Dr Digby WhyteDr Digby Whyte, CEO

The last two months have seen World Urban Parks develop a stronger platform and sense of direction.

Our newly elected Board has approved a new structure to drive four portfolios of activity, and the organisation has been on show, not only by partnering at the World and Europe Region World Urban Parks congresses and supporting the major Ifla Americas-URBIO and Habitat III conferences, but also globally in advocating for the world’s urban parks.

As you will see in this edition of World Park News, we are also developing formal alliances with related organisations who share our interest in looking towards sustainable development and an improved connection between people and nature in our urban and peri-urban areas.

These relationships represent great potential, but it is important we work to create solid, meaningful connections. This is made possible through our activity portfolios.

Four new committees for Children and Nature, Aging and Parks, Healthy Parks Healthy Cities, and Green Infrastructure are in the process of being formed as part of our Advocacy Portfolio, also responsible for key service committees including the existing Large Urban Parks and Knowledge and Standards Committee.

Read more: Creating meaningful connections

World Urban Parks FBSince its mid-August launch World Urban Parks Facebook has been buzzing, with a consistent World Urban Parks presence integrated across social media platforms Twitter (@WUParks) and the WUP LinkedIn group site.

This development is the work of Jenn Halliday, building on the efforts of Dr Anna Steidle and the success of the WUP Europe Region Facebook page.  The sites allow more immediate sharing of news and activity and you are encouraged to contribute! We are also looking at creating an interactive member site as a 'market place' for sharing policies, solutions to issues, organising secondments etc. The aim is to have all levels of organisations engaged.

For an info-graphic report on WUP social media, including global reach and most popular items click here. If you have not had a chance to check out World Urban Parks' social media accounts, you can find them at:


World Urban Parks side event at United Nations Habitat III, Quito, EquadorThe World Urban Parks Large Urban Parks Committee (and Network) held a successful side event at the UN Habitat III Conference in Quito on 17 October 2016, titled Large Green Spaces and Urban Forests, Key Public Infrastructure for Equitable, Healthy and Sustainable Cities. This event was presented in collaboration with the Italian Society of Silviculture and Forest Ecology (SISEF).

Large Urban Parks Committee Co-Chair Dr Richard Murray congratulated Patricia O'Donnell for leading the event, and the panellists for their contributions, noting the side event was the best-attended side event of that day of the programme.

Together with a successful Habitat III side event held in Barcelona earlier this year, this event highlighted the value of large urban parks and raised the profile or World Urban Parks, as well as developing relationships with allied organisations.

A short debrief from Simone Borelli of the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation follows:

Read more: World Urban Parks Habitat III event a success

A memorandum at AR-URBIOWorld Urban Parks contributed to a panel at the International Federation of Landscape Architects (IFLA) Americas Region and Americas Region-URBIO partnered Conference in Panama City, Panama on 27 October 2016.

Titled The Roles and Values of an Urban Parks System, the panel shared vital knowledge on how parks improve property values, healthy active living, and vibrant liveable communities.

The panel was an outcome of the development of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) of mutual support between World Urban Parks and IFLA as two allied professional organisations. The MOU was signed at the conference closing ceremony by World Urban Parks Chair Gil Penalosa and IFLA Americas President Raquel Penalosa on behalf of IFLA President Kathryn Moore.

The panel was coordinated by World Urban Parks Americas Region Co-Chair Martha Fajardo, and included Gil Penalosa and member David Ellis as well as URBIO President Professor Haripriya Gundimeda. For more information see the panel outline.

Pictured: Martha Fajardo, (left) Gil Penalosa (centre) and Raquel Penalosa (right)

5th Biodiversity SummitWorld Urban Parks is working to develop a cooperative Memorandum of Understanding with the International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives (ICLEI) – Local Governments for Sustainability in the leadup to the 5th Global Biodiversity Summit of Cities and Subnational Governments.

The Summit will be held in Cancun, Mexico from 9-11 December 2016. ICLEI is a summit supporter, and the goal is to formally sign the memorandum at this event.

ICLEI is a leading global network of more than 1,500 cities, towns and regions committed to building a sustainable future through low-carbon, resilient, eco-mobile, bio-diverse, resource-efficient and productive, healthy and happy cities with a green economy and smart infrastructure.

Read more: Connecting with local government for biodiversity

Children & Nature NetworkWorld Urban Parks is in the process of developing a Children and Nature Standing Committee, and is considering a co-operative Memorandum of Understanding with the Children & Nature Network in the lead-up to their Vancouver conference in April 2017.

