Dr Digby Whyte, CEO World Urban Parks
The first World Urban Parks Congress was held in Ponte de Lima, Portugal from 26-30 May in partnership with the Spanish Association for Parks and Gardens and the Ponte de Lima Municipality. The Congress involved 200 participants, with over 45 speakers from around the world. The venue was the Expolima conference centre and show grounds that included a Green Spaces fair. The conference was timed to include the 11th International Garden Festival of Ponte de Lima.
Although the congress organisation involved an Honorary Committee, Executive Committee and Scientific Committee, the three people closely involved in ensuring an effective World Urban Parks Congress were Dr Christy Boylan (Secretary Europe Region), Manuel Sousa (Portugal Commissioner) and Alexandra Esteves, Chief of Cabinet to the Mayor of Ponte de Lima Municipality.
There were 52 World Urban Parks members at the congress, with Emanuel Trueb undertaking many official duties as Interim Chair for the full Congress, including Chairing Commissioner, Board, and General Assembly meetings, Congress opening and closing speeches, dinner host and leading an official tree planting.
Steve Wolter and Chris Rutherford led the Workshop, Dr Anna Steidle and Dr Christy Boylan lead the Europe Region Meeting, Dr Christy Boylan moderated day 2 of the Congress, Steve Wolter and myself were keynote speakers, and Emanuel Maphorogo, Stephen Comben, Bradley Burger, Sissel Lerum, Toshikazu Uesugi, Takumi Hoskawa, Sten Goransson, Goran Nilsson, Kevin Halpenny, Nor Akmark Abdul Aziz, Etsuko Takahashi, and Kenzo Oguchi all presented.
The Congress was structured around a dedicated World Urban Parks workshop and meeting day on 25 May, A pre-congress tour and opening on 26 May, The congress with a theme each day from 27-29 May and a post-congress tour on 30 May.