Environmental and Mobility Strategies During Early COVID-19: Insights From an Empirical Study Focusing on Park Visitations in El Paso, TX

Sinan Zhong, Chanam Lee, Jiahe Bian, Samuel D. Towne, Hanwool Lee, Yang Song, Wei Li, Marcia G. Ory

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objectives: We explored the importance of environmental and mobility strategies during early COVID-19 by age and ethnicity and investigated predictors of park visitations considering the COVID-19 impacts. Background: Parks are safe and accessible venues to stay active and reduce social isolation, which is especially important considering COVID-19 and the associated lockdowns. Methods: We analyzed online survey data from 683 residents (collected July 2020) of El Paso, TX, and objective measures of neighborhood park characteristics. Chi-square tests and mixed-effects logistic regression analyses were performed to examine the environmental/mobility strategies, personal and environmental factors, and park visitations, considering the COVID-19 impacts. Results: The percentage of those who visited (1+ times/week) parks or trails/paths in the neighborhood dropped from 41.7% to 19.5% since the start of COVID-19 (OR = 0.015, p <.001). Before COVID-19, middle-aged and older adults were less likely to visit parks than younger adults, while this difference became insignificant during early COVID-19. Hispanic adults were more likely to visit parks than non-Hispanics both before and during early COVID-19. Positive environmental predictors of park visitations included park availability in the neighborhood, proximity to the closest park, seeing people being physically active in the neighborhood, and neighborhood aesthetics. Conclusions: Proximately located parks, trails, and paths well integrated into residential communities, and high aesthetic quality of the neighborhood are the potential features of pandemic-resilient communities and should be considered an important national priority to maintain and promote the health and well-being of the population, especially during pandemics like COVID-19.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)61-82
Number of pages22
JournalHealth Environments Research and Design Journal
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 2023


  • age
  • COVID-19
  • environmental strategy
  • neighborhood environment
  • park visitation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine


Dive into the research topics of 'Environmental and Mobility Strategies During Early COVID-19: Insights From an Empirical Study Focusing on Park Visitations in El Paso, TX'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this