Building Healthy Communities

Project Title

Perception and Use of Urban Parks and Open Spaces in NYC During COVID-19 Social Distancing, Phase 2

Grant Amount


Priority Area

Building Healthy Communities

Date Awarded

December 15, 2020






Through its Building Healthy Communities priority area, NYHealth has supported neighborhood-level approaches to improve access to healthy, affordable food and to activate spaces to encourage more physical activity.

Recognizing that sustainable resident engagement is vital to community health, NYHealth is supporting its Building Healthy Communities grantees to ensure that the residents of these neighborhoods have the leadership skills, resources, and other tools needed to advocate for community health. With this support, grantees can help remove barriers to resident participation and ensure the long-term sustainability of the overall work in these communities. NYHealth awarded The New School an initial grant to study the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the use and perception of green spaces by residents of New York City. In 2020, NYHealth awarded The New School a second grant to continue this study and assess additional opportunities for expanding urban green space for public health.

Under this grant, The New School continued its research on the mental and physical health benefits of urban green space use and assess equitable access to these spaces as the pandemic continues. It conducted further analysis to better understand the uneven distribution of urban green spaces that are of adequate size and quality, especially for low-income residents and communities of color that face disproportionate health risks from COVID-19. It examined social media data in New York City to see how park and open space use by residents changed during this time. The New School also assessed additional opportunities for expanding green space for residents’ use, such as the City’s rooftop space.