Leveraging the Power of City Parks
City parks play a vital role in the social, economic, and physical well-being of America’s cities and their residents. Nearly 80 percent of the American population lives in urban areas (Source: U.S. Census Bureau, 2016). As cities continue to grow, planners, elected officials, and community advocates are taking a fresh look at parks and their potential to help address critical urban infrastructure and public health issues.
City parks provide access to recreational opportunities, increase property values, spur local economies, improve safety, and mitigate stormwater runoff and other environmental threats. Parks are now recognized as powerful tools for urban communities and local economies to help drive more vibrant and equitable cities.
The mission of City Parks Alliance is to engage, educate, and nurture a broad-based constituency to support the creation, revitalization, and sustainability of parks and green spaces that contribute to more vibrant and equitable cities.
City Parks Alliance leads and serves a network of diverse organizations that make up the parks world—from neighborhood groups to government agencies—championing high-quality urban parks throughout the nation. City Parks Alliance is vital to sound public policy and citizen engagement that recognizes city parks as integral to ensuring that communities are equitable, healthy, green, and engaged and that cities are economically competitive and resilient.
City Parks Alliance History
Parks, People, and Power Workshop Held
An advocacy training workshop in partnership with the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society is held in Philadelphia, PA. Subsequent workshops are held in Boston, Los Angeles, and St. Louis.
It Takes a Partnership: Urban Parks in the 21st Century Workshop Held
City Parks Alliance organizes Urban Parks Conference in partnership with the National Association for Olmsted Parks and Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy, Buffalo, NY.
Urban Park and Recreation Summit Held
City Parks Alliance hosts Urban Parks and Recreation Summit in partnership with National Recreation and Park Association and The Trust for Public Land, Chicago, IL.
Red Fields to Green Fields Launched
The Red Fields to Green Fields National Research Program, led by Georgia Institute of Technology School of Civil and Environmental Engineering, evaluates the potential impacts of converting financially and/or physically distressed commercial real estate to greenspace and parks.
First Urban Park Study Tour Hosted
More than thirty participants from across the country attended the inaugural city park study tour, which highlights unique public/private park partnerships in Chicago, IL. Subsequent park study tours explore park and recreation systems in Los Angeles/Irvine, Denver, Toronto, and Cleveland.
Inaugural Greater & Greener: International Urban Parks Conference Hosted
Held Greater & Greener: Re-Imagining Parks for 21st Century Cities in New York, NY. More than six hundred participants attended the first Greater & Greener conference. Future Greater & Greener conferences in San Francisco, Twin Cities, and Denver help the program grow into the leading international conference for urban parks.
Mayors for Parks Coalition Launched
The Mayors for Parks Coalition, a bipartisan coalition of mayors from large and small cities, advocates for federal funding to support strong park systems. The Coalition grows to more than fifty mayors.
National Study of Neighborhood Parks Initiated
The RAND Corporation and City Parks Alliance lead the first ever National Study of Neighborhood Parks to identify the degree to which America’s neighborhood parks encourage physical activity.
City Workshops Program Launched
City Parks Alliance and Michigan Recreation and Park Association hosted the first ParkXChange City Workshop in Flint, MI. Professional facilitators lead the workshops, drawing on the experience of leaders around the country through a tailored curriculum. Additional workshops are held in Birmingham; Boston; Detroit; Kansas City, MO; Saint Paul; San Jose; and Traverse City, MI.
City Parks: America’s New Infrastructure Released
City Parks Alliance produces and distributes City Parks: America’s New Infrastructure video series. The five-part series documents the multi-functional benefits of urban parks and transportation, resilience, health and economic benefits for cities. The videos are based on research conducted by the Georgia Institute of Technology School of Civil and Environmental Engineering.
Active Parks, Healthy Cities Published
Active Parks, Healthy Cities distills the findings of the National Study of Neighborhood Parks into four major recommendation categories: programming, design, marketing and outreach, and measuring park use. The report curates multiple case studies for each of the four major findings from cities of different sizes and geographies for park and recreation professionals, health organizations, advocacy groups, and others to replicate.
Funding Parks and Green Infrastructure
City Parks Alliance leads a national research effort to curate and disseminate innovative strategies and best practices for funding parks and green infrastructure with particular interest in their benefits for low-income communities. Partnered with the Urban Institute and Groundwork USA. The first product from the partnership will be published in the summer 2019.
Framework for Change
City Parks Alliance’s Framework for Change outlines how we elevate the importance of city parks and equip park leaders to become agents for change in their communities.