We sat down with Director Dion Gosling to talk about his recent trip to Sydney to attend the National Sports Convention, which had a focus this year on innovation.
Dion commented that it was a great two days full of inspiration and learnings. Although Dion felt that New Zealand was further ahead with the multi-sports model; he suggests that there are many new technologies New Zealand could benefit from on the horizon.
We asked Dion to share the top three trends emerging within sports and recreation.
1. Roof top sports have landed
Our first trend is a pretty exciting one. Dion remarks that there is growing interest in integrating sports facilities and recreation spaces into the empty rooftops of our cities.
Rooftops are ‘on trend’ per se, with resourceful visions of community gardens, bars and even bee sanctuaries gracing our cities rooftops. A great example is the New York High line, which revitalised an old railway line into an urban park. The inclusion of sport amongst the rooftops is an exciting addition.
Here in New Zealand our Nelson Street Project explored just this. We proposed a new mixed-use development on Nelson Street in the CDB that included a rooftop basketball court. The feasibility study sought to maximise the development potential for the site and in doing so we used our knowledge of community, sports and recreation facilities to propose a new sustainable model. The model substitutes the space usually allocated for commercial enterprises such as food courts or offices and proposes indoor and rooftop sports facilities that cater to the increasing needs of inner city residents to participate actively, but also socially.
2. Technology to light up the stage
Technology is always in the spotlight. At the conference Dion mentioned that this was no different. Advances in lighting technology will be on the horizon with new and electrifying developments being implemented currently in Australia.
In other areas technology is looking to enhance the fan experience, questioning how technology will go beyond the ‘big screen’ and engage spectators further. Technology is seeking to personalise the experience for each of the 30,000 fans watching the game, creating connections and providing an “exceptional’ fan experience. Technology, wifi and smart phones will all facilitate this with multiple points of engagement, offering fans insight, discounts and the ability to share and connect their thoughts, feelings or frustrations with that game as it runs live. Venues in this sense need to keep up. The question then become how to we connect this back to sport at a community level?
“ Consolidating the three pillars of fan, team, and venue paves the way for a single view of the entire sports enterprise that is critical to staying ahead of the game”
Hybrid turfs are here… quiet literally for Auckland with Nixon Park in Kingsland currently under redevelopment to include a Hybrid turf.
A hybrid turf is the integration of an artificial turf and a natural field, offering the benefits of both. Player feed back has identified that artificial turf surfaces can feel harder than natural fields. Natural fields on the other hand take a lot of care and maintenance. By integrating the two types an optimal level is achieved.
Currently Hybrid turfs are used at a higher stadia level but Dion suggests that the key will be how they are migrated into community projects.