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

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

Parks MontageIn a recent interview with the Washington Post, famed US biologist E.O. Wilson spoke of an innate tendency in humans to be in natural environments. What he described was something like a primal instinct, a yearning for environments that resemble those from where we evolved.

With increased urbanisation, it is crucial then that people can continue to have access to parks, and that towns and cities remain green. This is always going to be a challenge, relying as it does on the priorities set out by urban planners.

Nature is good for us. Hardly a day goes by without a new study pointing to the fact that spending time in natural settings has physical and psychological benefits. Nature helps us relax. It takes us out of ourselves and forces us to slow down, to take a step back from our busy lives.

Read more: How parks help us stay close to nature

Jon PapeThe first meeting of the World Urban Parks Knowledge and Standards Committee was held on 28 October by internet and chaired by Jon Pape of the City of Copenhagen.

As a result, four new working parties, including the development of a World Urban Parks Think Tank of leading academics and practitioners to support advocacy, will be formed to deliver on priorities identified by the Knowledge and Standards Committee.

Read more: Knowledge and Standards Committee update

NZRA Chief Executive Andrew LeslieIn a recent interview with public service broadcaster Radio New Zealand, New Zealand Recreation Association Chief Executive Andrew Leslie used benchmarking data from Yardstick to provide a balanced discussion of sustainable public funding and pressure points for urban green spaces across New Zealand, as well as inspire national discussion of the issues affecting parks.

This 15 minute radio interview with Association of International Broadcasters International Radio Personality of the Year 2015 Kathryn Ryan is an example of advocacy for parks, supported with the credibility of Yardstick’s benchmarking information drawn from the many Councils using Yardstick across New Zealand.

World Urban Parks endorses Yardstick benchmarking as a high-quality tool for providing impartial data, and these long-term comparative trends can provide vital information to support advocacy for parks around the world, help parks agencies identify, plan and improve their strategic goals and direction, or identify service improvements or efficiencies.
To find out more about Yardstick benchmarking services, visit the Yardstick Global website>>