World Urban Parks offers three levels of congress:

  • Annual World Urban Parks Congress in partnership with a national association, major city or organisation (level 3)
  • World Urban Parks Region Congress (usually annual) in partnership with a national/state association, city or organisation (level 2)
  • International Conferences partnered with any relevant organisation (level 1)

The Congresses provide an opportunity for members to become inspired, share knowledge and form and maintain key contacts with people involved in parks, open space, recreation, culture and related disciplines and interests from across the globe as well as see initiatives in the host city. They usually include a World Urban Parks day for board, committee and working party meetings and workshops where members can meet face to face.

World Urban Parks may in addition partner with organisations to bring world status, international speakers and value to other conferences and exhibitions. These may not include broad member attendance.

To assist in congress planning World Urban Parks sought in July 2015 expressions of interest (EOI) to host congresses from 2016 through 2018. The intent is to form a rolling three-year schedule of annual congresses. These are currently under consideration with World Congresses approved by the board and Region Congresses approved by Region Committees. Associations and organisations interested in discussing future opportunities are welcome to contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


2018 Congresses

Americas Region Congress | Merida, Mexico

National Association of Parks and Recreation Mexico | 25-27 April, 2018

The 1st International Congress of Urban Parks, organised by the 2017 Asociación Nacional de Parques y Recreación, Mexico's new national association is this April in Merida, Mexico.

This is a valuable opportunity to develop your expertise on urban parks, open space and recreation related to the five themes of planning and design, economy & uses of public space, health and environment, public service and citizen participation, and the city.

There are many World Urban Park members in the line up of speakers, including Catherine Nagel from CPA, Jorge Perez director of Emerging Cities committee, Martha Fajardo, and others.

Click here for further information in Español or English.

Registration for the three day congress is $220 USD. All information, including the preliminary program, is on the congress website.



World Urban Parks Congress 2018 | Melbourne, Australia


We are pleased to announce the upcoming World Urban Parks Congress themed - Future of Spaces and Places in Cities. The congress is proudly presented by World Urban Parks and Parks and Leisure Australia and is attracting presenters from around the world. With 50+ presentations/ masterclasses and technical tours it's going to be an awesome program!

The congress will aim to address the impact urban growth and density will have on our parks, leisure and sport globally and how we as an industry can respond to ensure our open spaces are protected and our lifestyles enhanced.

World Urban Parks Speakers

Jayne Miller - CEO of Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy

Jayne serves on the board of the World Urban Parks, City Parks Alliance, Indiana University Executive Development Program, Meet Minneapolis, Sports Minneapolis, the Minneapolis Urban League and the St. Anthony Falls Heritage Board; and previously served on the board of Rocky Mountain Revenue and Management School. Jayne also serves as a Founding Member of Editorial Board for the Journal of Recreation, Parks, and Tourism in Public Health. 

Beginning in February 2018, Jayne will serve as the President and CEO of the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy (PPC), a U.S. nationally recognized parks conservancy. Continue reading...

Register today!

Registration is now open! Early bird deadline is July 7, 2018. World Urban Parks members receive the membership rate of $1430 AU, which is $200 AU in savings! 

World Urban Parks member only deal! If you register in a group between 5 to 10 delegates the rate becomes $1145 AU per delegate. That is over $500 AU dollars in savings per person from the non-member rate!

(Prices are in Australian dollars and GST inclusive)

Call for Abstracts

The main program will include four streams with about 35 sessions for the presentation of submitted papers.  The committee wants to motivate practitioners to participate in shaping the program with leading edge ideas and insights that inspire. IPCL is looking for dynamic presentations/workshops and masterclasses across four streams:


Website now Live!

The IPLC website is now live and includes a lot of interesting information about the event, the program at a glance, social events and technical tours. Check out the conference website for more information.

Social Programs & Tours -World Urban Parks Members


Among the many social events scheduled into the congress you as a World Urban Parks member also have the option for pre or post congress tours. If you are interested in joining other World Urban Parks members please take 2 minutest to complete this short survey!

