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Toward a Useful Teaching Strategy: City Park Partnerships

Last month the City Parks Alliance (CPA) held a pilot workshop in a concerted effort to develop a teaching strategy for helping park professionals learn and understand partnerships and collaboration.  More than twenty participants attended the day-long event held at Augustus Hawkins Natural Park in Los Angeles, supported by the S.D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation and hosted by the Los Angeles Parks Foundation.

(L t R): Jackie Carrera, Gordon Robertson, and Dale Larsen

(L to R): Jackie Carrera, Gordon Robertson, and Dale Larsen

I had the privilege of facilitating the discussion and was supported by City Parks Alliance staffers, Executive Director Catherine Nagel and Outreach & Program Manager Angie Horn, as well as a team of three experienced urban park professionals: Jackie Carrera, a recent transplant to Los Angeles after 21 years as CEO for Parks and People in Baltimore; Gordon Robertson, Director of Planning and Design for Denver Parks and Recreation; and Dale Larsen, Professor of Practice & Honors Faculty at Arizona State University and former Director of Parks & Recreation in Phoenix.  Collectively they represented more than 100 years of experience in city park partnerships!

We structured an agenda based on surveying park partners in California to find out what they wanted to learn.  Response to the survey centered on four ideas for shaping an agenda:

  • Understanding the need for partnership; why and how partners should work together
  • Getting started by scoping out responsibilities and structuring agreements
  • Working together day to day, communicating, team-building, and establishing trust
  • Building a culture of collaboration and shared vision for the long run

And so for the day-long session we shaped our workshop around these four areas.  The small size of the group meant that we could use our time for discussion, storytelling, and sharing successes and failures.  The experts in the room shared lessons and reflected on their experiences with public and private partners.   Continue reading

Register Now for the 2012 International Urban Parks Conference

Registration has now opened for this summer’s International Urban Parks Conference!  Join us July 14-17 in New York City for Greater & Greener: Re-Imagining Parks for 21st Century Cities. Presented by City Parks Alliance in partnership with NYC Department of Parks & Recreation, Greater & Greener will take place in the city that pioneered the urban park in America 150 years ago and still today is a living lab for urban open space innovation.

The conference will be a four-day immersion in best practices and bold new thinking that can be taken home and applied to green space planning the world over. Its plenaries and workshops — more than 40 of which are coordinated with outdoor tours — will let you experience New York City’s visionary park lessons first hand. Customize your conference experience by building your own program from the more than 100 sessions and events taking place at New York University and throughout the city.

  • Hear thoughts on new park design as a driver of community redevelopment
  • Discover new revenue streams from public and private sources
  • Explore the latest uses of social media for fundraising and advocacy
  • See how eco-design technologies are bringing water, wildlife and whimsy back to urban neighborhoods
  • Listen to experts who’ll help you measure impact and maintain your park effectively
  • Learn how to forge alliances with civic groups, elected officials, private organizations, the National Park Service and entrepreneurs!

Sign up early to bike with the NYC Parks & Recreation Commissioner, kayak down the Hudson, canoe on the Bronx River, visit new green markets and park-based foodie meccas, and join us across the East River in Brooklyn for a marvelous evening of food, wine and breathtaking Manhattan skyline views under the Brooklyn Bridge, in the city’s newest sustainable waterfront park.

Don’t miss an unparalleled opportunity from July 14-17, 2012 to catch up with colleagues, make new contacts, and network with leaders in urban park innovation across North America and around the world!  Visit www.urbanparks2012.org for more details.