East Bay Regional Park DistrictA recent report highlighted the economic benefits of the East Bay Regional Parks District.

The Quantifying our Quality of Life report found the District hosts 25 million visits a year – more than the Athletics, Raiders, Warriors, Giants, 49ers, Earthquakes, and Sharks sports teams combined.

It also provides a range of benefits to residents, businesses, and visitors that totals about $500 million annually (including the values of recreation, healthcare, property values, and other ecosystem services).

The Park District generates nearly $200 million in regional economic activity every year that would not happen without the District. This includes visitor spending and grant-funded capital investments, and the multiplier effects of both.

Visit the East Bay Park District website for more information>>

Extent of invasive species in South AfricaInvasive species across South Africa are being controlled under new legislation.

The Institute of Environment and Recreation Management (IERM) will present an open webinar on 29 June to discuss how the new Invasive Species Regulations, which apply to all local authorities, are being put into practice.

An interactive map presenting invasive species as a percentage of all species has been made available by data mapping company MapAble.

MapAble have provided a key to analysing their invasive species data (see below). If you would like more information on this dataset, please contact Burgert Geldenhuys at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Asia-Pacific Congress SpeakersOver 40 speakers from 11 different countries will feature at the World Urban Parks Asia-Pacific and International Greenery, Recreation, Infrastructure and Parks Congress.

Held in partnership with the Institute of Parks and Recreation Singapore (IPRS), the conference has attracted a broad range of speakers. Eleven speakers from World Urban Parks will feature at the event, and Congress speakers have a wide range of experience – from city park managers and university researchers to non-government association leaders and commercial sector executives.

Presentation topics range from parks of the future to green cities and buildings, biodiversity and heritage. World Urban Parks members will conduct a master class on parks best practice and management the day before the conference, while IPRS members will conduct all-day technical visits to sites as diverse as the Singapore Botanic Gardens, Sungei Buloh Wetland Park, eco links waterways and Urban farms on the last day.

Singapore's striking architecture can also be experienced at the Marina Bay Sands venue roof garden, the adjacent Gardens by the Bay, and the Henderson Wave Bridge.

 

Register now at the Asia-Pacific Congress Website>>

Minneapolis and St. Paul, USA | 29 July - 2 August 2017
Greater & GreenerRegister now, and join more than 1,000 global park leaders exploring the power of parks in supporting healthy, resilient and sustainable cities at Greater & Greener, the two-yearly conference of the City Parks Alliance.

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 August 2nd, which is limited to 200 participants. Sessions include 'Healthy Parks Healthy Cities', 'River Revolution Cities', 'Large Parks in Cities' and 'Getting it Right'. There is a great line up of speakers from around the world, including many World Urban Parks members.

The International Forum also 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.
The topics and broader Greater & Greener Conference are ideal for World Urban Parks members and our commitment to partner for this event is in lieu of a 2017 World and Americas Region Congress.

Visit www.greatergreener.org for the full conference schedule and additional information. To facilitate meeting each other World Urban Parks members are encouraged to book the hotel associated with the venue, the Intercontinental Saint Paul Riverfront

City parks play a vital role in the social, economic, and physical well-being of cities and their residents. Parks are now recognized as powerful and necessary part of 21st century urban systems. As urban populations continue to grow, planners, elected officials, community advocates, and other stakeholders are taking a fresh look at parks and their potential to help address many critical urban issues.

Birkenhead Park, Wirral, UK | 14-19 October
World Urban Parks Europe Region CongressRegistrations are open for the World Urban Parks Europe Region Congress!

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

Pre-congress tours 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.

Draft pre-tour itinerary, opening exhibition and event programme documents are currently available, and the full programme will be available on the congress website on 20 June.

Congress presentations feature high-profile speakers from across the globe. Presentations and technical tours will be held from 17-19 October 2017, with optional post-congress technical tours on 20 and 21 October.

Visit the Congress website for the latest registration and accommodation details>>

Lyon, France | 5-7 December 2017
Green City DaysJoin World Urban Parks member Daniel Boulens in Lyon for an amazing triple-header.

The Green City Days conference is themed around working in and landscaping urban parks and gardens.

This conference is presented in conjunction with the world-famous landscape, garden and sport exhibition Paysalia, which will be held at Lyon’s Eurexpo conference centre.

Paysalia is set to feature over 600 exhibitors and host over 18,000 visitors. An added attraction is Lyon’s brilliant Fête des Lumières (Festival of Lights) which begins on 8 December and is expected to draw more than three million visitors.