Parks Forum - North American Congress | Canmore, Alberta

Alberta Recreation and Parks Association (ARPA) will be hosting a North American Congress March 14-17, 2018 in Canmore, Alberta. This event will be hosted with the Parks Forum themed, “Collaboration for Change.” Inspired by the incredible diversity of parks, landscapes and open spaces, ARPA created the Parks Forum to gather key partners, educators, students, thinkers, and decision makers to develop ideas and forge connections. Parks Forum registration, accommodations information, and program schedule and descriptions are available here.

Success within parks will be achieved in large part through our ability to collaborate with a range of existing and new partners in areas of shared objectives and alignment. The Parks Forum offers a significant opportunity for collaboration across diverse sectors and cultures at a local, national and international table. The Forum is also an opportunity to reflect on and evaluate existing initiatives, while also generating new ideas and approaches to parks planning, management, and use.

As World Urban Parks realigns its regions a US-Canada is a region itself. The North American Congress is an opportunity to gather in person to discuss the future outlooks of this new region.

A few of the World Urban Park opportunities present will be,

• Keynote presentation by Gil Penalosa, Chair of World Urban Parks (March 15)

• A plethora of urban parks content, including but not limited to: partnerships, Wildlife management, indigenous relationships, and conservation. Sessions with a local, national, and international focus. (March 14-17)

• Round table meeting with Gil Penalsoa, Chair of World Urban Parks (March 14)

• Opportunity be involved as co-directors for the new US-Canada region (March 15)

• Opportunity to meet and discuss urban parks on an international stage with World Urban Parks Board Members and long time organization members. (March 15-17)

You can find out more about the North American Congress at the ARPA website under the 2018 Parks Forum event page. If you would like more information on the event or find out how you can participate as a World Urban Parks member please contact ARPA at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., by phone at 1-(780)-415- 1745 or visit their website at


Parks & Nature Congress | Reykjavik 2018

15-17 August 2018

In 2018, SAMGUS will be hosting the quadrennial Nordic conference which traditionally has been hosted by its sister organizations in Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden, each year focusing on different relevant topics.

The conference‘s topics will cover nature, parks and green spaces, with an emphasis on an Icelandic perspective. The venue will be the Kaldalón hall in the Harpa Conference Centre, where the mornings will feature breakout sessions, while afternoons (on Wednesday and Thursday) will be devoted to field trips themed around each day‘s topic.

Registration is now open with early bird rates ending 15 May 2018. Included in the registration fee for participants: Attendance to all sessions, welcome reception at Reykjavík City Hall and lunches & refreshments during the Congress.

For further information on the event or learn how to register please visit the conference website here.

2017 Congresses


World Urban Parks European Congress 2017 at Birkenhead Park - Landscapes Alive: Community, Sustainability, and Heritage

In partnership with Wirral Council, UK, 16-19 October 2017




WORLD URBAN PARKS EUROPEAN CONGRESS 2017 - Landscapes Alive: Community, Sustainability and Heritage; Wirral, UK 16-19 October 2017


This report provides a brief overview of the excellent WUP Europe Region Congress held in partnership with Wirral Council at Birkenhead Park from 16-21 October, including pre and post congress tours.  

The conference was planned and coordinated by Dr. Mary Worrall and her team of Wirral Council’s Parks and Countryside department. More than 160 people attended with about 40 from World Urban Parks, with 20 of them presenting.

Among WUP leaders present were Europe Region Committee Chair and Deputy Chair Dr. Anna Steidle and Kevin Halpenny, WUP Chair Gil Penalosa, Vice Chair Alliances Portfolio Elisabeth Fournier, Deputy Chair Advocacy Portfolio Mark Camley, Chair World Parks Academy Dr. Christy Boylan, Co-Chair (with Dr Mary Worrall), Older Adults and Parks Committee Tim Geyer,  Co-Chairs Large Urban Parks Committee Dr Richard Murray and Margaret Gormley, Chair Good Practices Working Group Peter Verdyck, and WUP Directors Torgeir Soerensen and Dr Noor Azlin Yahya.

