Influence of neighbourhood and sport facilities on sport participation in an urban area

Introduction: Considerable attention is paid in research on the sociology of sport to the determinants for inclusion and exclusion in the sport system, especially based upon the social background of an individual. In this paper the focus is not only on an individual’s social background but as well on the social environment and the availability of sport facilities.

Methods: We conducted secondary bivariate and multivariate analysis on the Sport Participation Survey 2006 of a large city in The Netherlands and added distance variables containing the distance in meters for each respondent to the closest sport facility of each different type of facility.

Results: The sport participation of the children appeared to be socially stratified and in line with national results. The social status of the neighbourhood and the sport participation of the parents influenced the chances of a child to participate in sport. However, no evidence was found for an influence of distance to sport facilities on sport participation or for fewer possibilities to participate in sport within low status neighbourhoods. More in depth research on the preferences with regard to sport facilities in low status neighbourhoods is necessary to find ways to enable sport for all.

Keywords: sport participation, neighbourhood, social mixing, sport facilities, urban environment