Did COVID-19 Reshape Visitor Preferences in Urban Parks? Investigating Influences on Sentiments in Shanghai, China

Siqi Lai, Yifan Zhu, Brian Deal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Urban parks can be critical components of city landscapes. In the wake of COVID-19, understanding the role of urban parks in helping to elicit positive sentiment and improve the overall well-being of visitors has gained new traction in the literature. This research distinctively investigates whether the COVID-19 pandemic altered preferences regarding urban parks and identifies the key landscape attributes and environmental factors that influenced positive visitor sentiment, thereby addressing a critical gap in understanding the evolving dynamics of urban green spaces in the post-pandemic era. We use a mixed methods approach that includes natural language processing techniques to analyze crowd sourced data across more than 100 urban parks in Shanghai, China. Not surprisingly, our results highlight a post-pandemic rise in preferences for neighborhood parks and features typically associated with neighborhood parks, such as walking accessibility and surrounding residential densities. In addition, we found six park features, the presence of grasslands, water bodies, walking paths, and proximity to shopping facilities, significantly impacted the ways in which people perceived their park experience. These insights can guide urban park planning, design, and management in our evolving post-pandemic landscape to help ensure that urban parks continue to serve as essential urban spaces.
Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalSustainability
Volume15
Issue number23
DOIs
StatePublished - 2023

Keywords

  • sentiment
  • park types
  • COVID-19
  • urban parks
  • social media data

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