Gil Penalosa, World Urban Parks ChairGil Penalosa, World Urban Parks Chair
It has been a year of growth for World Urban Parks. After collecting your feedback on some of your most pressing challenges facing urban park management, planning, and advocacy we have refreshed and expanded our portfolios and committees. We have also forged new strategic partnerships, and expanded our membership.

Parks have the power to address some of our most important global challenges. As advocates and park professionals we know this, but parks are still under threat. Our committees should reflect the wide-ranging benefits of parks to everyone, young, and old, rich or poor, in developed countries and developed countries.

We have identified four new focus areas and committees that will help strengthen World Urban Parks as an organisation and meet both our short and long term organisational objectives. Our new committees include Parks and Older Adults; Children, Play, and Nature;  Healthy Parks, Healthy Cities; and Green Infrastructure.

We need your participation and advice! We are looking for strong leaders to chair and co-chair these new committees. We encourage organizational members to open the opportunity for your staff to get involved in committees, based on their relevant experience or interest. Make sure the benefits and services of World Urban Parks go beyond the one contact person. Share our newsletter in social media as well as with staff, encourage colleagues to be members of committees, the new ones as well as the established ones like Large Urban Parks, Membership, Marketing and others.

The executive committee has also been hard at work formalising partnerships such as recently signing Memorandums of Understanding with the International Federation of Landscape Architects and International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives (ICLEI).

Lastly, our membership is increasing due to the commitment of a few very enthusiastic champions, but we need more of you involved in the process. A big thank you to those that have invited organisations to become members and a call to action to all others. We are a member based organisation, and our success in networking, knowledge sharing, influencing the conversation on parks and city building, as well as financial strength, depends on maintaining current members and attracting new ones. Everyone’s help is much appreciated.

I wish everyone and your families a great holiday season and all the best in 2017.