Gil Penalosa, World Urban Parks Chair

Gil PenalosaWe are proud and delighted to announce World Urban Parks has chosen the Alberta Recreation and Parks Association (ARPA) to take over our Secretariat responsibilities. Through a tender process, ARPA presented the winning proposal, and the best capacity to support World Urban Parks through the next three years of exciting growth opportunities.

We congratulate ARPA CEO Bill Wells and his team, and look forward to a vibrant and productive relationship for all involved.

Everyone at World Urban Parks would also like to take this opportunity to say thank you to the New Zealand Recreation Association for its commitment to providing World Urban Parks secretariat services through its establishment and early development phase from 2015-2017.

NZRA provided a unique and important contribution to World Urban Parks, getting us going in the early days and now with our feet firmly planted for the next phase of growth. A special thanks goes to NZRA CEO Andrew Leslie and his team, particularly Administrator Kusum Nathu, former Senior Administrator Katie McCrae, Administration Manager Harmoney Jackson, Communications Executive Fraser May, and Web Developer Mike Henton.

Starting from 1 August 2017 the Secretariat will be provided by assigned staff of the Alberta Recreation and Parks Association based in Edmonton, Canada. Our CEO, Dr. Digby Whyte will coordinate the transfer.

APRA has a diverse membership and proven ability to forge unique partnerships across diverse sectors. We are very excited to have their expertise and leadership supporting our mission at World Urban Parks.

Urban National ParkThis article is the third part of a series of articles composed for World Park News to explore the concept of National Park Cities. Titled ‘What constitutes the attributes that define a National Urban Park', it explores how we currently define national urban parks.

Read the article>>

Park WebinarThe World Parks Academy is offering two webinars in July. The first is titled Green Heritage Amenities and Contributions to Society, and is open to all. The second, Association Financial Growth and Sustainability through Income Diversity is an invitational roundtable webinar for national associations.

Invitational webinar: Association Financial Growth and Sustainability through Income Diversity
This invitational National Associations Roundtable webinar for World Urban Parks national associations will include short presentations from associations with diverse income sources and an interactive discussion from association representatives.

This webinar will take place on 26 July. For more information contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Webinar: Green Heritage Amenities and Contributions to Society
Presenter: Caroline Gutleben, Director of Plant & City, France

Parks and public lands offer a broad range of services in urban areas. Scientific studies increasingly show the benefits of urban green spaces on human health and well-being, social and community cohesion, biodiversity, thermal regulation, air quality, drainage and soil protection, as well as on the regional economy. This webinar will explore current research on the benefits of parks and public green spaces and how the research is synthesized by governments to direct policy and plan the future of our cities.
This webinar will take place on July 12 at 10:00 am (EDT), and provides optional credits for the World Urban Parks Certified Parks Professional and Certified International Parks Professional continuing education programmes.

Register now>> ‘The Child in the City’, a five-day programme held in March, 52 experts in urban planning, childhood development, conservation, environmental policy, and health considered how green spaces could better meet the needs of children.

This event resulted in The Salzburg Statement on The Child in the City: Health, Parks and Play, which recommends several policies, practices and investments. It also contains actions which can transform cities for children.

Read the statement on the Salzburg Global Seminar website>>

Selected by the World Urban Parks Applied Research Working Group
Research articlesThis month we feature four recommended research articles, including a survey on elderly satisfaction with parks in cities with high population density, a study on how green space reduces stress in deprived communities, a geospatial study on youth access to parks in Denver, Colorado based on socioeconomic status and a study on the importance of urban nature for wellbeing and city sustainability.

i-treeWorld Urban Parks member association Stadswerk in the Netherlands has worked with VHG to pilot and introduce the American open-source software program i-Tree.

This program sheds light and insight on the financial benefits trees have on their surroundings. i-Tree takes factors such as rainflow regulation and shade into consideration and converts these factors into a currency value, which in turn helps policy officers and tree consultants with tree-related issues.

After a meeting with US and UK partners Stadswerk produced a 90 second introductory video on i-Tree.

View the video>>

International ForumWorld Urban Parks is partnering with the City Parks Alliance to present an International Forum as part of City Parks Alliance's 2017 Greater & Greener Congress.

