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IAKS launches report on key trends for outdoor sports surfaces

IAKS launches report on key trends for outdoor sports surfaces
March 23, 2024

The International Association for Sports and Leisure Facilities (IAKS) has released a guidance report exploring the changing needs and demands of sport and active recreation, from traditional sports club provided games through to less formal and shorter form games.

IAKS’ Future Trends for Outdoor Surfaces guide explores key issues facing sport and recreation and the continued growth in population, increased demands, changing participation patterns and the impacts on the environmental footprint.

The free to download guide identifies trends that reflect how the industry is embracing future needs, advancing technologies, and evolving community expectations, demonstrating industry leadership around climate change and environmental sustainability.

Compiled by the IAKS Outdoor Sports Surfaces Expert Circle, the guide explains how sport has evolved over the past six decades, driven by the technology now the generation of technology with waterless hockey fields, innovations in football turf fields, polymers made from sugar cane as opposed to petrochemicals and infills that are organic and more durable and the circular economy being a driving force for the industry.

The guide from the Germany-based body explains places significant emphasis on how surfaces are changing to reflect the community’s changing involvement in sport, from traditional sports club provided games such as rugby union, rugby league, hockey and 11-a-side football, to continued adaption of sport, with hockey 5’s, small sides football, rugby 7’s, 3 by 3 basketball among others. All of these adapted sports have encouraged the evolution of the sports surface’s technology, the designs and multi-use of the fields of play, the management and maintenance of the surface.

The trends and structure of the Future Trends for Outdoor Surfaces guide focuses on:

  • Changing society needs new thinking to encourage more people to be active.
  • Climate change and environmental sustainability to protect our planet for future generation.
  • Multi-sport and multi-use to maximise usage of facilities.

Planning, design, procurement, construction and management practices are changing.

Martin Sheppard, IAKS Expert Circle Chair and Managing Director of Melbourne, Australia-based Smart Connection Consultancy comments “the IAKS Expert Circle is committed to championing and advocating for environmentally sustainable, safe and quality sports surfaces that can be used to encourage more people to be active, play, recreate and participate in community and elite sport.

“With recent negative commentary by some parts of the community we all need to be more focused on environmental impacts in the way we design these community facilities so that they are accessible to everyone, designed to meet adaptive sports and recreation needs and can add value back to the community.”

IAKS ANZ will be presenting a webinar on the guide, aimed at installers, operators, planners and suppliers on 30th April.

Australia’s National Sports and Physical Activity Convention (NSC) has partnered with IAKS this year to bring a global narrative to its annual conference, where the Guide will be explored.

Click here to download the Future Trends for Outdoor Surfaces guide.

Click here for more information on the IAKS ANZ webinar in the Australasian Leisure Management industry Calendar.

Click here for more information on the National Sports and Physical Activity Convention in the Australasian Leisure Management industry Calendar.

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