A NSW Government website


Listening to the Community

The NSW Government is committed to a citizen-led approach to delivery on the Greener Public Spaces NSW Government Priority; to increase the proportion of homes in urban areas within 10 minutes’ walk of quality green, open and public space by 10 percent by 2023.

The department is keen to understand how people are using public space, what types of public space the community value most, and how the community feel about public spaces.

Public Spaces during COVID-19 survey

45% spent more time in public spaces than before COVID-19, 76% used parks in their local area, 68% parks in local areas, 48% walking tracks, 47% beaches and foreshores

In 2020, the department captured community views on the use and value of public spaces with a survey and presented the findings from more than 4,700 responses to a social pinpoint map and survey responses in the Public Spaces: Streets as Shared Spaces Engagement Report (PDF 4.1Mb).

The Department conducted a second survey towards the end of 2020 and into 2021, to understand if peoples’ use and value of public spaces changed including high streets, at a time when COVID-19 restrictions had eased.

Seven key insights emerged from this research, of close to 4,000 people surveyed:

49% cycled more during COVID-19, 56% walked more during COVID-19, 31% of peopled used online services by indoor public spaces, 26% of people felt less safe in public spaces during the day during COVID-19
  1. Even as restrictions eased, people’s love for public spaces remained strong.
  2. People want high-quality public space that’s easy to access.
  3. People were walking and cycling more than before COVID-19.
  4. More people felt less safe in public spaces, especially because of crowding.
  5. More people discovered online services provided by public facilities during COVID-19.
  6. People were socialising more in public spaces into the second year of the pandemic.
  7. People’s use of local high streets has increased since the start of COVID-19.

Insights from both surveys will support the Department’s work in guiding the creation and evaluation of great public spaces.

For more information

Download and view the frequently asked questions (PDF 74.1Kb) for more information about the Public Spaces during COVID-19 Engagement Report.