Active Parks

Co-designing a Health trail in Ryelands Park

The Active Parks project aims to bring together local residents, the Friends of Ryelands Park, Lancaster City Council and health organisations to work together to design (‘co-design’) a health trail which meets local needs in Ryelands Park, in Lancaster.

The aim of the project is to develop a ‘health trail’, which offers a new way of motivating and taking physical activity specific to local people in their park.  This may include different levels of physical activity which can be fit into a general walk or dog walking schedule, the use of new technology to link to further information or perhaps the use of augmented reality and games.

The possibilities are numerous and very exciting.   Active Parks will be running a number of ‘co-design’ workshops with local residents to share their experiences of using  the park, to help come up with ideas and with the help of designers from Lancaster University create plans or models of these ideas (prototypes) using creative tools.  One of these ideas will be taken forward to develop a mobile proof-of-concept digital prototype with the aim of augmenting a physical health trail in the park. 

Active Parks will also tap into people’s familiarity with mobile technology in giving citizens a say on how such technology can be creatively used for keeping more active and healthy in their local parks.  

The outcome of this project will be a set of design guidelines and early prototypes, which will be taken forward by the project team and hopefully implemented, subject to further funding.


The first part of the project is supported by the Lancaster University FASS-Enterprise Centre and the second part is supported by by Catalyst, a research project based at Lancaster University and funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council-

Project Team

TseklevesTsekleves Emmanuel Tsekleves Design for Health & Wellbeing, Design for Ageing, Design Interactions, Global Challenge Design, Design Fictions, Playful Design, Digital Design
Helen Ryan Helen Ryan Public Realm Officer
Marcia Smith Marcia Smith Designer/PhD candidate Lancaster University
Andy Darby Andy Darby PhD Candidate Lancaster University
Adrian Gradinar Adrian Gradinar Software Developer/PhD Candidate, Lancaster University

Partners / Funders


TEDx Talk on the role of playfulness in promoting healthier behaviours

TEDx Talk on the role of playfulness in promoting healthier behaviours

proved a great success inspiring many

Emmanuel was invited to give a talk at the thought-inspiring TEDx Invisible Changes event on the 13th of May. The talk focused on the value and opportunities of playfulness for health and well-being. This was followed by several case studies and short...Read full update

Invited talk at the U3A Learn, Laugh, Live event...

Invited talk at the U3A Learn, Laugh, Live event...

...about the importance of play in later life.

Dr Emmanuel Tsekleves presented his work on ageing playfully at the University for the 3rd Age event. The event was focused around Living well in later life. Emmanuel gave an invited talk on his latest work in engaging older people with...Read full update

Urban Design for Promoting Community Public Health

Urban Design for Promoting Community Public Health

Paper presented at the 11th Design & Health World Congress

Emmanuel Tsekleves gave a presentation at the prestigious 11th Design & Health World Congresson the design of urban green spaces for promoting public health. The conference was organised by the International Academy for Design and...Read full update

V&A Keynote talk on Playful Design in Healthcare...

V&A Keynote talk on Playful Design in Healthcare...

... receives a lot of attention during the Sackler conference on Art, Design and New Technology for Health

The keynote speech at the Sackler conference at the V&A museum (Friday 19th June 2015) presented the role of playful design in healthcare. It showcased how game thinking combined with...Read full update

Active Parks Design Report

Active Parks Design Report

One of the key outcomes of the Active Parks project is the set of design guidelines and recommendations presented in this design report.  ...More information

Active Parks presented in two international conferences...

Active Parks presented in two international conferences...

...receiving a lot of attention and positive feedback!

The work under the Active Parks project was recently presented in two international conferences: The Computer-Human Interaction in Play (CHI PLAY) in Toronto, Canada, between the 19th-22nd of October and the Games for...Read full update