Executive Summary of the 18th Annual Parks & Greenspace Conference

Parks are the Heart of Community

The 18th Annual Parks & Greenspace Conference, Parks are the Heart of Community, explored the power of parks to reflect culture and artistic expression while providing places to pursue healthy lives. Local and national experts and thought leaders challenged us to expand our ideas about access to parks and public spaces, shared insights into the research linking parks to our health, and invoked the power of parks to help achieve a more united, supportive, and connected community for people of all ages and abilities.

Keynote Speakers

“When we work on parks and recreation, what we’re really doing is improving the quality of life. What if everything you did in Atlanta—the sidewalks, the park, the cross walk, the gardens, the restaurants, the library, the schools—had to be great for an 8 and 80-year-old? We must stop building cities as if everyone was 30 years old.” ~ Gil Peñalosa, Founder and Chair of 8 80 Cities

“Our theory is that nature promotes resilience. What nature does—through stress reduction, through physical activity, through promoting social ties—is push a person’s balance toward resilience, to being able to tolerate stress so that it doesn’t become toxic. We believe that is the reason why living in and around nature can improve lifespan.” ~ Dr. Nooshin Razani, MD, Director of the Center for Nature and Health at UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital Oakland
“Equity. I’m going to boil it down to one simple word: Fairness. Are we fair about how to distribute our capital dollars? Too often we think that if we make an improvement that there’s going to be vandalism. If you care for the community and respect them, they in turn care for you and they take care of the park.” ~ Mitchell J. Silver, FAICP, Commissioner of the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation

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