The ninth Public Parks and Gardens conference will be held in Helsingborg, Sweden on 13 April 2016. 

This year’s conference has the theme “Interactive parks and spaces” – to engage citizens in the implementation of park and arts experiences in public environment.

One of the feature presentations will focus on the spectacular Gardens by the Bay project in Singapore. All lectures for this event will be presented in English.

For more information, read the event flyer>> 

To register, visit the event website>> 

This article reproduces an item from the Asociación Española de Parques y Jardines Públicos publication PARJAP that was published in December. The article discusses the concept of ‘Naturation Urbana’ (Urban Naturation) – how including ideas such as green corridors, green building façades, and urban microclimates in urban planning can help improve the sustainability of urban areas.

This article is available in its original language to ensure it retains its original meaning. If you would like to read a translated version, you may wish to use an online translation tool such as Google Translate.

Read more: Article: Naturación urbana y jardinería vertical: de las fachadas verdes a los muros vegetales

Gil PenalosaGil Penalosa, Canada, Chair of the Board of Directors

It is hard to believe that it has already been eight months since the launch of World Urban Parks.

As Chair I would like to extend a big thank you to all of our members for your high level of engagement during this exciting building phase of World Urban Parks. It has been a pleasure to be part of such an enthusiastic and knowledgeable team of city park leaders and professionals.

In only a short amount of time we have been able to accomplish a lot.  Here is a re-cap of some of our accomplishments in 2015:

•    World Urban Parks “goes live” in April 2015 transferring members from IFPRA, and International Urban Park and Green Space Alliance.
•    First World Urban Parks Congress held in Ponte de Lima Portugal in May 2015 with approximately 200 attendees.
•    World Urban Parks governance structure approved and international Board appointed
•    Key communication and branding complete with logo, website, monthly news and social media presence.

Read more: Looking back so we can look ahead

Cape TownThe second World Urban Parks Congress will be held from 26-28 September 2016 in Cape Town, South Africa in partnership with the Institute for Environment and Recreation Management (IERM). The Institute represents about 60 of the largest parks departments in South Africa.

The three-day congress will include technical tours, presentations and workshops, a trade show and time for World Urban Parks Board and committee meetings.

Read more: World Urban Parks Congress 2016 announced

Dr Digby Whyte, World Urban Parks CEO, Australia
Martha Fajardo

The full World Urban Parks Board met on 3 December and welcomed new Board Director Martha Fajardo of Colombia, a former President of the International Federation of Landscape Architects (IFLA), bringing a formal connection between IFLA and World Urban Parks. Martha was appointed a Co-Chair of the World Urban Parks Americas Region with an extra focus on engaging South America.

Gil Penalosa (Chair of World Urban Parks) and Richard Murray (President of Ekoparken) were appointed Co-Chairs of the Large Urban Parks Executive Committee. The Board reviewed the business plan and noted the 2015/16 priority was building World Urban Parks membership, particularly via Region and Committee activity and via the website

Read more: World Urban Parks Board and committee update

Millennium Park, ChicagoThis and the next two articles profile three large urban parks from the USA, Sweden and Australia to highlight the creation of the Large Urban Parks network and committee in World Urban Parks. Organisations and individuals interested in becoming part of this new initiative are welcome to contact World Urban Parks CEO Dr Digby Whyte at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Millennium Park in Chicago, Illinois, is introduced below from the perspective of the Millennium Park Quadruple Net Value Report (2011), produced by Texas A&M University and DePaul University. The report assessed the significant social/cultural, economic, environmental, and sensory return on investment of the park to the City of Chicago.

The park, which is a former rail yard, parking lot and strip of green space, was conceptualised by former Mayor Richard M. Daley as an asset that would transform Chicago; one that would encompass art, music, and public space, becoming the world’s largest green roof (over a parking garage). The $USD 490 million park of 24.5 acres was designed by Frank Gehry, funded half by the city and half by private donors, and opened in 2004.

The park now comprises a series of pavilions, one fronting a great lawn; promenades, outdoor galleries, and distinctive gardens, fountain, monument, cloud gate and serpentine bridge connecting 319 acre Grant Park. It is located beside the Art Institute of Chicago and Tourism, Visitor Information and Cultural Centres and contains a theatre for music and dance, restaurant and a Cycle Centre.

The report describes Millennium Park as an example of real estate value creation through proper conceptualization, design, delivery and management in creating a cultural centre of Chicago, with 5 million visits per year, and an internationally recognized symbol of the city.

Read more: Parks of the World: Millennium Park, Chicago, USA

Dr Richard Murray, Sweden, Large Urban Parks Executive Committee Co-Chair
The Royal National City Park is situated partly in the communities of Stockholm, Solna and Lidingö. The park was founded in 1995, and offers a unique mixture of nature and culture.

Because it is located right in the middle of the metropolitan area of Stockholm it is extremely valuable for the recreation opportunities it offers to thousands of city residents. This item offers some facts about this fascinating park, as well as a brief history.

Read more: Parks of the World: The Royal National City Park, Stockholm, Sweden

Albert ParkAlbert Park is one of Melbourne’s iconic parks. It is located about three kilometres from the Melbourne CBD and is some 225 hectares in area comprising notable sporting grounds, stadia, a golf course and a series of structured and unstructured recreation areas around a centrally located lake.

Albert Park is one of the most popular parks in Victoria, receiving over six million visits per year and performing a critical role both regionally and locally as a destination for formal and informal recreation. While the park serves a critical local role, it is also an important regional destination forming part of a suite of major open space areas, informally known as ‘green lungs’ that encircle central Melbourne.

