Ifpra has launched a modern new website for members and other people interested in urban parks and recreational facilities.

Online at www.ifpra.org, the site provides news and reports on recent parks, gardens and open spaces conferences, as well as information about Ifpra programmes and events. We have also added a computer translation function (see the drop down menu at the top right) to help non-English speaking Ifpra members make some sense of the content on the website.

Over time, the site will be developed further to present research, best practice guidance and other resources dedicated to city livability and promotion of a sustainable environment through parks, open spaces and recreation.

We want the site to be a hub for members and we welcome your contributions. Members have played a vital role in the site’s development, contributing content and valuable feedback, which has helped to shape the site’s look and feel.

In coming months we will create a members section to facilitate more conversation and engagement between members and more opportunities to share knowledge with fellow Ifpra parks, recreation and outdoor spaces professionals.

The members’ area will include a resource database with helpful information and an online membership fee payment facility to make it easier to pay membership fees and to streamline the sign-up process for new members.

Australian member John Brandenburg was awarded the prestigious Ifpra Gold Medal in October 2013 “In recognition of significant and dedicated service to furthering the values and ideals of the Ifpra vision” over a period of more than two decades. The medal was presented by incoming president Emmanuel Trueb, who awarded three gold and three silver Ifpra medals to members who had made significant contributions to Ifpra.

Well before joining Ifpra in 1989 John was part of the Ifpra Congress organisation and organised the technical tours in Canberra in 1970. As a member he was involved in organising the post-conference tour for the 1998 Ifpra Congress in Melbourne and has continued to contribute to conferences and study tours to the present.

Importantly he was involved in the development and success of the Ifpra Asia Pacific Region as the Region’s first Secretary for 16 years (1992-2008), developing the Region’s financial and communications systems including a regular newsletter and Ifpra’s first website to keep the region’s members engaged in Ifpra’s international activities. Emanuel noted this was a significant contribution to the development and success of Ifpra.

John’s broader contribution to the parks and horticultural industries, through Councils, private practice and long involvement with professional associations is immense. After studying horticulture he began his professional career in Canberra in 1969 with the Parks and Gardens Section of the Australian Government’s Department of Interior, then in 1976 as Director of Parks and Recreation for the City of Nunawading (18 years) that included leading the way with Australia’s first community allotment gardens and receiving the Australia’s Prime Ministers Award, and other awards, for his work designing and establishing a horticultural recreation centre.

Read more: Ifpra medallist profile - John Brandenburg

Cliff and Gail Lacey and Barry and Jan Manchak were among Ifpra members who took part in a tour of parks and special places in Alberta, Canada, prior to the Alberta Recreation and Parks Association Conference and Ifpra World Congress at the end of last year. This is Cliff and Barry’s account of the tour, accompanied by some great photos taken by Gail.

A total of 40 Ifpra members and significant others signed on for a six-day, six-night tour of parks and special places in Alberta, Canada, in the lead-up to the 2013 Alberta Recreation and Parks Association Conference and Ifpra World Congress.

The tour travelled over 1,800 KMs through five of the six bio-regions in Alberta - Rocky Mountains, Foothills, Grassland, Parkland and Boreal Forest.
We visited four UNESCO World Heritage Sites and the three largest urban centres in Alberta, where we toured their world class urban parks. 

There were numerous presentations throughout the tour on topics such as urban park planning, development and management, aboriginal history, outdoor education training for youth, and management and presentation of the paleontological resources found in Alberta.'


The tour group
in Banff National Park at Bow Lake.

Read more: Pre Ifpra World Congress Tour in Alberta

Cliff LaceyIn January 2014, Cliff added a role to his consulting services. Cliff is the Yardstick Canada Project Manager. He will promote the Yardstick park and recreation benchmarking program across Canada and support those communities that are already part of the program.

Cliff has a background in Parks and Recreation Management in Government organisations and was Manager of Parks and Open Spaces at Strathcona County Council, Alberta before turning to consultancy.

Cliff was Ifpra Vice President for the Ifpra World Congress in Alberta and many of you will have met him at the Congress and as tour leader on the excellent pre-congress tour, for which Cliff has contributed to the article in this newsletter. You can reach Cliff at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) is seeking an Ifpra representative to join a working group responsible for developing its Healthy Parks Healthy People Guidelines document.
The guidelines will provide best practice advice for organisations that wish to improve human health by reconnecting people with nature.

The project is being managed by John Senior and the final document will form part of IUCN’s Best Practice Series. Ifpra CEO Digby Whyte will discuss options with the executive and expects to select an Ifpra representative for the document’s working group in the next week or two. Many of the members of the existing working group are from New Zealand and Australia, so John has asked that Ifpra’s representative be from outside Australasia, to add balance.

