Birkenhead Park, Wirral, UK | 14-19 October

Held at Birkenhead Park in partnership with Wirral Council, the congress coincides with the 170th anniversary celebrations of Birkenhead Park.

Pre-congress tours to Chatsworth House, Old Trafford Stadium and the Peaks District feature on 14-15 October, with the public opening of the Congress Opening Exhibition, trade and floral shows, award presentations and a World Urban Parks meeting on 16 October.

The full programme is available now, and congress presentations feature high-profile speakers from across the globe including Central Park CEO and President Doug Blonsky. Presentations will be held from 17-19 October 2017, with optional post-congress technical tours on 20 and 21 October.


To register, visit the World Urban Parks Europe Region Congress website>>

Halloween Fright Night

If you are wondering what to offer your community as an affordable Halloween experience this year - look no further.

Traditional playgrounds have a new and innovative cousin called “Magical Park”.  Magical Park is the world’s first digital playground aimed at getting tech loving kids aged 6-11 out into parks. This has been developed in 2016 by Geo AR Games in conjunction with councils in New Zealand. Magical Park (, can turn a city park into a fairy wonderland overnight and without any hardware installation.

Magical Park went viral across NZ and Australia during Parks Week in March 2017 with 24,000 people exploring digitally enhanced parks thanks to Magical Park. Since then new World Urban Parks member Geo AR Games team has worked with 85 councils across Australasia and has found uptake with the first councils and park trusts in the UK.


WUP is asking for interested parties in providing CEO services to submit a response to the Request for Proposal (RfP) for this important appointment.  This is an exciting international role to expand the impact, membership, alliances and resources of World Urban Parks.  We are seeking persons or an organisation with strong strategic, leadership, marketing, communications, resourcing and organisation development skills to lead the organisation.


Established two years ago World Urban Parks champions healthy, liveable, and sustainable cities and communities.  The organisation has developed conference, committee, certification and social media services and is poised for growth.


The WUP Board and Executive expect the future CEO will have a heavy focus on the development of the membership of WUP along with its public profile.  While the initial operating period has focussed on the establishment of WUP, the organisation is now in the position to take the next step in our evolution, with the focus needing to be on growth in terms of scope of services, membership (numbers) and revenue generated.  To this end, it is expected that the time commitment required may be initially up to 24 hours per week, with this potentially growing as the organisation grows.


While it is expected that predominantly individuals (either sole traders or within an existing organisation) may be interested in providing this service, the WUP Board continues to be interested in individuals or member organisations suggesting other possible service provision models. 


Those interested in providing a response should contact David Cochrane (Director and Vice-Chair of Governance) via email (at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) to obtain a copy of the Job Description/RfP.  Responses are required by 25 September 2017.


Dr David Cochrane

Vice Chair Governance


International Award

World 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 2017 are now open until 27 September 2017. The award will be conferred at the Congress Dinner and Awards Evening of the World Urban Parks Europe Region Congress at Birkenhead Park Wirral, UK on 19 October 2017. The recipient receives a trophy and Honorary Life Membership of World Urban Parks.

Click here for submissions, criteria, judging, dates, and more>>


World Urban Parks has been a hive of activity these last few weeks. The new World Urban Parks (WUP) Secretariat is now in place in Edmonton, Canada, and this edition introduces Ben Jonah and the assigned team from the Alberta Parks and Recreation Association that form the Secretariat. We have also been part of the planning and delivery of WUP-partnered conferences in Singapore and the USA, with short reports also featured in this edition. These events have provided an opportunity forWUP members to speak and share knowledge, and to support national associations. Planning continues for what is looking like a rich and exciting program at Wirral and Birkenhead Park in the UK in October 2017.


Partly in association with the conferences, there have been meetings of all three region committees as well as a number of other committees: Healthy Parks Healthy Cities, Older Adults and Parks, Children Play and Nature, the Large Urban Parks Advocacy and Events Working Group, the World Parks Academy Board, and the WUP Executive. The Academy has been actively supporting webinars, including bringing together our national associations, and developing professional certification with national associations; activities featured in this edition

Members have also been working on new awards and competitions- the new WUP Legacy Award recipient, Brian O'Neill was announced at the Greater and Greener Conference International Forum, the Europe Region Committee is designing a European Large Urban Parks Award for potential awarding at the Europe Region Conference, and another group of board directors are looking at a world-wide city competition for 2018.


