Going Out for Health - promoting expert guidance on designing green spaces for active lifestyles among local stakeholders


The link between health and spatial planning is at several levels. The purpose of the development of expert guidelines on spatial planning of green spaces for promoting physical activity of the population is to explore and present the quality factors of green spaces that are crucial for encouraging physical activity of the population and to provide a comprehensive overview of the various aspects relevant for appropriate spatial planning, renovation and management of green spaces to achieve a healthy, quality living environment that will promote and facilitate active, healthy lifestyles of the population of all ages and social groups.

Numerous studies have shown (e.g. Urban Green Spaces and Health. Copenhagen: WHO Regional Office for Europe, 2016) how the physical and mental health of the population depends (also) on the appropriate design of green spaces and how the design of green spaces has a direct impact on the level of public health. Approaches such as sustainable mobility, green infrastructure, ecosystem services, participation and co-creation in planning, integral/inclusive planning, accessibility for all, urban gardening/urban food production, etc. bring a number of important supporting aspects for more effective development of green spaces to promote physical activity of the population and create healthy living environments.

The »Going Out for Health 2« programme represents a further development and implementation of the Going Out for Health - Expert basis for the design of green spaces to promote physical activity of the population (UIRS 2017-2019) project and its outputs, in particular the general guidelines and the Going Out for Health handbook. The programme is aimed at several different target groups, which it addresses by presenting key aspects and guidelines for planning green spaces for active lifestyles, ranging from municipal administrations and spatial planners to other relevant professional audiences, in particular public health professionals. It will be implemented through lectures and training sessions for spatial planners and municipal services, various public presentations at conferences and events, and through online publishing, publications and printed materials.

The nature and natural characteristics of open space contribute to its usability and attractiveness for a wide range of activities. In addition, green spaces have a high ecological value and make an important contribution to biodiversity and the overall quality of the environment. Due to their specific spatial characteristics, they are also an important structural entity of cities and other settlements which make a key contribution to their morphology structure and therefore spatial identity.

The health of the population, public health, is linked to the quality of living conditions and thus to the quality of the living environment. Access to adequate and good quality green spaces can achieve different health benefits in different ways. Due to their natural characteristics, green spaces are of great importance for achieving a good quality environment, as they have a restorative effect on people, stimulate physical activity of local residents in the outdoor green environment, influence social cohesion and improve environmental factors - all of which have a direct impact on people's health and well-being.

The contact with nature has proven to have a very positive effect on people's well-being and cannot be replaced. Similarly, the direct and immediate impact of natural elements on improving environmental factors cannot be replaced. A favourable microclimate, air, water and soil quality, a pleasant sound environment and direct contact with nature are important factors also as attractiveness to visit and use outdoor space. Publicly accessible open space allows social bonding and interaction between users of the space, which is also an important contributor to the well-being, inclusion and consequently health and vitality of people in local communities. In this context, it should be stressed that the quality of the design and condition of green spaces is of great importance, often more important than their quantity in urban areas.

The publication consists of results and findings from the programme "Expert basis for spatial planning of green spaces to promote physical activity in the population" (also called Going out for Health - Ven za zdavje), which was co-funded by the Ministry of Health as part of the "Dober tek Slovenija" (Good run/bon appetit Slovenia) effort to get more exercise and healthier diets, under the 2017-2019 call for proposals in the field of nutrition and physical activity for health.

The lessons learned were based on a review of the literature, expert judgement and testing on a pilot case study in the municipality of Kočevje. The pilot case tested the adequacy of different aspects and their relevance for the design of green spaces to promote physical activity at municipal level. On the basis of a spatial analysis and evaluation of selected areas in the municipality of Kočevje (the urban settlement of Kočevje and smaller rural settlements, i.e. Kočevska Reka and Mozelj) and an analysis of the municipality's current spatial plan, the feasibility and applicability of guidelines for strategic and more detailed planning level were tested, taking into consideration green space planning and design for physical activity. Various methods were used to support the work, such as spatial and demographic analyses, surveys and interviews. The programme also included four expert workshops with participants from different fields in public health, a number of presentations, thematic lectures and a consultative cross-sectoral workshop with ministry representatives.