Due to visitor numbers, conference delegates are encouraged to book flights and accommodation as soon as possible.

Visit the Paysaylia website to register and for more information>>

Gil Penalosa, World Urban Parks Chair
Gil PenalosaI’d like to take the opportunity this month to highlight Greater & Greener. This fantastic international conference is presented and hosted by one of our partner organisations and a member of World Urban Parks, the City Parks Alliance.

The theme of this year’s conference is Parks Connecting Cities, Cultures, and Generations. It is taking place this year July 29 - August 2 in beautiful Minneapolis and St Paul, twin cities which regularly compete for the title of having the best city parks system in the U.S by the Trust for Public Land (for your information in 2016 Minneapolis edged out St Paul, as number 1 and St. Paul came a close second). To find our more about the conference and to register visit www.greatergreener.org.

What makes these two cities, separated by the magnificent Mississippi river, to have two of the best park systems in the world? I’d encourage you to attend and find out. The conference will include study tours and visits on Saturday and Sunday (29-30 July), conference sessions from city park leaders and practitioners Monday and Tuesday (31 July - 1 August), and a special International Forum hosted and curated in partnership with World Urban Parks on Wednesday (2 August). 

Also thank you to the City Parks Alliance for their commitment to being part of the World Urban Parks network, and providing a platform for the sharing of international best practices in urban park planning, development, and advocacy. We all have so much to learn from each other!

Dr Digby WhyteIt has been exciting to see the amount of activity generated by World Urban Parks members over the last month or so.

Dozens of events featured during World Parks Week, and I have lost count of the amount of Twitter and Facebook support from members and non-members alike. Our world map showed activity from diverse parks, including Disneyland Paris and Kolkata Eco Park in India, with World Urban Parks Japan contributing the most events.

We are redoubling our efforts to champion the world’s parks and connect park professionals around the world. As part of our efforts to help the world’s parks connect, we will shortly feature a directory map of members around the world.

The Board, Executive, four portfolios, three region committees, nine of our ten standing committees, and three congress groups have all met recently to organise activity through 2017. Committees are appointing co-chairs and executive officers to support meetings and activity, along with inviting members and others to stay in touch with committee outcomes and join working groups on initiatives of interest.

We have been re-shaping the website to have a page for each group, and will update the Committee pages based on input. Committees work mainly over the internet, so these are ideal opportunities for individual members and staff of organisation members to become involved.

Registrations are currently open for the Asia-Pacific Congress and the Greater & Greener Conference with its International Forum. Speaking opportunities are still available at the Asia-Pacific Congress and also at the Europe Region Congress in October. These are great opportunities to share knowledge, see best practice, and expand your networks of colleagues face to face. Please contact me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. if you have an interest in joining one of our committees, or a question about an upcoming event.

OrvietoWorld Urban Parks partnered with the European Commission at Orvieto, Italy for the Green Infrastructure: Nature Based Solutions for Sustainable and Resilient Cities Conference, which ran from 4-7 April.

Hosted by COST, the main conference involved three days and 12 parallel sessions (each with about six speakers) focussed on linking environmental and social aspects for planning and managing urban forests and ecosystem services to make future cities more resilient and sustainable. 

The sessions included green infrastructure for climate regulation and climate change resilience, health focused green infrastructure enabling healthy and active lives, new governance and funding models for green infrastructure, the economic impact of green infrastructure for resilient and sustainable cities, and the role of green infrastructure in future urban planning. Poster sessions also featured at the event.

World Urban Parks Europe Region Chair Dr Anna Steidle was a keynote presenter, and several members attended. Pictured below is Dr Anna Steidle, Elisabeth Fournier (World Urban Parks Vice Chair for Alliances), Prof. Giovanni Sanesi, Daniel Boulens, Dr Mardie Townsend and others at a research group meeting. 

World Parks Week at Bosque de Chapultepec, Mexico CityWorld Parks Week took place from 29 April - 7 May, showcasing amazing events, providing a great opportunity to communicate the importance of the world's parks and encouraging people around the globe to appreciate and enjoy their local parks and green spaces.

A full week of activities at Eco Park, Kolkata included races, contests and much more, detailed in their publication Rewards of Green.

A flower festival bloomed in Bosque de Chapultepec, Mexico City. Across Japan, over a dozen World Parks Week events featured from Sapporo to Osaka.

