The present qualitative research explores the factors that have influenced the use of urban green spaces (UGS) in Mexico City during the COVID-19 pandemic and the implications of their usage on residents’ well-being. This study was conducted using a combination of solicited audio and written diaries, photography, and in-depth interviews with 16 participants, aged 22 to 58. The article provides a critical reflection on the incentives and deterrents to the UGS use of participants while social distancing measures were in place. The results show that in Mexico City: (1) participants’ lack of access to UGS has hampered their use, mainly among those of low-income neighborhoods; (2) UGS size did not directly impact participants’ UGS use during the pandemic; and (3) women were deterred from accessing UGS due to safety concerns related to the fear of violence. Overall, the results suggest that UGS use has served as a coping mechanism to decrease the effects of stress and isolation caused by the pandemic, increasing users’ physical and mental well-being. This study’s conclusions can help develop future citizen participation tools that are useful for resilience in urban design, as they provide interesting insights into the perceptions of residents, such as the most valued characteristics of UGS.


© 2021 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).

Cite as

Mayen Huerta, C. & Cafagna, G. 2021, 'Snapshot of the use of urban green spaces in Mexico City during the COVID-19 pandemic: A qualitative study', International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 18(8), article no: 4304. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18084304

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Last updated: 13 June 2023
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