Continue reading conference report here>>

Birkenhead Park Opening 1847

 Birkenhead Park Today


Concept for Wirral Waters


World Urban Parks Asia Pacific Region Congress and IPRS International Greenery, Recreation, Infrastructure and Parks Conference, Singapore 17-20 July 2017


Just over 200 people participated in the International Greenery,Recreation, Infrastructure and ParksConference, which also included a World Urban Parks Asia Pacific Region Congress. The event, held 17-20 July, 2017, was a partnership with the Institute of Parks and Recreation Singapore (IPRS). The Congress included a day long master-class focused on 'Parks of the World Best Practice and Management’ andatwo-day conference at the iconic Marina Bay Sands. World Urban Parks representatives came from ten countries with five keynotes and most others speaking. Martin Lambert and Mark Band of Parks and Leisure Australia facilitated the master class attended by about 100 people with additional contributions from the USA (Eric Moraczewski), South Africa (Emanuel Maphorogo), France (WUP director Elisabeth Fournier), Malaysia (WUP director Dr Noor AzlinYahya), and New Zealand (WUP CEO Dr Digby Whyte). The conference also featured WUP speakers from Japan (Dr Yukio Kida), Hong Kong (Dr Johnson Chang), and Australia (WUP Chair of Older Adults and Parks Committee Tim Geyer). WUP director Ryu Ono also participated.


The IPRS is a diverse national association that also partnered with the Green Building Association. The Association has an outstanding range of architects and developers involved in providing green buildings and green space in high rise development in Singapore and other highly populated Asian cities, some of which received awards at the gala evening. The Singapore 'City in a Garden' theme was very apparent and the National Parks Department responsible for Singapore's Green Space was generous in hosting some of the WUP members to view the greening initiatives.


Continue reading conference report here>>

Marina Bay Sands Hotel with roof park

Gardens by the Bay


Sungei Buloh Wetland Park



Americas Region: Greater and Greener 2017 in Minneapolis and St. Paul, USA, 29 July to 2 August 2017




Dr Richard Murray, Co-Chair of the WUP Large Urban Parks Committee, attended the Greater and Greener Conference and the City Parks Alliance and World Urban Parks hosted International Forum Day.

Here he provides a summary report of the International Forum.

The full range of presentations from the conference can be obtained here.

World Urban Parks and City Parks Alliance collaborated to host the fifth day of City Parks Alliance's Greater and Greener Conference on 2 August in Minneapolis and St. Paul in the USA. Attendance, hosted at the World Toro Headquarters, was capped at 140 with a full house. Over 30 World Urban Parks members attended, primarily from the USA and Canada, but also with a large presence from Japan and Sweden.

Continue reading conference report here>>


2016 Congresses

Second World Urban Parks Congress, Cape Town, South Africa                   

World Urban Parks Congress 2016The second World Urban Parks congress was held at the President Hotel, Cape Town from 26-28 September, in partnership with the Institute of Environment and Recreation Management of South Africa and their annual convention.

Including technical tour presenters, the Congress featured over 70 presenters from around the world (See Program).

The Congress was structured with presentations on 26 and 27 September with a Gala Dinner on the night of 27 September, and technical tours, hosted by the City of Cape Town on 28 September. The dinner featured the presentation of the second World Urban Parks Distinguished Individual Award to Neil McCarthy and the presentation of the first Certified Parks Professional (CPP) certificate to an African candidate, Emmanuel Maphorogo. 

Six conference presenters flew on to Johannesburg on 29 September to deliver their presentations again at an International Colloquium at the University of South Africa for professionals unable to travel to the Congress, with a further 85 delegates in attendance.

The full PowerPoint presentations are available here as PDFs, with World Urban Parks member presentations outlined briefly in the conference report below:

Read the Congress Report>>


Judy Ling-Wong presenting on urban national parks
Judy Ling-Wong presenting on urban national parks
Natalia Fishman presenting onthe parks of Tatarstan
Natalia Fishman presenting on the parks of Tatarstan
Emmanuel Maphorogo awarded first certified Parks Professional award to an African candidate
Emmanuel Maphorogo awarded first certified Parks Professional award to an African candidate


World Urban Parks Europe Region and Hortis Congress, Albi, France

The 1st World Urban Parks Europe Region Congress was held in partnership with Hortis, the French association for urban parks management, and their annual congress from 5-7 October. The venue was the Grand Theatre in the UNESCO World Heritage listed city of Albi, France.