By now Ifpra members should all have received an updated contact list with the names and email addresses of your fellow members. The list was circulated earlier this month to members only to help us keep in touch and share knowledge and ideas. We hope you find it useful.

Keeping the contact list up to date will be an ongoing task. Please don’t hesitate to email Ifpra administrator Katie McCrae on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. if you wish to update your details or if you have any requests or concerns. A corrected list will be emailed in early February.

The Ifpra Asia Pacific and Malaysia Urban Green Space Conference will be held from 24-28 June 2014 in Penang, Malaysia.

Registrations for the conference are now open and oral and poster paper submissions from Ifpra members are welcome. The conference, presented in English, will mix regional South-East Asia with broader international perspectives.

The themes for the conference are:

  • Parks for Multi-cultural Societies
  • Conservation of Natural Resources in Urban Green Space
  • Recreation Programming for Environmental Sustainability
  • Best Practices and Benchmarking

Submissions should be made to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Abstracts are due 15 May 2014 with full papers by 1 June 2014.

Post-conference tours are open to participants and accompanying persons and are organised for 27 June 2014 (UNESCO World Heritage) and 28 June (Penang Eco-Trail).

Registration is $500 USD for international participants.

Please view this PDF brochure for further details or view further event details in the Ifpra Congresses & Events section.

Congress Report: 2013 Ifpra World Congress and Alberta Recreation and Park Association (ARPA) Conference

Contributed by Gilbert Briscoe, Honorary Ifpra Member 

The joint Ifpra World Congress and ARPA Conference was held at the Chateau Fairmont Lake Louise in Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada from 24-26 October 2013.

Over 500 delegates registered for the conference, which had the theme of New Horizons: Learning Together. Ifpra was well represented with almost 70 members in attendance and providing 25 percent of the conference presentations.

The conference began on Thursday, 24th October and offered 54 different workshops in all. However it was only possible for delegates to attend a maximum of eight. This resulted in some difficult decisions of which to attend.

What follows is a summary of the workshops and plenary sessions I attended.

Read more: 2013 IFPRA & ARPA Joint Conference Report

Outgoing President Torgeir Sorensen (Norway) devoted much of his report to the Ifpra World Commission at the October 2013 Ifpra World Congress and ARPA Conference, to recent work to rejuvenate Ifpra, noting Ifpra was likely entering the second most important stage in its history following its inception.

Recent developments have seen the Scientific Task Force’s Benefits of Parks study, the launch of the Ifpra Academy, the world urban parks outreach initiative that brought organisations together in Dublin as a precursor to the Ifpra Strategic Review by Parks For Life (a group of national park associations) and new business planning and Secretariat.

A New Vibrant IFPRAPictured are Gil Penalosa, Digby Whyte, Torgeir Sorensen, James McCulloch, Russell Watkinson, Steve Coleman, David Clarke, Paul Bramhill, and Christy Boylan at a Review strategy meeting in Reading, UK. (Out of the picture are Catherine Nagel, Barbara Tulipane and Azlin Yahaya)

Following input from Ifpra members in London, Hamburg and Sydney and by on-line survey, as well as with external stakeholders, Parks for Life delivered a report positioning Ifpra to lead the development towards a strengthened global network, championing urban parks (and all associated recreation, amenity and conservation activities). The Review Report, available to members, has developed plans for a more inclusive membership, evolved structure, constitution, business planning and sustainable budget. The General Assembly at Alberta approved formation of a Task Force with representatives of Ifpra and other partnering organisations to develop the ‘New Ifpra’ ready for a decision by the General Assembly in 2014.


Incoming President Emanuel Trueb (Switzerland) paid tribute to Torgeir Sorensen’s leadership and strategic direction as well as Alan Smith’s 29 years of service as CEO, and welcomed the new Executive: President Elect Neil McCarthy (Australia), Chair Ifpra Europe James McCulloch (UK), Chair Ifpra Asia-Pacific Chris Rutherford (New Zealand), Vice President Ifpra Academy Dr Christy Boylan (Ireland) and Vice President Ifpra Science Task Force Dr Noor Azlin Yahya (Malaysia).

Ifpra’s headquarters and administration have moved from Reading, UK to Wellington, New Zealand, the Southernmost capital city in the world. Administration will be provided by staff of the New Zealand Recreation Association’s Secretariat. Chief Executive Dr Digby Whyte, will operate from Australia, Ifpra Europe Secretary Dr Christy Boylan from Ireland, and Ifpra Asia-Pacific Secretary Nic Crous from New Zealand.

Contacts are: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with full contact information in the Contact Us section of the web site.