Announcement from World Urban Parks – An opportunity to make a real difference – Join the Advocacy Committees

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World Urban Parks was established in 2015 following an extensive strategic review of the directions and performance of Ifpra. WUP was established to ensure that Urban parks, open space and recreation Management and the concept of “urban parks” had a clear global/international voice. The reforms included ensuring that there is strong national and regional alignment between existing bodies and the new international body.

World Urban Parks champions urban park outcomes for city liveability, place-making, conservation and access, and provides strong membership services by connecting, leveraging and supporting diverse memberships across the international urban parks, open space and recreation community and allied sectors.

A key objective for WUP is to have WUP “Voice” heard at an international level. One of our key objectives is:

“Advocacy: A global voice supporting the value and benefits of parks and the industry through science and unity”

The aim is to have quality urban parks accessible to all citizens of the world irrespective of socio-economic circumstances.

Earlier this year the WUP established a new organizational framework that includes four key Portfolio’s – Advocacy, Alliances, Members and Governance. The WUP Board has now endorsed a new Advocacy Policy, Strategy framework and Portfolio Terms of Reference. The Board also approved the establishment of four new Advocacy Portfolio Committees.

These Committees are:

• Healthy Parks Healthy Cities
• Large Urban Parks (existing Committee)
• Children, Play & Nature.
• Older Adults and Parks.
• Green Infrastructure (incorporating Knowledge & Standards (Existing Committee))

I have a range of background information available (please contact me):

• WUP Advocacy Policy
• WUP Advocacy ToR
• WUP Advocacy Strategy
• WUP Parks for All Principle Policy (draft)
• Advocacy Portfolio Committee Generic ToR
You can also access further information regarding WUP from http://www.worldurbanparks.org/en/

If you wish to join a committee or wish to review the information or have any suggestions please contact me at ncmccarthy@me.com

Can you please distribute this message to your networks or anyone who might be interested in joining a World Urban Parks Committee

NEIL MCCARTHY
VICE CHAIR FOR ADVOCACY

Office PO Box 11 132,
Manners Street,
Wellington 6142, New Zealand
P 61 (0)417 386 251

ncmccarthy@me.com
www.worldurbanparks.org

The Anniversary – forgot the flowers?

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How often do you hear the retort “I forgot the Anniversary”?

So, when should an organisation forget a significant milestone? or should it?  The heritage and history of an organisation and its relationship with its customers and clients are just what they are however they do represent what the organisation is and generally most organisations would be proud of achieving any key milestone.  In fact, in Government where Machinery of Government sees constant and frequent changes, it is rare to find a government organisation that has the name and function after 10 years and very rare after 20 years.

So why wouldn’t an organisation celebrate its 20th Anniversary?  Why won’t it recognise its achievements and outline a sense of the future?  Why won’t it thank its staff – present and former?  Why won’t it say thanks to its customers, supporters and stakeholders?  Why won’t it take time out to reflect, tell the stories and celebrate?

The answer to the above would and should be a YES and as they say in AFL – “proud, passionate and paid up”.

So, if you don’t, does that mean the organisation isn’t “proud, passionate and paid up”?  It probably doesn’t mean the staff aren’t proud of what they have achieved but to let a significant “anniversary” slip reflects a lack of leadership with the right values.

A park agency in the USA has this year celebrated its’ 100thh Year – yes a significant milestone.  I am of course talking about the organisation that represents America’s great idea – the National Park – the USA National Parks Service.  It has celebrated in style, with new Agendas – The Urban Agenda and Healthy Parks Healthy People, free entry to parks, recognition of staff and the communities that make their parks system so great.  It is hard not to praise their leadership and especially Jon Jarvis (National Park Director) and Sally Jewell (Secretary of Interior).

So surely we should say thanks to all the staff, community members and stakeholders who have contributed to Australia’s greatest idea for parks – Healthy Parks Healthy People –

 

so, thanks to

Parks Victoria

12th December 1996 to 12th December 2016

and enjoy your 20th Anniversary and in the words of William Shakespeare:

“I can no other answer make but thanks, and thanks, and ever thanks…”

 

for the historical records – the original Parks Victoria logo at the launch

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“Art on the Wall”

Recently, I had the pleasure of listening to a very powerful speaker regarding the highly successful approach to philanthropy in the environment sector in Australia.  This organisation is involved in management and co-management of upto 10 million hectares across Australia.  In fact it is probably the largest non-government land and conservation manager.

The keynote speaker  was inspiring and provided significant insights into there success and concepts that should be adopted else where.

