Quantifying Urban Parks Based on their Potential for Health-promoting Activities

As the world’s population continues to gravitate towards urban areas, cities are faced with the immense task of creating and maintaining green spaces to foster public health. Urban green spaces have become an increasingly vital element of urban health, reportedly enhancing various aspects of well-being, including physical, mental, and social health. With the prospect of further urbanization, the challenge of designing high-quality parks is set to intensify in the coming decades for city authorities and urban planners. We took this as cause to explore the exact link between activities in city parks and their health benefits. We examined the features of parks in 36 global cities with respect to their offerings for doing health-promoting activities. We theorized that parks with designated spaces and amenities would encourage specific activities and we could measure this using data analysis of crowdsourced online mapping data from OpenStreetMap. By connecting park amenities to activities they promote using large-language model annotation, and those activities to related health benefits using a literature survey, we scored parks on their potential for promoting health. We also highlighted the successes and shortcomings of providing high-quality parks to the populations in different cities.