Urbanites Turn to Nature in Times of Crisis
The idea that, in the face of crisis, human health and our cities can be restored by nature is not a new idea. From Indigenous cultures around the world to the late 18th century Romantics, history is filled with examples when humanity has turned to organic medicines and nature for healing and a sense of respite.
Leap forward more than a century and Google mobile data reveals that droves of citydwellers took refuge in nearby nature and outdoor activities at the onset of the global pandemic. One study estimated that outdoor recreational activity increased by 291% in Oslo, Norway during the recent lockdown relative to a 3-yr average for the same days.
Similarly, preliminary findings suggest that visits to New York City parks this summer grew compared with before the COVID-19-triggered shutdown. New Yorkers reported continued use of urban greenspaces during the pandemic and considered them to be more important for mental and physical health than before it began. In Philadelphia, community gardens and urban farms were declared an essential service.