Staying Connected: Public Space Use and COVID-19

Photo of person walking along trail

By Nelson Beckford, Program Director, Neighborhood Revitalization & Engagement

I like to open meetings with this check-in question: What is your self-care practice?

I ask that question because I care about how people are managing whatever challenges they’re facing in the current environment, whether that’s anxiety, stress, fear, uncertainty or boredom. But I am also looking for ideas: cooking, baking, reading, finishing home repair projects and watching Netflix (read: Tiger King) are common ‘shelter in place’ pursuits. I am also hearing people talk about noticing new things about their street, neighborhood and city. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, most of these people didn’t fully (consciously or critically) connect their lived experience to the built and natural environment around them.

All of sudden, parks are being rediscovered, public art is being appreciated and watching the sunset is a must-do activity.

I also find it life-affirming to see the sense of belonging and community being nurtured virtually.  NeighborUp’s gatherings like Marketplace, Community of Practice and Community Conversations are now virtual. This proves that we humans are social animals. From drum signals and smoke signals to TikTok and Zoom meetups, our need to share and connect is an enduring feature of the human species, regardless of platform and time.

So, what is your self-care practice? Where do you go for sanity walks? How are you staying socially connected while maintaining physical distance?

Join us Tuesday, May 12, at 6 p.m., for an interactive Community Conversation with Neighborhood Connections about public space use and staying connected digitally during COVID-19. 

Get some ideas. Share some ideas. You’ll also hear from subject-matter experts, including Stephen Love, Program Officer, Environment at the Cleveland Foundation, David Wilson from LAND Studio, and Adam King with DigitalC.

Join us:

May 12, 6 p.m.

NeighborUp and community members discuss how they are using public space and getting digitally connected during COVID-19. Hear from subject-matter experts and imagine how we want these spaces to function going forward.

Moderated by Bianca Butts and Kaela Geschke

Contact Nelson Bedford at for registration information.