Gathering for the Greener Good

Parks & Greenspace Conference

Monday, March 23, 2020 | 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.

2020 Theme

“In every walk with nature, one receives far more than he seeks.” ~ John Muir

Whether you live in the city center, the suburbs, or on the countryside, your ability to access and enjoy nature is a vital component for living a happy, healthy life.

However, for those who live in cities, parks can be one of the few, if not only, places to experience nature on a daily basis. Parks offer relief from the concrete, noise, and hurried pace that surrounds us. The slices of nature that exist in parks also serve as important infrastructure for our cities and support habitats for the other living things with which we share this planet.

Connect to the Theme

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

  • Parks and health
  • Access to nature
  • Parks as Natural Infrastructure

  • Parks as Habitats
  • Parks as Reflections of a City’s Character

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!

Call for Presentations

Conference Format

  • Breakout sessions are 60 minutes in length and can be lecture-style presentations, panel discussions, or hands-on workshops.
  • Panel discussions should include no more than two or three panelists plus a moderator.
  • Presenters are encouraged to budget at least 10 minutes for questions and answers with participants.

Please note: Approximately 8-12 proposals will be accepted for the breakout session presentations. Similar or complementary presentations may be combined into panels for a more diverse dialogue.

For pre-conference events, the format, time, and location should be proposed by the applicant. Park Pride and the conference committee will offer assistance in planning and advertising if the proposed pre-conference event/tour is selected.

Target Audience

Park Pride’s annual conference attracts approximately 500 attendees comprised of community leaders, park professionals, park advocates, landscape architects, nature center administrators, urban designers, developers, real estate professionals, planners, policymakers, and elected officials from the southeast.

Diverse organizations are represented, including the Georgia Recreation and Park Association, the American Planning Association, the Urban Land Institute, Congress for New Urbanism, the American Society of Landscape Architects, city departments, and federal agencies.

Consider the following three audience types when developing presentations and proposals:

  • Park Advocates/Community Member
  • Policy Makers/Municipality Officials
  • Design Professionals/Planners

Topics of Interest

Sessions and tours may focus on one or more of the following areas including, but not limited to:

Parks and Health

How do parks impact our health, physically, emotionally, and socially? How can programming and partnerships encourage the use of parks to achieve healthier, safer communities? Can dollars invested in parks relieve the burden of sedentary lifestyles, screen time, and social isolation on healthcare costs? How are organizations/community partners investing in the health of residents via parks in new and exciting ways?

Access to Nature

Where do you go for nature? How far do you go for nature? How do we (or should we) define “nature,” and how much nature is enough? Where does having access to nature intersect with health? Are you involved in an innovative project to increase access to nature for groups that have historically had little?

Parks as Natural Infrastructure

What are the opportunities and challenges presented between built vs. natural infrastructure? What are examples of anticipated or unanticipated costs/benefits to engineering nature, and what considerations should be made before undertaking such projects? How can park design embrace nature and the infrastructure services it provides?

Parks as Habitats

Why is it important to maintain, preserve, and enhance native habitats in urban environments? How can park design support urban wildlife? What are the implications of incorporating native landscapes into park designs? What are the advantages of natural spaces vs. highly manicured public spaces? How do parks fit into and support the “people habitat”?

Parks as Reflections of a City’s Character

Parks often highlight the character— or ‘nature’— of communities. How do parks serve as places to celebrate history and culture, commemorate memories, and nurture traditions? As neighborhoods diversify and cities and regions grow, how can parks continue to reflect the unique character of the communities that surround them? In what ways can nature and parks define our city?

Submission & Selection Process

Submissions are due Friday, November 22, 2019 by 5:00 p.m. EST

All accepted presenters receive one complimentary ticket to the 19th Annual Parks and Greenspace Conference.

Submission of a session represents an agreement to attend and present the proposed session if it is accepted. Any changes to speakers or content requires permission from the Park Pride staff and could jeopardize the selected presenter’s status in the conference.

Submissions are reviewed and selected by Park Pride’s Parks and Greenspace Conference Committee. Submitters may be asked for further clarification and details on their proposal.

Presentations should not have a commercial message for an organization or business, or be perceived as a “sales pitch.” Park Pride reserves the right to reject proposals. Park Pride reserves the right to change and/or edit session titles and descriptions.

We use the following criteria for evaluating proposals:

  • Appropriateness of the proposal to the conference theme and across topics of interest
  • Contribution to knowledge of the session topic
  • Interest, applicability and innovation
  • Diversity of groups/organizations represented on panel and breadth of presentation appeal


For questions pertaining to the conference or your proposal submission, please contact Park Pride at