The handbook provides a comprehensive overview of the topics, from the visions stressed in international resolutions and national programmes to research findings on public health in relation to physical activity and green spaces, on people's needs and the types of physical activity as the key to maintaining health, on urban green spaces and theis types, their functions, and their design to achieve quality space. The focus is on the qualitative aspects of green space design and recommendations for spatial planners and municipalities to ensure planning and management of high quality open spaces.

The chapters of the handbook answer specific questions:
- WHY: why health and spatial planning are related topics,
- WHO AND WHAT: how to understand users and their needs,
- WHERE: in what kind of open space the activities are carried out,
- HOW: how to approach the design of green spaces to achieve their integrity, suitability and quality.

The Handbook is a guide to be used by a wide range of professionals, as it addresses an important aspect of improving the quality of life in urban areas and the potential to influence healthy lifestyles through appropriate open space planning and design.

It is aimed primarily for local authorities and planners and designers of public open spaces, who can use it to ensure quality conditions for outdoor activities and active lifestyles. The handbook provides an overview of relevant aspects and general guidance for practical design decisions and adaptations to local spatial context. The topics are based also on the principles of sustainable spatial planning.

The handbook is also aimed for local administrations, especially in spatial development, ensuring the quality environment and the opportunities for outdoor physical activity of the population. The guide can be useful for the preparation of the objectives and vision in all spatial planning documents (on regional and local level - RPP, OPP, OPN, ordinance on urban planning and OPPN). It can slso serve as an incentive for local services and decision-makers to take a more active approach to ensure a quality living environment for all users of public space.

The manual is meant also as support for the Ministry of Health and the Ministry's authorised functionaries for the preparation of specific guidelines and in the assessment of spatial plans in spatial planning procedures.

The content of the manual is a starting point for the definition and integration of new indicators for public health assessment in Slovenian municipalities, and in this sense it is designed to support the National Institute of Public Health (NIJZ), which provides health monitoring for all municipalities. It is also an expert basis for rising awareness and communication the topic with other ministries.

It is also written for residents, associations and NGOs as a source of information and a starting point for initiatives to improve opportunities for physical activity in the local outdoor environment.

Finally, it is intended for public health professionals at national, regional and local level to learn about the possibilities and opportunities green spaces have - all themes that link the broad fields of spatial planning and public health. It is also useful for health and physical activity promotion for practitioners - in health, sport and education institutions, work and non-governmental organisations, and the local community in general.

  • Green space planning at municipal level should be comprehensive, inclusive, systemic and cross-sectoral, involving the local community in the process. Smaller municipalities in particular need support and expertise in this respect, which should be provided in a systematic way at national or regional level.
  • It is important to bear in mind that encouraging spatial conditions for everyday, ordinary activities such as walking and cycling (also as mobility style), various forms of play, dancing, socialising, gardening, etc., are particularly important for an active lifestyle. These do not require special facilities or expensive equipment, but rather a general quality, good accessibility and variety of open space. This applies in particular to green spaces, which also provide contact with nature, which is very important for health and well-being, and conditions for active mobility in local urban environment.
  • The provision of high quality, public green spaces should therefore not be seen as an expense, but as a  long-term investment in the development of society and also economy. This applies not only to urban environments, but also to rural areas, where the spacial conditions for different types of activiries are often very poor.
  • Well-designed green spaces will also improve the long-term resilience and adaptability of cities and communities to health emergencies such as the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as to natural disasters and climate change.
  • Spatial planners are required to have the appropriate expertise (including a landscape architect) to plan and design public open space, green spaces and landscapes, and to have a good understanding of both their benefits and their risks to the health taking into consideration different groups of the population.
  • Adequate and effective planning requires knowledge and consideration of the local environment, spatial context, the needs of the population (diverse groups) and other conditions specific to the local community and space. In order to ensure the improvement of provision with green spaces or their quality, expert spatial analyses should be carried out, which include the current state of open spaces and the provision of green spaces in the city/settlement.
  • In order to ensure that development decisions are effective, special emphasis should on identifying the potentials and analysing problems, involving all relevant departments and actors at municipal and community level. Measures should be properly integrated into spatial planning acts at different levels (regional and local - RPP, OPP, OPN).
  • There is a need to prepare appropriate project - design and built documentation for green spaces and other public open spaces to ensure the quality of construction, including maintenance instructions and the establishment of appropriate long-term management.


