Spatial justice, informal sport and Australian community sports participation

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Title

Leisure Studies


Taylor & Francis


School of Education




Australian Research Council [LP180100038] / Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries / Cricket Victoria / Centre for Multicultural Youth / Victorian Health Promotion Foundation

Grant Number

ARC Number : LP180100038

Grant Link



Jeanes, R., Penney, D., O’Connor, J., Spaaij, R., O’Hara, E., Magee, J., & Lymbery, L. (2022). Spatial justice, informal sport and Australian community sports participation. Leisure Studies. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1080/02614367.2022.2085772


Participation in Australian club-based sport has either plateaued or declined across a broad array of sports over the last 20 years. In contrast, participation in informal forms of sport has increased across the time. Despite the increasing popularity of informal sport, this form of participation continues to lack recognition as a legitimate and valuable avenue for population-wide sport participation. This article focuses on examining the spatial exclusion of informal sport within community sport systems. Theoretically informed by concepts of spatial justice and Lefebvre’s theories of spatial production this article utilises the perspective of multiple stakeholders and a multi-level policy analysis to demonstrate the current spatial injustice that manifests within policy, planning, and use of public spaces and the significant constraints consequently arising for communities wishing to participate in informal sport. We argue that the marginalisation of informal sport is at odds with Australian policy agendas that emphasise an urgent need to increase population levels of physical activity. The article concludes that action to counter spatial injustice within community sport is essential to capitalise on the opportunities that informal participation presents to address key health and social policy priorities.



Access Rights

subscription content