However what fascinated me was his reference to a concept called “Art on the Wall”.  The basic concept is centred around an observation made about 10 years ago regarding the success of the Art world in attracting philanthropic funds.

In Victoria (Australia) in 1904, an bequest was established following the death of Alfred Felton – called the Felton Bequest.  This has been the most significant bequest and has been used to purchase over 15,000 works of art.  In 1904, the Government was able to provide the venue but couldn’t provide the Art (on the Wall) and it was an individual that made the difference.

In terms of our natural environment, the venue is the land but the Art are the elements that make Australia’s environment unique – they can range from the threatened species such as the Tasmanian devil, the spotted-tail quoll, the Tasmanian wedge-tailed eagle and the grey goshawk on the Oura Oura property in Tasmania to the world’s first Night Parrot sanctuary at Pullen Pullen Reserve in Queensland.

The question apart from who made this observation regarding “Art on the Wall”, has any government who provides the venue (parks) enabled others to provide the “Art”?  Can Government’s replicate the same success with the environment as they did over a hundred years ago with Art?

 

 

 

World Urban Parks – Australia Forum

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World Urban Parks – Agency Roundtable Invitation

World Urban Parks – Agency Round Table Invitation

What

Join World Urban Parks Chair Gil Penalosa, Vice Chair Neil McCarthy and Australian directors for an afternoon roundtable discussion with fellow city managers on international and local issues and opportunities impacting city parks, open space and recreation.

  • Current status of cities world-wide towards healthy, liveable, sustainable and accessible communities
  • Identify key issues and opportunities for Australian park, open space and recreation organisations
  • Identify actions where an international network of city organisations could make a difference.

Who

Gil Penalosa is Chair of World Urban Parks, the new international organisation representing the vibrant urban parks, open space and recreation sector. At a time when urban growth will see 70 percent of the world’s population living in urban areas by 2050, sharing knowledge and providing a collective voice for all people and organisations engaged in green cities, open space, recreation, health and related activity is vital. Together we want to build healthy, liveable and sustainable communitiesthe new international organisation representing the vibrant urban parks, open space and recreation sector. At a time when urban growth will see 70 percent of the world’s population living in urban areas by 2050, sharing knowledge and providing a collective voice for all people and organisations engaged in green cities, open space, recreation, health and related activity is vital. Together we want to build healthy, liveable and sustainable communitiesthe new international organisation representing the vibrant urban parks, open space and recreation sector and working together to build healthy, liveable and sustainable communities. Founder of Canada-based 8-80 Cities and a former Commissioner of Parks, Sports and Recreation for Bogota, Columbia, Gil has visited over 200 cities world-wide advising decision-makers on the creation of vibrant, accessible, healthy communities .

Neil McCarthy is Vice Chair World Urban Parks, CEO NE Catchment Management Authority and former Founding Chair of Parks Forum, President Elect Ifpra, and General Manager Parks, Parks Victoria, and an architect of Healthy Parks Healthy People.

 

Where

City of Melbourne ‘Library at the Dock’ at 107 Victoria Harbour Promenade, Docklands.

When

Friday 1 July 1:30-3:30 pm       RSVP Digby Whyte, CEO World Urban Parks, at ceo@worldurbanparks.org

 

Park Governance – A model

Over the last couple of years i have been exploring “governance” models for parks and especially urban parks.  This model draws upon experiences around the world and a range of individuals.  I have now published a concise version of the model and it’s application at a city level.

GOVERNANCE MODELS FOR PARKS/OPEN SPACE

What governance for when?

 

However when can you determine “what is the right governance model” for your community and circumstances.  This is a focus of conversation that I will explore over coming months.

Who is our Capability Brown for the next 300 Years

It is timely for me to reflect on the dilemma surrounding the future of urban parks and cities.  Yes it is the 300th Anniversary of the great ‘Capability” Brown:

Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown changed the face of eighteenth century England, designing country estates and mansions, moving hills and making flowing lakes and serpentine rivers, a magical world of green

http://www.capabilitybrown.org/about-capability-brown

He set a foundation for urban parks that we still depended on and are still iconic such as Blenheim Palace.

I have written about his influence through my Design Legacy posts and recognised that Capability Brown has given us some very significant:

Foundational Design Legacy Principles

Building upon the works of Brown and Olmsted, there are six initial principles that we can build upon in terms of urban parks:

Principle 1: Natural Form – is the full utilization of the naturally occurring features of a given space;

Principle 2: Blend – is “subordination” – the subordination of individual details to the whole;

Principle 3: Concealment – is concealment of design, design that does not call attention to itself;

Principle 4: Sense: is design to enhance the sense of space;

Principle 5: Utility – is utility above all else

Principle 6: System – is where space is designed as part of a network

However the discussion that is occurring though out the world regarding “Who are our Capability Browns” of this century, is both concerning and with the rapid urbanisation occurring, needs to be a world wide conversation, now.  It is harder to leave a legacy for the next 300 years if we are constantly correcting the problems of the recent past.

