Through spending more time in parks over the past couple of years, city residents have come to recognize the immense value provided by urban nature.
Overall, people are visiting natural spaces more often, feeling more connected to nature, and want to see more naturalized spaces and plantings in their city parks. However, 90% of cities said protecting and enhancing natural spaces is a challenge and only 20% have a standalone biodiversity strategy in place. Intentional planning to ensure natural areas are managed in support of urban biodiversity will be important to meet the public’s growing interest in connecting with nature through parks.
Natural areas provide many benefits in cities, ranging from improving our air quality, providing habitats for flora and fauna to thrive, and enhancing connection to nature. On average, cities provide 4 ha of natural area per 1,000 residents, with natural areas making up 48% of cities’ park systems. However, 90% of cities said that protecting and enhancing biodiversity and natural environments is a challenge, with some specifically citing damage from high use during the pandemic.