[Pre-print] The importance of nature to city living during the COVID-19 pandemic: Considerations and goals from environmental psychology
McCunn, Lindsay J.
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The COVID-19 pandemic has produced an opportunity for urban planners, government decision-makers, health practitioners, and environmental psychologists to further understand human psychosocial wellbeing in cities. Given a growing base of evidence illustrating that interaction with nature positively affects mood and mental health, preserving access to green spaces in cities during this time of mandated social isolation should be considered imperative for as long as possible. This think-piece highlights that parks, community gardens, and other natural areas are essential to urban dwellers, especially if directives to physically distance from one another become longstanding or recurrent. Public decision-makers should aim to develop simple, relatively inexpensive strategies to augment the usability of nature in innovative ways that make it possible to enjoy them while respecting distance guidelines. Also discussed is the notion that a predominant goal for social scientists and urban practitioners during this crisis will be to learn how people view the ways in which public parks and wilder urban areas mitigate their response to worry, isolation, and an altered form of civic engagement. Research on the extent to which ‘sense of place’ changes for city dwellers during this global circumstance will be important for planners and social scientists alike.
Identifier (Other)DOI: 10.1080/23748834.2020.1795385