The impact of perceived risk and disease prevention efficiency on outdoor activities and avoidance behaviors in the urban parks during COVID 19 pandemic

Fatemeh Khozaei, Mi Jeong Kim, Narges Nematipour, Asif Ali

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Purpose: COVID 19 has had a profound effect on peoples’ activities and the use of public spaces. Before the COVID 19 pandemic urban parks, as healthy places, were of the most favorable places for urban citizens, but nowadays no vitality is found in urban parks due to the absence of people. The perceived risk seems to affect peoples’ decision-making for the visit to urban parks. This study aims to examine the impact of COVID 19 perceived severity and vulnerability on peoples’ visit to the urban parks and further exercise avoidance. It is expected that the result of this study would shed light on the people’s perception of healthy urban parks to exercise during COVID 19. Design/methodology/approach: The participants were recruited from a neighborhood with the greenest and largest parks in Iran that were selected for the study. It was to assure that participants have access to the urban parks within their walkable distance. The mixed-method approach was applied to achieving the research goals. A total of 404 participants attended the survey. A series of semi-structured interviews were conducted to examine the strategies that reduce peoples’ worries about using urban parks during the COVID 19. Data were analyzed using SmartPLS. Findings: The study hypothesized that peoples’ awareness of COVID 19 affects their perceived risk and disease prevention efficiency. Besides, it was hypothesized that perceived risk and efficacy effects outdoor activities worries exercise avoidance and behavioral avoidance in the urban parks. The result of the study supported the research hypothesis. The more knowledge people acquire of COVID 19 and the lack of efficacy of treatments, the higher they will avoid outdoor activities and exercise. The means of knowledge and perceived risk were higher than previously reported studies. Originality/value: The result of this study is very important, as it statistically proves that peoples’ priorities and factors that affect their willingness to use public spaces are very much affected by their perception of a healthy environment. It also canonizes the role of facility managers in bringing peoples’ trust in the use of public spaces and more specifically urban parks during pandemic disease distributions.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Facilities Management
StateAccepted/In press - 2021


  • Disease prevention
  • Outdoor activities
  • Perceived risk
  • Urban parks


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