Gathering for the Greener Good

Parks & Greenspace Conference

Monday, March 25, 2019 | 8:30 A.M. - 5 P.M.

Each spring, Park Pride hosts the annual Parks & Greenspace Conference, the largest parks conference in the southeast, showcasing thought leaders from Atlanta and across the nation. Through education and inspiration, the conference focuses on best practices for companies and individuals who are united by a common desire to improve parks and strengthen communities.

2019 Theme

According to the great urban activist and influencer Jane Jacobs, for a park to be successful, it must “be where life swirls”–it must be the conduit for cultural and artistic expression for individuals and communities, a catalyst for healthy living, and accessible to and designed for all. Vibrant parks are the foundation upon which communities grow and thrive; they are the hearts of communities.

Join us as we explore the power of parks to reflect culture, artistic expression, and the unique personality of a community while equitably providing places to pursue healthy lives.

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 communities through discussions pertaining to:

  • Arts + culture
  • All ages + all abilities
  • Health
  • Equity + inclusion
  • Community engagement
  • Community planning + development
  • Revitalization of community + environment

Who Should Attend

The Parks & Greenspace Conference offers something for everyone!

  • Parks & recreation professionals
  • Government policy makers
  • Architects & landscape architects
  • Urban planners
  • Citizens who want to build or improve a neighborhood park
  • Environmental & civil engineers
  • Real estate developers
  • Environmental lawyers
  • Anyone who loves parks!


Keynote Speakers

Mitchell J. Silver, FAICP

Commissioner of the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation

Mitchell Silver, an award-winning planner with over 30 years of experience, became Commissioner of the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation in May 2014. Commissioner Silver is also the immediate past president of the American Planning Association (APA). He is internationally recognized for his leadership in the planning profession and his contributions to contemporary planning issues. As Parks Commissioner, Mitchell oversees management, planning and operations of nearly 30,000 acres of parkland, which includes parks, playgrounds, beaches, marinas, recreation centers, wilderness areas and other assets.

Prior to returning to his native New York City, he served as the Chief Planning & Development Officer and Planning Director for Raleigh, NC. In Raleigh, he led the comprehensive plan update process and a rewriting of the development code to create a vibrant 21st century city. He was the Dunlop Lecturer in Housing and Urbanization at Harvard University, and in 2014 he was inducted into the College of Fellows of the American Planning Association.

Mitchell received a Bachelor’s Degree in Architecture from Pratt Institute in Brooklyn and a Master’s Degree in Urban Planning from Hunter College in NYC.


Nooshin Razani, MD, MPH

Director of the Center for Nature & Health,
UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital Oakland

Nooshin Razani, MD serves as director of the Center for Nature and Health at UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital Oakland. She is leading a team of clinicians conducting a randomized clinical trial to examine how to operationalize a park prescription program in a low-income setting.

Since 2014, Dr. Razani has prescribed time outdoors to her pediatric patients and their families as preventive medicine. The results of the first study, which was published in the peer-reviewed PLOS ONE in February 2018, showed reduced stress in the parents of pediatric patients at a clinic serving low-income families. The randomized clinical trial is the first of its kind. It compared the effect of supported park outings versus independent park prescriptions with the goal of learning how to operationalize a park prescription program in a low-income setting. Dr. Razani hopes these results along with ongoing research will eventually lead to evidence-based nature prescriptions.


Gil Penalosa, MBA, PhDhc

Founder and Chair of 8 80 Cities; Chair of World Urban Parks

Gil (Guillermo) Penalosa is passionate about creating cities for all people. He has inspired and advised decision makers in more than 350 different cities around the world on how to create vibrant cities with healthy communities where all people can live happier, regardless of age, gender, ability, or socio-economic or ethnic status. His focus is on the design and use of parks, streets, sidewalks as great public places, as well as sustainable mobility: walking, riding bicycles, taking public transit, and new uses of cars. Gil highlights the benefits to public health, environment, mobility, economic development.

Gil is Founder and Chair of 8 80 Cities, a successful Canadian based international non-profit organization, grounded on a simple but powerful concept which still guides much of his work: What if everything we did in our cities had to be great for an 8-year-old and an 80-year-old? Surely, we would end up with fantastic cities for all!


In conjunction with the Parks and Greenspace Conference, Park Pride is hosting tours on the theme "Parks are the Heart of Community." We hope you'll join us to see the power of parks in action!

“Off The Wall” Atlanta Mural Walking Tour

Saturday, March 16
The Ellis Hotel (176 Peachtree Street NW, Atlanta, GA 30303)
2 – 4:00 p.m.
Cost: $25 (when discount code is applied)


Off the Wall is a city-wide public mural project featuring a curated selection of eleven renowned artists and over 25 murals throughout the city. Come on a walking tour with Amazing Atlanta Tours and learn how the selected artists incorporated elements of Atlanta’s civil rights and social justice journey into Atlanta’s newest mural creations!

Join Park Pride on this walking tour to see first-hand how creative expression in our streets, parks and public spaces contribute to a broader social dialogue on equity and social justice.

To register:

  1. Click the green “Register” button above and select “Book Now” under the “Walking Tours” header.
  2. Select the March 16 date, 2 p.m.
  3. Enter the number of tickets in the drop-down menu
  4. Click “Add promo or discount code” and enter ParkPride to receive $9 off your ticket price
  5. Pay through the online checkout system
  6. Voila! You are all registered!


Arts, Athletics, and Mountains… OH MY! 

Saturday, March 23
Southside Sports Complex (3460 Jonesboro Rd SE, Atlanta, GA 30354)
1 – 3:30 p.m.


Southside Park is one of the largest “hidden gems” in the City of Atlanta. It’s also a cornucopia of activity, with mini-soccer pitches, sculpture, murals, and Atlanta’s first mountain bike trail!

Come join us as we discuss art with the Mayor’s Office of Cultural Affairs, test our mountain biking skills with REI, and score goals with the US Soccer Foundation in this South Atlanta beauty.

Thanks to REI and USA Soccer Foundation for their support of this event!


2019 Conference Sponsors

Presenting Sponsor

Cox Conserves

Community Engagement Sponsor

Kaiser Permanente

Community Building Sponsor

The Home Depot Foundation

Venue Sponsor

Atlanta Botanical Garden


The Conservation Fund
The Trust for Public Land


Georgia ASLA
Astra 25th anniversary
Integrated Land Design
Perez Planning + Design, LLC
Perkins + Will
Piedmont Park Conservancy
Playground Creations
Playworld Preferred
Pond & Company
Pulte Group


City of Decatur Active Living
DaVinci Development Collaborative
KAIZEN Collaborative