Date of Award

Spring 2022

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts (BA)


Environmental Studies


Edward van Buren


This paper investigates the role of green space in combating the negative impacts of the COVID-19 lockdown on New Yorkers. Access to the outdoors is vital for ensuring the mental, physical, and emotional well-being of individuals at all times, but especially in times of communal crisis. Chapter 1 investigates park usage during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, from changes in the numbers of people patronizing their local parks, to the implications the pandemic had on park maintenance. Chapter 2 discusses Nature Deficit Disorder and the benefits of time spent outdoors to understand the vital role parks have in individuals’ mental and physical health. Chapter 3 analyzes the history of parks in New York City and how New Yorkers have historically engaged with their green spaces. Chapter 4 analyzes the politics behind parks funding in New York City and the inequities caused by funding discrepancies across the city. Chapter 5 builds upon the first four chapters to detail public policy recommendations which would allow New Yorkers easier access to well-maintained and equitable outdoors spaces; spaces vital to the success of both individuals and communities alike. The Bronx is Blooming, a Bronx-based environmental non-profit organization at which I have worked with for the past year is used as a case-study in Chapter 4.