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  • Author or Editor: Monica Bocci x
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Abstract

Public parks are important elements of the green infrastructure. They provide places for people to experience nature and engage in physical activities, which are key in increasing public health and well-being. There are new factors limiting the usability of parks, provoking changes in the usage patterns. The Covid-19 pandemic and the introduction of restrictions on the use of the city significantly reduced many forms of physical activities, and a stay-at-home obligation is negatively associated with an increase of sedentary lifestyles. At the same time, the demand for greenery has intensified, highlighting the increasing role and benefits provided by green spaces in times of emergency, such as the pandemic. To better understand the contemporary values of parks, this chapter discusses the usage of public parks before (2019) and during the Covid-19 pandemic (2020–2021). The research includes the analysis in three urban parks located in different European countries: Pole Mokotowskie Park in Warsaw (Poland), Quinta das Conchas in Lisbon (Portugal) and Parco della Pace in Senigallia (Italy). These parks have different sizes and equipment, but are all very popular recreational places for the residents. The main activities performed by users in both the pre-pandemic and pandemic period were identified based on the field observation methods, which included a list of performed activities. The research conducted during the site visits was completed with information from media and government communications, including the context of country-specific restrictions. Changes in users’ activities were analysed for each park, and then compared to identify similarities and differences. Particular attention was paid to activities that were abandoned, limited or eliminated from the park programme, as well as those that became more popular. The results show that the role of public parks in providing recreation and improving health and well-being are still appreciated and valued, while at the same time their use and preferred equipment have been adapted to sanitary restrictions.

Open Access
In: Placemaking in Practice Volume 1

Abstract

Interests of young people are neither often well considered in public spaces nor in decisions about the environment around them. One of the most important achievements of growing from childhood to adulthood is the development of one’s own social life and increasing one’s autonomy, which also means a widening of one’s spatial range of action. Despite these spatial needs and benefits for their own development, teenagers are often treated with suspicion in public spaces. One will often find them in large groups, standing around, chatting loudly with one another or playing around. Spatial needs, appropriation and practices, on the one side, and social norms, on the other side, do not necessarily match. In an inclusive city, spatial consumption and production is part of a dialogue with citizens, including vulnerable, “undesirable” and marginalized groups, in order to guarantee them not only the access to public spaces, but also their involvement in planning and decision-making processes. Studies show that young people have a great potential to bring unique insights to the built environment. This chapter explores the potential of young people to be involved in placemaking, reflecting on challenges facing such involvement and taking into account the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. Backed by studies in Cork, Lisbon, Ljubljana, Stockholm and Volos, it addresses the question how to use placemaking to change the city into a more inclusive and responsive environment for young people. These cases demonstrate that placemaking can be used as a tool for engaging young people in the decision-making process about their city and local environment, collating evidence-based research on the relationship between young people and public spaces.

Open Access
In: Placemaking in Practice Volume 1