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..


 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


Open for Registration>>>




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

A World Urban Parks and Wirral Council UK partnered congress, this is part of the celebrations for the 170th  anniversary of the opening of Wirral’s Birkenhead Park in 1847. 

Located in the Merseyside area of the UK Birkenhead Park, designed by Joseph Paxton, is considered one of the world's first publicly funded parks, and influenced Central Park in New York. There is a rich program with conference themes relate to community and heritage, including presentations and discussion on large urban parks.

The program outline is:

Sat/Sun 14-15 October  Pre Congress tour
Monday 15

Public Opening of the Congress and Trade Show Exhibition

1:30-3:30pm Meeting of WUP Europe Region open to all WUP members (consulting on needs and representation); Floral Pavilion

4:00-5:30pm Meeting of the WUP Large Urban Parks Committee (workshop on new Large Urban Parks Award); Floral Pavilion

Tuesday 16 Speakers/Presentations; Keynote Speaker – Douglas Blonsky, Central Park NY
  Drinks reception
Wednesday 17 Speakers/Presentations
Thursday 18 Keynote Lecture – Birkenhead Park
  Tours of Birkenhead Park/Port Sunlight Village
  Congress Dinner and Awards Evening
Friday 19 Post Congress tour: Park design
Saturday 20 Post Congress tour: Wirral Wonders

Prices in Great Britain Pounds are:

Tuesday 17th - Thursday 19th October 2017

Full Congress Delegate Tickets:
Members £369.00 (WUP Speakers £300)
Non-Members £439 (includes a 1-year WUP Membership)

Day Tickets
Members £139 (WUP Speakers £100)
Non-Members £209 (includes a 1-year WUP Membership)


Registration, Accommodation, and Program are available here>>>


What will you learn? 
Given the variety of uses and benefits of urban parks, it will be of value to a range of professions and individuals including those with an interest in:

  • park management and development
  • regeneration, planning and place making
  • the built, historic and natural environment
  • recreation, health and well-being
  • community engagement and action
  • tourism, the visitor economy and place marketing
  • environmental issues and sustainability

The Congress will provide opportunities to network, gain international perspectives, support professional development, share best practice and explore innovative solutions. It will feature high profile speakers from across the globe.

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


A World Urban Parks and Institute of Parks and Recreation Singapore partnered congress, this held 17-20 July at the Marina Bay Sands Convention Centre.

17 July was a day with master classes, followed by a potential WUP Asia Pacific Region meeting in the afternoon

18 and 19 July were conference and event days. WUP members interested in presenting contacted This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. There were over 40 speakers from 11 countries.

20 July was an all-day technical tour. 

Prices in Singapore Dollars were:

  • $360 Master Class
  • $886 Congress
  • $360 Full day technical tour

IPRS website>>>

The primary accommodation was at the venue, Marina Bay Sands Hotel, where special rates have been secured.


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



Greater & Greener is the two-yearly conference of the City Parks Alliance. More than 1,000 global park leaders explored the power of parks in supporting healthy, resilient and sustainable cities. Attendees learned best practices of urban park design, management and programming, and network with experts in the public, private and non-profit sectors.


World Urban Parks partnered with CPA to present a day-long International Forum at the event on August 2nd, which was limited to 160 participants. Sessions include 'Healthy Parks Healthy Cities', 'River Revolution Cities', 'Large Parks in Cities' and 'Getting it Right'. There wasa great line up of speakers from around the world, including many World Urban Parks members.


The International Forum also provided an important networking opportunity for World Urban Parks members as well as leaders from large cities, national parks services, non-government organisations, and academics. 


Special rates applied for World Urban Parks members for full Conference Registration. Full and day registrations also include free attendance at the International Forum for World Urban Parks members.


The topics and broader Greater & Greener Conference were ideal for World Urban Parks members. Our commitment to partner for this event was in lieu of a 2017 World and Americas Region Congress.


Visit for the full conference schedule and additional information. To facilitate meeting each other World Urban Parks members were encouraged to book the hotel associated with the venue the Intercontinental Saint Paul Riverfront


City parks play a vital role in the social, economic, and physical well-being of cities and their residents. Parks are now recognized as powerful and necessary part of 21st century urban systems. As urban populations continue to grow, planners, elected officials, community advocates, and other stakeholders are taking a fresh look at parks and their potential to help address many critical urban issues. 


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