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.

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.

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).

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.

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.

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>>

Europe CongressAlbi, France | 5-7 October 2016
Registrations are open for this exciting bilingual congress, which will explore the theme: ‘Green Heritage and Green Infrastructure: Evolution or Social Revolution?’.

The congress is held in partnership with French parks professional association Hortis in the French city of Albi, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Register at the event website and download the updated program, which includes symposium days, tours and site visits, workshops and conferences, pre-congress meetings and ‘master lectures’.

City parks and heritage areas have increasing social, cultural, environmental and economic relevance. Find out how these spaces will evolve to meet the needs of different European populations in the twenty-first century at the Europe Region Congress.

Register now>>

World Urban Parks CongressWorld Urban Parks media release, 30 September 2016

Leading parks professionals and parks agencies from around the world resolved to protect and enhance the world’s urban parks and green spaces in the face of looming global challenges at this week’s World Urban Parks and IERM Congress in South Africa.

The Congress included over 70 speakers from all corners of the globe.

World Urban Parks CEO Dr Digby Whyte said key issues facing society were addressed, including climate change, and how to mitigate the challenges posed by population growth and increasing urbanisation.

Dr Whyte said this is a challenging time for societies around the world, with the world population expected to grow from 7.5 billion currently to 9.7 billion in 2050. More than half of the world’s population currently lives in cities, and the majority of growth is anticipated in urban areas. Africa is expected to account for more than half of the growth, with the populations of 28 African countries expected to double over this time.

Urban parks play a vital role in overcoming these challenges, and increased awareness of their value from decision makers was “immensely important”, he said.

“Urban parks play a vital role in creating a sense of place and cultural identity. They provide opportunities for sport and recreation, health and well-being, community meeting places, social cohesion, biodiversity, environment and ecosystem services, forms of active transportation such as cycling and walking, and tourism and economic development.”

Sandrine ManussetSpeaker profile: Sandrine Manusset

At the Europe Region and Hortis Congress in Albi on 6 October, Sandrine Manusset will explore the Sociological approach of green areas in urban planning, taking into consideration biodiversity, health and societal expectations. She says the real difficulty is implementing recommendations for incorporating nature in the city, with today's socio-cultural context rather unfavourable to nature.

Distinguished Individual Award NomniationsWorld Urban Parks encourages and recognises significant contributions made by individuals to the urban parks, open space and recreation sector with this prestigious international award.

The Distinguished Individual Award recognises any organisation or individual associated with the parks, open space and recreation industry. Nominations for 2016 are now open until 22 August 2016. The award will be conferred at the Gala Dinner of the World Urban Parks Congress, Cape Town, South Africa, 27 September 2016. The recipient receives a trophy and Honorary Life Membership of World Urban Parks.

Magical Park AppAuckland and Wellington City Councils in New Zealand are piloting a new augmented reality game designed to get ‘tech children’ who are glued to their tablets and iPhones out of the house and into parks with their families.

Magical Park is the world's first digital playground app using augmented reality. It is geo-located in a specific park and so the app will only open in a designated park area. Auckland and Wellington's park sites have signs installed, instructing the visitor to download the app and play in the park.

This provides park managers with an innovative way to use technology to bring digital families to a park. Once outside, the magic of outdoor activity takes hold, and kids end up playing together, using their imagination and getting side-tracked from the game to doing other things.