The roles of an urban parks systemThis well-balanced overview of the contemporary roles of urban parks explores the critical roles urban parks systems play in achieving public sector objectives for culture, recreation, community development, heritage, economic development, health and wellness, natural environment, education, and transportation.

Written by Ryan Schwartz and Dave Ellis, parks manager for the City of Lethbridge, this July 2016 paper is in part based on Benefits of Urban Parks - A Systematic Review, a 2013 meta-study of published research applied to Canada to help cities understand the role and benefits of their parks systems.

Read The Roles of an Urban Parks System>>

Selected by the World Urban Parks Applied Research Working Group

Recommended research articlesThis month's recommended research articles from around the world comprises a meta-study of studies on park access as it relates to different socio-economic and ethnic groups; a study on the parks needs of Taiwan’s aging population; and a study on the effects of off-leash dog policies in Canada.

Read more: Recommended research articles

Cape TownCape Town, South Africa | 26-28 September 2016

This is a final call for World Urban Parks Congress registrations.

This event is held in conjunction with the Institute of Environment and Recreation Management Annual Convention. With over 65 presenters from host South Africa and 15 other countries, the World Urban Parks Congress is a fantastic opportunity to network with colleagues and gain insights into different approaches to parks from around the world in the fantastic surrounds of Cape Town.

Proposed World Urban Parks pre-congress meetings have now been incorporated into the main programme.

Register now>>

Europe region and Hortis CongressAlbi, France | 5-7 October 2016

This is a final call for registrations for this exciting bi-lingual congress, held in partnership with French parks professional association Hortis in the French city of Albi, a UNESCO World Heritage site.

World Urban Parks members are invited to a pre-Congress afternoon on Tuesday 4 October. All members are welcome to attend. If possible, please RSVP via e-mail to World Urban Parks CEO This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to notify your attendance at the pre-Congress meeting.

City parks and heritage areas have increasing social, cultural, environmental and economic relevance. Find out how these spaces will evolve to meet the needs of different European populations in the twenty-first century at the Europe Region Congress.

Congress registrations can be made at the event website which also features the event programme and information on symposia days, tours and site visits, workshops and meetings.

Register now>>

Panama City, Panama | 25-27 October 2016

AR-URBIOThe World Urban Parks Americas Region is supporting the IFLA AR-URBIO Conference 2016, hosted by Urban Biodiversity and Design (URBIO) and the International Federation of Landscape Architects, Americas Region (IFLA-Americas) in Panama City from 25-27 October. This will be the main opportunity for many World Urban Parks Americas Region members to get together.

World Urban Parks Chair Gil Penalosa will present at several programme sessions, and there will be a World Urban Parks panel on the theme Cities within Landscapes: The roles and values of an urban parks system on 27 October. The panel will include Chair Gil Penalosa of Canada, Americas Region Co-Chairs Martha Fajardo of Colombia and Keith Anderson of the USA, as well as David Ellis, who is from Lethbridge, Canada.  There may still be places on the panel. If you are interested, please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

The unique collaboration between IFLA-Americas and Urban Biodiversity and Design (URBIO) is planning for attendance of about 500 people from around the world at the Ciudad del Saber (City of Knowledge) complex. The event programme brings together URBIO scientists and practitioners, and IFLA’s landscape architects and designers.

For more information or to register, visit the event website>>

Quito, Ecuador | 17-20 October 2016

Habitat IIIDr Richard Murray, Co-chair of World Urban Parks Large Parks Committee, has achieved an important advocacy opportunity for World Urban Parks with the acceptance of a World Urban Parks United Nations Habitat III Conference side-event in partnership with the Italian Society of Silviculture and Forest Ecology (SISEF). The event will be held in Quito, Ecuador.

The World Urban Parks side-event theme is “Large green spaces, key public infrastructure for equitable, healthy and sustainable cities” while the SISEF theme is “The strategic role of public green spaces and urban forests in Latin America and the Caribbean for a new inclusive agenda”. They comprise of a number of presentations followed by discussion. Any World Urban Parks member attending the Congress should please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Habitat III is the United Nations Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development. Quito offers a unique backdrop, showcasing urban solutions that illustrate how sustainable development can be incorporated into city planning.
For more information or to register for Habitat III, visit the event website>>

NZRA National ConferenceQueenstown, New Zealand | 9-11 November 2016

Registrations are open for this year's NZRA National Conference, to be hosted in Queenstown, one of the world's hot spots for high-quality recreation experiences.

The event promotes and encourages best practice by presenting and showcasing developments from within and outside the recreation industry. Participants will have opportunities to network with recreation professionals from around New Zealand and embark on field trips in the fantastic surrounds.

This year, the conference themes are technology and sustainability, and presentations will range from gaming in parks to online mapping and climate change.