  • The importance of green spaces for physical activity and health is crucial argument for promoting the principles of professional, integrated and high-quality green space planning as integral part of spatial planning documents. These themes apply to all aspects of green spaces (environmental, morphological, social, economic), but especially to social ones, ensuring public access to green spaces close to the homes of residents. All types of green spaces including the potential open spaces should be taken into consideration, for example areas in primary uses (forests, agricultural areas etc.) in the planning process. There is also a need to create better links between the urban and surrounding area - the hinterland or countryside, thereby further enhancing opportunities for physical activity. The most appropriate approach to this is green system planning, the green system as expert basis can be prepared on larger or smaller scale, for cities, small settlements or at the level of the whole municipality, depending on the spatial context and needs.
  • It is necessary to prepare appropriate expert planning bases which, in addition to analyses of space, demography and needs, also include an analysis of the existing provision of green spaces and the defined local standards for improvements.
  • Quality design of green spaces for active lifestyles should be based on taking into account the diversity of characteristics and typologies of green spaces, knowledge of their suitability and necessary capacity for different forms of use (including physical activity), and knowledge of the needs, preferences and motivations of the local population.
  • In order to make the space attractive for active use, the action part of the green space plan must not only stress importance of good quality design and public accessibility, but also for its proper maintenance and long-term management. The design of green spaces should also allow non-conflicting co-use by all groups of inhabitants. A very important aspect is the design of multifunctional public facilities, especially where there is little open space available and in smaller towns and settlements.
  • It is necessary to examine the possibilities for adapting the use of green spaces in the cases of special events such as pandemic covid-19 (e.g. whether the use of green spaces is multifunctional or adaptable, whether the area allows use of space at an appropriate distance and whether the capacities of the individual areas are sufficient, whether spatial or temporal separation of uses is necessary and possible, etc.).
Calendar of events

Past events
  • On 28 October 2022, Mag. Ina Šuklje Erjavec participated as an invited lecturer at the international conference Landscape and Health, organised by the Institute for Spatial Development, Ministry of Spatial Planning, Construction and State Property of the Republic of Croatia. At the conference in Zagreb, she presented a paper entitled Planning green areas for quality of life and support for an active lifestyle in Slovenia.

  • On 25 October 2022, the webinar Planning a Healthy City Together! was organised as part of the Active to School and Healthy City programme run by the Institute for Spatial Policies (IPoP), we presented the project Going Out for Health.

  • On 14 October 2022, the Going Out for Health was presented in the Student Forum organised by CIPRA Slovenia, the event took place at the Faculty of Arts in Ljubljana. The event was entitled "A microphone for the climate: knowledge and competences for responding to climate change: biodiversity protection and public health". Mag.  Ina Šuklje Erjavec lectured on Planning green spaces in support of public health.
    For more information, please visit this web page.

  • On 5 October 2022, we organised the last seminar of the Going Out for Health 2 programme. The training seminar took place in Goričko.
  • On 27 September 2022, we were participating in the webinar Let's Plan a Healthy City Together!, organised as part of the Active School and Healthy City programme, run by the Institute for Spatial Policies (IPoP). More information about the seminar can be found in the news
  • Dr. Vita Žlender presented her paper Investigating the association between characteristics of green space and physical activity of young people in Slovenia at this year's ECLAS Conference 2022, Scales of Change. She presented the results of research work, which is thematically related to the Going out for Health programme.
  • "Going Out for Health" was presented at the 11th HEPA Europe Conference "An ecosystem approach to health-enhancing physical activity promotion". 
    31. August - 2. September 2022 in Nice / France.  More >>
  • V juniju 2022 smo v sodelovanju s Partnerstvom za okolje in zdravje izvedli delavnico Kakovost zelenih površin za potrebe mladih. Delavnica je potekala z dijaki dveh razredov BIC Ljubljana, vključevala je delo in pogovore po skupinah - tako v razredu kot na prostem, v okolici šole.
  • Sodelovanje na webinarju koordinatorjev zdravih mest Slovenske mreže zdravih mest v letu 2022: Ina Šuklje Erjavec je 20. aprila 2022 s prispevkom "Urbana narava, zelene površine in zdravje – za občine in mesta pomembna sporočila z webinarja; druge aktualne informacije" nagovorila udeležence in predstavila ključne vsebinske poudarke o pomenu mestnih zelenih površin za zdravje, o zavedanju o tematiki v tujini ter bodočih priložnostih za slovenska mesta.

