AMELIA’s PILOT ACTION in Málaga’s city centre

Malaga FIT took place on the 4th of June in the Paseo del Parque, the most important botanical park that crosses the main Alameda Avenue in Malaga. We talk to the organisers to know more about the event.

  • Who were the organisers and co-organisers involved in the pilot action?

 KEAN Actividades Alternativas

Actividades Alternativas is a non-profit association born out of the need to promote values related to health and citizen welfare, as well as animal and environmental good practices.At the moment, the objectives of Alternative Activities are focusing on human rights, gender equality, environmental care, animal protection adaptation of urban areas for citizen health, inclusion, wellbeing and social development.

Forus foundation

They contribute to improving people’s quality of life through sport, health and education, acting under the principles of solidarity and equity, valuing diversity, and promoting respect and social inclusion of people. Forus is the foundation associated with the international chain of sports centres FORUS, who have provided for Málaga FIT all the activities carried out in the Eduardo Ocón auditorium, including body combat, body attack, zumba and pilates.

 Málaga City Council

Malaga is a great city that has been transformed through the efforts of everyone, through participation, work and dialogue, to position itself as an avant-garde city, a great city of knowledge and a great city of culture, where the objectives of environmental sustainability and social inclusion are permanent. Malaga City Council has made the Paseo del Parque and the Eduardo Ocón Auditorium available for the activity.

  • What are the general ideas and concepts standing behind your planned pilot actions?

 In accordance with the aims of the project AMELIA, it was decided to use a space that is not often used for this type of event and to develop activities that would have the least possible impact on the place, especially on the plants and monuments that are located there. The ‘Paseo del Parque’ was the perfect location to fulfill the three basic principles of the New European Bauhaus:

*Beautiful: A space that is emblematic of the beauty of the city of Malaga and is visited by a multitude of tourists as well as locals.

The origin of the Paseo del Parque Malaga dates back to 1896, when the then president of the Council of Ministers Antonio Cánovas del Castillo decided to create and promote a project to extend the port area and create the modern structure that the park has preserved to the present day. This beautiful promenade of the Malaga park has a truly fabulous sculptural decoration, since in addition to the amazing diversity of flora that it possesses, its romantic and ancient style design shows the public incredible hidden places.

 

Since the impact on the park should be minimal, it was decided that the efforts to create a magical and memorable activity should be the responsibility of the trainers and staff, which is why they received acting training to recreate characters from each of the phases of the story and develop a work of entertainment that would motivate the participants to do physical activities while having fun and learning about the history of the city. Proximity was also important, making the participants the protagonists of the activity at all times and reminding all participants, but especially the children, how much fun it is to exercise.

*Sustainable: The aim was to adapt as much as possible to the qualities of the park in order to create a magical atmosphere that would blend in with the park, which is why we decided to use the history of the city as the main topic for the children’s activities and the auditorium as a stage for activities that could be done with fitness instructors.  Each space for each of the activities of the so-called ‘FIT Escape Room outdoors’ was chosen carefully and divided into the 7 main stages of the history of the city. The plants, the paths, the monuments, the birds, the sunlight through the trees…everything contributed to an almost magical atmosphere. The simplicity of the materials contributed to an eco-friendly approach. All materials used are reusable, non-installable and do not harm the flora, fauna or architecture of the park.

*Inclusive: The main goal for Actividades Alternativas was to make the event as inclusive as possible, for this purpose the assigned day was 4th of June 2023, a Sunday, so that most families/citizens could attend. The venue was carefully picked for being easily accessible for people from different social strata due to the ease of access even on foot from all points of the periphery as well as by train from other localities. Another great quality of this park is the fantastic accessibility for people with reduced mobility and the fact that the open spaces not only could be easily adapted for physical-sport activities purposes but other citizens and visitors could still make use of the park and walk around freely without interrupting the activities.

In order to make the recreational-sports experience fun and memorable for all attendees, volunteers and workers received prior training and a series of instructions. Among the instructions received, it was clearly explained how to use an inclusive approach towards all participants and adapt the language and activities to all types of audiences, including the treatment of the historical facts for people of different nationalities. Avoiding any discrimination based on age, gender, origin, or physical and functional diversity. Thus, the volunteers and staff were adapting on the fly and facilitating an inclusive environment throughout the event. Our volunteers and staff included people of diverse sexual orientations, backgrounds, genders and ages. Another way to promote inclusivity and support good causes through the event was to invite other associations such as the PRODICCO foundation. The PRODICCO foundation works to give a better quality of life to people with physical and mental disabilities, many of them in a situation of social marginalisation or abandonment.

 

  • What activities were implemented?

Body attack, zumba, pilates and body combat

The activities took place in the Eduardo Ocón auditorium (open air) and access was completely free of charge with room for more than 200 people. An average of one or two trainers per lesson, equipped with microphones, carried out each activity at one-hour intervals, encouraging passers-by to practice the activity and even go on stage with them. A specialised company took care of the music and sound system, making sure that the music and the voices could be heard both inside the stage and outside.

