UpMove identifies ways in which the Vancouver Board of Parks & Recreation can improve its Leisure Access Program. To increase participation rates, we recommended creating an entirely subsidized program, increasing availability (time slots and days) of programs and activities, and actively engaging with the community to spread information and build trust with the community for accumulating social capital.






The Economics of Sustainable Development: Communities, Markets and Technology (ECON 364A)


  • Catherine Douglas

City of Vancouver:

  • Paul Czene
  • Peter Marriott

Student Team:

  • Sheila Prawirasoetisna
  • Emma Wong
  • Anoushka Todd


  • VanPlay (Service Master Plan); Healthy City Strategy


Spring 2023


The end of the Covid19 pandemic has left behind a B.C community increasingly less inclined to take part in physical activity. 46% of Vancouver’s population is inactive today, and the concentration of the most inactive people lie in the lowest-income groups. There are a variety of reasons for this tendency, including recreational access costs, low self-esteem and uncertainty of navigation of a gym, lack of time or motivation, transport restrictions and lack of information surrounding available programs and general benefits to exercise incorporation in our lives.

The Vancouver Board of Parks & Recreation introduced the Leisure Access Program (LAP) to give Vancouver residents access to basic recreation programs. To qualify for LAP, individuals must show proof of their low-income status. Our community partners are concerned that the application process may pose an additional barrier to utilizing LAP.

In our research, we identified four main barriers that prevent low-income individuals from accessing recreation and physical activity: economic accessibility, informational accessibility, geographic accessibility, and social capital.

Our findings suggest that interventions should reach beyond the realm of economic accessibility – making the pass cheaper – and should address other barriers preventing individuals, especially those who identify as low-income, from accessing recreation centers and physical activity. We make the following recommendations: the creation of an entirely subsidized program, through the acquisition of grants, such that self-reporting is unnecessary; increase the availability of programs and activities; building trust between the facility staff and the community to accumulate social capital; actively spread information about interventions, such as the LAP, through an increased social media presence and/or an outreach coordinator.

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