It was a kind of Bay Area parks ‘lovefest’ that evoked images of another set of park lovers from the 1960s. But this time the peace loving vibe was coming from civic leaders and park professionals attending City Parks Alliance’s international urban parks conference, Greater and Greener: Innovative Parks, Vibrant Cities, a few weeks ago in sunny San Francisco – a city with more public open space than any metro area in the country.
One thousand global park leaders, city planning and design professionals, and urban park advocates from more than 200 cities and 17 countries shared stories, photographs, lessons, data and some good humor about how parks change and enhance our urban quality of life.
The diversity of participants made for a vibrant and robust conversation about parks and their link to just about everything in our lives that has value – health, recreation, learning, clean water, play, education, economic development, social cohesion, urban resilience, and on and on. By making parks broadly relevant, the conference attracted and engaged leaders from health, science, technology, and other fields to collectively re-imagine parks in a new context of economic, environmental and social opportunities.
In addition to the 150 speakers leading workshop sessions inside classrooms, the conference also offered more than 80 expert-led tours of parks, mobile workshops and special events that featured San Francisco’s beautifully groomed parks and community facilities. Continue reading