Held on Wednesday 2 August from 7.30am to 3pm the International Forum is a day-long series of interactive presentations and discussions about approaches cities across the world are taking to create healthy, sustainable, and resilient green and open spaces.

The Greater & Greener International Forum is a unique opportunity to explore the international perspective in four key sessions: Healthy Parks, Healthy Cities; River Revolution Cities; Large Parks and Cities and Getting it Right.

Presentations from three World Urban Parks Chairs will feature: Gil Penalosa, Dr Richard Murray, and Helena Bjarnegård. Other World Urban Parks members presenting at the forum include City Parks Alliance Executive Director Catherine Nagel and Director Jayne Miller.

A strong panel of diverse speakers will speak at the forum’s panel discussions, including the Mayor of Tirana, Albania Erion Veliaj, medical advocate Dr William Bird, and the publisher of Next City Tom Dallesio.

Read the International Forum Programme>>

View International Forum details>>

Register for the Greater and Greener Conference, including the International Forum>> 

A master class in parksWorld Urban Parks keynote speakers will present an all-day master class at the Asia-Pacific Congress and IPRS International Greenery, Recreation, Infrastructure and Parks Congress.

The master class presenters will focus on 'Parks of the World Best Practice and Management' in collaboration with their Singaporean colleagues.

The master class is led by Parks and Leisure Australia President Martin Lambert and CEO Mark Band, and features Keith Anderson (Director Washington DC Parks), Eric Moraczewski (Director CityArchRiver Foundation, St Louis, USA) and World Urban Parks CEO Dr Digby Whyte. Topics range from parks as critical infrastructure to trends in park management, benchmarking, and overviews of US agency park management.

The master class is offered on 17 July at the Marina Bay Sands congress venue, the day before the 18-20 July congress.
View the master class brochure>>

Visit the Congress website to register>>

Singapore | 17-20 July 2017

Asia-Pacific CongressThis is your last chance to register for the International Greenery, Recreation, Infrastructure and Parks Conference – the Institute of Parks and Recreation Singapore and World Urban Parks Asia Pacific Congress.

Held at the Marina Bay Sands Convention Centre with its striking rooftop park, the conference is adjacent to the equally striking 101-hectare Gardens by the Bay. Links to flight bookings and conference accommodation are available on the Congress website.

The latest programme is now available on the event website, and pre-event activities begin on 17 July, featuring master-classes facilitated by conference keynote speakers and an opportunity for World Urban Parks members to meet.

The conference itself takes place on 18-19 July, with a technical tour of a variety of interesting and innovative parks on 20 July.

This unique international conference spans parks, recreation and green building and infrastructure, and blends public, private and community perspectives. Join colleagues from these related sectors in sharing knowledge about best practice for the planning, funding, development and management of green spaces and infrastructure.

Visit the event website to register>>

Minneapolis and St. Paul, USA | 29 July - 2 August 2017
Greater & GreenerNow is your last chance to register for Greater & Greener 2017: the two-yearly conference of the City Parks Alliance.

Join more than 1,000 global park leaders exploring the power of parks in supporting healthy, resilient and sustainable cities. Attendees will learn best practices of urban park design, management and programming, and network with experts in the public, private and non-profit sectors.

World Urban Parks is partnering with CPA to present a day-long International Forum at the event on 2 August, which is limited to 200 participants.

The International Forum provides an important networking opportunity for World Urban Parks members as well as leaders from large cities, national parks services, non-government organisations, and academics. In addition, a post-event technical tour to Chicago is planned for World Urban Parks members.

Special rates apply for World Urban Parks members for full Conference Registration. Full and day registrations also include free attendance at the International Forum for World Urban Parks members.

Register Now>>

Birkenhead Park, Wirral, UK | 14-19 October
Birkenhead ParkHeld 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 will be available soon, 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>>

Gil Penalosa, World Urban Parks Chair
Gil PenalosaI am very proud to live in Canada, a country with some of the most breathtaking national parks. This year our federal government has announced all national parks will have free admission as part of Canada’s 150th anniversary of Confederation. This is fantastic, but shouldn’t our parks, which are public spaces, always be free?

Similar situations occur in other countries, including the US, where the National Park Service will celebrate its 100th anniversary by providing free entrance for 10 days in 2017. Unfortunately, this restriction is not limited to national parks far from the cities. More and more often, it’s becoming a way to fund urban parks.

