Ryan Plummer, Director of the Environmental Sustainability Research Centre at Brock University, Darby McGrath, Adjunct Professor at the Environmental Sustainability Research Centre at Brock University, and Sivajanani Sivarajah, Research Associate in the Department of Architectural Science at Ryerson University, recently had a piece co-published in The Conversation about the incremental adjustments and radical overhauls cities can implement to improve their green spaces.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has forced governments to weigh the benefits of keeping green spaces open against the public health concerns that come from their use. During the pandemic, playgrounds have been taped off, parks locked and access to outdoor spaces for recreation cut off.
Green spaces have positive effects on mental health, physical fitness, social cohesion and spiritual wellness. Although researchers say the coronavirus spreads more easily indoors than outdoors, they also believe the concentrated use of green spaces will increase the transmission of COVID-19.
As cabin fever set in and governments began to ease restrictions, those living in urban areas have turned, en masse, to green spaces. Urban nature has been a source of resilience for many during COVID-19. But the outcome has been disconcerting. COVID-19 has highlighted the inadequacy of green space for the dense populations of cities. It also reinforces existing inequities regarding unequal access to parks in term of size and quality.”
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