The City of Helsinki in Finland provided 5,000 World Parks Week balloons to accompany traditional revelry for Vappu festivities at Kaivopuisto Park. They also encouraged revelers to respect their parks by offering a free movie ticket for every 20 bottles recycled. An estimated 25,700 bottles were recycled in total.

Facebook and Twitter were buzzing as parks organisations from around the world took the opportunity to raise awareness of the importance of parks. Several stories made the headlines – including an opinion piece from British Columbia Recreation and Parks Association CEO Rebecca Tunnacliffe, who called for ‘less screen time, more green time’ in the Vancouver Sun.

Events in Europe included boat tours and guided walks through the National City Park in Stockholm, 25th anniversary celebrations at Disneyland Paris, Nordic walking events at Silesia Park in Poland, historic exhibitions at Farmleigh Park in Dublin, and events across the UK’s parks including Roundhay Park in Leeds and Nene Park in Peterborough.

World Urban Parks thanks all the organisations and individuals who participated in the inaugural World Parks Week.

View the World Parks Week map to explore the week’s events>>

Amanda O'Rourke, Co-Chair of World Urban Parks Children, Play and Nature Committee

Putting play back on the agendaIn March of this year, 52 experts in urban planning, childhood development, conservation, health, and environmental policy from around the world gathered in Salzburg for the Parks for the Planet Forum session entitled The Child in the City: Health, Parks, and Play.

The purpose of the forum, convened by Salzburg Global Seminar and IUCN, was to propose a new agenda to prioritise children’s needs for nature and play for their optimal health and development. 

I was fortunate sit in the rooms of the Schloss Leopoldskron with this diverse group of passionate and knowledgeable international leaders. World Urban Parks was a partner on this important event, and as the Co-Chair of the World Urban Parks Children, Play and Nature Committee, this topic was of obvious interest. 

Stockholm National City ParkNeil McCarthy, World Urban Parks Vice Chair Advocacy, and CEO of the North-East Catchment Management Authority in Victoria, Australia is writing a series of articles for World Park News to explore the concept of National Park Cities. The first, titled 'What defines a National Park City' , explores how national parks – and national park cities – have historically been defined.

Read the article>>

Justin Vaughan, Parks Victoria, Australia

HLF Report discussions in AustraliaIn March 2017, World Urban Parks members in Melbourne, Australia, hosted a meeting with Peter Neal on the role that research plays in advocating for resources and the protection of urban parks. The meeting generated discussion on innovative solutions to the pressures and demands on park managers.

On behalf of the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF), Mr Neal was the lead author of the “State of the UK Public Parks” reports in 2014 and 2016. The reports are underpinned by surveys completed by park managers, ‘friends’ groups, park user groups, independent park trusts and the general public in towns and cities across the United Kingdom.

The research showed that despite increased use and visitation to parks, funding and staffing has been in decline over recent years. A subsequent Select Committee Inquiry and public attention stimulated by the reports have led to new approaches to financing and managing parks and green space, such as funding endowments and park trusts.

Singapore | 17-20 July 2017

Asia-Pacific CongressRegistrations are now open for the International Greenery, Recreation, Infrastructure and Parks Conference – the Institute of Parks and Recreation Singapore and World Urban Parks Asia Pacific Congress. The latest event programme is now available, and registration and accommodation details are available here.

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. The congress has moved from June to July 2017 due to significantly better venue and room rates offered by Marina Bay Sands.

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>>

 

Bremore castle gardenThis French language article in the Hortis magazine de Ville en Ville explores the restoration of Ireland’s Bremore Castle and medieval gardens. The article is written by Kevin Halpenny, Senior Parks Superintendent of Fingal County Council, who chairs the World Urban Parks Green Infrastructure Standing Committee and is also Deputy Chair of the Europe Region Committee.

Read the article>>

Birkenhead Park, Wirral, UK | 14-19 October

BirkenheadSave the date! The World Urban Parks Europe Region Congress at Birkenhead Park is in partnership with Wirral Council in the United Kingdom.

Pre-congress tours 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 member meeting on 16 October.

Congress presentations feature high-profile speakers from across the globe. Presentations and technical tours will be held from 17-19 October 2017, with optional post-congress technical tours on 20 and 21 October. The Congress website will be available in the June 2017 edition of World Parks News.

Preliminary event programmes are available below:

Read the draft Congress Programme>>

Read the pre-Congress Tour Itinerary>>

Read the 16 October Opening Exhibition Programme>>

Presentations can still be submitted through May 2017. Send a short abstract (300 words) to Mary Worrall. Conference themes include community, heritage, sustainability and large urban parks.