Access to parks and recreation areas for leisure time physical activity and mental health is rapidly evolving. The Center for Disease Control released updated guidelines for visitors and administrators to prevent and support social distancing and safe, clean facilities. Submitted by Ingrid Schneider, University of Minnesota (ingridss@umn.edu)

Parks

United States


Photo credit: Ingrid Schneider

Peavey Field Park, in a diverse section of the city, stands in stark contrast to parks like Lake Harriet. With limited seating and smaller trees, it is not as inviting to neighbors. Parks are crucial for health and well-being, particularly in highly impacted neighborhoods of communities of color.

Parks

Twin Cities, Minnesota


Photo credit: Tasoulla Hadjiyanni

As Adam Grant, reknown organizational psychologist at the Wharton noted on a LinkedIn post, “if you’re working from home, the pandemic has extended the average work day by 2-3 hours.” He called for testing out 6-hour work days or 4-day work weeks. Urban parks, such as Lake Harriet, offer an invitation to people to stop and rethink their priorities and how they spend their time and energy.

Parks

Twin Cities, Minnesota


Photo credit: Tasoulla Hadjiyanni

Well-maintained and cleaned gardens, such as the Lyndale Park Rose Gardens close to Lake Harriet, are an invitation to slow down and benefit from nature’s lessons, blue skies, and sunny days. Parks of the same caliber in neighborhoods with communities of color are an instrumental way toward recovery and erasing disparities.

Parks

Twin Cities, Minnesota


Photo credit: Tasoulla Hadjiyanni

Trees at Minneapolis’s Lake Harriet park enable teenagers to maintain social distancing while sitting in hammocks. The hammocks’ womb-like feeling and soft swaying engender feelings of comfort and safety to a population scarred from anxiety after their lives have been turned upside down.

Parks

Twin Cities, Minnesota

Matternhorn in the Swiss Alps transforms into a symbol of solidarity. The mountain is lit up with flags by artist Gerry Hofstetter to honor many of the countries battling the virus, including the US.