Open Streets Day 2019 in numbers


The message of Open Streets Day was simple: urban space can be used for physical activity, play and culture – not just traffic. Coinciding with the Car-Free Day on 22 September 2019, the pilot edition invited local communities to take advantage of the existing road closures and activate the streets as you can see on the picture from an event in Budapest.

Approximately 40 000 people in 104 cities and 31 countries had a chance to enjoy the urban areas transformed by 172 Open Streets Day events. The most active countries leading the Open Streets movement were Turkey, Spain, Croatia and Slovenia.

172 diverse events

The Open Streets Day events wouldn’t have been so impressive without the help of our national coordinators engaging around a thousand volunteers. A lot of the activities were spot-on when it came to combining the aspects of sport, culture, community-building and health. Some of the most creative examples were the following:

  1. White Nights in Greece and Turkey, delivered by Atina Kolektif.
    Night-time walks aimed to promote the safety and freedom for women. Activities such as singing, poetry, and discussions on being a woman took place during the walks.
  2. Multiple cycling tours around Turkey, delivered by Envercevko.
    The tours created a fun, activity-filled experience for participants, and at the same time sent a message to the authorities, showing the increasing demand for cycling paths.
  3. Flagship event at the Security and Prevention Fair in Croatia, delivered by Institute of Public Health County of Međimurje.
    The volunteers made sure the event was accessible for all. Aside from the regular sport activities, there was darts for the blind and visually impaired people and exercise for the elderly.
  4. Art and candle workshops in Bulgaria, delivered by Art Center Alehandro and Candles of Love.
    The residents and visitors of Plovdiv experienced reggaeton lessons, hip hop, Zumba and chair massage. They also had a chance to learn how to make and design candles.
  5. Suceava fortress marathon in Romania, delivered by AJSPT Suceava.
    A charity running event to supported Save the Children Organization Suceava by equipping maternities with life-support equipment for children born prematurely.
  6. Burdur Lake Festival in Turkey, delivered by the Burdur Municipality.
    The event featured photography exhibitions, yoga activities, judo tournaments and a concert.
  7. Outdoor drawing competition in Austria, delivered by Climate Alliance Austria.
    With an emphasis on reimagining the use of public space, the kids were invited to colour the asphalt.

Over 60 million people reached online

The Open Streets Day was mentioned on social media over a thousand times, including 117 editorial mentions. The estimated overall reach was over 60 million users from 43 countries, with the highest rate of exposure understandably registered in September, when the event took place. Twitter and Facebook were the most popular channels to share the news. he majority of coverage came from Turkish and Croatian outlets, with a significant volume also in Spain, Bulgaria and Poland.

ISCA’s owned social media reach was 75 000 people in September. An official 7-video playlist to promote the Open Streets Day generated over 45 000 views on Facebook. Check it out if you haven’t yet!

Organisers’ impressions

35 out of 37 national coordinators rated ISCA’s assistance in organising the OSD events either 5/5 or 4/5. The merchandise received overwhelmingly positive feedback on practicality and design. This year the promotional materials included bike seat covers, chalk, rain ponchos, beach balls, tennis rackets and more. It was suggested to increase the variety even further for future editions of the campaign.

Some of the obstacles faced by the organisers were the weather, other events taking place in the city that weekend, administrative restrictions and coordination with other stakeholders, but it was nevertheless a successful first edition paving way for the future.

The national coordinators expressed a high level of interest in organising an Open Streets Day again. As pointed out by Michalina Stachowiak from V4Sport Foundation in Poland, “people really enjoy being active, it’s just that sometimes they need a push and space to do it”

Watch the video below for a short summary of the Open Streets Day 2019:

Save the date for the car-free day 2020 on 22nd of September and get ready to activate your cities!