Gathering for the Greener Good

Parks & Greenspace Conference

Monday, March 26, 2018 | 9 A.M. - 5 P.M.

Each spring, Park Pride hosts the annual Parks & Greenspace Conference, the largest parks conference in the southeast, to explore a selected theme about parks and greenspaces. It is a wonderful environment for networking with elected officials, community leaders, and park advocates who are driven to improve parks and strengthen communities.

2018 Theme


Urban Resilience

The capacity of individuals, communities, institutions, businesses and systems within a city to survive, adapt and grow no matter what kinds of chronic stresses and acute shocks they experience.

The 17th Annual Parks & Greenspace Conference, Parks & the Resilient City, will focus on parks and their relationship to urban resilience. Join us as we explore how a robust park system contributes to the overall resilience of a city and learn ways to make our park systems more resilient in the face of a growing population and economic uncertainty.

Connect to the Theme

The conference program, consisting of tours and lectures led by both local and national experts, will examine the relationship between parks and urban resilience through discussions pertaining to:

  • Planning for resilient parks
  • Parks and community resilience
  • Parks and the resilience of the built environment
  • Parks and ecological resilience

Who Should Attend

The Parks & Greenspace Conference offers something for everyone!

  • Parks & recreation professionals
  • Policy makers
  • Architects & landscape architects
  • Urban planners
  • Community members
  • Environmental & civil engineers
  • Real estate developers
  • Environmental lawyers
  • Anyone who loves parks!


Keynote Speakers


Ken Leinbach

Executive Director of the Urban Ecology Center

Ken Leinbach is the Executive Director of the Urban Ecology Center and a national leader in promoting community-based environmental education. Since 1998, Ken has developed the economically and environmentally sustainable community center and an award-winning urban education program. Under Ken’s guidance, the Urban Ecology Center built a $5 million state-of-the-art green facility, expanded by opening a second branch on Milwaukee’s west side and has become a significant asset to the city.


Kate Orff

Founder and Design Director of SCAPE; recipient of MacArthur “Genius Grant”

Kate Orff is a landscape architect envisioning new forms of public space that reveal and revive the hidden ecological systems underlying our built environments and encourage urban residents to become active stewards of their natural surroundings. Her research and design practice addresses the challenges posed by urbanization and climate change (such as biodiversity loss and rising sea levels) through in-depth collaborations with ecologists, engineers, educators, artists, and community members that aim to make our urban habitats more adaptive and resilient.


Also featuring

Ryan Gravel

Founding Principal at Sixpitch

Ryan Gravel, AICP, LEED AP, is an urban planner, designer, and author working on site design, infrastructure, concept development, and public policy as the founding principal at Sixpitch. His master’s thesis in 1999 was the original vision for the Atlanta Beltline, a 22-mile transit greenway that with fifteen years of progress, is changing both the physical form of his city and the decisions people make about living there.


Nathaniel Smith

Founder and Chief Equity Officer (CEqO)/CEO of the Partnership for Southern Equity

Nathaniel Smith serves as Founder and Chief Equity Officer (CEqO)/CEO of the Partnership for Southern Equity (PSE). Empowered by the unified vision and voices realized through its regional engagement efforts, PSE pushes for policies and actions that promote balanced growth and inclusive prosperity in metropolitan Atlanta and beyond. Before taking on the founding role of PSE’s Chief Equity Officer/CEO Mr. Smith served as Director of Partnerships and Research for Equitable Development at Emory University’s Center for Community Partnerships (CFCP).



Early bird registration for the 17th Annual Parks and Greenspace Conference is OPEN.

Register today for just $135.

early bird registration is limited to the first 75 registrants.







Tours associated with the Parks and Greenspace Conference will be held to demonstrate how parks contribute to urban resilience. Please note that tour registration costs are separate from conference registration, and you do not need to attend the conference to participate on these tours.

Flora & Fauna – Biodiversity in Atlanta’s Parks

Sunday, March 25
1 – 2:30 PM
Clyde Shepherd Nature Preserve – 2580 Pine Bluff Dr, Decatur, GA 30033

Cost: $5/person. Limited to 15 participants.

Atlanta’s parks host a surprising array of native plants and animals… if you know where to look! Come join an expert team of naturalists as we stroll through the forest, flip over rocks to find salamanders, spot migrating birds, and learn how complex ecosystems survive, even in urban environments. On this tour, you’ll discover how biodiversity increases the resiliency of our city – and our planet!

Expert naturalists include:

2018 Conference Sponsors

Presenting Sponsor

Cox Conserves

Community Building Sponsor

The Home Depot Foundation

Venue Sponsor

Atlanta Botanical Garden

Gold Sponsor

Ed Castro Landscape
Georgia Power
The Conservation Fund
The Trust for Public Land
COA Dept of Watershed Management

Silver Sponsor

Georgia ASLA
Astra Group
Jones Day
Perez Planning + Design, LLC
Playworld Preferred
Pond & Company


City of Decatur
KAIZEN Collaborative