 

FIT Escape Room

This activity designed for families is a game composed by  a  series of 7 challenges, associated with all the periods of the history of Málaga, as follows:

Activity 1. Prehistoric times

 

Historical data

Several findings have been found that confirm the existence of prehistoric settlements in different parts of the province.

Such as the paintings found in the Nerja Caves, 42,000 years old. Or also the cave paintings of the Cueva de la Pileta and the Cueva del Tesoro. It is also worth mentioning the Dolmens of Antequera and the pottery found in the municipality of Nerja.

Name: Dodge the Predators

Materials: A long pool stick to pretend it’s a ‘snake’ , various mats.

Development: The instructor spins around with the ‘snake’ at ground level. The participants of the team have to enter the snake circle one by one and jump together. From the moment they are all inside, you can start counting, the ‘snake’ will go faster and faster to increase the difficulty. The team that stays the longest wins.

 

Activity 2. Phoenicians: Malacca

 

Historical data

It was around 800 B.C., 2,800 years ago, when the Phoenicians founded the city of Malacca. And they did it in the place where previously there was a Bastulus settlement. The Phoenicians began to trade with the small Bastetan settlements in the area.

Thus, the city of Malaka became a dynamic commercial center. This was largely due to the good conditions for docking in its natural port, at the foot of Mount Gibralfaro and the large amount of silver and copper deposits in the region.

Materials: Mats, two fishing rods with magnet, two trays. About 6 fish for each team (12 in total) + cones to establish the limits.

Development: Relays. The first one sits on the towel with his feet on the edge of the mat and without resting their arms they must move to the other end, take the rod and without moving from the towel catch one of the fish, leave the rod and take the fish in his hand to the ‘garum’ jar that is in the same place from where they start. Then another person comes up and does exactly the same thing until everyone has managed to catch all the fish in their team’s jar. The one who finishes in the shortest time wins.

Safety measures: delimit the area with cones.

 

Activity 3. Greeks

 

Historical data

Around 600 B.C. a Greek colony, Mainake, appeared in the easternmost regions of the province of Malaga. This would disappear a few years later, after the Battle of Alalia, which took place in 535 BC.

Name: Discus throwing(Olimpics)

Materials: Cones, hoops that fit in the cones.

Development: The test consists of shooting hoops into cones that form the symbol of the Olympics. The whole team is placed in a line and each one tries to make a basket in their hoop. The team that makes all the hoops wins. There will be one mark for adults, one for children between 12 and 8 and one for children under 7 years old.

Safety measures: Make sure the children get back to the end of the line before the next one shoots.

 

Activity 4: Punic Wars

 

Historical data

The second half of the 6th century is the time of transition between Phoenicians and Punics. It was at this time when the Phoenicians began to abandon the coastal settlements they had inhabited years before.

The Carthaginians (Punics) created a commercial empire in which the southern coast of Spain played an important role. On the other hand, the Punics wanted to prevent the Greeks from competing with them at all costs. This, derived in a warlike confrontation, whose most significant fact was the naval Battle of Alalia (535), carried out near Corsica.

Name: Take away the soldier’s sword…

Materials: A handkerchief for each person and strips of rubber band in the shape of a sword tied together.

Development: The objective of the game is to take away all the swords of the opposing team. In case the number of participants of one team is greater, one or two members of the other team may carry 2 (one on each side of the hip).

Safety measures: Establish a safe area with cones, devoid of possible dangers. Pushing or any kind of aggression is strictly forbidden and will result in expulsion.

 

Activity 5. Rome

 

Historical data

By 214 B.C., there is already a strong presence of Roman armies in Andalusian territories. From this date, the region of Mediterranean Andalusia will begin to receive the influences of Rome.

In 206 B.C., the Romans began to conquer Andalusia, starting with the province of Jaen, until they reached the heart of the Guadalquivir. In the same year, the last stronghold of the Punics in Spain (the city of Cadiz), was surrendered to the Romans.

As in this case, the Punic colonies in the area passed to Roman power without any resistance.

The newcomers unified the coastal colonies with those of the interior, under the sole Roman power. Many Italics, attracted by the economic incentives and the good maritime and land communications, settled in the province of Malaga.

In the year 205 B.C., the lands of the region of Malacca were integrated into what was known as Hispania Ulterior. From then until the fall of the Roman Republic, the province of Malaga lived in relative peace, except for a few minor rebellions and revolts.

In the year 81, Rome promulgated the Lex Flavia malacitana, which gave Malaka the legal system of a Roman city. From then on, Malacca experienced a period of wealth and prosperity.

Materials: 2 felt targets that will be joined with strips to form a target costume + Velcro balls of two different colors.

Development: A staff member is dressed with a target and the members of the opposing team have to throw very light plastic balls with Velcro, each team will have a color of balls and at the end of the game will count how many balls each team has managed to hit.

Safety measures: Although the balls cannot do any harm, the staff member will use a helmet.

 

Activity 6. Byzantines and Visigoths

 

Historical Data

After the decline of the Roman Empire, around the year 402 A.D., the province of Malaga was plundered.

