Dr Digby Whyte, World Urban Parks CEO
World Urban Parks has four goals. These are to improve the quality of life for citizens by establishing strong parks networks, to improve the skills and knowledge of parks professionals through providing strong professional networks that connect colleagues around the world, to ensure the benefits of parks, open space and recreation are well understood by governments, and to act as a global voice for the sector, and the world's national associations.

Our initiatives to achieve these goals are driven by members who work together in standing committees, regional committees and working parties. These groups are accessible at all levels of an organisation, thanks to internet meetings where you can see international colleagues, make presentations and share material.

Standing committees and their working parties will now be complemented by roundtables of 4-10 colleagues who meet by internet over a common issue. One of the first roundtable meetings this year will include several World Urban Parks national association members who will meet to discuss avenues to strengthen income and increase funding diversity.

Please feel free to suggest key issues you'd like discussed, or raise them on the World Urban Parks professional group on LinkedIn. Members can also use the LinkedIn group’s member database to contact colleagues directly on topics of interest.

For those with an interest in events, our Region Committees are developing a range of activities, including region congresses where members are in demand to present, or participate, as well as technical tours, and even helping professionals develop national associations in countries where they don't exist.

Do consider participating in a standing committee. If you or anyone you know would like to contribute, simply contact the committee chairs (details available on our Committees webpage), or contact me directly at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., and I will be happy to assist.

Read more: Working together to achieve our goals

World Parks Week 2017World Parks Week takes place from 29 April to 7 May. It's a great opportunity to communicate the importance the world's parks, encouraging people to enjoy their local park and appreciate the importance of green space.

We will help you to showcase your amazing events, and are hosting a World Parks Week webpage. We have also created downloadable logos for your events, so if you have an exisiting event between 29 April and 7 May, please feel free to fly the World Parks Week banner and let us know the details.

Visit the World Parks Week webpage to submit your events and for more details>>

Our 2017 Europe Region Congress will be held at Birkenhead Park in October 2017 in partnership with Wirral Council in the United Kingdom. The call for abstracts has been extended until 17 April, so if you would like to make a presentation, please submit a short abstract (300 words) of your proposal to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. before this date.

Pre-congress tours and workshops are planned to start on 14 October, with the congress officially held from 17-19 October. Post-congress tours will also feature.

The International Greenery, Recreation, Infrastructure and Parks Conference in Singapore has been upgraded to be a World Urban Parks Asia Pacific Region Congress, and is scheduled for 6-10 June 2017.

Held at the Marina Bay Sands Convention Centre with its striking roof park, this conference was postponed from November 2016 to allow greater planning and promotion time.

Pre-event activities will begin on 6 June, feature a seminar, masterclass and World Urban Parks region meeting, while the conference itself takes place on 7-8 June. Optional technical and cycling tours will feature on 9 and 10 June.

If you would like information on this event click here. To register your interest in attending, or are interested in presenting at the conference, please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Those keeping up with World Urban Parks social media may have noticed a change in our Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn posts. Sandra Murillo-Morales, a landscape and urban designer based on Toronto, Canada, has taken over from Jenn Halliday as the social media coordinator.

We are indebted to Jenn, based in Christchurch, New Zealand, who was responsible for setting up our Facebook account, developing and integrating our social media efforts, and coordinating posts from August 2016 through to January 2017.

We are always interested in your news, activity or events - so please keep Sandra informed via social media messaging, or at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

If you would like to know a little more about Sandra, she was trained as an architect in Colombia. Her keen interest in sustainable urban planning led her to achieve a Bachelor in Land Planning/Environmental Design degree, and a Masters of Environment and Sustainability degree in Canada.

She has experience in the public and private sector working in parks planning and design, landscape master planning, and urban design and planning. She believes that urban park systems are fundamental infrastructure, necessary to ensure ecologically and socially equitable city planning.

Selected by the World Urban Parks Applied Research Working Group
This month's recommended research articles feature a study on reducing the impact of urban parks on allergy sufferers by assessing 26 green areas in 24 Spanish cities, and a paper exploring how urban green spaces and cultural ecosystem services are perceived in the city of Berlin.

Read more: Recommended research articles

Salzburg, Austria | 18-22 March 2017
Held at Hotel Schloss Leopoldskron in Salzburg, 'The Child in the City: Health, Parks and Play' programme has been updated to feature author of Last Child in the Woods Richard Louv as a guest speaker, as well as resources from the IUCN, City Parks Alliance and resolutions from the United Nations Habitat III conference.

World Urban Parks is partnering for this important forum, and Co-chair of the World Urban Parks Children, Play and Nature Committee Amanda O'Rourke will present at the event.