I draw your attention to an thought starter from  (Associate Professor at Griffith University) –  Is idealism dead in city planning?

The issue we are faced with is not only the rapid changing nature of cities but how we “rethink” what design legacy is.  It is not just what “Capability” Brown did some 300 years ago.  The world has changed and our thinking needs to rapidly evolve.  I have spoke and written on this at very conceptual level (Design Legacy) and have formulated xx Foundational Principles that build on the legacy of Capability Brown and others.

The Foundational Design Legacy Principles – Summary

The Brown-Olmsted Design Legacy Principles:

  • Principle 1: Natural Form – is the full utilization of the naturally occurring features of a given space;
  • Principle 2: Blend – is “subordination” – the subordination of individual details to the whole;
  • Principle 3: Concealment – is concealment of design, design that does not call attention to itself;
  • Principle 4: Sense: is design to enhance the sense of space;
  • Principle 5: Utility – is utility above all else
  • Principle 6: System – is where space is designed as part of a network

The Monash Design Legacy Principles:

  • Principle 7: History – is the understanding of culture, history and significance of place;
  • Principle 8: Soul – is the creation of a “soul” in design that gives the place a sense of purpose and relevance;
  • Principle 9: Adaptation – is the creation of the ability of the space to adapt and change with time;

The O’Neill Design Legacy Principles:

  • Principle 10: Belief – is the understanding that communities and individuals can achieve achieve outstanding success;
  • Principle 11: Community Fabric – is that the fabric of the park and open space should reflect the in sense of what the community is! ;
  • Principle 12: Connections – is about making connections between all sectors of society and individuals and making “parks’ relevant to them;
  • Principle 13: Systems Rethink – is about exploring “parks’ as a broader component of a whole system and how it becomes the fabric of a city;
  • Principle 14: Leadership without Fear – is about considering ideas and innovations that not only challenge existing concepts but also change the concept.

It is important to expand our thinking and embrace the ever emerging placed based concepts and concepts such as 8-80Cities and inspirational thinkers such as Gil Penalosa.

The Questions is how will society in these ever changing times, encourage and nuture and even allow dramatic changes and shift in our (re)thinking?  The World Urban Parks organisation is constantly asking this “question” and encouraging it’s members to think differently and embrace the paradigm shift that is occurring but who will be the “Capability” Brown of this century?

A question we may not have to answer except to embrace the individuals who are already “rethinking” and “reshaping” the concepts of urban parks, the 21st Century “Capability” Brown may already be here, we just need to embrace them, accept them and heed their insights.

And in this modern era, how do we connect them together to even make a more dramatic impact.  The speed of change in the world as we move towards 2030 when over 75% of the world’s populations will be in Mega-cities, where is the mega response?  We don’t have the luxury of time that “Capability” Brown’s legacy has had.

Parks without Borders: “A Different Mindset – A Different product”

I wrote recently (Future Funding of Parks) about the challenges facing urban park managers regarding funding and that there wasn’t the “traditional” silver bullet to save the day.  In fact I outlined that we would have to rethink the park product and be extremely more inclusive of the diversity of needs and possibilities.  We need a “Different Mindset – A different product”

Eric Tamulonis  has written an extraordinary article on the funding of parks “Parks without Boarders”  that not only builds on my thoughts but has given a further “voice” to this incredible important conversation.  Eric is a landscape architect and a principal at WRT planning and design. He is a board member of the City Parks Alliance.

Eric has outlined 6 areas of going beyond the boundaries of the parks in our (re)thinking:

  • The Problem: Making the Case among Competing Public Interests
  • Counter Trends
  • Megaparks: A New Model of Public Park
  • Parks without Borders
  • Paying for Parks: the Federal Role
  • Linking Success, Process and Funding

I have previously outlined that there are innovative examples from around the world that demonstrate the success of this “Different Mindset – A different product” rethink of what urban parks are:

Brian O’Neill – setting the path to the future

MAKE LONDON A NATIONAL PARK CITY – INNOVATION as we speak

Design Legacy – Where is it Now

“Rethink Parks” Nesta

Golden Gate – A world Jewel

 

As each park agency seeming struggles with this challenge of rethinking what parks are and what they will be in the next 50 years, it does require a very collective and collaborative approach that reaches beyond the “boundary of the park”.  The hallmark of the successful examples for parks and especially for urban parks are that they:

  • be inclusive
  • think beyond the classic paradigms
  • work and network at an international level.

