Dr Andrew Smith, Reader in Tourism and Events, co-wrote an article with Anna Barker from the University of Leeds in Discovery Society about the importance of parks and green spaces during the coronavirus pandemic.
Dr Smith co-wrote an article about how as a result of the UK lockdown, one thing that has been a key focus in media and politics is parks and green areas. He wrote: “The COVID-19 pandemic has forced politicians to acknowledge the benefits of parks and to think about how public access might be sustained.”
Talking about the long-term legacies of the crisis for parks, they wrote: “The main legacy is likely to be a serious crisis in park funding. Local authorities were already struggling to rescource adequately parks following a decade of austerity, and there is likely to be even less money available in the next few years.”
Commenting on the positive legacies that may come from the lockdown, they said: “Many people have adopted new exercise routines away from indoor gyms and have discovered green spaces near to where they live. The new visibility of parks may increase use, and the lack of commercial installations may make people more aware of the simple joys of nature.”
They added: “Some of these positive legacies suggest the crisis might provide a blueprint for a more utopian vision of city parks that are car free, more ecologically focused and well used for outdoor exercise. It may lead to a revaluing of these vital public assets and remind us that parks must be accessible to all and that we should avoid over-commercialisation.”#