To erect any barrier to experience the beauty, awe, and amazing nature that a park bestows is in my mind inequitable. It is understandable to charge for services, but not for entry. All citizens must have the right to enjoy a walk, benefiting from the contact with people and nature, everywhere. This provides a sense of belonging beyond the local community, it’s a human right.

Research on visitors to the US and Canadian national parks shows they tend to be disproportionately whiter, older, wealthier and have a higher level of education compared to the general population. People protect what they know and love. If we do not create more accessible experiences for a larger part of our population, this threatens the ongoing protection of our parks.

For those worried about the potential damage increasing numbers of visitors can have on the conservation of the park – that concern is legitimate. This does not mean that we can not limit entry if it puts the park’s conservation at risk, it means that charging a fee shouldn’t be the way to do it.

I recently visited Guadalajara, leading a group of Californian city leaders. Guadalajara used to charge a small fee for entry into many of its city parks. The current Mayor removed that barrier on the first day of the new administration.

Imagine the improvement in the quality of life such a simple policy change can make for some of the poorest and most vulnerable people. Parks are public spaces, which means they belong to all of us. We all should have an equal opportunity to enjoy the mental and physical benefits that visiting any park can provide no matter age, gender, socio-economic status, or ethnic background.

Dr Digby Whyte, World Urban Parks CEO
Conference updateOur congress partners have composed excellent programmes this year. Join us at these fantastic events to meet and share knowledge on common issues and good practices, and experience what some advanced cities have to offer.

Through 2017 World Urban Parks is partnering with national associations and local authorities to bring conferences to three world regions. Two of the major conferences we are partnering to deliver are scheduled for next month, and all are open for registration.

The Asia-Pacific Congress and International Greenery, Recreation, Infrastructure and Parks Conference will be held 17-20 July in Singapore, in partnership with the Institute of Parks and Recreation Singapore.

In the Americas, City Parks Alliance's Greater and & Greener conference will be held 29 July to 2 August in the twin cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul, USA, with World Urban Parks partnering to provide the International Forum Day of the conference on 2 August.

The conference website is also available for the Europe Region Congress at Birkenhead Park, UK on 16-19 October. Registrations for this event are open and the full programme will be updated shortly. At each congress, there will be a region meeting open to all World Urban Parks members, as well as technical tours of the parks programmes of the host cities. World Urban Parks members are presenting at all congresses.

Smart and Green in KrakowThe Municipality of Krakow, Poland, invited parks leaders from around Europe to the Smart and Green Seminar from 21-22 May. World Urban Parks Vice Chair for Alliances Elisabeth Fournier presented on the future of green space in France, while CEO Dr Digby Whyte presented an overview of global values and planning for parks.

Other presentations focused on topics such as citizen participation in Krakow’s parks, green space in Tbilisi, Georgia; greening streets in Bordeaux, France; living landscapes in Edinburgh, UK; projects using greenery to mitigate climate change in Trondheim, Norway; projects using greenery to mitigate smog in Krakow, initiatives to revitalise green and blue infrastructure in Leipzig, Germany; new park and river developments in Gothenburg, Sweden; reconstruction of a heritage property in Pecs, Hungary; and a project to revitalise the Rakos River in Budapest, Hungary.

Seminar participants toured revitalised parkland and new play areas in Krakow, and the impressive Old Town green belt, ‘the Planty’. The seminar also included technical tours showcasing Krakow's urban heritage and green space. Green space development and management in Krakow is the responsibility of a new Municipal Green Agency that sponsored the seminar to share good practices and the direction the Agency is taking to expand and improve green space with citizen engagement, as a priority identified by Krakow's citizens.

World Parks Academy Lighting webinarThe next World Parks Academy webinar focuses on park lighting with expert advice from Xyst Senior Consultant Paul Wilson.

Lighting enhances, extends and promotes the use of parks and public places after dark. The way we light our parks can have serious effects on public perception of safety and can cause negative effects on people and the environment.

Join the webinar to find out how lighting can ignite innovation and increase visitation in your parks and open spaces. This webinar also provides credits for World Parks Academy Certified Parks Professional and Certified International Parks Professional continuing education programmes.

Register now>>