Building Healthy Communities

Project Title

Social Distancing in Urban Parks and Open Spaces During COVID-19

Grant Amount


Priority Area

Building Healthy Communities

Date Awarded

August 25, 2020






Through its Healthy Neighborhoods Fund initiative, NYHealth is supporting six communities across New York State to become healthier, more active places.

Although all the communities are working toward the common goal of improving the health of their residents, each community may face particular challenges. By offering responsive and time-sensitive technical assistance funding to grantees and their partners, NYHealth can help them meet their goals. In 2020, NYHealth awarded The New School a grant to study the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the use and perception of green spaces by residents of New York City.

Under this grant, The New School’s Urban Systems Lab (USL) surveyed New York City residents to understand how federal, State, and City policies impacted their use of green spaces and their perceptions of wellbeing during the pandemic. Using survey and social-demographic data, USL ran simulations to model behavior changes and social vulnerability in response to various shelter-in-place and other COVID-19-related policies. The New School then shared its findings and engaged with key policymakers and stakeholders to inform future policy, design, and management of urban parks and open spaces to meet communities’ needs.