This activity would include supporting their 2017 International Conference with speakers for a parks-focussed session relating to the role and capacity of public parks in providing children with access to nature.

The Children & Nature Network is a non-profit organization, founded by Richard Louv (author of Last Child in the Woods) and others, whose mission is to fuel the worldwide grassroots movement to reconnect children with nature.

Read more: Connecting with the Children & Nature Network

Reports on green spaces releasedThree reports on the benefits of urban green spaces and forestry have recently been released. The findings of these reports summarise the evidence for health benefits, climate change mitigation, food security and biodiversity, amongst other factors:

Human biodiversitySelected by the World Urban Parks Applied Research Working Group

This month's recommended research articles from around the world comprise a study of the value of park biodiversity for citizen foraging activities in Berlin and a study of how equitable green space was distributed across socio-economic groups in Shanghai (with a potentially surprising result).

Read more: Recommended research articles

IPRSInstitute of Parks and Recreation Singapore (IPRS)

IPRS is Singapore's professional association for the conservation and enhancement of the country’s parks and other recreational facilities. The Institute has a diverse membership of landscape architects, architects, landscape designers, engineers, park managers, landscape contractors, landscape suppliers and growers, arborists, administrators, artists, photographers, authors and parks users.

Originally formed in 1979 the Institute provides professional networking and development and promotes environmental responsibility from reforestation to recycling, native planting, cycling and green buildings. The institute maintains a newsletter' Parknews, and organises conferences (such as the 2014 Green Buildings, Parks and Stormwater Management), forums (such as the Cycling Forum), technical tours, events and fundraising.

Read more: Introducing our national associations

IPRS ConferenceSingapore | POSTPONED

The IPRS International Greenery, Parks and Recreation Events and Conference 2016 has been postponed to 2017 with a new date to be advised. The Institute was concerned that the short development and promotion time frame should be extended to ensure quality and viability.

World Urban Parks CongressesDr Digby Whyte, CEO
September and October are fast approaching, and registrations are now open for the World Urban Parks World and Europe Region Congresses.

Our World Urban Parks Congress is hosted this year by the Institute of Environment and Recreation Management in Cape Town, South Africa from 26-28 September. We will host a World Urban Parks pre-congress afternoon on Sunday 25 September for our board, committees, national associations and members to meet and get to know each other before the start of the Congress. The annual AGM will have been held online earlier in the month, but this can also be a time for members to discuss any aspect.

Our Europe Region Congress follows hot on the heels of the World Congress, and will be hosted by Hortis in Albi, France from 5-7 October. Again, there will be pre-congress meetings on the afternoon of Tuesday 4 October, with delegates and participants invited to get to know each other before the start of the congress.

The World and Region Congresses are highlights of the World Urban Parks calendar and provide a unique and valuable opportunity for members and other interested organisations and professionals to meet and experience a balance of topical international and national presentations and workshops on common issues, together with technical tours and case studies of the host city.

The congresses are hosted by national associations who are members of World Urban Parks and the programme provides professional and social opportunities to develop collegial networks that support professional practice. The congresses will include gala dinners, awards, and trade exhibitions. I invite you to come and enjoy the culture of the host countries and the chance to meet and work with your ‘internet colleagues’ face to face.

Greater & Greener 2017Minneapolis and St. Paul, USA | 29 July - 2 August 2017
Early bird registrations have opened for Greater & Greener, the two-yearly conference of the City Parks Alliance.

World Urban Parks will co-present a day-long International Forum on 2 August 2017 with a series of interactive presentations and discussions about approaches that cities across the world are taking to create healthy, sustainable, and resilient green systems.

World Urban Parks members are also eligible for a special conference rate.

Read more: Event: Greater & Greener 2017

World Urban Parks and IERM congress venueCape Town, South Africa | 26-28 September 2016

Registrations are now open for the World Urban Parks Congress, held in conjunction with the Institute of Environment and Recreation Management Annual Convention.

'Early Bird' rates are available up to 1 August 2016. To register and to select accommodation visit the Congress website. The Congress Programme is also now available.

Themed "People and Green Space - A Celebration of Diversity" there will be a huge variety of ideas on offer, with over 65 presenters from hosts South Africa and 15 other countries. All World Urban Parks members are also invited to a pre-congress meeting on the afternoon of Sunday 25 September – a great opportunity to get to know each other before the start of the congress, discuss any aspects of the AGM and meet face to face.

Register now>>