A detailed ONS study earlier this year revealed just how much the pandemic has changed the attitude and behaviour of Brits towards the great outdoors.
In 2020, urban planners and local authorities responded quickly to a huge increase in the number of people visiting parks and – when lockdowns were eased – tourist areas such as Cornwall and York in their droves. This included pedestrianising streets, creating cycle lanes on busy roads to allow more people to bike to work rather than use public transport, and making it easier for cafes, bars and restaurants to create outdoor dining areas.
The ONS analysis found that visits to and time spent in parks in Cornwall was up just 4% between the start of the 2020 and lockdown, but that figure increased to a whopping 280% for the period between January and September 2020. It also reports similar patterns in Devon, Norfolk and East Yorkshire.
This could reflection the change in attitudes towards the outdoors and green spaces. The study looked at a survey by Natural England from May 2020 which found 90% of people agreed that natural spaces are good for mental health and wellbeing. Over 40% of respondents also said that nature, wildlife, and visiting local green and natural spaces had become more important to their wellbeing since the beginning of coronavirus restrictions, a figure which has remained stable throughout the pandemic.
These findings signal that many more Brits want to spend more time outdoors in whatever capacity they can. Whether this is for sports and fitness activities, dining al-fresco or to spend time relaxing in the local park, the data analysis by the ONS strengthens the case for the owners of public and commercial properties to make better use of their outdoor spaces.
So how can this be done? Clearly we have the issue of unpredictable weather here in the UK, so any outdoor space that is designed to be used all-year round needs sufficient shelter from the elements. But it will also need light, particularly between November and February and possibly warmth.
Consider too how an outdoor space could be used – what’s its potential? Could it be used for outdoor dining or to host events including arts and entertainment performances? Or might it be ideal for market stalls to create an outdoor retail area?
And one of the emerging trends regarding outdoor spaces is connectivity. Whether it is a wifi zone, charging points for smartphones or digital displays to provide information, more and more of us believe that being outdoors should not be a barrier to being connected.
To best serve this renewed public attitude for the great outdoors it is vitally important that outdoor spaces have a safe, secure power infrastructure in place to cater for flexibility of use.
To achieve this, it is no longer the case that some of the space has to be allocated for temporary generators to be situated – these, of course can be expensive to hire and they are noisy during operation. Nor will lengthy cables need to be run from adjacent buildings which can pose a dangerous trip hazard.
With a retractable, in ground or bollard service unit from Pop Up Power Supplies®, it is easy to provide a power infrastructure in an outdoor space that is available on demand. Each unit is permanently installed – submerged in the ground in the case of retractable and flip-lid units – and accessed as required to plug into the power sockets. These units are versatile, robust in their construction and safe.
Retractable and in-ground units from Pop Up Power Supplies are already widely used in applications ranging from the historic gardens of grand palaces and Edinburgh Castle, to major shopping centres, leisure parks and Premier League football grounds. Power bollards are chosen for an equally diverse range of projects where they can integrate seamlessly with other street furniture.
To find out more, visit the product pages at www.popuppower.co.uk.