Recognising Regional Variations in Parks Usage with Mobility Data | Part 4

Recognising regional variations in parks usage: how footfall varied markedly between regions during the pandemic.

When global crises like the pandemic hit our country, it is easy to assume all regions will be affected in the same way. But Huq’s report on Parks & Open Spaces through the Pandemic provides evidence to the contrary.

In this final article showing you how CommunityVision® mobility data can be used in practice to analyse the usage of council places over time, we look at the importance of collecting the right data insights and benchmarking these against suitable comparators.

Download the ebook Parks & Open Spaces Through the Pandemic for a detailed and informative look at how the UK’s parks and open spaces performed through the pandemic and until today.

National footfall insights for parks and open spaces

From the start of the first lockdown in March 2020, footfall in open spaces fell across England. The average decline in footfall was 50%, halving the levels seen in Huq data from 2019; and general trends of improvement and decline are reflected across all areas.

However, mapping mobility data across all regions on the same chart shows clear distinctions between the impact on and rates of recovery in specific areas – giving more accurate insights into the behaviour and needs of the communities they serve.

Regional contrasts and variations

Parks footfall by England region over time

Clear, interactive charts from CommunityVision® demonstrate how footfall from region to region has deviated by as much as 70% from the same starting point. With London excluded from the set variation across the group is softer, showing a maximum of 29%.

London footfall obscures the broader picture

London is without doubt an outlier, tracking as much as 50 points lower than the mean of other regions. Footfall across parks and green spaces in London fell faster and more profoundly than anywhere else, and with the easing of restrictions in July 2020 all regions except London rebounded with enthusiasm.

Parks usage across non-London regions until January 2021 then ranged between 60 – 82 points. London ranged between 35 – 42 points, approximately half that of other regions.

What makes London a special case? Why did the North East see such a dramatic increase in footfall when restrictions eased in July 2020, and why did the South West remain relatively lightly affected? Only by separating out the regions can council teams effectively analyse how the use of their own parks and open spaces has changed over time.

See CommunityVision® for yourself

Download the full Parks Report for a practical example of how regional data insights from CommunityVision® can be used to highlight trends and interrogate changes in the use of open spaces.

Do you work in local government?

Find out how you can build better communities using mobility data to make decisions. CommunityVision®, Huq’s leading product for local government teams, offers real-time and easy-to-use insights on how people use your towns.

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