The latest news and updates from World Urban Parks - February 2016
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World Urban Parks committee updates

Dr Digby Whyte, Australia, World Urban Parks CEO
Best wishes for the New Year and I trust everyone is refreshed after the holiday season. Certainly this is evident in the activity of World Urban Parks committees and their developing working groups.

The committees serve a vital role in engaging, serving members and wider  outcomes, and with every committee meeting through January and February 2016 this is a great time to get involved.

Most committees have space for additional members and especially on their working parties and participating in their activities. Members looking to make general enquiries or requests to join committees are welcome to contact me directly at

An update on the membership of the World Urban Parks committees, the progress they are making and their roles is included below.

Read more>>

Parks of the World: Rivierenhof, Antwerp

Peter Verdyck, Belgium

The 135 hectare Rivierenhof was the first public provincial park in Belgium. Its origins reach back into the 16th century, when it was a private country domain. 

In the following years it had several owners, including a well-known local family of bankers, who owned it from 1776 to 1920, whilst the preceding owners were Jesuits.

The province of Antwerp purchased Rivierenhof in 1921 to protect it from a housing development project, and turned it into a public park in 1923, which is still its current purpose.

Read more>>

World Urban Parks Congress update

The Congress will take place in Cape Town, South Africa from 26-28 September, held in combination with the South African Institute for Environment and Recreation Management (IERM)’s national conference.

Abstract submissions for the 2016 World Urban Parks Congress will open shortly, and interested authors are encouraged to submit previously unpublished contributions on topics relating to the agenda.

If you are interested in making a presentation at the World Urban Parks Congress, please contact Charlene Wightman at the IERM secretatiat.

Visit our webpage for more information on the 2016 Congress>>

Share your ideas at the Europe Region Congress

The joint Hortis and World Urban Parks Europe Region Congress, to be held from 5-7 October 2016 in Albi, has issued a call for papers closing on 15 March 2016.

This bilingual congress has a focus theme of ‘Green heritage and green infrastructure: evolution or revolution in the society’. For more information on this event and its themes, please read the call for papers (English | French).

Submit a congress abstract>> 

World Parks Academy offers free 2016 webinars

Live online webinars are currently scheduled through May 2016 on the World Parks Academy training calendar.

Each month in 2016, the World Parks Academy will offer a short (1-2 hour) webinar covering one of the competencies requiring certification. All programs are free and eligible for continuing education unit credits at registration. 

Find out more and register for the webinars>>

Academy certification offered in South Africa

The World Parks Academy is collaborating with the Institute of Environment and Recreation Management in South Africa to deliver a version of Certified Parks Professional accreditation catered to South African national standards.

World Parks Academy accreditation as a Certified Parks Professional or Certified International Parks Professional offers international recognition of qualifications and experience for professionals working in parks and open spaces. 

For more information, visit the World Parks Academy website>> 

Park funding: “Why are we still having this conversation?”

World Urban Parks Vice Chair Neil McCarthy recently attended round table talks with The Parks Alliance – sharing an overview of the international scene and discussing the challenges of leadership and funding for parks and open spaces, including budget cuts in the face of an increasing body of knowledge supporting the value of parks. 

Mr McCarthy’s discussion is summarised in an article by Kate Swade, Development Manager of UK not-for-profit Shared Assets.

Read the article online>>

Green space acknowledged in sports strategy

The value of green space has been recognised in Sporting Future: A New Strategy for an Active Nation, a new United Kingdom Government sport strategy focusing on the benefits of sport to the public.

Horticulture Week recently interviewed The Parks Alliance Chair Mark Camley to discuss the changes and the key role parks have in promoting physical activity across the United Kingdom.

Read the strategy>> 

Valedictory for Masako Muraoka

Makoto Aruji, President, World Urban Parks Japan
It is with great sadness that I have to inform you that Ms Masako Muraoka, Director of Life Landscape Planning, a professional member of World Urban Parks and CIPP holder, passed away on November 21, 2015. She was 65.

She was an excellent landscape architect and a warm person, and has played important roles in landscape industry in Japan. Fondly admired and loved by her peers, Masako will be sorely missed. Our heartfelt sympathies go to the rest of her family. Sayonara Masako.

Introducing our national associations: CPA

Over the next few months we will introduce many of the national association members of World Urban Parks. National associations advance the industry through knowledge exchange and professional development, and it is a key role of World Urban Parks to act as an umbrella association that unites and supports them. 

City Parks Alliance is the only independent, nationwide membership organization in the United States of America solely dedicated to urban parks. It unites and serves a growing network of hundreds of civic and community leaders, city officials, funders, park and recreation authorities and others concerned with urban parks from nearly every state and the District of Columbia. 

Read more>>

Healthy Parks Healthy People guide available

A Guide to the Healthy Parks Healthy People Approach and Current Practices covers park management approaches and current international practices and projects, as well as the latest research in this area.

