Quarantine inspired us to explore parks. Science suggests the habit could stick.

Julia Watti
Essay by Gail Farmer published by WHYY's PlanPhilly on July 11, 2020


"For all the hardship and heartache this pandemic has brought, I can’t help but appreciate what it has done for people’s relationship with green spaces.

Park and trail use has skyrocketed since the stay at home order was issued, with some of our trails seeing well over 500 visitors on a beautiful Sunday afternoon. The outdoors has become a place where people go, not only to escape, but to connect.


The transformation in people’s relationship with parks and trails has been stunning – especially for children. A study published in 2000 estimated that children were spending about 30 minutes per week in unstructured outdoor activity — that’s only five minutes a day. Based on the documented rise in park and trail activity during the pandemic, I think it is safe to say that the number has risen for kids privileged enough to live near parks and trails, especially now that Philadelphia is in the green phase and reopening."


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