Dubliners love to ‘escape’ into their parks

by Gazette Reporter
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New research by Dublin City University and Dublin City Council has highlighted the importance of urban parks in supporting people’s physical, social and psychological needs over the past 18 months. 

In a survey of over 2,237 Dublin residents, it found there was a significant increase in park usage during the lockdown, particularly during the working week, which became comparable to higher weekend levels pre lockdown, and visitors were spending much longer in the park than pre-lockdown. 

The two most common reasons respondents cited for visiting parks was for ‘walking’ and to improve their ‘health and wellbeing’, with nine in 10 agreeing the park helped to improve their physical and mental health, allowing them to ‘clear the head’ and ‘get out of the house’. 

The importance of urban parks for socialising safely during the lockdown was also highlighted. Meeting friends and family helped reduce feelings of isolation and parks were viewed as a safe space where social distancing could be maintained. For people living alone or widowed, the park gave them an opportunity to reduce loneliness and interact with others.

Lack of toilet facilities was cited as the number one issue which impacted on park usage, followed by overcrowding. Even though people were using the park spaces to exercise, very few adult respondents mentioned using exercise equipment installed in these spaces.

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