Will Covid-19 make parks even less accessible?

The Covid-19 pandemic has further revealed the importance of greenspaces for people’s health and wellbeing. This article, published by Nesta in October 2020, explores people’s desire for more greenspace during the pandemic, the ongoing inequalities involved in who has access to greenspaces across England, and what future trajectories for greenspaces might look like in the wake of the pandemic.

Date added 21 October 2020
Last updated 21 October 2020

This short, readable article, published by Nesta in October 2020, explores people’s desire for more greenspace during the Covid-19 pandemic, the ongoing inequalities involved in who has access to greenspaces, and what the future of greenspaces might look like, in the wake of the pandemic. The authors draw particular attention to how not everybody has equal access to greenspaces across England, since those living in economically-deprived areas typically have less access to greenspace, in part due to property prices often rising the closer to greenspaces they are located. Further inequalities are generated through the rising privatisation of greenspaces, meaning not everybody can afford to access them. The authors explore several potential future trajectories for greenspaces. The first, which they term a ‘disciplined trajectory’, explores the potential for greenspaces to be more tightly controlled, involving more surveillance and policing of behaviours, and designed to discourage some users, which the authors suggest could further hamper accessibility for some community members. The second trajectory the authors outline, involves a potential ‘transformation’ of greenspaces, in which more space is made for trees, plants, and green kids’ corridors to play in (e.g. car parks), with more involvement in urban design from the local community.

For a related resource, please see this Landscape Institute report into Greener Recovery.