Accessible Playgrounds in Urban Neighborhoods: A Legacy Story

March 7, 2017

Accessible Playgrounds in Urban Neighborhoods: A Legacy Story

Nearly two decades ago, Sandra Gordon, former Director of Public Relations for the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS), was looking for ways to educate the public about AAOS members. Research showed that people knew very little about orthopedic surgeons — and when they did think of them, it was as high-tech practitioners. But actually, Gordon said, orthopedic surgeons are high-touch, caring doctors. She said: “They’re the ones who take care of children who break their legs on playgrounds.”

Words Barbara Palmer, senior editor and director of digital content for PCMA Convene

AAOS already was working on a public-education campaign about playground safety. So, Gordon thought, why not invite attendees at the AAOS Annual Meeting — the largest in the world for orthopedic medical professionals — to build a model playground that is safe and wheelchair-accessible in the meeting destination? The association then would leave the playground behind as a permanent gift to the host city, as well as a lasting illustration of what AAOS members care about.

Since 2000, AAOS has built 17 playgrounds in cities ranging from San Francisco to Washington, D.C. The association’s latest creation — constructed, like all the others, in one day — was at Central Avenue Elementary School in Kissimmee, Florida, near Orlando. (The project was designed with the help of local children, who drew crayon pictures of their ideas of a dream playground.) The AAOS 2016 Annual Meeting was held at Orlando’s Orange County Convention Center.

The “Safe and Accessible Playground Build” program has been a success from the start, Gordon said, in large part because it tracks so closely with AAOS members’ interests. Many of the medical professionals’ patients are wheelchair-bound or have other disabilities that make the average playground they encounter unusable, so each project emphasizes accessibility as well as safety. “Our members went crazy over it,” Gordon said. “Everybody wants to be involved.” And in fact, every year the event draws more willing volunteers than AAOS can handle — more than 200 surgeons, nurses, industry partners, exhibitors, and local community members came together during the six-hour-long project in Kissimmee.

Read the rest of Barbara’s story in Boardroom Launch Issue.

February 23, 2017

World Obesity Federation recognises Vancouver Convention Centre for healthy food

The World Obesity Federation has accredited the Vancouver Convention Centre as a Healthy Venue.

The federation’s Healthy Venue Award recognises venues worldwide who support their visitors and staff in making healthier choices in terms of nutrition and well-being. One of the key factors that lead to the Healthy Venue recognition was everything from dressings and stocks to bread and pastries being made in house and the kitchens offering healthy menu items that feature reduced fat, sugar and sodium.

The Healthy Venues Award is part of World Obesity’s Action Initiative that aims to stimulate and support practical actions that will help people achieve and maintain a healthy weight and reverse the global obesity crisis. The award focuses on steps that venues can take to support healthy eating and to encourage more activity. The venue worked in partnership with the World Obesity Federation for its international congress, looking holistically at the attendee experience, from healthy snacks in vending machines through to encouraging people to use the stairs rather than lifts.

Chris Trimmer, Executive Director of the World Obesity Federation, says: “The Healthy Venues Award was conceived to help combat the unhealthiness of meetings and conferences and the impact these can have on people’s lives.

“We chose to hold our International Congress on Obesity at the Vancouver Convention Centre because of the efforts they have made in this area. They were able to offer us and our delegates a healthy meeting, with hydration stations, a wonderful healthy menu, standing space at the back of session rooms, not to mention the wonderful location on Vancouver seawall for long lunchtime strolls!”

January 20, 2017

Sydney: The long-term impact of international conferences

International conferences and symposia do more than boost tourism and fuel immediate economic gain for the destination cities, they are drivers for long term-rewards in global innovation, collaboration and sector development. Business Events Sydney (BESydney) is leading industry research into how conferences are a catalyst for thriving economies and an enabler for social change.

Words Fiona Pearce

Since 2010, one of Australia’s leading convention bureaus, BESydney has partnered with the University of Technology Sydney (UTS) to produce a series of leading reports that identify the social legacies of business events. Their findings reveal a strong correlation between face-to-face collaboration and the growth of the global ‘knowledge economy’ – vital to government, associations and communities alike.

The first industry study released by BESydney in 2011, Beyond Tourism Benefits: measuring the social legacies of business events documented the broad and long-lasting legacies of five international congresses held in Sydney, Australia between 2009 and 2011.

The study surveyed 1,090 attendees including delegates, sponsors, exhibitors and members of the organising committee. Over 90 per cent of respondents reported the congresses facilitated the sharing of new knowledge, ideas, techniques, materials, and technologies by providing local educators, practitioners and researchers with access to a network of international colleagues. This networking gave delegates an avenue for new business and research collaborations, which in turn generate innovation, ideas and research agendas for many years to come.

“Our aim is not only to ensure business tourism, but also to ensure significant value is delivered to the State, and the Nation, in areas such as attraction of global talent, opportunities for international trade and investment, and international collaboration,” says BESydney CEO, Lyn Lewis-Smith.

New research by BESydney further demonstrates that business events, including international conferences and symposia, offer delegates unrestricted exposure to innovative ideas and opportunities to develop new knowledge and skills. Part of the Beyond Tourism Benefits series, this recent study with UTS – Conferences: catalysts for thriving economies – also supported that these face-to-face networking opportunities can spark global collaboration, which in turn can progress into new products and services.

“Our research released in September, Conferences: Catalysts for thriving economies, tells us the impact of holding business events in a city; for example we know that 76 per cent of attendees have stated that conferences have supported the development of global research and collaboration; while 83 per cent have said that conferences have enabled the local sector to showcase its expertise to a global audience,” says Ms Lewis-Smith.

“Conferences: catalysts for thriving economies evaluates the longer-term impacts that are enjoyed by industries, governments and communities when a business event is held,” adds Ms Lewis-Smith. “Our series of studies confirms the immense value that is generated from multiple face-to-face interactions – interactions in which delegates co-create value together.

“Business events mobilise exchanges and collaborations that form the foundation of innovation, economic development and societal change – all catalysts for a thriving economy and prosperous community,” she says.

The report concludes that there are four main dimensions to the legacy of business events, and each dimension comprises specific elements that contribute the real value of business events to communities: innovation, collaboration, sector development and the attraction of global talent.

More info on www.businesseventssydney.com.au

Read the rest of Sydney’s story in Boardroom Launch Issue – out in March.