Peter Verdyck, Belgium

The 135 hectare Rivierenhof was the first public provincial park in Belgium. Its origins reach back into the 16th century, when it was a private country domain. 

In the following years it had several owners, including a well-known local family of bankers, who owned it from 1776 to 1920, whilst the preceding owners were Jesuits (they held it from 1618 to 1773).

The province of Antwerp purchased Rivierenhof in 1921 to protect it from a housing development project, and turned it into a public park in 1923, which is still its current purpose.

Read more: Parks of the World: Rivierenhof, Antwerp

The joint Hortis and World Urban Parks Europe Region Congress, to be held from 5-7 October 2016 in Albi, has issued a call for abstracts closing on 15 March 2016. 

This bilingual congress has a focus theme of ‘Green heritage and green infrastructure: evolution or revolution in the society’.

For more information on this event and its themes, please read the call for abstracts (English | French).

Submit a congress abstract>>

Live online webinars are currently scheduled through May 2016 on the World Parks Academy training calendar.

Each month in 2016, the World Parks Academy will offer a short (1-2 hour) webinar covering one of the competencies requiring certification. All programs are free and eligible for continuing education unit credits at registration. 

For more information on the webinars, including links to register, see below.

Read more: World Parks Academy offers free 2016 webinars

The World Parks Academy is collaborating with the Institute of Environment and Recreation Management in South Africa to deliver a version of Certified Parks Professional accreditation catered to South African national standards.

World Parks Academy accreditation as a Certified Parks Professional or Certified International Parks Professional offers international recognition of qualifications and experience for professionals working in parks and open spaces. 

For more information, visit the World Parks Academy website>>

World Urban Parks Vice Chair Neil McCarthy recently attended round table talks with the Parks Alliance, sharing an overview of the international scene, and discussing the challenges of leadership and funding for parks and open spaces, including budget cuts in the face of an increasing body of knowledge supporting the value of parks. 

Mr McCarthy’s discussion is summarised in an article by Kate Swade, Development Manager of UK not-for-profit Shared Assets.

Read the article online>> 

The value of green space has been recognised in Sporting Future: A New Strategy for an Active Nation, a new United Kingdom Government sport strategy focusing on the benefits of sport to the public.

Horticulture Week recently interviewed Parks Alliance Chair Mark Camley to discuss the changes and the key role parks have in promoting physical activity across the United Kingdom.

Read the article>> 

Read the strategy>> 

Makoto Aruji, President, World Urban Parks Japan

It is with great sadness that I have to inform you that Ms. Masako Muraoka, Director of Life Landscape Planning, a professional member of World Urban Parks and CIPP holder, passed away on November 21, 2015. She was 65. 

She was an excellent landscape architect and a warm person, and has played important roles in landscape industry in Japan.

Fondly admired and loved by her peers, Masako will be sorely missed. Our heartfelt sympathies go to the rest of her family. 

Sayonara Masako.

Over the next few months we will introduce many of the national association members of World Urban Parks. National associations advance the industry through knowledge exchange and professional development, and it is a key role of World Urban Parks to act as an umbrella association that unites and supports them. 

City Parks Alliance is the only independent, nationwide membership organization in the United States of America solely dedicated to urban parks. City Parks Alliance unites and serves a growing network of hundreds of civic and community leaders, city officials, funders, park and recreation authorities and others concerned with urban parks from nearly every state and the District of Columbia.

Read more: Introducing our national associations: City Parks Alliance

Titled A Guide to the Healthy Parks Healthy People Approach and Current Practices, this free guide covers park management approaches, current international practices and projects, as well as the latest research in this area.

Resulting from the ‘Improving Health and Well-Being: Healthy Parks Healthy People’ stream at the International Union for the Conservation of Nature’s 2014 World Parks Congress in Sydney, this guide can be used to explore the diverse health benefits of parks and encourage people and organisations to use parks as a place where people can connect with nature and enjoy the benefits.

Read the guide>>

 

A special edition of the Hortis magazine de Ville en Ville has been produced, focusing on the presentations and discussions at the recent Hortis congress in Marseille.

Please note, this is a French language publication.

Read the magazine>>

The National Recreation and Park Association has produced research on the economic impact of local parks, and illustrating the economic value of parks and green spaces as "engines of economic activity in their communities".

Read the report>>

 

The City of Boulder’s Parks and Recreation department and Youth Opportunities advisory board asked teens what features they would want to see in city parks, resulting in a top 10 list of the features consistently asked for. 

This list included features such as Wi-Fi, nature and music, and examples such as a park designed for and used by teens in Malmö, Sweden, where music was an integral feature. 

Read the article here>>

This study from the June 2015 issue of Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability presents “an analysis of benefits of ecosystem services in urban areas”, including estimates of monetary benefits from urban ecosystem services based on data from 25 urban areas in the USA, Canada, and China.

The results of this study show that investing in ecological infrastructure is desirable not only ecologically and socially, but also economically, even based on the most traditional economic approaches.

Read the study online>> 

 

Gartenjahr 2016 – space for encounters is a Switzerland-wide campaign for the summer of 2016, committed to the preservation and development of open spaces and gardens. 

This advocacy campaign draws attention to the central importance of parks and gardens to the quality of life in urban spaces including a calendar of events across Switzerland, taking place from April to October 2016.

Examples of initiatives include Offene Gärten days in which five national horticultural associations open the gates of their gardens to share knowledge with the public and other professionals, and Rapperswiler Tag on 11 March, which looks to enhance meaningful contact in public spaces. 

Visit the Gartenjahr 2016 website>>