Activity Hubs of Health-Focused Complementary Programming 

In addition to opening streets to people, Healthiest Practice Open Streets programs also have activity hubs of complementary programming focused on health and well-being strategically located in publicly accessible spaces along the route

Acticity Hubs are important because: 
  • They pull open streets participants along the route by sparking participants’ curiosity.  If they can see or hear something ½ a mile ahead of them, they are more likely to travel there (by walking, cycling, skating, etc.) to see what’s there.  (You’re secretly encouraging them to travel further using an active form of transportation!)
  • They offer a space for people to slow down without disrupting the flow of pedestrians, cyclists, skaters, strollers, etc. While they are in a hub you have a captive audience for an educational conversation, for a survey, or for an introduction to a new physical activity.  
  • They can act as a window into a new neighbourhood that an open streets participant may have never explored, if you organize your hubs based on neighbourhoods.
  • They offer activities that engage an audience broader than cyclists or walkers.  For example, an individual might not want to ride a bike but they like aerobics and therefore will still participate in the program because aerobics are being offered at an Actvity Hub along the route.
  • They offer service providers an opportunity to connect with a new audience in a new way. 

Activity Hubs of complementary programming are typically organized by a Hub Captain.  This individual, typically a volunteer, ensures that all the needs of activity providers are met in terms of their logistical requirements. For example, if you are offering electricity to activity providers the Hub Captain would ensure providers know where accessible outlets are. Alternatively, hub organization could be outsourced to a particular organizations such as a public health department and they could organize the space themselves without support from a Hub Captain – this method is particularly common in parking lots being used as hubs that belong to a particularly supportive organization.  Outsourcing hub organization also makes the overall open streets planning process less onerous on the organizing body.

What activities are provided in an Activity Hub of complementary programming?

There are a variety of activities that can be provided in a Hub at an Open Streets program. At a Healthiest Practice Open Streets program the activities are free and should be focused on health – meaning the activities focus on encouraging physical activity, offering educational advice in health areas such as nutrition, healthy weight maintenance, or chronic disease prevention.  

Keeping the activities in a hub as simplistic as possible also requires less time for set-up and take-down. Don’t underestimate the power of some music, skipping ropes, and hula-hoops. 

Who provides activities in an Activity Hub of complementary programming?

Hub activities are provided by programming partners.  These partners can be agencies, organizations, businesses, clubs, individuals, government agencies or anyone else that has the capacity to provide an activity in the hub.  We recommend issuing a “Call for Open Streets Activity Hub Programming Partners”. See our template to help draft your call. Keep in mind that Healthiest Practice Open Streets programs should be barrier-free, accessible, and free. User fees to participate in complementary programming is strongly discouraged. 

**Keep in mind that Healthiest Practice Open Streets programs are focused on health –don’t turn your hubs of complementary programming into busker festivals, flea markets, a field of food trucks or a beer garden.