Tracy McMillan, an ALR alum & former professor of urban planning & public health at the University of Texas-Austin, talks to us today about her active living start-up, localeikki.
It's pronounced lo•ca•lei•kki [loh-kuh-lay-kee] and is a verb, meaning play local. The name is a riff off of the concept locavore: loca for local and leikki means play in Finnish--play local. We wanted a name that captured the concept of play, exploration, community.
What is localeikki?
localeikki is a database of locally recommended, publicly accessible places to be active.
Locally recommended: localeikki is about crowd-sourced knowledge of active places—locals sharing details on their favorite community resources for activity (trails, bike paths, standard cycling routes).
Publicly accessible: communities everywhere have great active places—bicycle & pedestrian paths, trails, parks, etc.--so you're really never too far from someplace to run, bike, or walk/hike. By creating a database of active places, communities can show off some of their greatest assets.
1 picture = 1,000 words: listings include pictures, as well as details about the place (e.g., features, max distance, type of activity possible, surface, description) and geo-location to get you there from wherever YOU are.
How did the idea come about?
localeikki comes from my roots within the ALR community & was actually conceived at the ALR annual conference in 2012. I was doing a lot of soul searching at that time, trying to determine what I truly wanted to do professionally. I loved working in the area of active living, but hadn’t been happy in academia and felt the research process moved too slowly. I also felt there were opportunities for different methods to translate research into practice, using the growing list of tools available to our target audience & us. The ALR meeting in 2012 followed on the heels of several business trips where I spent a lot of time on Google, searching for a good place to run close to my hotel. Sitting in a pre-conference workshop on using social media in public health & active living, the idea started to form.
What is localeikki’s value to the Active Living community?
As mentioned above, localeikki was conceived as a tool to help the Active Living community break down some of the known barriers to physical activity: information & physical access. Imagine a nationwide database of trails, multi-use paths, & bikeways at everyone’s fingertips, with information such as images, descriptions, ratings & user comments, plus geo-location, so every person can know what active living resources are around them at all times, whether they are in their home town or traveling. Keeping people active & highlighting the value of these great community resources are 2 of our primary goals.
What is your long-term vision for localeikki?
The long-term vision is worldwide recreation domination! Seriously, while from a business development standpoint our immediate focus is US/Canada and run/walk/hike/bike, the growth of localeikki, geographically & recreationally, is limitless. We see localeikki as a health promotion, travel & social network tool, helping people be active & connected to communities across the globe. We’re developing the technological & relational groundwork now to make that happen.
How can the Active Living community help?
You can help in 2 ways:
Play it forward: Go to www.localeikki.com, take the tour, register & add the great resources in your community and beyond. You can also download the free iPhone/iPad app to add & search on the fly (Android app coming summer 2014).
Play local: use localeikki yourself, give us feedback and help spread the word!
localeikki’s goal is to help everyone find great places to be active, & people to do it with, no matter where you are. We hope to grow a community of active folks that share great places and promote physical activity for all.