Abstract

Abstract:

This paper presents a series of reflective observations on the use of outdoor spaces in Melbourne, Australia, during the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic lockdown. With the closure of playgrounds and organized sports, the authors observed three themes emerging: changes in users and uses of parks and reserves; markers of children's activities in public areas; and, children's creation of huts, dens or "cubbies" as evidence of constructive and imaginative play. Using a small-scale autoethnographic methodology through individual random observations, journaling and photography, the authors found clear indications of a new, deeper connection to public and natural spaces across generations and within each of their separate "lockdown" communities. A more visible presence of children and play activity in each authors' local natural spaces suggests that these places are a source of wellbeing and resilience in challenging times.

pdf