Covid-19 is demonstrating how invaluable parks are to the wellbeing of the urban population, most specially for those without their own outdoor space. “Urban green spaces provide aesthetic and recreational opportunities for urban dwellers and promote their physical, psychological and general well being”, as proved by extensive research.* Dr Grahn of Alnarp University demonstrated that “a short walk through a park, even a ten-minute walk, is of great value when it comes to alleviating stress.” Yet many urban parks are so ill maintained and run down, sometimes full of uncollected litter, muddy, semi-derelict, often totally unsupervised, that they are hostile to users. This is because the local authorities which manage them are often short of resources and are bound by law to fulfil other civic obligations. Much-needed parks are even being sold off. The challenge is therefore to find a mechanism to ensure that in future urban parks are properly sustained for general public benefit.
[*This quotation is the second sentence of Landscape Research Volume 44 Number 8 of November 2019, which then goes on to cite in support Grahn, Ivarsson, Stigsdotter, & Bengtsson, 2010; Thompson et al., 2012; Wolch,Byrne, & Newell, 2014. Many other research papers could have been referred to]