Johannesburg parksThe next World Parks Academy webinar will be presented by Emmanuel Maphorogo, Regional Manager at Johannesburg City Parks and Zoo on 11 January. It will focus on the impacts of urbanization on communities’ physical and social health around the world using case studies from South Africa and other international locations.

The World Parks Academy welcomes presenters looking to share their knowledge. If you would like to present a World Parks Academy webinar, please This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. at the Eppley Institute of Parks and Public Lands with a brief outline of your presentation concept.

Past webinars in the 2016-17 webinar series can be accessed online for continuing education units towards World Parks Academy Certified Parks Professional (CPP) accreditation and revalidation in the 2016-17 year.

Register for the Social and Health Benefits of Parks webinar>>

Good practices from Parque del AquaThe Large Urban Parks Committee's Good Practices Working Group is preparing a database on good practices for the World Urban Parks website. As part of this project, Alberto Ipas, Managing Director for the Municipal Society of Zaragoza, Spain, shared four good practices from the large urban park Parque del Agua.

To expand the database you are invited to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with good practices suitable for large urban parks. Succinct examples should be submitted in MS Word or PowerPoint format, together with the location and contact details of the park.

Good practices from Parque del Agua

Good practice 1: Sheep in the park

Good practice 2: Horses in the park

Good practice 3: Birds in the park

Good practice 4: Running in the park

Communities are invited to take part in the International Challenge, an evaluation of the efforts of communities towards their heritage areas and green spaces.

The International Challenge evaluates winners from national assessments in an annual international awards programme. Participants include Communities in Bloom (Canada), Britain in Bloom, America in Bloom, Tidy Towns of Ireland, Japan in Bloom, Entente Florale and Comuni Fioriti.

To find out how to register for participation, or information on getting your national association involved, please contact Communities in Bloom President Raymond Carrière This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or phone 001-514-912-6535.

For more information, visit the International Challenge webpage>>

Dr Digby WhyteDr Digby Whyte, CEO

The last two months have seen World Urban Parks develop a stronger platform and sense of direction.

Our newly elected Board has approved a new structure to drive four portfolios of activity, and the organisation has been on show, not only by partnering at the World and Europe Region World Urban Parks congresses and supporting the major Ifla Americas-URBIO and Habitat III conferences, but also globally in advocating for the world’s urban parks.

As you will see in this edition of World Park News, we are also developing formal alliances with related organisations who share our interest in looking towards sustainable development and an improved connection between people and nature in our urban and peri-urban areas.

These relationships represent great potential, but it is important we work to create solid, meaningful connections. This is made possible through our activity portfolios.

Four new committees for Children and Nature, Aging and Parks, Healthy Parks Healthy Cities, and Green Infrastructure are in the process of being formed as part of our Advocacy Portfolio, also responsible for key service committees including the existing Large Urban Parks and Knowledge and Standards Committee.

Read more: Creating meaningful connections

World Urban Parks FBSince its mid-August launch World Urban Parks Facebook has been buzzing, with a consistent World Urban Parks presence integrated across social media platforms Twitter (@WUParks) and the WUP LinkedIn group site.

This development is the work of Jenn Halliday, building on the efforts of Dr Anna Steidle and the success of the WUP Europe Region Facebook page.  The sites allow more immediate sharing of news and activity and you are encouraged to contribute! We are also looking at creating an interactive member site as a 'market place' for sharing policies, solutions to issues, organising secondments etc. The aim is to have all levels of organisations engaged.

For an info-graphic report on WUP social media, including global reach and most popular items click here. If you have not had a chance to check out World Urban Parks' social media accounts, you can find them at:

World Urban Parks side event at United Nations Habitat III, Quito, EquadorThe World Urban Parks Large Urban Parks Committee (and Network) held a successful side event at the UN Habitat III Conference in Quito on 17 October 2016, titled Large Green Spaces and Urban Forests, Key Public Infrastructure for Equitable, Healthy and Sustainable Cities. This event was presented in collaboration with the Italian Society of Silviculture and Forest Ecology (SISEF).

Large Urban Parks Committee Co-Chair Dr Richard Murray congratulated Patricia O'Donnell for leading the event, and the panellists for their contributions, noting the side event was the best-attended side event of that day of the programme.

Together with a successful Habitat III side event held in Barcelona earlier this year, this event highlighted the value of large urban parks and raised the profile or World Urban Parks, as well as developing relationships with allied organisations.

A short debrief from Simone Borelli of the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation follows:

Read more: World Urban Parks Habitat III event a success

A memorandum at AR-URBIOWorld Urban Parks contributed to a panel at the International Federation of Landscape Architects (IFLA) Americas Region and Americas Region-URBIO partnered Conference in Panama City, Panama on 27 October 2016.

Titled The Roles and Values of an Urban Parks System, the panel shared vital knowledge on how parks improve property values, healthy active living, and vibrant liveable communities.

The panel was an outcome of the development of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) of mutual support between World Urban Parks and IFLA as two allied professional organisations. The MOU was signed at the conference closing ceremony by World Urban Parks Chair Gil Penalosa and IFLA Americas President Raquel Penalosa on behalf of IFLA President Kathryn Moore.

The panel was coordinated by World Urban Parks Americas Region Co-Chair Martha Fajardo, and included Gil Penalosa and member David Ellis as well as URBIO President Professor Haripriya Gundimeda. For more information see the panel outline.

Pictured: Martha Fajardo, (left) Gil Penalosa (centre) and Raquel Penalosa (right)

5th Biodiversity SummitWorld Urban Parks is working to develop a cooperative Memorandum of Understanding with the International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives (ICLEI) – Local Governments for Sustainability in the leadup to the 5th Global Biodiversity Summit of Cities and Subnational Governments.

The Summit will be held in Cancun, Mexico from 9-11 December 2016. ICLEI is a summit supporter, and the goal is to formally sign the memorandum at this event.

ICLEI is a leading global network of more than 1,500 cities, towns and regions committed to building a sustainable future through low-carbon, resilient, eco-mobile, bio-diverse, resource-efficient and productive, healthy and happy cities with a green economy and smart infrastructure.

Read more: Connecting with local government for biodiversity

Children & Nature NetworkWorld Urban Parks is in the process of developing a Children and Nature Standing Committee, and is considering a co-operative Memorandum of Understanding with the Children & Nature Network in the lead-up to their Vancouver conference in April 2017.

This activity would include supporting their 2017 International Conference with speakers for a parks-focussed session relating to the role and capacity of public parks in providing children with access to nature.

The Children & Nature Network is a non-profit organization, founded by Richard Louv (author of Last Child in the Woods) and others, whose mission is to fuel the worldwide grassroots movement to reconnect children with nature.

Read more: Connecting with the Children & Nature Network

Reports on green spaces releasedThree reports on the benefits of urban green spaces and forestry have recently been released. The findings of these reports summarise the evidence for health benefits, climate change mitigation, food security and biodiversity, amongst other factors: