Date: Thursday 13 July 2017
Venue: British Academy, 10-11 Carlton House Terrace
A full PDF report of our conference is available to read.
On Thursday 13th July, the University of Leeds hosted a major one-day national conference entitled ‘The Future of Public Parks’ at The British Academy in London. The conference was generously sponsored by the Leeds Social Sciences Institute and idverde, with support from The Parks Alliance, Historic England and Groundwork. Some 79 delegates participated in a lively and engaging event which drew together innovative thinking and learning from policy, practice and research on ways to maximise the value of parks as public assets in the twenty-first century, and to consider challenges that threaten the sustainability of public parks in the future.
The event brought together academics from diverse disciplines, funding bodies, policy-makers and practitioners from the across the public, voluntary and private sectors. At a time when the future of public parks is both in the balance and in the national spotlight, the presenters and delegates explored important issues and challenges that inform diverse models of park management whether local authorities, trusts, charities or private sector. These included questions about health and well-being, social and educational use, community involvement and strategies for generating income. The conference provided a timely opportunity to foster a research-informed, policy and practice-orientated dialogue about park futures and offered a platform for advancing public debate in light of the findings and recommendations of the Communities and Local Government Select Committee Inquiry. Importantly, it provided a unique opportunity for multi-disciplinary, inter-professional and cross-sectoral debate that enabled delegates to explore common questions, mutual strategies and shared interest in promoting the social role and value of public parks.