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With the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic, many have raised the vitality of proper green space planning as the association between green spaces and public wellbeing became more obvious due to various mobility restrictions. In this paper, we examine how multidimensional factors of greenspaces (i.e., quantity, quality and accessibility) are associated with public visits to green spaces and whether these factors influence the extent of benefits of green spaces to mental wellbeing. We perform comparative analyses between Singapore and Hong Kong, which present a significant difference in green space planning. A total of 298 surveys were conducted in Singapore and Hong Kong, with responses comprising socioeconomic information of respondents, their visits to green spaces, and mental wellbeing. Our analysis findings demonstrate that for their decision to visit greenspaces, people are more sensitive to the green space dimension lacking in their local environment. For example, respondents in Singapore that feature lower green space accessibly than Hong Kong are much more to this, while Hongkong respondents were more sensitive to green space quality. We also find that respondents in Hong Kong have increased their visits to green spaces more significantly than Singaporean counterparts after the COVID-19 outbreak, and the association between this increase and enhanced mental wellbeing is more significant in Hong Kong. This provides an important implication that green space accessibility can play a more important role in mental wellbeing compared to the role of greenspace quality, especially when people restrict their mobility due to health concerns.
Prof. Kwan Ok LEE
Associate Professor & Dean's Chair of Urban Planning, National University of Singapore (NUS) Business School
Kwan Ok LEE is Associate Professor and Dean's Chair of Urban Planning at the Business School at the National University of Singapore (NUS). She is also the Deputy Head in the NUS Department of Real Estate. She won the Annual Teaching Excellence Award for 2016/2017, the Business School Teaching Excellence Award for 2020/1, as well as the School Teaching Excellence Award for 2015/6, 2016/7, and 2018/9. Kwan Ok's research has appeared in leading academic journals such as Nature Mental Health, the American Economic Review: Papers & Proceedings, the Journal of Urban Economics, and the Journal of Regional Science. Her research interests include housing markets and residential choice, urban policy analysis, urban spatial dynamics, and big data analytics. Kwan Ok is Associate Editor or Co-Editor of three prominent journals in the field of urban planning and regional science, including the International Journal of Urban Sciences, Journal of Housing and the Built Environment, and Territory, Politics, Governance. She also sits on the editorial boards of nine peer-reviewed journals, including Housing Studies, the Journal of Korea Planning Association, and the Journal of Korea Real Estate Analysis. She is a board member of the Asian Real Estate Society (AsRES) and an AsRES representative to the International Real Estate Society Board. She has also served as an academic expert and commentator for international organizations and government bodies, including the Asian Development Bank, the World Bank, the Office of Policy Development and Research of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, and the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport of South Korea. Prior to joining NUS, Kwan Ok received her PhD in Policy, Planning, and Development from the University of Southern California and Master in Urban Planning from Harvard University.