Human biodiversitySelected by the World Urban Parks Applied Research Working Group

This month's recommended research articles from around the world comprise a study of the value of park biodiversity for citizen foraging activities in Berlin and a study of how equitable green space was distributed across socio-economic groups in Shanghai (with a potentially surprising result).

Read more: Recommended research articles

IPRSInstitute of Parks and Recreation Singapore (IPRS)

IPRS is Singapore's professional association for the conservation and enhancement of the country’s parks and other recreational facilities. The Institute has a diverse membership of landscape architects, architects, landscape designers, engineers, park managers, landscape contractors, landscape suppliers and growers, arborists, administrators, artists, photographers, authors and parks users.

Originally formed in 1979 the Institute provides professional networking and development and promotes environmental responsibility from reforestation to recycling, native planting, cycling and green buildings. The institute maintains a newsletter' Parknews, and organises conferences (such as the 2014 Green Buildings, Parks and Stormwater Management), forums (such as the Cycling Forum), technical tours, events and fundraising.

Read more: Introducing our national associations

IPRS ConferenceSingapore | POSTPONED

The IPRS International Greenery, Parks and Recreation Events and Conference 2016 has been postponed to 2017 with a new date to be advised. The Institute was concerned that the short development and promotion time frame should be extended to ensure quality and viability.

World Urban Parks CongressesDr Digby Whyte, CEO
September and October are fast approaching, and registrations are now open for the World Urban Parks World and Europe Region Congresses.

Our World Urban Parks Congress is hosted this year by the Institute of Environment and Recreation Management in Cape Town, South Africa from 26-28 September. We will host a World Urban Parks pre-congress afternoon on Sunday 25 September for our board, committees, national associations and members to meet and get to know each other before the start of the Congress. The annual AGM will have been held online earlier in the month, but this can also be a time for members to discuss any aspect.

Our Europe Region Congress follows hot on the heels of the World Congress, and will be hosted by Hortis in Albi, France from 5-7 October. Again, there will be pre-congress meetings on the afternoon of Tuesday 4 October, with delegates and participants invited to get to know each other before the start of the congress.

The World and Region Congresses are highlights of the World Urban Parks calendar and provide a unique and valuable opportunity for members and other interested organisations and professionals to meet and experience a balance of topical international and national presentations and workshops on common issues, together with technical tours and case studies of the host city.

The congresses are hosted by national associations who are members of World Urban Parks and the programme provides professional and social opportunities to develop collegial networks that support professional practice. The congresses will include gala dinners, awards, and trade exhibitions. I invite you to come and enjoy the culture of the host countries and the chance to meet and work with your ‘internet colleagues’ face to face.

Greater & Greener 2017Minneapolis and St. Paul, USA | 29 July - 2 August 2017
Early bird registrations have opened for Greater & Greener, the two-yearly conference of the City Parks Alliance.

World Urban Parks will co-present a day-long International Forum on 2 August 2017 with a series of interactive presentations and discussions about approaches that cities across the world are taking to create healthy, sustainable, and resilient green systems.

World Urban Parks members are also eligible for a special conference rate.

Read more: Event: Greater & Greener 2017

World Urban Parks and IERM congress venueCape Town, South Africa | 26-28 September 2016

Registrations are now open for the World Urban Parks Congress, held in conjunction with the Institute of Environment and Recreation Management Annual Convention.

'Early Bird' rates are available up to 1 August 2016. To register and to select accommodation visit the Congress website. The Congress Programme is also now available.

Themed "People and Green Space - A Celebration of Diversity" there will be a huge variety of ideas on offer, with over 65 presenters from hosts South Africa and 15 other countries. All World Urban Parks members are also invited to a pre-congress meeting on the afternoon of Sunday 25 September – a great opportunity to get to know each other before the start of the congress, discuss any aspects of the AGM and meet face to face.

Register now>>

Europe CongressAlbi, France | 5-7 October 2016
Registrations are open for this exciting bilingual congress, which will explore the theme: ‘Green Heritage and Green Infrastructure: Evolution or Social Revolution?’.

The congress is held in partnership with French parks professional association Hortis in the French city of Albi, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Register at the event website and download the updated program, which includes symposium days, tours and site visits, workshops and conferences, pre-congress meetings and ‘master lectures’.

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.

Register now>>

Read more: Register for Europe Region Congress

World Urban Parks CongressWorld Urban Parks media release, 30 September 2016

Leading parks professionals and parks agencies from around the world resolved to protect and enhance the world’s urban parks and green spaces in the face of looming global challenges at this week’s World Urban Parks and IERM Congress in South Africa.

The Congress included over 70 speakers from all corners of the globe.

