Urban greenspace helps ameliorate people's negative sentiments during the COVID-19 pandemic: The case of Beijing

Xuan Guo, Xingyue Tu, Ganlin Huang, Xuening Fang, Lingqiang Kong, Jianguo Wu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

The COVID-19 pandemic has had negative effects on people's mental health worldwide, especially for those who live in large cities. Studies have reported that urban greenspace may help lessen these adverse effects, but more research that explicitly considers urban landscape pattern is needed to understand the underlying processes. Thus, this study was designed to examine whether the resident sentiments in Beijing, China changed before and during the pandemic, and to investigate what urban landscape attributes – particularly greenspace – might contribute to the sentiment changes. We conducted sentiment analysis based on 25,357 geo-tagged microblogs posted by residents in 51 neighborhoods. We then compared the resident sentiments in 2019 (before the COVID-19) with those in 2020 (during the COVID-19) using independent sample t-tests, and examined the relationship between resident sentiments and urban greenspace during the COVID-19 pandemic phases using stepwise regression. We found that residents' sentiments deteriorated significantly from 2019 to 2020 in general, and that urban sentiments during the pandemic peak times showed an urban-suburban trend that was determined either by building density or available greenspace. Although our analysis included several other environmental and socioeconomic factors, none of them showed up as a significant factor. Our study suggests the effects of urban greenspace and building density on residents' sentiments increased during the COVID-19 pandemic and that not all green spaces are equal. Increasing greenspace, especially within and near neighborhoods, seems critically important to helping urban residents to cope with public health emergencies such as global pandemics.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number109449
JournalBuilding and Environment
Volume223
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 2022

Keywords

  • COVID-19
  • Phased impact
  • Residents' sentiments
  • Social media data
  • Urban greenspace

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Building and Construction

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