  • Kot poslušalci smo se udeležili spletnega dogodka: Webinar on Urban Nature, Green Spaces and Health - v ponedeljek, 21. marca 2022. Več informacij o dogodku je na spletni strani WHO/Europe >>  Organizator dogodka je bila Svetovna zdravstvena organizacija (WHO Regional Office for Europe) in Union for the Mediterranean.
  • V okvirju webinarja Priložnosti uporabe zunanjega prostora šol za starejše otroke in mladostnike, ki ga je organiziralo Partnerstvo za okolje in zdravje 9. marca 2022, smo predstavili različne vidike, ki so pomembni za ustvarjanje ustreznih možnosti in krepitev uporabe zunanjega prostora osnovnih in srednjih šol tako v času pouka kot izven njega. Povezava na dogodek >>
  • Prispevek Green space planning for promoting urban health in Sloveniana v okviru webinarja Space and Society - Challenges and Opportunities of Cities in Pandemic, ki ga organizira Oddelek za arhitekturo na Fakulteti za strojništvo in naravoslovje v Sarajevu (v okviru International Burch University).
    Torek, 14. december 2021, online. 
    Program >>
  • Predstavitev prispevka na posvetu Hladna mesta za vroč planet 2021 v okviru Meseca arhitekture 2021 - "Pomen krajinskega načrtovanja pri reševanju sodobne krize". Prispevek z naslovom "Predlog in izvedba zelenega sistema Ljubljane  - podrobnosti prenosa v izvedbo, metodologija, usmeritve in podrobna pravila za zelene površine" je predstavila mag. Ina šuklje Erjavec.
    Torek, 5. oktober 2021   
    Program >>
  • Sodelovanje na delavnici v okviru strokovnega srečanja "Preventiva v luči epidemije Covid-19", ki ga je organiziral NIJZ. V sekciji 6 - Telesna dejavnost je dr. Vita Žlender z UIRS predstavila prispevek "Načrtovanje zelenih površin za spodbujanje telesne dejavnosti za zdravje" in sodelovala v zaključni razpravi s Tjašo Knific in viš. pred. Andreo Backović Juričan z NIJZ.
    Torek, 28. september in četrtek, 30. september 2021 v hibridni obliki - spletna izvedba in na lokaciji v Kranjski Gori.  Program >>

  • Predstavitev dveh prispevkov "Ven za zdravje – vloga zelenih površin v podporo javnemu zdravju" in "Izzivi načrtovanja zunanjih ureditev za daljinske telesne dejavnosti" (mag. Ina Šuklje Erjavec, Jana Kozamernik) na 32. Sedlarjevem srečanju
    Petek, 17. september 2021 na FGG in preko ZOOM aplikacije.   
    Program >>   Več >>   
    Povzetka avtoric >> 
  • Predstavitev posterja z naslovom "Priprava smernic za načrtovanje odprtih zelenih površin kot podpora spodbujanju zdravja v urbanih okoljih s telesno dejavnostjo: izkušnje iz Slovenije
    / Development of evidence-based guidelines for designing green opens spaces to promote urban health through physical activity: Experience from Slovenia" (mag. Ina Šuklje Erjavec, dr. Vita Žlender (predstavitev), Jana Kozamernik) na 17. mednarodni konferenci o zdravju v urbanih okoljih / International Conference on Urban Health (6.-8. junij 2021).
    Torek, 6. julij 2021 preko spleta.  
    Program >>  Povzetek >> 
  • Predstavitev prispevka "Prostorsko načrtovanje, ki spodbuja telesno dejavnost" (mag. Ina Šuklje Erjavec, UIRS) na 3. nacionalni konferenci Ministrstva za zdravje v okviru izvajanja Resolucije o Nacionalnem programu o prehrani in telesni dejavnosti za zdravje 2015-2025 
    26.–27. maj 2021, preko spleta.  
    Program >>
  • Predstavitev prispevka "Razvoj zdravih mest v Evropi / Poudarki z webinarja Heathy Urban Development in Europe – Frameworks and Practices" (Mag. Ina Šuklje Erjavec) na 2. spletnem sestaneku koordinatorjev Slovenske mreže zdravih mest v letu 2021.
    Torek, 25. maja 2021 preko spletne Zoom platforme.

