Accessibility navigation

Associations between COVID-19 transmission rates, park use, and landscape structure

Johnson, T. F., Hordley, L. A., Greenwell, M. P. ORCID: and Evans, L. C. ORCID: (2021) Associations between COVID-19 transmission rates, park use, and landscape structure. Science of the Total Environment, 789. 148123. ISSN 1879-1026

Text - Accepted Version
· Available under License Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial No Derivatives.
· Please see our End User Agreement before downloading.


It is advisable to refer to the publisher's version if you intend to cite from this work. See Guidance on citing.

To link to this item DOI: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2021.148123


The COVID-19 pandemic has had severe impacts on global public health. In England, social distancing measures and a nationwide lockdown were introduced to reduce the spread of the virus. Green space accessibility may have been particularly important during this lockdown, as it could have provided benefits for physical and mental wellbeing. However, the associations between public green space use and the rate of COVID-19 transmission are yet to be quantified, and as the size and accessibility of green spaces vary within England’s local authorities, the risks and benefits to the public of using green space may be context-dependent. To evaluate how green space affected COVID-19 transmission across 299 local authorities (small regions) in England, we calculated a daily case rate metric, based upon a seven-day moving average, for each day within the period June 1st - November 30th 2020 and assessed how baseline health and mobility variables influenced these rates. Next, looking at the residual case rates, we investigated how landscape structure (e.g. area and patchiness of green space) and park use influenced transmission. We first show that reducing mobility is associated with a decline in case rates, especially in areas with high population clustering. After accounting for known mechanisms behind transmission rates, we found that park use (showing a preference for park mobility) was associated with decreased residual case rates, especially when green space was low and contiguous (not patchy). Our results support that a reduction in overall mobility may be a good strategy for reducing case rates, endorsing the success of lockdown measures. However, if mobility is necessary, outdoor park use may be safer than other forms of mobility and associated activities (e.g. shopping or office-based working).

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Life Sciences > School of Biological Sciences > Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
ID Code:110361


Downloads per month over past year

University Staff: Request a correction | Centaur Editors: Update this record

Page navigation