“The forest seems to be a restorative and relaxing place in a very special way. Our previous research demonstrated this fact, and the pattern is even stronger during the pandemic,” Karl Samuelsson says.
The usual park became a dangerous place
The researchers found that, during the pandemic, many people avoided the park where they usually met friends and family.
Possibly, the didn’t dare to visit the usual park any longer, because they felt it was too crowded with high risks of being infected. Visiting the usual park less often was seen as something negative, probably because many felt a sense of loss at no longer being able to go there.
According to Karl, the results show how important it is to make room for large areas of green spaces in urban planning, as they can act as buffer zones during times of crisis. Importantly, these large green spaces need to be accessible to everyone in the city via good walking or cycling routes.
“Our results clearly demonstrate how important this type of planning is for the resilience of cities in future crises. Being close to a small park is not enough,” Karl Samuelsson says.