Welcome from Mayor Dickens
The Power of One
Principal, PROS Consulting INC.
As we think of the future and the Parks We Need Now, Neelay Bhatt will share stories from Disney to New Zealand on how to embrace change and what’s next while emphasizing the power of each individual to make an impact.
Leaning In: Healing.Equity.Parks
Norma Edith García-González
Director, County of Los Angeles Department of Parks and Recreation
The County of Los Angeles Department of Parks and Recreation is widely recognized for its leadership in advancing equity and access in its programs and projects guided by a groundbreaking parks needs assessment – but this was not always the case. Hear about and be inspired by the transformative and awakening journey that Los Angeles County took to achieve an equity-centered mission.
- LA County Parks Needs Assessment
- From Plans to Parks
- Park Access: More than Just Proximity
- Park Equity, Life Expectancy, and Power Building
- LA County Parks – Our Spot (Teen Program)
- NRPA Best in Innovation Award 2018: Parks After Dark
Akiima Price Consulting
Stakeholder engagement is fundamental to any successful organization. However, when your outreach efforts do not mirror your community expectations, your targeted audience can be quickly labeled “hard to reach.” This keynote will highlight the “speed of trust” and the importance of authentic two-way community investment.
The Parks We Deserve Now!
Meghan Talarowski, PLA, ASLA, CPSI
Executive Director, Studio Ludo
What makes a playground “spark joy” for all ages? After studying the play behaviors of over 60,000 people in 100 playgrounds worldwide, Meghan Talarowski has the answer.
City Parks Now and in the Future Planning for Equity: Let’s Activate ATL
- John Dargle, Jr., Commissioner, City of Atlanta Department of Parks & recreation
- Qaadirah Abdur-Rahim, Chief Equity Officer, City of Atlanta
- Carlos Perez, Principal, Perez Planning + Design, LLC
- Tara Buckner, Urban Planner, City of Atlanta
- Sabina Kasumova, Senior Management Analyst, City of Atlanta
A deep dive with Atlanta’s Chief Equity Officer and the project team to discuss how equity emerged as a driving force of Activate ATL, Atlanta’s new 10-year Parks and Recreation Master Plan, adopted at the end of 2021.
Implementing the Chattahoochee Riverlands
- Walt Ray, Chattahoochee Program Director, The Trust for Public Land
- Monique Sheffield, District 4 Commissioner, Cobb County
- Gena Wirth, Design Principal, SCAPE
- Kimberly Greer, City Manager, City of Johns Creek
A comprehensive look at the Chattahoochee RiverLands, a regional vision to connect people to the river with an uninterrupted trail & park system from the Buford Dam to Chattahoochee Bend State Park.
Changing Systems to Change the World: Getting Real on Racial Equity
- Lysa Ratliff, Chief Executive Officer, KABOOM!
- Jen De Melo, Senior Strategist of Organization Innovation and Strategic Partnerships, KABOOM!
- Kamilah Pickett, Race Matters Institute
- Monica McClain, Principal of Park Heights Academy, Baltimore City Schools
What needs to happen to change the persistent reality of racial inequity in public play spaces? Panelists will share their efforts to center equity in their organizations and discuss how focusing on equity sparked promising new work centered on public elementary schools in Baltimore.
- Ending Playspace Inequities for Baltimore’s Kids
- The KABOOM! 25 in 5 Initiative to End Playspace Inequity
- A Race Equity Journey
Climate. Park. Change. A toolkit for Climate-ready Parks
- Ayanna Williams, Director of Community and Environmental Resilience, National Recreation and Park Association
- Lanmuzhi Yang, Associate Landscape Architect, Sasaki
- Alex Lamle, User Support, South Atlantic and Southeast Conservation Blueprints, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Learn about how Climate.Park.Change. a web-based platform, compiles data on how climate change affects park and recreation spaces and suggests physical design solutions that address climate impacts as well as other community challenges.
