Urban greenery cushions the decrease in leisure-time physical activity during the COVID-19 pandemic : A natural experimental study

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

27 Scopus Citations
View graph of relations

Author(s)

Detail(s)

Original languageEnglish
Article number127136
Journal / PublicationUrban Forestry and Urban Greening
Volume62
Online published20 Apr 2021
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2021

Abstract

The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic and related social distancing measures have altered the daily lifestyles of people worldwide. Although studies on this disease are emerging rapidly, less is known about the impacts of COVID-19 and urban greenery on leisure-time physical activity, which is critical to maintain health for urban residents during the pandemic. In this study, we used a natural experimental research design to identify whether urban greenery cushions the decrease in leisure-time physical activity caused by the pandemic and related social distancing measures in a high-density city. The two-wave physical activity data (before and during the pandemic) were collected for urban residents in neighborhoods with high or low levels of greenery. The results of difference-in-differences model suggest that urban greenery mitigated the decrease in physical activity during the pandemic. People who lived in greener neighborhoods experienced a lesser decrease in the leisure-time physical activity level than those who lived in less green neighborhoods. Additionally, people who lived in greener neighborhoods experienced increased levels of physical activity related to visits to country parks during the pandemic. These findings suggest that urban green spaces play a significant role in shaping physical activity and providing a refuge for the public during crises. Our study is among the first to investigate the impact of urban greenery on pandemic-induced changes in leisure-time physical activity in densely populated Asian cities, and our findings shed light on the potential protective role of urban greenery on public health during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.

Research Area(s)

  • COVID-19, Difference-in-differences, Natural experiment, Physical activity, Urban greenery

Citation Format(s)