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World Urban Parks launched to unite city park and recreation professionals around the globe

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

Over the past six weeks, World Urban Parks, a new representative body for the international urban parks, open space and recreation sector, has been launched at a series of events in Japan, the USA and at the first World Urban Parks Congress in Portugal.

Aiming to champion world park and recreation outcomes for city liveability, place-making, conservation and access, World Urban Parks’ inaugural Chair Gil Penalosa explains “it is an understatement to say that it is an exciting time to be working on urban parks at a global scale.

“To be part of a team of city park leaders supporting best practices in urban park, open space, and recreation development brings together my two greatest passions: parks and cities.

“We have a lot of work to do. The world urban population will double from 3.5 billion to over 7.0 billion in the next 35 years. The population is expected to level off by 2050, so the cities we build today will be where billions of people will live for many hundreds of years.

“This represents a once in a lifetime opportunity to support the development of parks and open spaces as critical elements in creating healthy, sustainable, and inclusive cities.”

Canada-based Penalosa, Chair of the Board of Directors and founder of 8-80 Cities, adds “in addition to the urgency that accompanies this unprecedented growth in urban areas, we also know that parks and open spaces are not prioritised as they should be.

“Budgets for parks which were already insufficient, are getting cut in most cities around the world, and parks and open space development has not kept pace with residential and commercial development in countless cities.

“We have a tremendous responsibility to advocate and advance knowledge on parks on a global scale. We must build broad alliances with public, private, and non-governmental organisations to help position parks and open spaces as the essential building blocks of good city building they are. We need to move the conversation forward. We know parks and open spaces provide many benefits, they contribute to people’s mental and physical health, to the environment, economic development, and to social inclusion. The benefits far outweigh the costs, yet we seem to still have to make the case for parks.”  

World Urban Parks co-Vice Chair Neil McCarthy, stated “for the first time in history, more than half of the world’s population lives in urban areas, and cities worldwide are coping with issues including rapid urban migration, the effects of climate change, declining infrastructure, and competing government priorities.”

Emanuel Trueb , World Urban Parks co-Vice Chair and former President of the International Federation of Parks and Recreation Administration also stated “the new organization is a collaborative evolution of the former International Federation of Parks and Recreation Administration and the International Urban Parks and Green Space Alliance.

“Following more than two years of planning by both international organisations, World Urban Parks extends the reach and impact that IFPRA has achieved since its founding in London in 1957.”

Headquartered in Wellington, New Zealand, the membership organisation serves individuals, organisations and cities inclusive of agencies, businesses and community organisations in more than 40 countries. Under the new model, World Urban Parks aims to unite city park leaders on a global scale, and serves as a clearinghouse for sharing relevant data and best practices from urban parks around the world.  

Held from 26th to 31st May in Ponte de Lima, Portugal the inaugural World Urban Parks Congress brought together more than 45 presenters from a diversity of countries.

The Congress also saw the initiation of the Ponte de Lima Declaration, set world standards for urban parks, and presentation of the first of a series of awards recognising global contributions in the sector.

A new World Urban Parks website is being developed at www.worldurbanparks.org. Currently this link diverts to the former International Federation of Parks and Recreation Administration website.

Lower image shows the Dunedin Botanic Garden.

2nd February 2015 - WORLD URBAN PARKS BODY TO LAUNCH IN APRIL

13th November 2014 - PARKS FORUM CEASES OPERATIONS

20th August 2014 - WORLD URBAN PARKS ORGANISATION TO CHAMPION URBAN OPEN SPACE 

27th July 2012 - REPORT HIGHLIGHTS GROWING IMPORTANCE OF URBAN GREEN SPACE

28th December 2011 - FOUNDATION CHIEF URGES AUSTRALIANS TO MAKE THE MOST OF ‘PARKS FOR PEOPLE’

10th May 2011 - PARKS ESSENTIAL FOR HUMAN HEALTH 

16th July 2010 - PARKS FOR LIFE ANNOUNCES WORLD PARKS DAY


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