  • Poddaja Ven za zdravje v okviru Spletnega sejema akademske knjige Liber.ac. 
    Torek, 18. maja 2021 ob 18.00 na
    povezavi.   Program 2021 >>
  • Webinar za mlade z naslovom "Vidiki kakovosti zelenih površin za mlade" je organiziral Urbanistični inštitut Republike Slovenije in Inštitut za zdravje in okolje v okviru projekta Partnerstvo za okolje in zdravje in je sofinanciran s strani Ministrstva za zdravje Republike Slovenije.
    Torek, 11. maj 2021 od 14.30 do 16.30, preko spleta.   
    Program >>   Več >>
  • Spletni izobraževalni dogodek za občine in druge zainteresirane: VEN ZA ZDRAVJE -
    O zelenih površinah za spodbujanje aktivnega življenskega sloga. Dogodek je
    organiziran ob Svetovnem dnevu zdravja ter v Mesecu krajinske arhitekture.
    Sreda, 7. april 2021 od 10.00 do 13.30 preko platforme ZOOM.   
    Program >>   Več >>
  • Razprava na temo priročnika DPR "Zeleni sistemi v mestih in naseljih" ter "Ven za zdravje" in z naslovom Uporaba usmeritev in priporočil za kakovostno načrtovanje zelenih površin v okviru priprave prostorskih aktov" (Ina Šuklje Erjavec, Jana Kozamernik, UIRS) v organizaciji ZAPS.
    Četrtek, 4. 03. 2021 prek platforme ZOOM.  
    Več >>
  • Predstavitev prispevka "Vključevanje javnozdravstvenih vsebin za podporo občinam pri načrtovanju zelenih površin za aktiven življenjski slog" (Mag. Ina Šuklje Erjavec, UIRS) na           
    15. kongresu Šport za vse - Izzivi športnih organizacij na področju športne rekreacije, turizma in okolja. 
    Petek, 27. 11. 2020 preko ZOOM platforme.  
    Več >>  /  Objava (str. 68) >>
  • Interaktivna predstavitev "Ven za zdravje – načrtovanje zunanjega prostora mest in naselij za zdrav življenjski slog"  na letni konferenci Zdravih mest.
    Sredo, 18. 11. 2020 preko platforme GoToTraning.  Več >>

  • Predstavitev priročnika Ven za zdravje (mag. Ina Šuklje Erjavec, Jana Kozamernik, UIRS) v okviru izobraževanja ZAPS - Predstavitev priročnikov Državnega prostorskega reda.
    Četrtek, 12. 11. 2020 prek platforme ZOOM.  
    Več >>
  • Predavanje z naslovom "Načrtovanje odprtega prostora za aktivni življenjski slog" za študente urbanizma Fakultete za arhitekturo v okviru predmeta Raziskovanje v arhitekturi in urbanizmu.
    Torek, 28. 10. 2020 preko platforme ZOOM.

  • Predstavitev priročnika Ven za zdravje (Ina Šuklje Erjavec, Jana Kozamernik, UIRS) v okviru Izobraževanja ZAPS - Predstavitev priročnikov Državnega prostorskega reda.
    Sredo, 30. 09. 2020 ob 9.00 prek platforme ZOOM.  
    Več >>
  • Predstavitev priročnika Ven za zdravje (Ina Šuklje Erjavec, Jana Kozamernik, UIRS) v okviru Izobraževanja ZAPS - Predstavitev priročnikov Državnega prostorskega reda.
    Četrtek, 13. 02. 2020 ob 9.00 na ZAPS, Vegova 8, Ljubljana.  
    Več >>
Going out for health

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Basic information
  • Programme/project title: Going Out for Health - Promoting expert guidance on designing green spaces for active lifestyles among local stakeholders
  • Co-funding of programme in the field of nutrition and physical activity for health until 2022, (by the Ministry of Health , call for proposals published on 7 June 2019 in the Ur. l. RS 36/2019).
  • Programme duration: February 2020 - November 2022
  • Contracting Authority: Ministry of Health of Republic of Slovenia
  • Contractor: Urban Planning Institute of the Republic of Slovenia
  • The programme is co-financed by the Ministry of Health of the Republic of Slovenia. It is part of the efforts of "Dober tek Slovenia" (Good run/bon appetit Slovenia) for more exercise and healthier diet.

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