Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick said on Sky News this morning that, in his view, it was a mistake for parks in London such as Brockwell Park and Victoria Park to close. Of course it is — it must be possible to maintain order and disperse the minority of people who are failing to observe social distancing — so why doesn’t the Government simply force them to stay open? It’s not like they’ve been shy about taking sweeping centralised powers during this crisis.
I suggested in an earlier post that parks could innovate to make social distancing easier (perhaps creating one-way circuits and booking slots to avoid overcrowding) but to shut their gates and force people onto streets and canals to get fresh air seems actively dangerous.
I also love this idea from Rosamund Urwin — there are sixty eight golf courses in greater London and they are all shut. Let’s ask them to open their doors to people during this period for walking and taking exercise. Put their assets towards a public service: need more public space, not less.
Rather than closing big parks so more people end up packed into the smaller parks, how about reclaiming green space in London, like this enormous, empty golf course? Turn the golf courses into exercise spots. More green space for everyone, social distancing made easier. pic.twitter.com/KMNesPzAIj
— Rosamund Urwin (@RosamundUrwin) April 4, 2020