Cochrane COVID-19 Study Register
Study record
Johnson 2021lFirst Published: 2021 Jul 13Updated Date: 2021 Jul 13

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

  1. Study Type
  2. Observational
  1. Study Aim
  2. Transmission
  3. Epidemiology
  1. Study Design
  2. Time Series
  1. Intervention Assignment
  2. Not Applicable
Reference record

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

Johnson TF, Hordley LA, Greenwell MP, Evans LC
Journal article
Report Results
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)