The Role of Greenery in Stress Reduction among City Residents during the COVID-19 Pandemic

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Abstract

Cities, as places of social interactions and human relationships, face new challenges, problems, and threats, which are sources of stress for residents. An additional cause of stress in recent years has been the COVID-19 pandemic; it was urban dwellers who were most exposed to the virus and most affected by it. Chronic stress has led to the serious erosion of physical health and psychophysical well-being among urban dwellers, and so there is a need to seek new solutions in terms of building the resilience of cities and their residents to stress. This study aims to verify the hypothesis that greenery reduced the level of stress among urban dwellers during the pandemic. The verification of this hypothesis was achieved based on a literature analysis and the results of geo-questionnaire studies conducted involving 651 residents of Poznan—among the largest of Polish cities, where the share of green areas in the spatial structure is more than 30%. According to the analysis, the interviewees experienced above-average stress levels that went up during the pandemic, and the source was not so much the virus but the restrictions imposed. Green areas and outdoor activities helped in reducing this stress (being surrounded by and looking at greenery, garden work, or plant cultivation). Residents perceive a post-pandemic city as one that is more green, in which priority is given to unmanaged green areas. It has also been pointed out that a response to the reported need for urban re-construction towards stress resilience may be a biophilic city.

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Sponsor

National Science Centre, Poland (no. 2021/41/B/HS4/02471)

Keywords

stress sources of stress, COVID-19, city resilience, re-construction, health, urban greenery, biophilia

Citation

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Rights Creative Commons

Uniwersytet im. Adama Mickiewicza w Poznaniu
Biblioteka Uniwersytetu im. Adama Mickiewicza w Poznaniu
Ministerstwo Nauki i Szkolnictwa Wyższego