The Roman Empire finally fell in the year 476 AD, thus beginning a period of instability in our lands. Numerous cities fall and are destroyed.

It is in this period of decadence when the Germanic peoples devastate the coasts of Malaga, around the year 411.

Byzantines and Visigoths.

With the intention of rebuilding the Roman Empire, in the year 552 the Byzantine emperor Justinian I conquers, among other territories, the city of Malacca.

But the Byzantine presence did not last long, for in 615, the city was sacked and conquered again by the Visigoths. At this time the population was seriously depleted and its commercial activity was totally ruined.

Name: Chariot races.

Materials: Two jumping balls for adults and two for children.

Development: Around a traffic circle in the park (preferably a large one) are placed in a row of each team and each of the members goes out and makes a lap mounted on the bouncing balls (see photo), if a team has more members than the other then the one with fewer members must repeat as many laps as fewer members. The first one to finish all the laps wins.

Safety measures: Staff member must follow the children along the circuit to avoid accidents.

 

Activity 7. Al-Andalus and the Kingdom of Castile

 

Historical data

At the beginning of the 8th century, the fall of the Gothic monarchy began. In the middle of this same century, the Muslims penetrated the Iberian Peninsula from the coasts of North Africa.

After the Arab conquest, the city became part of the Muslim region of Al-Andalus, known as Mālaqa. We entered a period of peace and prosperity, where Malaga became an expanding city.

In the year 1487, and after a long siege, the powerful army managed to take the city of Malaga. This was one of the longest sieges of the Reconquest of the Catholic Monarchs. After it, the population was punished to slavery or death penalty.

The conquest of the city and the surrounding villages that today make up the province of Malaga, was a very hard and definitive blow to the Nasrid kingdom of Granada, which thus lost its main sea gate.

From PERSIA came board games, which were introduced in Spain through Al-Andalus. Later, after the incorporation of Malaga to the kingdom of Castile, 3 in line, formerly called Alquerque, became popular.

Name: Extreme tic-tac-toe

Materials: 14 ‘platforms’ or squares of any kind (cork, rubber) + balls for ball pool + We create a board with canvas and adhesive tape + beanbags + Chalk to mark on the floor the lines of each test.

Development: The two teams are placed side by side in a row and are given as many platforms as there are team members plus a platform that will be the one that has to go. Each one gets on their platform and the last one holds the extra platform to pass it one by one to the first one so that everyone can move forward. When the first one reaches the line marked on the floor, they put the bottle on their head and must move to the ball pool on the other side, jump into the pool and get one of his team’s beanbags that is hidden in the pool. Then with that token they place it on the board to try to make 3 in a row. The first team to make three in a row wins.

Safety measures: The rows will be placed with enough distance between each other, and depending on size and age in order to avoid accidents and mismatches in the difficulty.

 

  • What were the methods and instruments used for accomplishing your goals and tasks?

Malaga FIT had a complex planning process that lasted approximately 6 months. The first step was to find a place that was suitable for the implementation of physical-sports activities and had never been considered suitable for this purpose. The botanical park called ‘Paseo del Parque’ was perfect as a venue, as it is right in the city centre and easily accessible from anywhere in the city and even the province by public transport. It was also a place with very good accessibility for people with reduced mobility and its large spaces could be used for sports and leisure activities, and we could also count on the Eduardo Ocón auditorium for fitness/dance activities. Once Actividades Alternativas decided that this was the right place, the organisers got in touch with the city council of Malaga, both with the area of the city council that registers the permits for events in public spaces and with the people who manage the Eduardo Ocón auditorium. They offered a series of available dates and then the planning of the activities started.

It was important that the activities were as inclusive as possible and that they were adapted to the needs of the city and the characteristics of the park, which is why, with the help of a company of expert engineers, the corresponding measurements were taken and the activities were located in space. Here is the map with the corresponding location of each of the activities

 

  • What were the main results and outcomes of the pilot action?

One of the main positive impacts was to change the views of the municipality in terms of usage of the space. The town hall was hesitant to allow such activities as the park is considered a protected heritage site of the city of Malaga. The activities had no detrimental impact on the park, as no monument, plants or fauna were interfered with. But it did prove to have a positive impact, giving use and renovating areas of the park that are usually used for gatherings of young people who use the space to drink alcoholic beverages. All areas that were full of bottles and rubbish were cleaned beforehand, including the auditorium, and the space was rehabilitated as a safe place for people of all ages. As well as for tourists who often see such unpleasant scenes.

Another positive impact was in terms of diversity. It proved that it is possible to make an outdoor physical activity event attractive to all ages. It was also exclusive since people of different ethnicities and cultures participated, even many who did not speak Spanish or in some cases not even English, despite the language barrier, they had a great time and were able to participate in all the activities without any problem. Also people with handicaps were able to participate by adapting the activities thanks to the professional skills of the staff and volunteers. This is why we determined that human efforts are more important than material efforts, and that the selection of personnel and volunteers is extremely important in these type of events