To see the programme or register for this event, visit the event website>>

Marina Bay SandsSingapore | 29 November – 2 December 2016
World Urban Parks is proud to support the Institute of Parks and Recreation, Singapore’s Conference.

Please note that the dates have moved out to November to allow further programme development. The theme of the event is “Greenery, Parks & Recreation”. The event will be held at Singapore’s iconic Marina Bay Sands Convention Centre from 29 November to 2 December, with an added cycling option on Saturday 3 December.

The Conference is co-hosted with International Green Building Conference organised by Building Control Authorities to bring together green communities worldwide and expected to attract over 200 people. Special accommodation rates, including twin-sharing, have been secured at the Marina Bay Sands Hotel.

A number of international speakers from the Asia-Pacific region and beyond have been secured and some speaking places remain. Those interested in speaking should send a brief statement of interest, including an abstract (relating to themes in the programme), CV and photo to IPRS President This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for inclusion in the final program.

View the programme>>

Gil PenalosaGil Penalosa, Chair

As we approach our first Annual General Meeting, I would like to say how grateful I am to have served as your Chair over this past year. It is a time to celebrate our accomplishments and also look ahead to a new phase of growth and development for World Urban Parks.

Over the past year, we have worked hard to fulfil our mission of providing a global voice for the urban parks, open space and recreation sector. We are committed to defining the areas where we can have the most impact and add value for our members, while supporting the efforts of national, regional, and local organisations.

Our committees have been hard at work defining priorities and also delivering some specific outputs. While we are pleased with the level of engagement of our members, we also recognise that we need a big push to expand our membership in order to strengthen our voice, and deliver on our objectives.

Please encourage your colleagues to join World Urban Parks, and if you are already a member we encourage you to get involved with the committees that interest you. We look forward to another productive year.

World Urban Parks UpdateDr Digby Whyte, CEO

This column provides information on the online Annual General Meeting to be held in mid-August, and an update on World Urban Parks member activity over the last two months.

World Urban Parks will hold its first Annual General Meeting  via an internet survey, available from Monday 15 through Friday 19 August 2016 to allow all members to participate.

In the week beforehand members will receive a survey link, directors report, financial report auditor information, and list of board director nominees.

Read more: World Urban Parks Update

The World Urban Parks Distinguished Individual Award recognises significant contributions to parks, open spaces and recreation by individuals over the course of their career.

We have already received several nominations for the 2016 Distinguished Individual Award, which will be presented at our World Congress in Cape Town. If you know someone who deserves an award, why not let us know? Deadline extended to 22 August.

Nominate a distinguished individual for this year's award>>

Dr Christy Boylan and Stephen WolterSession profile: World Parks Academy Workshop

Hosted by World Parks Academy Chair Dr Christy Boylan and Executive Director of Indiana University's Eppley Institute for Public Lands Steven Wolter, this workshop invites French and international participants to identify and work to resolve key issues impacting parks and park management.

The workshop will also explore the relevance of exposure to international perspectives and collaboration to obtaining and maintaining professional certification, in addition to the role and services of the World Parks Academy.

This is particularly relevant to Hortis members as Hortis will now offer the Certified Parks Professional - France (CPP-France) accreditation in partnership with Indiana University's Eppley Institute and the World Parks Academy.

Read more: Europe Region & Hortis Congress

Plante & CitePlante & Cité, France

Plante & Cité is the French national centre for research into green spaces, urban landscaping and nature. Set up as an non-profit association in 2006, it brings together representatives from urban park planning and maintenance services, as well as researchers and technical experts. Today, it celebrates 10 years of innovation.

HORTIS, the French association of managers of urban natural spaces, is one of Plante & Cité’s founding members. Plante & Cité currently has more than 500 members, who range from local authorities and landscaping firms to research and training establishments. It employs 15 people, mainly agronomy, landscape planning, ecology and horticulture engineers.

Read more: French research centre promotes collaborative approach

Marcomms Working groupOn 15 August World Urban Parks will launch on Facebook, and all members are encouraged to actively contribute. If you have an online journal, relevant events, relevant articles, photos to share from your country, or you have any questions, please get social and contact Jenn Halliday via LinkedIn.

The move to Facebook is an outcome of the development of a marketing and communications plan that aims to promote the values of urban parks, develop our partnerships, increase investment, grow our membership and ultimately join the global conversation around the parks industry.

You will begin to see a consistent voice across World Urban Parks' social media platforms - Twitter (@WUParks) and LinkedIn Group site. We look forward to seeing the global expertise from within our memberships better communicated through the use of technology. One benefit of having global platforms will be being able to share national articles and news from member countries on a global scale.

Read more: World Urban Parks to launch Facebook account