Putting the Flint River Back on the Map
- Hannah S. Palmer, Urban Designer & Author
- Polly Sattler, Senior Sustainability Planner, Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport
- Tasha Hall Garrison, Economic Development, City of College Park
- Stephanie Berens, Deputy Director, Parks & Greenspace, Clayton County Parks & Recreation
Trace the Flint River’s headwaters with this panel as they discuss building partnerships across jurisdictions, shifting perceptions of a forgotten river, and delivering equitable community benefits while restoring the headwaters of Georgia’s second longest river.
Making Space for Girls
- Jodi Mansbach, Principal, PlayLark Studios, Living Playgrounds Collective
- Meghan Talarowski, Principal, Studio Ludo
- Vanessa Lira, Senior Project Director, Street Plans
- Amelia Waits Gambill, Student, Midtown High School
Explore how the design of parks has historically ignored the varied needs of older girls. Panelists and participants will workshop how to bring the voices of girls and young women into the planning process and will leave with design strategies to create more inclusive public spaces.
Unlocking Your Park’s Superpowers
- Isabel González Whitaker, Journalist and Park Maker
- Elizabeth Wickland, President-elect North Atlanta Parents for Public Schools
- Sofia Marie Bork, Community Engagement Director, Sara J. González Park
- Christina Chu, Community Outreach Coordinator, Welcoming Atlanta, Mayor’s Division of Immigrant Affairs
Learn how the Sara J. González Memorial Park rallied community during an economic, social, and culturally challenging year. Through food distributions and social justice rallies, the park became a community center point for diversity, unity, family, and dignity.
Meaningful Park Engagement: Making Park Experiences Count for Stressed Communities
- Akiima Price, Principal, Akiima Price Consulting
- Carmera Thomas, Director of Urban Conservation Initiatives, The Conservation Fund
- Phyllis Nelson, Engagement Coordinator, Friends of Anacostia Park
- Karol Gilmore, Program Manager, Jobs Have Priority
Explore how parks and partnerships can be used to support the human development goals of justice and social service organizations. Examples will include successes and lessons learned around program innovation, inclusive collaborations, and trauma-informed park stewardship.
Green Infrastructure in Atlanta’s Parks and Open Spaces
- Tamara Graham, Environmental Program Manager, City of Atlanta, Dept of Watershed Management
- Amanda Hallauer, Watershed Manager, City of Atlanta, Dept of Watershed Management
- Aaron Wiener, Senior Landscape Architect, City of Atlanta, Dept of Parks & Recreation
- Na’Taki Osborne Jelks, Faculty, Environmental Studies and Science, Spelman College
The panel will discuss both the challenges of managing urban stormwater and the opportunities of integrating green infrastructure more holistically in the park and open space network.
- City of Atlanta Green Infrastructure Strategic Action Plan
- City of Atlanta Green Infrastructure Story Map
- COA Green Infrastructure Design Challenge
- Environmental Impact Bond (EIB) for Green Infrastructure in Proctor Creek Watershed
- COA DWM Green Infrastructure for Kids Video
Food: Justice, Wellness, & Community in Parks
- J. Olu Baiyewu, Urban Agriculture Director, City of Atlanta
- Dr. Erica Holloman-Hill, West Atlanta Watershed Alliance
- Soisette Lumpkin, Urban Food Forest at Browns Mill
- Dr. Tameka Goodson, Urban Food Forest at Browns Mill
- Nicholas Bamonte, HABESHA
What does it look like to deepen the connection between land, people, and food in public spaces and parks? Learn how three Atlanta groups use food to build inclusive, and intentional partnerships to feed mind, body, and soul in ways that are inclusive and culturally relevant.
Cultivating Resilience and Equity in South Louisiana
- Kellyn LaCour-Conant, Restoration Programs Director, Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana
- Gaylan Williams, Urban Designer, Design Workshop
- Gardner Goodall, Native Plants Program Coordinator, Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana
- Mitchell Provensal, Senior Program Coordinator, Baton Roots
Journey to South Louisiana to discuss challenges and successes in balancing public recreation and wildlife habitat needs and designing for stormwater management while advancing equity and maintaining funding for these critical efforts.