Park-Based Experiences (07-10-20)

Researchers evaluated how perceptions of park safety influence user experiences. Orstad, Jay, Szuhany, Thorpe, and Tamura (findings published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health) found that “New Yorkers are more likely to exercise in a park if they believe they live very close to it [a less than 5-minute walk away compared to a 30-minute walk]. In turn, they feel less anxious and less depressed the more often they exercise there—but only if they are not concerned about being safe. . . . Many past studies have linked the availability of urban green spaces to lower stress levels, weight, and risk of heart disease. . . . Other work has shown that living closer to a park leads to fewer days of anxiety and depression. . . . the closeness of a local park made no difference in park use for those who worried about crime in the area. . . . improving cleanliness and lighting along paths, offering more park-based programs, and fostering a sense of community could help make parks feel safer.”

“Mental Health Benefits of Parks Dimmed by Safety Concerns.”  2020.  Press release, NYU Langone Health,