Ensuring safe access to nature during the COVID-19 pandemic

Published on: 
26 May 2020
Author: 
Paul Wessel

In the SITES Guiding Principles, we aspire to create and implement outdoor spaces that respond to economic, environmental, and cultural conditions. COVID-19 has increased both the urgency and challenge of ensuring access to parks, trails, and other landscapes while also supporting social distancing.

SITES recognizes that any access to nature, whether in a park or natural area, or simply viewing green space during daily life, promotes mental and physical health and facilitates social connection. Improving human health and wellbeing, and providing optimum site accessibility, safety, and wayfinding are key aspects of the certification and are even more important now.

Earlier this month USGBC announced its Healthy Places Initiative and outlined a series of actions and priorities that support the global recovery effort and leverage the power of our community to shape a healthier future for all.

In support of the initiative, SITES will also prioritize a number of efforts aligned with these goals including the development of a “Safety First” SITES pilot credit. We will also be compiling and sharing best practices for outdoor spaces to promote the health and safety of staff and visitors.

We’d love to hear what you are doing (or considering) in your communities to offer safe access to outdoor spaces. Add your voice here.