UM researchers urge Maastricht City Council to preserve playgrounds

A plan to cut 125 of the 200 playgrounds in Maastricht neighbourhoods is not only met with objections from residents. In an opinion article published in the regional daily De Limburger on Wednesday 17 March, three UM researchers stress the importance of such places for children’s health and future. They refer to a project titled 'The Healthy Primary School of the Future', which has shown that sufficient exercise and healthy eating are crucial in preventing obesity in children. According to the scientists, playgrounds are part of an environment design that promotes healthy choices.

Earlier this week, the Maastricht City Council heard the views of residents in a 'city consultation round' about the planned scrapping of 125 playgrounds. There is a deficit of 27 million and the scrapped playgrounds will yield two hundred thousand euros. "No more than a drop in the ocean", say Onno van Schayck, Jesse Jansen and Robert Willems, respectively professor, associate professor and researcher at the UM Faculty of Health, Medicine and Life Sciences. They call the plan 'an example of inefficient short-term policy'. The scientists fear that children whose parents do not have the money for sports clubs will be put at a disadvantage because they will find less room to exercise.

A number of organisations that signed the Maastricht Sports Agreement, including UM SPORT, have offered the municipality to draw up an alternative plan by 1 January 2022. They say their proposal will save two hundred thousand euros, but at the same time will make better use of all the playgrounds in the city.

More about the Healthy Primary School of the Future project   (Dutch only) and the recently published online talkshow.

Also read

  • Lee Bouwman, a vascular surgeon, works as a researcher on the implementation of new techniques in healthcare. As professor by special appointment of Clinical Engineering at the Faculty of Science and Engineering (FSE) and the Zuyderland Medical Centre, he seeks collaboration between engineers and...

  • In this inaugural lecture, Lars van Vliet addressed the question of how legal proceedings surrounding Nazi looted art should be shaped in a balanced way to ensure a fair trial. 

  • “Wie als slachtoffer zijn recht zoekt, verdwaalt gemakkelijk in juristerij en een wereld waarin veel onbestraft blijft”, aldus Steven van de Put, promovendus aan de universiteit Maastricht. “Dit moet én kan anders. Het kan niet zo zijn dat individuen of groepen van individuen die iets ergs is...