As a principal with SFS Architecture, Newman is seeing communities move quickly to facilitate and address needs beyond the scope of traditional public safety, roads and infrastructure. They are being asked to play a key role in the development of a wide range of fitness education as well as recreational and social programs for citizens.
Driving the demand is a higher level of expectations from individuals and families who want to see communities create wellness and recreation programs along with providing indoor and outdoor facilities where these programs can occur. Improved walkability in trails, safe biking, more open green space and usable park land are all on the agenda.
Newman said his firm is being asked to help transform many underutilized spaces so they can be made available for community recreation, parks, aquatics and wellness facilities. As architects and planners, SFS Architecture is in a unique position to shape communities as places for healthy living.
A major factor behind the trend is increased awareness about the benefits of healthy lifestyles. Rapidly increasing health care costs have made healthy living as a preventative measure a priority. Newman also pointed to the growing senior segment. They are staying active and healthy much longer than previous generations.
Also on the rise is sports. Leagues from youth and adult to instructional, recreational and highly competitive are driving the need for more sports fields and court facilities.
Another trend is large open field house facilities that meet a wide range of sports needs in flexible and creative ways such as indoor turf areas and various types of indoor court surfaces that can be configured in many different ways to play basketball, volleyball, tennis and soccer.