City Parks Alliance’s Strategic Plan 2023-2028

City Parks Alliance’s Strategic Plan 2023-2028

The past few years have thrown parks into the spotlight. Parks are safe havens, critical urban infrastructure, and manifestations of equity, or too often the lack thereof, in our cities. The COVID-19 pandemic, the national reckoning with racial equity and justice, and the impacts of climate change have all highlighted the vital role urban parks play in the health and well-being of our cities.

Our central premise is this: We believe that excellent urban park systems are critical infrastructure in equitable, resilient, and thriving cities.

To ensure City Parks Alliance is positioned to meet the rising needs in the urban park community, the City Parks Alliance Board of Directors adopted a new strategic plan in 2023. The plan sets a path forward to increase our role as a thought leader and collective voice in the urban parks space and as a valuable resource for public and private park professionals. We are well-positioned to facilitate dialogue, thought leadership, and advocacy by creating more opportunities to network, share ideas, and showcase successful strategies. We will continue to champion a multi-sector, partnership-based approach to the challenges and opportunities facing cities and their parks and recreation systems. We will take this conversation beyond traditional stakeholders, engaging philanthropy and other sectors for whom a thriving park system offers a readily available pathway to success.

City Parks Alliance’s strategic framework for the next five years includes the following:

Thought Leadership: City Parks Alliance will solidify its role as the “go-to” organization for cutting-edge research that demonstrates the relevance of city parks to urban climate resilience, the importance of collaborative efforts to support these spaces, and the kinds of investment strategies that lead to more equitable communities. 

  • Championing and espousing a cohesive vision around public-private partnerships in the city parks space
  • Positioning City Parks Alliance’s curation of cutting-edge research as a cornerstone of its activity and limiting the scope of new research based on available funding
  • Doubling down on the intersection of parks and climate resiliency as a core area of inquiry

Field Enhancement: City Parks Alliance will leverage its role as the field’s “trusted convenor” to organize critical information, knowledge, and tools, and endeavor to make these resources accessible to parks and recreation professionals in every major city in the United States. 

  • Fostering regular opportunities for peer-to-peer networking and information sharing among city parks and recreation professionals
  • Curating and offering targeted programming and information resources for city park systems and their partners
  • Pursuing deeper, symbiotic relationships with national and international peer organizations

National Voice: City Parks Alliance and its constituency will capitalize on the renewed interest around urban parks to further galvanize resource holders and engage new allies around the view of urban parks as critical infrastructure. 

  • Increase visibility of and further leverage the Alliance’s advocacy expertise to inform and solidify its base of park advocates
  • Elicit more active engagement and support from elected officials at all levels to increase equitable park investment
  • Cultivate robust, informed networks of philanthropic and corporate organizations that are committed to equitably funding city parks

Organizational Strength: City Parks Alliance will invest in its internal infrastructure to ensure the organization has the resources, tools, and capacity to support this ambitious strategic plan.

  • Broadening the base of City Parks Alliance members and allies within North America
  • Taking advantage of opportunities to increase the revenue the Alliance draws from its program audience, funders, and corporate connections
  • Enhancing the Alliance’s frequency and depth of communications, especially to members, supporters, and peers
  • Building up the Alliance’s technological and staff capacity commensurate with its strategic priorities

To read the full plan with more details, download the City Parks Alliance Strategic Plan Summary.

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