The Alberta Recreation and Parks Association (ARPA) has successfully been awarded the contract of services for World Urban Parks secretariat responsibilities, beginning 1 August 2017. ARPA has over 60 years of not-for-profit public recreation and parks experience supporting professionals, organizations, corporations, and municipalities.

The secretariat role will be coordinated by Benjamin Jonah (WUP Secretariat Coordinator) in collaboration with assigned ARPA staff including, Bill Wells (Chief Executive Officer), Steve Allan (Director of Finance & Operations), Anna Holtby (Communications Coordinator), and Lori Simmonds (Administrative Coordinator). This brings together not-for-profit organization experience in operations, finance, membership administration, and event planning. Secretariat responsibilities will include membership and financial administration, communications, and board and CEO support.


The ARPA is excited to provide the secretariat to World Urban Parks for the next three years to assist WUP members and achieve WUP’s goals and objectives. For further inquiries please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Full contact information is at

The World Urban Parks Annual General Meeting (AGM) will be held online from 26-31 August 2017. The AGM will be held via electronic survey so that all members will have six days to participate at their convenience. 

A link to go online and fill out the AGM survey will beprovided.

The AGM will provide an opportunity for members to see and comment on:

  • the directors’ annual report for the 2016/17 year (the second year of operation for World Urban Parks)
  • the audited financial reports for the 2016/17 year
  • the statements of service performance for the 2016/17 year

Members will also:

  • approve the Auditor and Auditor's fee
  • have an opportunity to comment on services they want as members and make any general comments

Board directors were elected for three-year terms at the 2016 AGM. There are no elections at the AGM this year, however the board will appoint the Chair and Executive for 1-year terms.

A copy of the World Urban Parks Constitution and Rules is available on the website here.

Conference Presenters

Just over 200 people participated in the International Greenery,Recreation, Infrastructure and ParksConference, which also included a World Urban Parks Asia Pacific Region Congress. The event, held 17-20 July, 2017, was a partnership with the Institute of Parks and Recreation Singapore (IPRS). The Congress included a day long master-class focused on 'Parks of the World Best Practice and Management’ andatwo-day conference at the iconic Marina Bay Sands. World Urban Parks representatives came from ten countries with five keynotes and most others speaking. Martin Lambert and Mark Band of Parks and Leisure Australia facilitated the master class attended by about 100 people with additional contributions from the USA (Eric Moraczewski), South Africa (Emanuel Maphorogo), France (WUP director Elisabeth Fournier), Malaysia (WUP director Dr Noor AzlinYahya), and New Zealand (WUP CEO Dr Digby Whyte). The conference also featured WUP speakers from Japan (Dr Yukio Kida), Hong Kong (Dr Johnson Chang), and Australia (WUP Chair of Older Adults and Parks Committee Tim Geyer). WUP director Ryu Ono also participated.


(Left) Catherine Nagel and (right) Tom Dallesio

World Urban Parks and City Parks Alliance collaborated to host the fifth day of City Parks Alliance's Greater and Greener Conference on 2 August in Minneapolis and St. Paul in the USA. Attendance, hosted at the World Toro Headquarters, was capped at 140 with a full house. Over 30 World Urban Parks members attended, primarily from the USA and Canada, but also with a large presence from Japan and Sweden.


Brian O’Neill, former US National Parks Service
General Superintendent of Golden Gate National Parks
in San Francisco, USA.

Brian O'Neill is the 2017 recipient of the new World Urban Parks Legacy Award recognising past leaders who impacted parks and park management. Brian, now deceased, was the former US National Parks Service General Superintendent of the 80,000 acre Golden Gate National Parks in the heart of the San Francisco Bay area.  He was instrumental in the creation of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, and worked on key projects, including making Alcatraz a major tourist destination. Brian was also outstanding in engaging the public, volunteers and funding, and influenced a number of park agencies around the world. The award was conferred at the Greater and Greener International Forum day on 2 August hosted by City Parks Alliance and World Urban Parks. A copy of the Presentation on Brian made at the Forum is here.

