The Role of Neighbourhood Landscape Characteristics in Facilitating Outdoor Play During the COVID-19 Outbreak

Souza Donato, Cibele Carla
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University of Guelph

Children’s outdoor activities were significantly impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak in Canada. Children became less active as access to outdoor places where they typically play and exercise was restricted or denied. This research investigated how changes in outdoor activity of 5-17 year-olds are associated with neighbourhood landscape characteristics. This study uses secondary data on changes in outdoor activities from ParticipACTION and analyzes these changes in relation to four landscape characteristics, one demographic measure, and common places where children spent time outdoors. Results show that living in areas with more landscape features and higher population density is associated with a greater decline in outdoor activities, and children who used neighbourhood trails were more likely to show an increase in outdoor activities during the first wave of COVID-19 in Toronto. This indicates that landscape characteristics support children’s physical activity when playgrounds are closed.

Outdoor play, child-friendly neighbourhood, COVID-19, active play