This to the average park manager or community member may seem hard or near impossible, but the challenge is that those who can lead, who have the organisational resources, have the moral and ethical responsibility need to make it easier for those that can’t but are willing.  This is probably the fundamental legacy that Brian O’Neill has left us with:

  • Belief – believing that communities and individuals can achieve achieve outstanding success
  • Community Fabric – that the fabric of the park and open space should reflect the sense of what the community is!
  • Connections – making connections between all and making “parks’ relevant to them

 

Committed to making Cities liveable, I have joined World Urban Parks

“Committed to making Cities liveable, I have joined World Urban Parks http://thndr.me/r3cMyV”

Can you make the same commitment to help humanity reconnect to nature and make cities great through great parks and open spaces.

https://www.thunderclap.it/projects/40331-parks-for-cities/embed

World Urban Parks champions urban park outcomes for city liveability, place-making, conservation and access, and provides strong membership services by connecting, leveraging and supporting diverse memberships across the international urban parks, open space and recreation community and allied sectors. We are a community wanting to make a better world and who are ready to help each other.

Member benefits:

Advocacy: A global voice supporting the value and benefits of parks and the industry through science and unity

Best Practice: World-class communities, organisations, and professionals recognized for high standards and efficiencies through congresses, benchmarking, awards and certification

Collaboration: Resolving issues and increasing knowledge and capacity through diverse networks of colleagues and partnerships.

 

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The Golden Gate Model – Leadership Legacy

Greg Beato recently wrote an article “The Park That Paid Off.” in the Stanford Social innovation Review.  A great article that outlines not only the struggle to create a great park but the governance model for parks we need to aspire to.

A brief overview:

The Park That Paid Off
For a quarter-century, the Presidio of San Francisco has been a contested terrain. At the center of that battlefield is the Presidio Trust, a government agency that represents an alternative model for funding and managing a public asset. Here’s how the trust turned a large military facility into a large urban park.

The Model is exceptional and I will be exploring this governance model through my park governance discussions, however the final part of Greg’s article highlights some interesting challenges about the conservative nature of the park sector and the leadership and vision required.

Providing a Model?
Despite the success of the Presidio Trust, even many of its strongest allies are reluctant to vouch for the portability of its model. “If there are places like the Presidio that face the same challenges, maybe smaller in scale, I think the trust model is worth considering,” says Moore. “But when you look at Yellowstone or the Grand Canyon, or the majority of our national parks sites, they’re too different in their composition for an approach like this.” Rosenblatt sounds a similar note: “The NPS and some of the major Friends of the Park groups always worried that the Presidio Trust structure would be a precedent for other national parks. And we’ve always said, ‘You shouldn’t make that leap,’ because very few other national parks or monuments have so many leasable resources.”
In Middleton’s estimation, however, the trust does illustrate at least one important and broadly applicable principle. “The trouble with these big [government] systems is that they create policies that have to apply to everything equally. So whether it’s a little historic park or a much bigger park, they’ve got the same template,” he says. “The lesson here is to be flexible enough and autonomous enough to design for the place, instead of trying to impose the same solution throughout the system.”
Middleton also believes the trust stands as a powerful example of what government can do well. “It’s a demonstration of how the public sector can be really effective,” he says. “In our culture, the myth is that the only people who can innovate are in the private sector, and the people who stop you from innovating are in the public sector. In the Presidio, we’re the regulators and the safeguarders, but we’re also the implementers. And I love that.”

For further reading – the detail:

http://www.ssireview.org/articles/entry/the_park_that_paid_off

“Greg Beato is a contributing editor and columnist for Reason magazine. His work has appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Week, and more than 100 other publications worldwide.”

Elery Hamilton-Smith (1929 – 2015) – A magnificent man who cared for people and the environment

When I was notified that Elery had over the weekend past away, I was sitting outside a cabin on Rottnest Island (Western Australia) looking over the ocean but more particularly sitting atop a limestone system. Three of Elery’s passions…karst systems, people and parks. A setting very appropriate to reflect on the impact Elery had on myself and parks.

