Map-based survey finds out how corona situation has changed people’s outdoor activities in Turku


Most residents in Turku have been forced to change their daily routines significantly due to the corona virus situation. A map-based survey aims to find out what kind of changes have happened in outdoor activities and moving in nature.

During this exceptional situation and social distancing, many residents are spending time outdoors. In these times, urban green areas can be more important than ever. Being in nature generally affects positively both physical and mental wellbeing while at the same time it allows social distancing. 

The idea behind the map-based survey created by the University of Turku is that it is important to ensure access to nature to urban dwellers during the lockdown situation.

– We have created an online map survey and gather information about how people in Turku spend time outdoors, what kind of meanings nature has for them and what are the links to wellbeing, explains researcher Salla Eilola from the University of Turku, Department of Geography and Geology.

Respondents are asked, for example, what kind of effects closeness to nature has for them.

– We are particularly interested in how personal experience of the wellbeing effects of nature is linked to actualised everyday outdoor activities, and how COVID-19 has changed this, continues Johanna Jämsä who is starting her doctoral research with the gathered results.

Outdoor activities are marked on a map in the survey

Besides other survey questions, the respondent gets to mark on a map places related to outdoor activities during normal and the corona situation. The results show in an illustrative manner as location-based data, what kind of changes residents of Turku experience in outdoor activities.

– This kind of data is important next to large scale mobility patterns that mobile phone and Google tracking data have recently revealed. Similar types of surveys are currently done in Helsinki, Stockholm, Göteborg, Uppsala and Madrid. We hope to get plenty of responses also from Turku, tells Adjunct Professor Nora Fagerholm from the Department of Geography and Geology.

The survey is conducted by the University of Turku as part of the Academy of Finland funded research project, GreenPlace (2019-24) in collaboration with the city of Turku. The research aims to help strategic recreation and green area planning in cities and to build resilience also during any future crises that are likely to be caused, for example, by climate change.

The survey is targeted to Turku residents above 15 years of age. Responding is easiest with a laptop, computer or tablet but also possible with a smartphone. Responding is possible in English, Finnish and Swedish.

> Respond to the survey

> GreenPlace research project

Created 11.05.2020 | Updated 02.11.2021