Effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the use and attitudes towards urban public spaces


  • Athina Mela Civil Engineer, PhD candidate in Sustainable Urban Planning, University of West Attica
  • George Varelidis Professor, Head of Civil Engineering Department, University of West Attica




Covid -19, green spaces, public spaces, urban mobility


The benefits of interaction with urban public space, particularly green spaces are numerous for citizens, especially those who live in metropolitan areas.  The outbreak of the pandemic, as well as the restrictive measures put in place to prevent the virus's spread, caused enormous changes in people's daily lives and activities. Using a structured questionnaire, the current study intends to capture the shift in attitudes and perceptions of residents of the Attica region during the 2nd wave of restriction measures (7/11/20 – 3/7/21). During the pandemic, visitation in urban public spaces increased, according to the data. The great majority of participants preferred to visit mostly urban public areas within walking distance of their residence (up to 15 minutes), especially in the afternoon and relatively frequently, with 45 percent claiming to visit them "daily" or "3-4 times a week," and only 3% claiming “never”.  The analysis showed an increase in the visits during the pandemic from participants who reported better-perceived quality of the spaces, better accessibility, safety during the day, and a feeling of relaxation in the free public spaces of their area. Additionally, those reported living in areas with many available spaces were more likely to increase the frequency of visits during the pandemic.