecting the winners of the Blue, Green and Black spaces awards. They also gave some more specific thoughts on the projects that will receive the great accolade of collecting their award next month in Paris.


Expert jury member Maria Luiza Souza Diaz, who is the Manager of Physical and Sportive Development for SESC (Serviço Social do Comércio) São Paulo, knows all about what makes a successful MOVEment Space and a successful partnership, having the responsibility in her day job of overseeing the advancement of physical activity in one of the world’s ten largest cities.


She explains that while the winners had different ideas, and carried them out in different parts of the world, there were aspects that united them all, and meant they were chosen as recipients of the awards.


“All the winners brought concrete experiences in relation to encouraging the practice of physical activities and sports in different contexts. They imagined and realised spaces for more active lives in parks, squares, streets and in aquatic environments. That was the backdrop for all the winners, as well of how they positively changed the physical reality of each place where their project happened,” she says.


Maria Luiza explains just how the winners stood out in the eyes of the jury in relation to how the partnership aspect of the Award criteria, stating that, “One of the reasons for the choices was the commitment of the partners in these projects to work together. But it was also related to the innovative solutions found in each one of the different places, allowing public access in different sports and recreational practices.”


On a personal level the aspects of the winners’ projects Maria thought were most important, and that others could learn from, were: “Local transformations, open access and the sustainability of the proposals were essential for the bidders to win the awards. Another important point was to consider the social context where each of the projects were carried out.”


What made the winning entries stand out to our experts?

Fellow expert jury member Oliver Vanges, a Development Consultant for the Danish Foundation for Culture and Sports Facilities, has spent more than ten years engaged in projects with an overarching aim of revitalising and redeveloping the built environment for exercise, sport and recreation purposes for people from all walks of society. His experience in the field gave him numerous projects from around the world to compare the nominees to, he explains just what it was about each winner that made them such excellent examples of MOVEment Spaces.


First he discussed the Blue Spaces Award winner, “Bathing Zones”, from Copenhagen Cities Culture and Leisure Department, stating that it stood out “due to its simplicity, accessibility and subtle way of handling quite intricate combinations of interests in the urban harbour environments.”


In regards to the Black Spaces Award winner, “Looking for a Space to Dream”, from GAME Lebanon, Oliver explained that “it is strong in activating and empowering local user groups in identifying and transforming derelict black spaces in the dense city. It is definitely fundamentally bottom up, but with direct relations to local authorities established by the host organisation.”


Finally the Green Spaces Award winner, “Fitness Locations”, from DTB in Germany, was considered such a strong applicant because of its “qualities and easy implementation. It offers a recognisable setting for physical training and, as such, presumably mostly encourages more or less well established user groups and individuals to get active.”


The winners will all have the chance to meet the expert jury in Paris, who will be present for the one-day seminar, awards ceremony and MOVEment Spaces final project meeting.


Find out what this worldwide recognition means to our first ISCA Awards winners


By Alex Appleyard-Keeling, ISCA