For the first time in human history, more than half the world’s people now live in cities. This rapid urbanization is set to continue. Many cities are looking at urban density and considering how to deal with the rapid projected growth. As urbanization continues apace, there will be a growing need for expertise on the role of urban outdoor spaces.
The Institute's newest program aims to realize the potential of parks in urban areas to contribute to the livability of our cities and the sustainability of our planet by bringing park ideals and values directly to our urban centers, where the majority of the world's population now resides.
Supporting National Park Service Efforts
Currently, the Institute is working closely with NPS’s Stewardship Institute to roll out their Urban Agenda. Through this collaboration, we are exploring novel ways the NPS can best collaborate with and authentically serve communities in urban areas to increase the relevance of our national parks to an ever-changing populace.
Local Best Practice
Playing to the Institute’s strengths in research and identifying best practice, the Urban Program is looking to the many local examples of innovation here in the Golden Gate National Parks as models and learning opportunities.
In early 2015, the Institute published a report that examines the importance of reaching out to communities - particularly those that may not have traditionally utilized parks - through youth programming. Engaging Diverse Youth in Park Programs uses case studies from the Crissy Field Center and the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area to build a roadmap for others looking to engage the next generation of urban youth.
Diving further into specific opportunities for park staff to thoughtfully and strategically engage new audiences, the Institute has explored the potential for internship programs to build stewardship amongst a new generation. The report, Building Stewardship through Internships, identifies key strategies for implementing successful internship programs that can help ensure the long-term health and stewardship of our parks.
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