A Trend that Will Continue After Covid; An Enhanced Appreciation of Parks & Green Spaces
The pandemic has boosted working from home and telemedicine, and many experts are predicting such changes will last beyond the current crisis. Another lasting trend will be our renewed appreciation for public parks and urban green spaces. For many Americans they were a mental and physical lifesaver in 2020.
Lincoln Institute.edu: "In communities across the country, parks and open space have seen dramatic increases in use this year as people sought refuge and respite from the COVID-19 pandemic. With public health guidelines recommending staying close to home, urban residents have been using public spaces in unprecedented numbers as places to exercise, be closer to nature, and socialize, dine, or shop at social distances. They have used public spaces to access essential services and to hold protests and demonstrations. The pandemic has elevated the value of parks and open space and has underscored the benefits for cities of creating more public spaces and more equitable access to them. ... "
When the gyms closed in the Spring, many workout enthusiasts shifted to at-home weight training, but took their aerobic exercises outside, biking, running, and walking in parks and on bike trails. And most found that they enjoyed their interactions with nature much more than they had imagined. Many will never return to treadmills and stationary bikes. They got hooked on nature.
And, it wasn't just fitness fanatics. Many folks who seldom exercise discovered that some time outside lightened their mood and reduced stress.
"I think the public will recognize the benefits of local parks, greenways, and walkable cities and neighborhoods. We might finally realize that the space around us impacts our health"...
—Steve Magness, track and field coach at the University of Houston
Even after the pandemic subsides, voters will pressure legislatures and city councils to expand bike paths, parks and urban green spaces. We are not likely to forget their positive impact during the current crisis.
Lincoln Institute.edu: “The pandemic has proven that parks are essential infrastructure,” says Adrian Benepe, who served until this fall as senior vice president and director of national programs for the Trust for Public Land (TPL) and was parks commissioner for the city of New York from 2002 to 2012. “It’s a great paradox that parks have never been more used or appreciated than now. Everything else was shut down, and parks were a last refuge.”
By: Don Lam & Curated Content