Residents enjoy exercising at their doorstep
By Daria Fominykh
The vibrant atmosphere of Hangzhou Asian Games has ignited a nationwide enthusiasm for workouts. To provide accessible and convenient playgrounds, the Hangzhou Asian Games venues are open to the public and miscellaneous sports venues are dug out from the previously ignored corner spaces.
Such sports venues are the public sports facilities installed in a space-efficient manner in various places, such as communities, lawns in parks, under-bridge spaces, rooftops, etc. They serve as community hubs for public sports and activities, making it easier for doing exercises. With these facilities across the city, it takes less than 10 minutes to find a perfect workout spot.
We visited several such sports venues for this report. Among others, we have been to the Hangzhou Basketball Park, Genshan Canal No. 7 Court, and Kuobanqiao Playground.
Hangzhou Basketball Park:
available for 11 games at once
The Hangzhou Basketball Park has been transformed from a relatively poor space under an elevated bridge on Wenhui subdistrict, Gongshu district to the largest public sports park built under a bridge in the crowded downtown area, covering an area of 20,862.4 square meters.
There are 11 playgrounds and courts in this park, ranging from basketball and tennis to football and woodball. Additionally, it features a roller-skating area and a running track, catering to a diverse audience, including children and the elderly. The project successfully addressed the need for large-scale public sports and fitness facilities within a 1.5-kilometer radius, benefiting 18,400 families upon completion.
In our interview, Pan Yun, Director of the Wenhui subdistrict Public Service Office, said, "the park has an average daily visit of around 700 to 800 people. In evenings, it is particularly busy with many people living nearby coming here for a walk or a ball game."
Xiao Jiang, who lives near Nongdu City in Gongshu district, shared his experience of playing basketball in the park: "I am zealous for sports and I love ball games. I used to take the metro to the sports center. With this new facility a few minutes' walk from my place, I can have basketball games every week."
Genshan Canal No. 7 Court:
open with lovely facilities & price
Genshan Canal No. 7 Court, another noteworthy street sports venue, used to be an old and run-down football field. With several communities nearby and a large population, there were limited sports facilities in the area.
Now, a total territory of 1,118 square meters of the previously abandoned space is utilized as brand-new basketball courts, fitness corner, table tennis courts, and so on. What sets this venue apart is its smart management. The stadium is equipped with intelligent lighting, access control, environmental sensors, and smart vending machines, all operated with cutting-edge technologies. The operation of the stadium follows a low-cost, nearly free policy to benefit the public, encouraging people to come.
Currently, the stadium adopts a low-cost and even free operation--free admission to the public before 5:00 PM and a charge of 15 yuan per entry after that. Monthly passes are available at 49 yuan, averaging less than two yuan per day.
good for all ages
Kuobanqiao Playground, located on the east side of Shenban Road along Banshan Street, is installed with a gate ball court, a badminton court, two table tennis courts, a jogging track, slides, a sandbox, fitness equipment, and so on.
Considering the age structure of residents in the surrounding communities and the proximity of residential buildings to the playground, standard gate ball courts, jogging tracks, and fitness equipment are set up for the elderly. We interviewed a senior citizen there who told us that he lives close by and comes for exercises every day. According to him, it is crowded when the weather is good.
For the younger people, badminton courts and ping-pong tables are installed. Additionally, as a haven for children, the playground features interactive gymnastics screens, climbing sandboxes, and a series of entertaining projects. It's indeed a small yet comprehensive and beautiful public fitness venue to the residents from the surrounding communities.
Anyway, the miscellaneous sports facilities made fitness more accessible and inclusive. From the vast expanse of the Hangzhou Basketball Park to the tech-savvy Genshan Canal No. 7 Court and the thoughtfully designed Kuobanqiao Playground, these initiatives exemplify a commitment to creating vibrant and open spaces for physical activities.
These small but accessible sports facilities are more than being leisure spaces. They symbolize a cultural shift towards prioritizing sports, community engagement, and the creation of an inclusive urban environment sparked by Hangzhou Asian Games.