I first really got to know Elery in the early 1990’s, when a colleague of mine, Brett Cheatley engaged Elery as part of a team to undertake a review of urban parks and their visitors but also to explore the concepts of “benchmarks”. That initial interaction lead to a wise counsel relationship that guided much of my thinking around parks and people. When I was floundering to find a topic for my Master’s Thesis, my supervisor Bill Russell (Monash University) suggested I seek Elery out. Meeting in the front room in his house, Elery, in a very typical Elery fashion – that look and stare of intense interest..questioned me about how society was changing, how parks were changing and thus “what was management”. This was the mid 1990’s and thus led to a thesis around “managerialism in parks” and many endless discussions on parks, people and the future.

That experience shaped my thoughts on so many topics ranging from:

  • A whole of system approach to park management that resulted in the establishment of Parks a Victoria
  • The interconnection of people and the environment that resulted in the Healthy Parks Healthy People
  • Learning and innovation that has resulted in me revisiting the “design” of parks through the concept of legacy
  • Management and leadership that resulted in the Parks Forum and the recently established World Urban Parks

But more than that, he encouraged thinking, a lost art. He also encouraged a holistic and humanistic approach. He engaged with all and was very forgiving.

Neil McCarthy

A short Biography

Elery Hamilton-Smith (born 28 December 1929) is a retired Australian interdisciplinary scholar and academic, latterly adjunct professor of Environmental Studies at Charles Stuart University.

Elery grew up in rural South Australia. He did not have conventional academic training, and graduated from the University of Adelaide with a Diploma in Social Sciences in 1956

Elery worked in teaching and community services (1949-68) social policy & Planning Consultant (1969-77). He developed a plan for education of recreation and leisure workers and helped establish courses in 6 universities (1974). He was appointed lecturer and continued as Professor and Head of School in Social Policy and Community Services (1969-95). His career over this period included wide-ranging research and consultation often centred upon leisure policies and programs. He undertook various national policy development studies, visiting professorships, Educational Fellowship with Government of Canada, work with UNESCO, WLRA Centre of Excellence (Wageningen), and Benefits of Leisure studies with the US Forest Service.

In the 1990s Elery moved progressively from his interest in outdoor recreation into examining issues of sustainability and environmental studies; accepted a chair in environmental studies and worked as an advisor with both IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature and the UNESCO World Heritage Bureau.

Elery had wide interests and he had worked on:

  • social policy development and programmes dealing with youth issues.
  • development of leisure and outdoor recreation activities
  • Conservation, particularly tourism and visitor appreciation of wilderness and National Parks
  • Cave and karst management
  • sustainability and environmental studies.

Elery had published over 2,000 books, reports and papers and worked in 50 countries.

Elery’s contribution to Australian society was recognised in 2001 when he was awarded Membership of the Order of Australia (AM) in Australia Day Honours. Elery was also recognised by his park peers when the Parks Forum in 2010:

“formally recognised the life-time commitment of Elery Hamilton-Smith AM for his work for parks around the world, starting with his advocacy work in the 1960s. Elery has held many professorial appointments and undertaken various roles with UNESCO and the United Nations development program. He also has many years of working in various IUCN programs, as a volunteer.”

Reflections for the Park

From Brett Cheatley (Cheatley Consulting)

“Elery was one of those people who knew the world of urban parks better than anyone in those days and kept up this interest until his final days. He was a great research mentor especially in the area of park visitor research and visitor services. He was one of the early adopters of the need to evaluate the benefits provided by an effective urban park system. His advocacy preceded Healthy Parks Healthy People and in many ways his support and intellect took many on the journey toward the same outcome of measurement; ie. that urban parks and open space equate to a healthier and happier society. Elery was comforted in the fact that his research had shown that urban parks had been an important element of city design throughout history and yet he had become a tad disillusioned by the lack of understanding of their role and effective management. He was a strong believer that eventually communities across the world would understand both the intrinsic and extrinsic value of urban parks and that this alone would drive their protection and sustainability. Always the academic researcher and publisher; he though that research into their visitation and use, and its subsequent publication, was the key.”

From David Clarke (Former CEO Parks Forum)

“In my early time at Parks Forum, as a person with more naiveté than knowledge about parks, I found Trustee Elery incredibly generous and patient with his time. From my perspective, he contained in his life experience an exceptional body of knowledge, and the sharp mind to make use of it. Along with Peter Bridgewater, Elery taught me a lot about the international context for the work of Parks Forum, and despite many other ongoing interests, he remained committed and passionate in his views about parks and their administration. He stayed connected. He provided regular feedback on the work we were doing. On a number of occasions during my role, Elery hosted me at his home with a cup of tea and strong advice on our international relations, in an office of old-school academic style and achievement – smelling of books and leather and crammed with the paperwork that reflected his continuing interests. His great mind, his achievements and life commitment to parks demand the highest respect, and that is how I will remember him. With the greatest respect.”