Resulting from the “Improving Health and Well-Being: Healthy Parks Healthy People” stream at the International Union for the Conservation of Nature’s 2014 World Parks Congress in Sydney, this free guide can be used to explore the diverse health benefits of parks and encourage people and organisations to use parks as a place where people can connect with nature and enjoy the benefits.

Read the guide>>

Special edition - de Ville en Ville

A special edition of the Hortis magazine de Ville en Ville has been produced, focusing on the presentations and discussions at the recent Hortis congress in Marseille.

Please note: this is a French language publication.

Read the magazine>>

The economic impact of local parks

The National Recreation and Park Association has produced research on the economic impact of local parks, and illustrating the economic value of parks and green spaces as "engines of economic activity in their communities".

Read the report>>

Americans’ broad-based support for local recreation and park services

The National Recreation and Park Association has produced a 2016 study exploring the support Americans have for their parks and open spaces, titled Americans’ Broad-Based Support for Local Recreation and Park Services.

Read the report>>

Study looks at top 10 teen-friendly park features

The City of Boulder’s Parks and Recreation department and Youth Opportunities advisory board asked teens what features they would want to see in city parks, resulting in a top 10 list of the features consistently asked for. 

This list included features such as Wi-Fi, nature and music – using examples such as a neighbourhood park designed for and by teens in Malmö, Sweden, where music was an integral feature.

Read the article>>

Naturación urbana y jardinería vertical: de las fachadas verdes a los muros vegetales

This article reproduces an item from the Asociación Española de Parques y Jardines Públicos publication PARJAP.

It discusses the concept of ‘Naturation Urbana’ (Urban Naturation) – how ideas such as green corridors, green building façades and urban microclimates in urban planning can help improve the sustainability of urban areas.

Read the article>>

Restoring ecosystem services in urban areas

This study from the June 2015 issue of Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability presents “an analysis of benefits of ecosystem services in urban areas”, including estimates of monetary benefits from urban ecosystem services based on data from 25 urban areas in the USA, Canada, and China.

The results of this study show that investing in ecological infrastructure is desirable not only ecologically and socially, but also economically, even based on the most traditional economic approaches.

Read the study online>> 

Urban parkland over motorways?

A recent article from Australian transport and urban planning blogger Alan Davies discussed the benefits and pitfalls of decking over motorways to provide more urban parkland. 

It provides interesting food for thought, comparing urban greening ideas and how their application in Paris and Manhattan differs significantly from Melbourne. 

Interested in this discussion? Visit our LinkedIn page to join in>> 

Switzerland launches Gartenjahr 2016 campaign

Gartenjahr 2016 is a Switzerland-wide advocacy campaign for the summer of 2016, committed to the preservation and development of open spaces and gardens. It aims to draw attention to the central importance of parks and gardens to the quality of life in urban spaces, and includes a calendar of events across Switzerland from April to October 2016.

Examples of initiatives include Offene Gärten, days in which five national horticultural associations open the gates of their gardens to share knowledge with the public and other professionals; and Rapperswiler Tag on 11 March, which looks to enhance meaningful contact in public spaces.

Visit the Gartenjahr 2016 website>> 

Event: Second International Conference on Urban Tree Diversity

Held in Melbourne, Australia, from 22–24 February 2016, this conference will bring together leading researchers and practitioners to discuss aspects of urban tree diversity from around the world. This event is organised by the University of Melbourne, City of Melbourne and the International Society of Arboriculture.

The aim of this biannual event is to assess the state-of-art of research and promote the development of good practice and innovative approaches to urban tree planning and management for more diverse urban forests. Keynote speakers include World Urban Parks member Professor Cecil Konijnendijk Van Den Bosch, Associate Professor Susan Day, Associate Professor Diane Pataki, Professor C Y Jim and Anne Jaluzot.

For more information, visit the event website>>

Event: Public Parks and Gardens

The ninth Public Parks and Gardens conference will be held in Helsingborg, Sweden on 13 April 2016. 

This year’s conference has the theme “Interactive parks and spaces” – to engage citizens in the implementation of park and arts experiences in public environment.

One of the feature presentations will focus on the spectacular Gardens by the Bay project in Singapore. All lectures for this event will be presented in English.

To register, visit the event website>> 

Upcoming events

We have an exciting schedule of events planned in fascinating locations all over the world. For information about all upcoming World Urban Parks conferences and events, visit our website.

Visit the Congresses & Events section of our website>>

Call for contributions

We welcome your contributions to keep the World Park News interesting, vibrant and relevant. Contributed articles of up to 1,000 words in length are preferred, and each should ideally be accompanied by at least one photo or image.

If you have a news article, research summary, event report or photo to share with the World Urban Parks community, please email CEO Digby Whyte at or James Heffield, Communications, at

Please note: member associations are welcome to forward selected articles from their e-newsletters and e-magazines for publication.

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