Read more: Parks of the World: Albert Park, Melbourne, Australia

NZRA National Conference 2015Parks were centre-stage at the New Zealand Recreation Association (NZRA) National Conference, held at Te Papa Tongarewa – the Museum of New Zealand in New Zealand’s capital city Wellington from 18-20 November.

International keynote speakers featured Michael Kirschman, Deputy Director of the NRPA Gold Award Winning Mecklenburg County Parks and Recreation Department in North Carolina, who spoke on the benefits of recreation experiences and shared research illustrating the value of open spaces.

CEO of Australian leisure consultancy Belgravia Leisure Nick Cox discussed how to avoid a ‘one size fails all’ approach when providing recreation experiences, while renowned landscape architect Thomas Woltz, Principal Landscape Architect of New York/Virginia firm Nelson Byrd Woltz gave a presentation on ‘new parks in a new world’.

World Urban Parks Directors Jenn Halliday and Chris Rutherford were also present at the conference, which attracted over 300 delegates, and featured over 40 speakers in its two days of presentations in addition to trade exhibits and field studies of successful recreation projects in the Wellington region.

World Urban Parks CEO Dr Digby Whyte also presented the benefits of World Urban Parks to over 40 delegates, including the recently appointed Parks and Leisure Australia President Kristen Jackson.

Read more: NZRA National Conference Report

Emanuel TruebThis article reproduces an item from Swiss magazine dergartenbau 23/2015, published in November. The article includes an interview between dergartenbau reporter Monika Jäggi and World Urban Parks Vice-Chair Emanuel Trueb, providing insight into the creation of World Urban Parks.

This article is available in its original language to ensure it retains its original meaning. If you would like to read a translated version, you may wish to use an online translation tool such as Google Translate.

Read more: Article: Für lebenswerte Stadtlandschaften New Zealand Recreation Association recently interviewed renowned landscape architect Thomas Woltz, named Wall Street Journal Design Innovator of the Year in 2013.

Mr Woltz is Principal Landscape Architect of Nelson Byrd Woltz, an American firm renowned for sustainable urban park masterplans such as Houston’s Memorial Park, Hudson Yards Plaza in New York, and Cornwall Park in Auckland, New Zealand. In the interview, Mr Woltz discusses his firm’s design methodology, and the relationship between sustainable design and public parks.

Explore how parks can build sustainability into their designs in this interview with one of landscape architecture's leading lights>>

Australasian Parks WeekWorld Urban Parks is backing the revival of the Australia and New Zealand Parks Week, a series of events and activities that will run from 5-13 March 2016.

This event is run in partnership by the New Zealand Recreation Association and Parks and Leisure Australia, and features engaging events to raise awareness on the value of parks and open spaces, and to get people out of their living rooms and enjoying the outdoors.

Acclaimed British filmmaker David Bond of The Wild Network will support the event in New Zealand, and a dedicated website,, will be launched next week. The website will feature resources and information to support promotion and a list of Parks Week supporters, as well as events and activities across Australia and New Zealand that celebrate the importance of parks.

A Smart InvestmentThe City Parks Alliance has recently released A Smart Investment for America’s Health: The Land and Water Conservation Fund, a report that provides an overview of the physical, mental and environmental health benefits provided by urban parks, and highlights the important role the LWCF plays in supporting strong, healthy communities across America.

This report provides an excellent breakdown of the health and economic benefits of urban parks, and the role of parks in combating chronic lifestyle diseases such as obesity, heart disease and diabetes.
The NRPA report The Economic Impact of Local Parks is also of value, detailing the economic benefits of parks across the USA.

Annual Indicators ReportWorld Urban Parks Annual Indicators is a tool for park managers to easily collect and share core information about their parks, allowing them to view comparative information across the globe.
The 2015 World Urban Parks Annual Indicators Report is currently being compiled with data from Yardstick participating organisations in New Zealand, Canada, Australia, South Africa, Denmark and Finland.

All parks agencies are invited to join this project, which World Urban Parks considers a key project to drive global information sharing and innovation.

To obtain this up-to-the-minute data on international urban parks provision and management you can This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. now for only $USD 380, which provides the 2015 report and inclusion of an organisation in the 2016 survey.

Read more: 2015 Annual Indicators Report coming soon

Irish Landscape Institute Awards 2015The winners of the Irish Landscape Institute Landscape Awards 2015 were announced on 15 October at a reception in the Irish Architectural Archive, Merrion Square, Dublin City Centre.

The ILI Landscape Awards give recognition to exemplary landscape projects, and celebrate the contribution of landscape architects to the public good. This year, a superb collection of projects was entered across eight categories, demonstrating the scope and skills of Irish Landscape Institute members within a range of practice sectors.

View the list of winners on the ILI website>>

Dr Digby Whyte, World Urban Parks CEO, Australia
Dr Digby WhyteA jump in World Urban Parks member activity occurred over October and early November 2015 with meetings of the Executive, Europe Region,  Asia-Pacific Region, and Americas Region Committees, and the Knowledge and Standards Committee (see report below).

Upcoming meetings include the Large Urban Parks Committee meeting scheduled for 12 November, Finance and Audit Committee meeting on 13 November, and a full Board meeting scheduled for the first week of December.

This period also saw two member association conferences. Hortis held its Congress in Marseille and Parks and Leisure Australia held its National Conference in Sydney (see congress reports in this issue).

Read more: Committee activity takes off