World Urban Parks has been a hive of activity these last few weeks. The new World Urban Parks (WUP) Secretariat is now in place in Edmonton, Canada, and this edition introduces Ben Jonah and the assigned team from the Alberta Parks and Recreation Association that form the Secretariat. We have also been part of the planning and delivery of WUP-partnered conferences in Singapore and the USA, with short reports also featured in this edition. These events have provided an opportunity forWUP members to speak and share knowledge, and to support national associations. Planning continues for what is looking like a rich and exciting program at Wirral and Birkenhead Park in the UK in October 2017.


Partly in association with the conferences, there have been meetings of all three region committees as well as a number of other committees: Healthy Parks Healthy Cities, Older Adults and Parks, Children Play and Nature, the Large Urban Parks Advocacy and Events Working Group, the World Parks Academy Board, and the WUP Executive. The Academy has been actively supporting webinars, including bringing together our national associations, and developing professional certification with national associations; activities featured in this edition

Members have also been working on new awards and competitions- the new WUP Legacy Award recipient, Brian O'Neill was announced at the Greater and Greener Conference International Forum, the Europe Region Committee is designing a European Large Urban Parks Award for potential awarding at the Europe Region Conference, and another group of board directors are looking at a world-wide city competition for 2018.


Read more: World Urban Parks CEO Update

The Alberta Recreation and Parks Association (ARPA) has successfully been awarded the contract of services for World Urban Parks secretariat responsibilities, beginning 1 August 2017. ARPA has over 60 years of not-for-profit public recreation and parks experience supporting professionals, organizations, corporations, and municipalities.

The secretariat role will be coordinated by Benjamin Jonah (WUP Secretariat Coordinator) in collaboration with assigned ARPA staff including, Bill Wells (Chief Executive Officer), Steve Allan (Director of Finance & Operations), Anna Holtby (Communications Coordinator), and Lori Simmonds (Administrative Coordinator). This brings together not-for-profit organization experience in operations, finance, membership administration, and event planning. Secretariat responsibilities will include membership and financial administration, communications, and board and CEO support.


The ARPA is excited to provide the secretariat to World Urban Parks for the next three years to assist WUP members and achieve WUP’s goals and objectives. For further inquiries please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Full contact information is at

The World Urban Parks Annual General Meeting (AGM) will be held online from 26-31 August 2017. The AGM will be held via electronic survey so that all members will have six days to participate at their convenience. 

A link to go online and fill out the AGM survey will beprovided.

The AGM will provide an opportunity for members to see and comment on:

  • the directors’ annual report for the 2016/17 year (the second year of operation for World Urban Parks)
  • the audited financial reports for the 2016/17 year
  • the statements of service performance for the 2016/17 year

Members will also:

  • approve the Auditor and Auditor's fee
  • have an opportunity to comment on services they want as members and make any general comments

Board directors were elected for three-year terms at the 2016 AGM. There are no elections at the AGM this year, however the board will appoint the Chair and Executive for 1-year terms.

A copy of the World Urban Parks Constitution and Rules is available on the website here.

Conference Presenters

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.


Read more: Asia-Pacific Region Conference –Singapore Conference Report

(Left) Catherine Nagel and (right) Tom Dallesio

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.


Read more: International Forum Success – Report

Brian O’Neill, former US National Parks Service
General Superintendent of Golden Gate National Parks
in San Francisco, USA.

Brian O'Neill is the 2017 recipient of the new World Urban Parks Legacy Award recognising past leaders who impacted parks and park management. Brian, now deceased, was the former US National Parks Service General Superintendent of the 80,000 acre Golden Gate National Parks in the heart of the San Francisco Bay area.  He was instrumental in the creation of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, and worked on key projects, including making Alcatraz a major tourist destination. Brian was also outstanding in engaging the public, volunteers and funding, and influenced a number of park agencies around the world. The award was conferred at the Greater and Greener International Forum day on 2 August hosted by City Parks Alliance and World Urban Parks. A copy of the Presentation on Brian made at the Forum is here.

Pictured: Kevin O’Hara of NPRA and Karl Nesbitt of NZRA

Ten national recreation and park associations came together through  webinar on 26 July 2017 to discuss Financial Growth and Sustainability through Income Diversity. The webinar was hosted by the World Parks Academy as an initiative of the World Urban Parks Alliances Committee.  World Urban Parks is unique in having most of the world's national associations as members, with four seats on the board allocated to national associations. This was the first time leaders from park and recreation associations around the world came together to share financial management strategies, and the group expects to meet 2-3 times per year to share knowledge of mutual benefit.

Following introductions, discussion was facilitated by two national associations with diverse incomes. Kevin O'Hara of the National Parks and Recreation Association of the USA and Karl Nesbitt of the New Zealand Recreation Association (pictured). Although membership fees are often the main form of income, this was not the case for these two associations. The roundtable discussion indicated that there was a mix of innovative and classical income sources among the associations.


The World Parks Academy offers monthly webinars and is continuing to look for speakers to provide 45 minute presentations on a topic related to the parks and recreation industry. The Academy website can be viewed at 

Certified Parks & Leisure Professional to be Offered in Australia

The World Parks Academy and Parks and Leisure Australia (PLA) have signed an agreement to offer professional certification to the 2,500 members of PLA. The agreement was signed at the World Urban Parks Asia Pacific Congress in Singapore on 18 July 2017. PLA representatives updated the international Certified Parks Professional credential to reflect Australian needs. The credential, to be known as the Certified Parks and Leisure Professional CPLP (Australia) will be jointly awarded by the Academy and PLA.