Pictured: Kevin O’Hara of NPRA and Karl Nesbitt of NZRA

Ten national recreation and park associations came together through  webinar on 26 July 2017 to discuss Financial Growth and Sustainability through Income Diversity. The webinar was hosted by the World Parks Academy as an initiative of the World Urban Parks Alliances Committee.  World Urban Parks is unique in having most of the world's national associations as members, with four seats on the board allocated to national associations. This was the first time leaders from park and recreation associations around the world came together to share financial management strategies, and the group expects to meet 2-3 times per year to share knowledge of mutual benefit.

Following introductions, discussion was facilitated by two national associations with diverse incomes. Kevin O'Hara of the National Parks and Recreation Association of the USA and Karl Nesbitt of the New Zealand Recreation Association (pictured). Although membership fees are often the main form of income, this was not the case for these two associations. The roundtable discussion indicated that there was a mix of innovative and classical income sources among the associations.


The World Parks Academy offers monthly webinars and is continuing to look for speakers to provide 45 minute presentations on a topic related to the parks and recreation industry. The Academy website can be viewed at 

Certified Parks & Leisure Professional to be Offered in Australia

The World Parks Academy and Parks and Leisure Australia (PLA) have signed an agreement to offer professional certification to the 2,500 members of PLA. The agreement was signed at the World Urban Parks Asia Pacific Congress in Singapore on 18 July 2017. PLA representatives updated the international Certified Parks Professional credential to reflect Australian needs. The credential, to be known as the Certified Parks and Leisure Professional CPLP (Australia) will be jointly awarded by the Academy and PLA.

Signing of the MOU. Photo (front) Digby Whyte CEO WUP, Mark Band CEO PLA, rear Martin Lambert President PLA, Elisabeth Fournier Secretary General Hortis (the first national association to partner, to provide CPP France)
Second photo adding Bishop Ngobeli, incoming president of IERM in South Africa, that will likely be the third national association to have a national CPP partnership; and Emmanuel Maphorogo, the first CPP recipient in South Africa

This article is the fourth part of a series of articles composed for World Park News to explore the concept of National Park Cities. Titled ‘UK’s Best idea for Parks – The National Park City Concept’,this article explores what might be the “UK’s Best Idea” for parks.


Read this article>>

Kok Hwee is pictured pointing to green initiatives in

This month we feature eight publications and resources recommended by Kok Hwee Cheong, Director of Special Projects with the National Parks Board of Singapore (NParks). These relate to the skyrise greenery efforts in Singapore as part of Singapore's the 'City in a Garden' theme. Due to population density Singapore is a leading country for integrating green space into the built environment.

Publications include government policy and incentives for greening buildings, NParks' website supporting skyrise greenery, NParks' 'Leaf' certification scheme recognising outstanding greenery projects and the Building and Construction Authority's 'Greenmark' scheme to create sustainable buildings; and publications on Singapore as a garden city, and for vertical greening and appropriate plant species.


Johannesburg, South Africa | 11-13 September

The Institute of Environment and Recreation Management (IERM) will be hosting their annual convention from Monday, 11 September 2017 to Wednesday, 13 September 2017. The convention is in partnership with the University of South Africa (UNISA).

The conventions theme is ‘People and Green Space – Cradle to Grave,’and includes sub-themes on topicssuch as, parks and green space, application of green infrastructure, urban ecotourism and maximizing community benefits through tourism, and more. Over and above the formal proceedings, a program of social outings and entertainment is being arranged. Register now for the IERM Convention happening this September.

To register, visit the IERM convention website>>

Hortis Conference - Des espaces verts au service de la santé  - Lyon, France| 5-7 October 2017
Green City Days by Paysalia - Lyon, France| 5-7 December 2017

Register now for both Paysalia's - Green City Days and Hortis' - Des espaces verts au service de la santé. Both events will focus on urban landscape and gardening, and will be held in Lyon, France and hosted in French.

Visit the Paysalia website to register and for more information>>
Visit the Hortis website for more information>>