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World Urban Parks Chief Executive emphasises the value of public green space in a time of crisis

World Urban Parks Chief Executive emphasises the value of public green space in a time of crisis
March 18, 2020

Amid the current global Coronavirus pandemic, Neil McCarthy, Chief Executive of international open space advocacy body World Urban Parks, has shared his views on the value of public parks, emphasising the value of green spaces as a place to be active, in stress release and in maintaining the body’s immune system.

World Park Leaders Grow Here - In a time of crisis (COVID19)
As the world faces its first crisis for this century in COVID19 and that it will touch us all in one way or another, it is important that as leaders in the urban park sector we understand the importance of our role and the contributions that parks will play in the response and recovery. It has been said that the true test of leadership is the response during a crisis.

And leadership is not just the domain of governments; we all have a role to play. We will all experience the exceptional leadership from individuals through our local charity, health worker or school children who provide the strength, happiness and hope during these challenging times.

We have faced many crisis moments before from bushfires to earthquakes to floods and even the long term climate change challenges, however, this public health crisis will highlight the absolute importance of connecting with nature as a way of coping with the social isolation and distancing we all will face during the next six months. With judicious and considered planning and understanding of your government guidelines, your local park, open spaces, streets or even your backyard should provide the daily opportunity for individuals to spend time in the outdoors, even if it is only to sit and contemplate life for 30 minutes.

The value of the local park, the local street will provide moments of stress release and additional health benefits and these are all extremely important in maintaining the body’s immune system.

I have to praise our colleagues who have already proactively been enabling parks to be an important part of the solution. For example, Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy and City of Pittsburgh Pennsylvania, USA) have closed facilities, cancelled programs and special events for the safety of their community (but) they have actively promoted and encouraged Pittsburgh residents to get outside in the parks, with social distancing, to recharge and to maintain emotional, physical and psychological well-being. Media outlets have reached out to park professionals in Pittsburgh to promote the value of residents getting out in parks in every neighbourhood in Pittsburgh during this crisis.

World Urban Parks will advocate with our partners regarding the value of urban parks and as an important social infrastructure to help communities to recover, reconnect and revitalise.

We realise that many of our events will not proceed during 2020 and we are working with our partners on providing clarity shortly. We will be exploring other alternatives that will enable you all to share your experiences and ideas, as we will all be looking for inspiration and ideas regarding the role of parks.

World Urban Parks with its members, partners and supporters will take a proactive approach to support you during these challenging times

It is important that we respect the guidelines and directives that are being issued by every

Government and health organisation and ensure that you and your community are safe.

If you require further information please refer to your local jurisdiction or go to the World Health Organization website at

Click here to visit the World Urban Parks website.

Lower image: Neil McCarthy.

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8th March 2020 - Sunshine Coast to celebrate Parks Week with tree planting events

5th March 2020 - Parks Week returns with program of events across Australasia’s open spaces

4th March 2020 - Totara Park tree planting contributes to greening Auckland

27th February 2020 - Wollongong supports bees in managed greenspaces

3rd February 2020 - Gold Coast’s Green Bridge connecting HOTA to Chevron Island opens

29th January 2020 - Shepparton residents urged to help trees during warmer weather

11th December 2019 - Latest IUCN reports that a quarter of eucalypt trees are threatened with extinction

3rd November 2019 - Armidale residents donate water to save trees in drought affected park

13th October 2019 - Darwin set to plant 4000 trees to create green liveable spaces

5th September 2019 - Singapore’s Mandai Project combines nature and technology

30th July 2019 - World Urban Parks looks to offer increased member opportunities

14th July 2019 - Cairns Regional Council initiative sees planting of 20,000 trees

5th July 2019 - World Urban Parks awards Auckland’s Shakespear Regional Park

8th October 2018 - International Parks Congress presentation to share findings on global report on urban parks to 2030

9th April 2018 - World Urban Parks launches new Award for Large Urban Parks

7th January 2018 - World Urban Parks makes a difference

11th December 2017 - Eight million native trees planted across New Zealand in 2017

1st December 2017 - World Urban Parks announces new Chief Executive

9th August 2017 - Dubai expands roll out of Solar powered ‘palm trees’

5th February 2017 - New Hong Kong park to offer urban haven

9th June 2015 - World Urban Parks launched to unite city park and recreation professionals around the globe

14th May 2014 - Singapore’s Green Corridor becomes a space for nature and events

7th September 2012 - Leisure heads to city rooftops

27th June 2008 - Parks Forum highlights value of parks

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