Park Pride Parks and Greenspace Conference


Parks & People: A Declaration of Interdependence

The Parks & Greenspace Conference will feature four Keynote speakers, as well as ten breakout sessions focusing on different aspects of the interdependence of parks and communities.

Speakers and topics will be posted as they are confirmed - check back often!

Keynote Speakers

Peter Photo Peter Harnik is Director of The Trust for Public Land's Center for City Park Excellence. He has led numerous research projects into what makes for great park systems, and he speaks frequently and writes widely about the relationship between cities and parks. His most recent book, Urban Green: Innovative Parks for Resurgent Cities, published in 2010 by Island Press, was named one of the five best books of that year by the American Society of Landscape Architects' blog.

Cynthia Photo Cynthia Nikitin is the Senior Vice President of Project for Public Spaces. Her expertise stretches from the development of downtown master plans and transit facility enhancement projects, to the development of public art master plans, to using placemaking to create safer cities, and more. She facilitates approximately 40 public workshops, visioning sessions, and public meetings annually. Cynthia serves as the Director of the National Endowment for the Arts Citizens' Institute on Rural Design, managing the corporate-sponsored "Heart of the Community" program, and spearheads Project for Public Spaces's alliance with UN-HABITAT to create 300 great public spaces in cities across the developing world.

Alexie Photo Alexie Torres-Fleming is the Executive Director of Access Strategies Fund, and an activist, community organizer, advocate and urban planner from the South Bronx, NY. She co-founded the Bronx River Alliance and the Southern Bronx River Watershed Alliance to support community residents of the South Bronx committed to the reclamation and restoration of the Bronx River. The organizations' successes included the clean-up of an abandoned concrete plant and a manufactured gas plant, the expansion of the Bronx River bike and pedestrian greenway and development of green infrastructure to contain storm water and mitigate sewage overflow.

Woltz PhotoThomas Woltz is the owner of Nelson Byrd Woltz Landscape Architects (NBW). In 2011 he was invested into the American Society of Landscape Architects Council of Fellows, among the highest honors achieved in the profession, and was named the Design Innovator of the Year by the Wall Street Journal Magazine in 2013. Woltz is leading NBW towards creating and reinvigorating public spaces through community engagement and public-private partnerships, as reflected in projects such as Centennial Park (Nashville), Memorial Park (Houston), and Hudson Yard (New York City).

Breakout Sessions
Sessions will be added as they are confirmed. Check back often!

Community Improvement Districts: Improving Parks and Places

George Dusenbury IV

Kevin Green, President & CEO, Midtown Alliance
AJ Robinson, President, Central Atlanta Progress (CAP) and Atlanta Downtown Improvement District (ADID)
Denise Starling, Executive Director, Livable Buckhead

Across the country, businesses invest millions of dollars building, operating and maintaining parks. Atlanta is no different, as corporate leaders have long recognized that parks are essential in the battle to recruit business, attract residents and drive economic development. Come hear Downtown, Midtown and Buckhead's top business group leaders discuss how and why they invest so heavily in parks.

Crowd-resourcing our Greenspace: Crowdfunding as a Fundraising and Engagement Tool

Erin Barnes, Co-founder & Executive Director, ioby

How can crowdfunding support park advocates in Atlanta and other great cities? Join ioby, a fundraising platform for communities, to hear real-life case studies of how neighborhood and parks groups from Brooklyn to Los Angeles use crowd-resourcing, a type of crowdfunding, to fund their neighborhood-transforming work.

Just Green Enough: Contesting Environmental Gentrification

Winifred Curran, DePaul University

The remaking of urban and residential environments within the framework of sustainability is highly contested. A major concern is “environmental gentrification,” in which environmental improvements, like parks and bike paths, result in increased housing costs and the displacement of working class residents. This session will discuss how a more balanced approach to sustainable development can potentially provide communities with alternative ways of thinking about economic development, resource use, and social justice.

Good to Great: The Growth Cycle of a Park Conservancy

Mark Banta, Executive Director, Piedmont Park Conservancy
Rosa McHugh, Executive Director, Chastain Park Conservancy
Catherine Spillman, Executive Director, Atlanta Memorial Park Conservancy

Learn the process by which a conservancy is able to take a park from good to great. This presentation will focus on the lifecycle, operations, funding mechanisms and donor relations of three Atlanta park conservancies: Piedmont Park Conservancy, Chastain Park Conservancy, and the Atlanta Memorial Park Conservancy.

20/20 Vision: The Role of Park Pride's Visioning Program in Shaping the Future of Your Park

Walt Ray, Park Pride

Byron Amos, Friends of Vine City Park
Mandy LeCompte, Friends of Little Nancy Creek Park
Barbara Marin, Friends of Springbrook Park

Community groups with a united focus for their parks are in position to see great results. The three panelists will offer insights into how their communities developed visionary, neighbor-supported plans for their local greenspaces and leveraged those plans into capital improvements that re-defined their parks as desirable community amenities.

Park to Plate

Ayanna Williams, Park Pride
Kwabena Nkromo, Atlanta Food and Farm

Fred Conrad, Atlanta Community Food Bank
Suzanne Girdner, Georgia Organics
Alsie Parks, American Community Garden Association
Tina Perrin, Welch Street Park Garden

The term "farm to plate" has been popularized by the local food movement to emphasize the importance and value of establishing a more direct relationship between farmers and consumers. This session will explore civic and agricultural benefits of growing food within City of Atlanta parks or "park to plate," and resources that are available.

Community Advocates Panel

Jami Buck-Vance, Cox Conserves

Joy Carter, Friends of Constitution Lakes
Na'Taki Osborne Jelks, West Atlanta Watershed Alliance
Angel Poventud, Community Activist

Great parks and public spaces don't fall from the sky. Come hear from three local Cox Conserves heroes who have played pivotal roles in the creation, preservation and enhancement of parks and greenspaces in our community. Learn how these heroes leveraged their time, enthusiasm and community connections to turn suffering spaces into successful community places.