Urban Parks Series


  • How planning for parks and park systems can help cities address a broader urban agenda related to resilience, equity, connectivity, and economic development
  • Challenges and opportunities involved in parks planning across a diverse range of urban context
  • Innovative approaches to community engagement, analysis, and implementation from parks planning practitioners in the public and private sectors
  • How park designers are using extensive public outreach strategies to create more accessible parks


In the Community Parks Initiative: Improving Park Equity course learn about the challenges and opportunities planners faced in creating an equitable parks system and the interdisciplinary methods they employed to enhance accessibility and encourage broader usership of parks in NYC. The speakers will discuss how NYC Parks built a framework for the sustained care of parks in CPI neighborhoods and leveraged public and private resources to address park equity through a sweeping, coordinated process that has catalyzed parks equity programs in several other major cities.   

New York is famous for its destination parks such as Central Park or the High Line. But it’s the city’s neighborhood parks that most influence residents’ daily lives.  After decades of disinvestment in public space, however, many of these neighborhood parks had fallen into disrepair and ceased to meet the needs of their surrounding communities. In response, NYC Parks launched the Community Parks Initiative (CPI), a data-driven, interdisciplinary approach to reimagine parks in the city’s poorest, densest, and fastest-growing neighborhoods. Since the program’s 2014 inception, NYC Parks has utilized an extensive (and inclusive) public outreach process to engage 2,100 community stakeholders in the redesign and reconstruction of 47 parks.

In the Urban Agenda for Parks Planning course, hear from speakers from Raleigh, N.C., Chicago, IL, Pittsburgh, PA and Dallas, TX.  Successful projects such as the High Line in New York have renewed interest in parks and park systems as vital urban infrastructure that contributes to a resilient, equitable, connected, and prosperous city. This new perspective creates both new opportunities and new challenges for parks planning practitioners. How do we measure, understand, and communicate the impact of park systems on the health and well-being of cities? How do we align the specifics of our parks plans with the broader goals of urban regeneration? Learn how Raleigh, N.C., aligned park investment with new development to address equity amid rapid growth. Hear how projects along the Chicago River and Pittsburgh’s Allegheny River have substantially improved river ecology and boosted economic development. Explore how Dallas used a data-driven approach to demonstrate the economic and social value of a better-connected parks system. Collectively, these examples will inspire you to plan parks that creatively improve urban environments.