For more information or to register, visit the event website>>

Greater & Greener is the two-yearly conference of the City Parks Alliance, expected to attract over 1,000 participants. Early bird registrations are open until 31 March, special rates apply for World Urban Parks members, and World Urban Parks is partnering with CPA to present a day-long International Forum at the event on 2 August.

Sessions on this day will include 'Healthy Parks Healthy Cities', 'River Revolution Cities', 'Large Parks in Cities', new concepts and discussion time. Opportunities for World Urban Parks members to meet or tour together are being planned.

The International Forum is expected to attract large cities, national parks services, non-government organisations, and academics. The topics and broader Greater and Greener Conference are ideal for World Urban Parks members and our commitment to partner for this event is in lieu of a 2017 World and Americas Region Congress.

Visit the Greater & Greener website for more information, or to register>>

Gil Penalosa, World Urban Parks Chair

Gil PenalosaThere is a famous quote “When you have more than you need, build a longer table, not a higher fence.” As Chair of World Urban Parks, I see a big part of my job as helping to build that 'longer table' and I hope that our members also feel that same sense of responsibility.

We have made tremendous gains as an organisation over the last two years, many have been highlighted in past newsletters. As we approach membership renewal I wanted to take this opportunity to write about why your support with World Urban Parks is so important and to also ask for your continued assistance in expanding our network, strengthening our capacity, and solidifying our influence on the world stage. We want your renewal as well as your help inviting others to join.

To put it simply, the world needs more parks. More places for people to meet as equals no matter their age, gender, ethnicity, religion, economic or social backgrounds. More green infrastructure to combat the acceleration of climate change. More healthy places that promote well being. The world also needs better parks. We have members from some of the most impressive parks and park systems from around the world, including most of the national park organisations, we all have so much to share and learn from each other.

I ask for your continued support on our lofty but doable mission to improve the quality of life for people by protecting, enhancing, and supporting our most precious urban parks.

Champion the world's parksDr Digby Whyte, World Urban Parks CEO

Welcome to the first edition of World Park News for 2017. I hope you are all feeling refreshed after some vacation time.

To start the year, I’d like to focus on some of the avenues for you to get involved, including events, committees and other initiatives.

As members, your involvement and support is vital to our organisation. Through working together, we can champion urban park outcomes for city liveability, place-making, conservation and access.

Four new standing committees have been formed, making nine standing and regional committees in total. These committees are a great way to connect with international colleagues and work together towards our common goals, and with upcoming meetings for many of their working parties to get the New Year underway, now is a good time to get involved.

Read more: Champion the world's parks in 2017

WirralWorld Urban Parks Europe Region is partnering with Wirral Council for the World Urban Parks Europe Congress at Birkenhead Park in October 2017. There will be three strands to the presentations: Community, Sustainability and Heritage in the management of public parks.

Expressions of interest to present at the congress are invited. An international panel will then select the papers to be presented. Please submit a short abstract (300 words) of your proposed presentation to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. by Monday 14 March. Opportunities to present posters will also be available.

Read more: Europe Region Congress 2017: call for abstracts

AlbiPresentations and the programme from the World Urban Parks Europe Region and Hortis Congress are now available online.

Hortis has also issued a special 88-page publication featuring columns from the Congress presenters as part of their magazine series.

The World Urban Parks Europe Region Congress was held from 5-7 October in partnership with French association for urban parks management Hortis and its annual congress. The venue was the Grand Theatre in the UNESCO World Heritage listed city of Albi, France.

John BrandenburgLong-serving member of World Urban Parks and its predecessor the International Federation of Parks and Recreation Administration (Ifpra) John Brandenburg passed away on 27 December 2016 in Sydney, Australia. Our thoughts are with his family, and many of his colleagues have reached out in remembrance.

John was held in very high regard as a World Urban Parks member and Ifpra Commissioner for Australia. He received the Ifpra Gold Medal at the 2013 Ifpra World Congress in Alberta, Canada for significant and dedicated service to furthering the values and ideas of the Ifpra vision. He was a major force in the development and sustainability of the IFPRA Asia-Pacific Region and its members, serving as the region's first Secretary for 16 years from 1992-2008 and editing the Asia-Pacific newsletter.

A more complete profile of John's career was produced following the presentation of the award.

Read more: Farewell to John Brandenburg

Report on pesticide useWorld Urban Parks Europe Region and Hortis collaborated on a report exploring regulatory and voluntary controls on pesticides in cities from 11 countries across Europe.

The report includes a short review of approach, policy and legislation from cities, in addition to data from parks benchmarking organisation Yardstick Global.

Planning is underway for this report to be translated into English and distributed in e-book format as part of a series of collaborative reports.

Read the report (French language)>>