Signing of the MOU. Photo (front) Digby Whyte CEO WUP, Mark Band CEO PLA, rear Martin Lambert President PLA, Elisabeth Fournier Secretary General Hortis (the first national association to partner, to provide CPP France)
Second photo adding Bishop Ngobeli, incoming president of IERM in South Africa, that will likely be the third national association to have a national CPP partnership; and Emmanuel Maphorogo, the first CPP recipient in South Africa

This article is the fourth part of a series of articles composed for World Park News to explore the concept of National Park Cities. Titled ‘UK’s Best idea for Parks – The National Park City Concept’,this article explores what might be the “UK’s Best Idea” for parks.


Read this article>>

Kok Hwee is pictured pointing to green initiatives in

This month we feature eight publications and resources recommended by Kok Hwee Cheong, Director of Special Projects with the National Parks Board of Singapore (NParks). These relate to the skyrise greenery efforts in Singapore as part of Singapore's the 'City in a Garden' theme. Due to population density Singapore is a leading country for integrating green space into the built environment.

Publications include government policy and incentives for greening buildings, NParks' website supporting skyrise greenery, NParks' 'Leaf' certification scheme recognising outstanding greenery projects and the Building and Construction Authority's 'Greenmark' scheme to create sustainable buildings; and publications on Singapore as a garden city, and for vertical greening and appropriate plant species.


Johannesburg, South Africa | 11-13 September

The Institute of Environment and Recreation Management (IERM) will be hosting their annual convention from Monday, 11 September 2017 to Wednesday, 13 September 2017. The convention is in partnership with the University of South Africa (UNISA).

The conventions theme is ‘People and Green Space – Cradle to Grave,’and includes sub-themes on topicssuch as, parks and green space, application of green infrastructure, urban ecotourism and maximizing community benefits through tourism, and more. Over and above the formal proceedings, a program of social outings and entertainment is being arranged. Register now for the IERM Convention happening this September.

To register, visit the IERM convention website>>

Hortis Conference - Des espaces verts au service de la santé  - Lyon, France| 5-7 October 2017
Green City Days by Paysalia - Lyon, France| 5-7 December 2017

Register now for both Paysalia's - Green City Days and Hortis' - Des espaces verts au service de la santé. Both events will focus on urban landscape and gardening, and will be held in Lyon, France and hosted in French.

Visit the Paysalia website to register and for more information>>
Visit the Hortis website for more information>>

Gil Penalosa, World Urban Parks Chair

Gil PenalosaWe are proud and delighted to announce World Urban Parks has chosen the Alberta Recreation and Parks Association (ARPA) to take over our Secretariat responsibilities. Through a tender process, ARPA presented the winning proposal, and the best capacity to support World Urban Parks through the next three years of exciting growth opportunities.

We congratulate ARPA CEO Bill Wells and his team, and look forward to a vibrant and productive relationship for all involved.

Everyone at World Urban Parks would also like to take this opportunity to say thank you to the New Zealand Recreation Association for its commitment to providing World Urban Parks secretariat services through its establishment and early development phase from 2015-2017.

NZRA provided a unique and important contribution to World Urban Parks, getting us going in the early days and now with our feet firmly planted for the next phase of growth. A special thanks goes to NZRA CEO Andrew Leslie and his team, particularly Administrator Kusum Nathu, former Senior Administrator Katie McCrae, Administration Manager Harmoney Jackson, Communications Executive Fraser May, and Web Developer Mike Henton.

Starting from 1 August 2017 the Secretariat will be provided by assigned staff of the Alberta Recreation and Parks Association based in Edmonton, Canada. Our CEO, Dr. Digby Whyte will coordinate the transfer.

APRA has a diverse membership and proven ability to forge unique partnerships across diverse sectors. We are very excited to have their expertise and leadership supporting our mission at World Urban Parks.

Read more: A new Secretariat for World Urban Parks

Urban National ParkThis article is the third part of a series of articles composed for World Park News to explore the concept of National Park Cities. Titled ‘What constitutes the attributes that define a National Urban Park', it explores how we currently define national urban parks.

Read the article>>

Park WebinarThe World Parks Academy is offering two webinars in July. The first is titled Green Heritage Amenities and Contributions to Society, and is open to all. The second, Association Financial Growth and Sustainability through Income Diversity is an invitational roundtable webinar for national associations.

Invitational webinar: Association Financial Growth and Sustainability through Income Diversity
This invitational National Associations Roundtable webinar for World Urban Parks national associations will include short presentations from associations with diverse income sources and an interactive discussion from association representatives.

This webinar will take place on 26 July. For more information contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Webinar: Green Heritage Amenities and Contributions to Society
Presenter: Caroline Gutleben, Director of Plant & City, France

Parks and public lands offer a broad range of services in urban areas. Scientific studies increasingly show the benefits of urban green spaces on human health and well-being, social and community cohesion, biodiversity, thermal regulation, air quality, drainage and soil protection, as well as on the regional economy. This webinar will explore current research on the benefits of parks and public green spaces and how the research is synthesized by governments to direct policy and plan the future of our cities.
This webinar will take place on July 12 at 10:00 am (EDT), and provides optional credits for the World Urban Parks Certified Parks Professional and Certified International Parks Professional continuing education programmes.

Register now>> ‘The Child in the City’, a five-day programme held in March, 52 experts in urban planning, childhood development, conservation, environmental policy, and health considered how green spaces could better meet the needs of children.

This event resulted in The Salzburg Statement on The Child in the City: Health, Parks and Play, which recommends several policies, practices and investments. It also contains actions which can transform cities for children.

Read the statement on the Salzburg Global Seminar website>>