Titled Green Heritage and Green Infrastructure: Evolution or Revolution in Society the congress featured 46 speakers and workshop presenters (17 international) plus Hortis region presenters and technical tour leaders for a dozen local destinations.  Overall the congress attracted an enthusiastic 374 registrants - for the congress, a large trade show and accompanying person tours. The conference was structured with a WUP half day on the 4th with about 30 members presenting on key issues in their countries and holding a Large Urban Parks Committee meeting, and the main congress from the 5th to 7th with morning presentations alternating with workshops or technical tours in the afternoon. Nine Hortis members received the World Parks Academy and Hortis partnered Certified Parks Professional - France certificates at the Gala Dinner on the 6th. International WUP members numbered 35 plus 7 accompanying persons.


Read the Congress Report>>

View the bilingual French-English conference program here.


 Presentation on Hortis and French key issues by Elisabeth Fournier, Hortis Secretary General, at the WUP Workshop

 Opening Address by Jean-Pierre Gueneau, President of Hortis, with WUP Chair Dr Anna Steidle waiting to respond; Grand Theatre, Albi

 Congress participants at the Garden of Martels in Giroussens

Past Congresses

The first World Urban Parks Congress was held in association with the 9th Iberoamerican Congress of Parks and Public Gardens and Ponte de Lima Municipality, Ponte de Lima, Portugal, 26-30 May 2015

The congress attracted 200 participants of which 45 were speakers and over 50 World Urban Parks members. Activity included a pre-congress member day on the 25th, Pre-congress tour on the 26th, Congress from 27th – 29th, and Post-congress tour 30th May. To view the full program and papers go to the World Urban Parks Congress 2015 website.

The languages were English, Portuguese and Spanish with all sessions translated. Congress tours included the International Garden Festival, an annual event with 100,000 visitors annually, as well as touring Portugal's only national park.

See here for:

The Congress Report

The pre-congress World Urban Parks Day report

The Congress Program

The World Urban Parks Media Release

Pictures: Top Left, ExpoLima venue; middle, presentation hall; right, pre-congress workshop at the Palacete Villa Morais.

Bottom Left Associations meeting in the dining marquee; middle Peneda Geres National Park; Right Traditional dancing

Congresses by antecedent organisation Ifpra were held every three years with regional congresses in intervening years. 

The last Regional Congress was the Ifpra Asia-Pacific Congress held in Penang, Malaysia, 23-27 June 2014.


The 2013 World Congress was held in October at Lake Louise in Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada in association with the thriving Alberta Recreation and Park Association.  As a joint conference Ifpra members provided 25 percent of presentations, adding a distinctly international flavour.



For the 2013 World Congress Report, by Gilbert Briscoe, click here . For the 2013 pre-Congress Tour Report, by Cliff Lacey and Barry Manchak, click here.

Papers presented at the 2013 World Congress can be downloaded from the Leisure Information Network here.


Reports from the 2010 World Congress held in Hong Kong, including proceedings and photos, are available here.


Other Conferences 

World Urban Parks may be involved to varying levels with other Conferences.



The last two conferences with Ifpra participation were:


IUCN World Parks Congress, Sydney 12-19 November 2014

Ifpra contributed to Stream 3 Healthy Parks Healthy People, Session 8 Great Parks and Green Spaces: Creating Healthy and Liveable Cities with a presentation by CEO Digby Whyte on World Urban Parks the proposed new-model world urban parks organisation.

Nordic Parks Congress, Malmö Sweden 20-22 August 2014

The four-yearly Nordic Parks Conference (conducted in English) included presentations from head gardeners from Gothenburg, Sweden and Chicago, USA, the former Commissioner of Parks, Sport and Recreation for Bogota, Columbia and Ifpra’s James McCulloch from the UK as well as local study tours.   In conjunction Ifpra hosted a pre-conference program comprising a full day bus tour of Copenhagen on 18 August and on 19 August a day with the Yardstick Scandinavian User Group Meeting, Ifpra Academy Workshop,  and Ifpra Europe, World Commissioners and World Executive meetings. Ifpra coordination was by Dr Christy Boylan, Ifpra Europe Secretary, with the conference program by Sten Goranssen, Chairman of the Swedish Association of Park Administrators.

Papers from the Nordic Parks Congress can be downloaded from the Movium website here