New eBook! Parks & Open Spaces Through the Pandemic

The pandemic saw limitations placed on daily lives in ways that few had imagined. Measures to limit mobility and social contact came into force for safety. Travel to work places were off-limits to many workers. Most shops and leisure facilities closed.

It’s fortunate that, for the most part, access to parks and open spaces remained possible. As one of the few public spaces available to residents, these spaces took on an important new role. And flexible working, closer families and less choice made these places popular. In this context, the UK’s parks and open spaces presented an ideal solution. Outdoor places offer lower chances of transmission than indoors. Many studies promote the physical and mental health benefits of open spaces. These properties were especially sought-after during sedentary, solitary lockdowns.

Huq used its data to measure footfall and dwell time across England’s 149,200 parks and green spaces. In contrast to destinations like high-streets and retail centres, the resilience is clear. Park visits slowed during lockdowns, but stayed as much as 75% above high-streets. Trips to parks and green space were more meaningful to visitors too. The duration of the average visit increased 40%+ during the first lockdown. It peaked again to 31% during the second. This trend has continued until today, averaging 16% over 2019 levels in 2021. But not all green spaces are alike, and parks usage varies regionally.

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    Parks and open space usage has grown through the pandemic. And now that residents have had a taste of the outdoors, how will this trend continue? This study looks back over the last two pandemic years to uncover the themes that shape parks usage in the UK, and uses mobility data from Huq combined with 149.2K parks and open space locations available from the Ordnance Survey. The number of data points sampled exceeds 30Bn, making it the first UK ‘big data’ study of parks and open space usage.

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    Huq Industries publishes data across themes derived from its first-party mobility data. Our verified and compliant data helps professionals in financial services, real-estate, and public sector and CPG make more effective choices.

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