World Urban Parks CEO Dr Digby Whyte said key issues facing society were addressed, including climate change, and how to mitigate the challenges posed by population growth and increasing urbanisation.

Dr Whyte said this is a challenging time for societies around the world, with the world population expected to grow from 7.5 billion currently to 9.7 billion in 2050. More than half of the world’s population currently lives in cities, and the majority of growth is anticipated in urban areas. Africa is expected to account for more than half of the growth, with the populations of 28 African countries expected to double over this time.

Urban parks play a vital role in overcoming these challenges, and increased awareness of their value from decision makers was “immensely important”, he said.

“Urban parks play a vital role in creating a sense of place and cultural identity. They provide opportunities for sport and recreation, health and well-being, community meeting places, social cohesion, biodiversity, environment and ecosystem services, forms of active transportation such as cycling and walking, and tourism and economic development.”

Read more: World Congress resolutions recognise value of urban parks

Sandrine ManussetSpeaker profile: Sandrine Manusset

At the Europe Region and Hortis Congress in Albi on 6 October, Sandrine Manusset will explore the Sociological approach of green areas in urban planning, taking into consideration biodiversity, health and societal expectations. She says the real difficulty is implementing recommendations for incorporating nature in the city, with today's socio-cultural context rather unfavourable to nature.

Read more: Europe Region and Hortis Congress

Distinguished Individual Award NomniationsWorld Urban Parks encourages and recognises significant contributions made by individuals to the urban parks, open space and recreation sector with this prestigious international award.

The Distinguished Individual Award recognises any organisation or individual associated with the parks, open space and recreation industry. Nominations for 2016 are now open until 22 August 2016. The award will be conferred at the Gala Dinner of the World Urban Parks Congress, Cape Town, South Africa, 27 September 2016. The recipient receives a trophy and Honorary Life Membership of World Urban Parks.

Read more: Distinguished individual award nominations open

Magical Park AppAuckland and Wellington City Councils in New Zealand are piloting a new augmented reality game designed to get ‘tech children’ who are glued to their tablets and iPhones out of the house and into parks with their families.

Magical Park is the world's first digital playground app using augmented reality. It is geo-located in a specific park and so the app will only open in a designated park area. Auckland and Wellington's park sites have signs installed, instructing the visitor to download the app and play in the park.

This provides park managers with an innovative way to use technology to bring digital families to a park. Once outside, the magic of outdoor activity takes hold, and kids end up playing together, using their imagination and getting side-tracked from the game to doing other things.

Read more: Augmented reality games hit New Zealand parks

Melbourne roundtable meetingWorld Urban Parks Chair Gil Penalosa and Vice Chair Neil McCarthy hosted a roundtable of 14 leaders from parks, open space and recreation agencies at Library at The Dock in Melbourne on 1 July. Key topics were the current status of cities as healthy, liveable, sustainable and accessible communities, how to identify key issues and opportunities for Australian park, open space and recreation organisations; and actions World Urban Parks could take to make a difference.
Some of the larger issues discussed by Mr Penalosa were aging populations as an important resource, health crises related to obesity, climate change, population growth and park investment, funding, mobility, and equity of access for children and lower income groups. Mr Penalosa separately addressed staff of World Urban Parks members, Parks Victoria and the City of Melbourne expanding on these discussions.

Read more: World Urban Parks roundtable, Melbourne

Large Urban Parks SurveyWorld Urban Parks is creating a database of large urban parks around the world. This is an opportunity for park managers to register your park online.

The database is the product of the Large Urban Parks Good Practices Working Group, which works to share knowledge about how to handle various tasks and issues among large urban parks stewards, managers, funders, planners, defenders and advocates.

A first step is to create a shared database of Large Urban Parks and to gather basic information about the facilities and financing of these parks. The online questionnaire to register large urban parks in your organisation for inclusion in the database takes about 15 minutes.

It may be helpful to first look at the survey as a PDF before completing it online. The structure is: General Information, Financial Information, Amenities and Facilities in the park. While there is a flexible deadline, it would be good to have contributions for an initial shared database by 31 July 2016.

Dr Digby Whyte, World Urban Parks CEO, Australia

This column provides an update on World Urban Parks member activity over the last month. 

As our organisation commences its second year, we are focusing on online membership renewal and growth, nominations for directors, the preparation of our World and Europe Region Congresses and the working group initiatives of members. 

All members are eligible to nominate potential World Urban Parks directors by sending the Nomination Form to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. by 15 June 2016. Current appointed directors’ positions end in August 2016. If nominations exceed positions in any director category, elections will be held via an online AGM during the week of 15 August 2016.

Read more: World Urban Parks update