The use of green spaces has increased dramatically since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, where unprecedented volumes of people are using outdoor spaces for exercise and their mental health. In NSW, this increase has led to an almost a doubling of park visits. Centennial Park visits estimated to be up by 20 per cent and the Botanical Gardens at Mount Annan registered their highest visitation on record this year.
However increased pressures on our parks during COVID-19 has highlighted key concerns with green space accessibility. The NSW Planning Minister, Rob Stokes stating that the pandemic has exposed limitations of historic urban design and subsequently released a $15 million dollar shared backyard vision to help create greener cities.
“Mounting global research is clear – accessible green space offers immense health, social and economic benefits.”
Internationally, the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention continues to be a strong advocate for maintaining access to green space for wellbeing, foreseeing green spaces as being quintessential for future pandemics.
To better understand the relationship between wellbeing and green spaces The Connective has partnered with Macquarie University to design a nationwide survey investigating how people are engaging with outdoor environments (such as gardens, local parks, natural reserves) and what positive impacts is this having on their physical and emotional wellbeing. The findings from this survey will help to understand whether increasing engagement and appreciation of nature is associated with positive benefits to people’s physical and emotional wellbeing, and whether personality styles also influence these relations. In combination, the findings of this study will be important to further inform and advance the design of public places and development of nature-based wellbeing programs.
“We are interested in learning more about how interactions in green spaces make people feel and the impacts that this has on their wellbeing. Have interactions with outdoor environments during COVID-19 led to a greater appreciation for the outdoors environments and nature? And for some, are these forms of connections with nature a new and exciting experience?”
Associate Professor Mel Taylor, Occupational Psychologist Macquarie University
Have your say on green spaces during COVID-19 | How are you engaging with green spaces during COVID-19? To help us better understand how people are engaging with outdoor environments, including what they value and appreciate about natural environments, please take the time to participate in this important online survey (takes between 20-30 mins to complete): https://lnkd.in/gJmiGFh