Metro Vancouver residents have flocked to regional parks during the COVID-19 pandemic, showing us that they can support community resilience in times of stress and adversity.
There is also a growing body of research providing concrete evidence that connecting with nature is vital to residents’ physical and mental well-being.
Metro Vancouver is one of many stakeholders in the Where Matters study led by Dr. Larry Frank at the University of B.C.’s Health and Community Design Lab, which examines the relationship between health and the built environment.
The study found that people with access to many parks were:
- 20% more likely to walk for leisure or recreation and 33% more likely to meet the weekly recommended level of physical activity;
- 43% less likely to be obese;
- 37% less likely to have diabetes;
- 39% less likely to have heart disease;
- 19% less likely to have stressful days; and
- 23% more likely to have a strong sense of community belonging compared to those living in an area with no parks.
The study also found sizeable cost savings to the health-care system as a result of these health benefits.
Interested in learning more? Read the policy brief that summarizes the Where Matters study findings.