Planetizen - Urban Planning News, Jobs, and Education

Greater & Greener 2017: Connecting Cities, Cultures, & Generations

City Parks Alliance
Jul 29, 2017
Saint Paul/Minneapolis , MN



Over 1,000 international urban park leaders to explore the role of parks and green space in healthy, resilient, and economically competitive cities

Park leaders, city planners, design professionals, and urban park advocates will convene in Saint Paul and Minneapolis, July 29-August 2, for Greater & Greener 2017: Connecting Cities, Cultures, & Generations. This five-day indoor and outdoor conference will focus on the role of urban parks in creating healthy, resilient, and economically competitive cities. Greater & Greener 2017 is presented by City Parks Alliance in partnership with Saint Paul Parks and Recreation and Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board.

“City parks promote environmental, social, and economic well-being and are critical to urban planning strategies in the 21st century,” said City Parks Alliance Executive Director Catherine Nagel. “The Twin Cities offer many examples of the positive impact that parks and green spaces can have on urban communities from the famed Grand Rounds of Minneapolis to the riverfront parks of Saint Paul.Greater & Greener attendees will see firsthand how city parks can be designed, developed, programmed, funded, and sustained to meet current and future demands.”

Greater & Greener is held every two years and 2017 is the first time the conference is being co-hosted by two cities, Saint Paul and Minneapolis. The Twin Cities provide excellent examples of how mid-sized cities are leveraging the power of parks to support their infrastructure, economies and the health of their citizens and the conference will feature these examples through 20 tours and 45 mobile workshops getting attendees outside. The 80 sessions and 100 speakers will focus on four tracks; Youth Development, Planning Healthy Systems, The Creative Culture of Parks, and City Park Essentials.  An International Forum on the final day of the conference will focus on global trends and approaches that cities across the world are taking to leverage the power of parks and green space.

“Saint Paul Parks and Recreation is excited to partner with City Parks Alliance to co-host this unique conference which facilitates important conversations surrounding urban park issues,” said Mike Hahm, Saint Paul Parks and Recreation Director. “Our hope is that these conversations, paired with hands-on learning experiences, will provide innovative ideas and solutions for creating and maintaining city parks and green space.”

Saint Paul and Minneapolis are frequently regarded as two of America’s “greenest” cities, with two of the oldest, largest, and most recognized park and recreation systems in the nation. Anchored by the iconic Mississippi River, the Twin Cities offer almost 350 parks and open spaces for experiential learning.

“Parks are an essential part of any urban area, providing critical resources and enhancing the quality of life for all residents,” said Jayne Miller, Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board Superintendent. “We are thrilled to be co-hosting this international conference and working with City Parks Alliance and Saint Paul to showcase some of the innovative work taking place in our cities around riverfront development, neighborhood park investments, regional trail connections and environmental issues.” 

City Parks Alliance and the RAND Corporation will release the final National Study of Neighborhood Parks, a groundbreaking four-year research project examines data from 25 cities across the U.S., on how parks are used and by what segments of the population. The goal is to provide cities, park professionals and other stakeholders with recommendations for how neighborhood parks can better contribute to health and well-being.

Sample sessions at Greater & Greener 2017: 

  • Creating Resilient Cities Through Park Development
  • Parks and Tourism
  • Addressing Homelessness in Parks
  • Conscious Capital: Green Financing for Park Investment
  • Parks as Green Infrastructure
  • Parks, the Private Sector and Job Preparedness
  • Beyond the Institutional Wall: Partnering with Museums to Share Culture in Parks
  • National Park Service Urban Fellows: The Next Generation of Park Agency Leaders
  • Visionary Planning for Nature in a City

Continuing Education Credits are available for park professionals, landscape architects, and planners.                                                                            

Register by June 30 for the best rates and connect with City Parks Alliance on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter, using the hashtag #greatergreener for conference and speaker announcements.

 City Parks Alliance is the nation’s leading advocacy group for urban parks and open spaces. As the only independent, nationwide membership organization solely dedicated to urban parks, City Parks Alliance leads and serves a growing network of civic and community leaders, government agencies, parks and recreation authorities, funders and others committed to the creation, revitalization and stewardship of parks and green spaces that contribute to dynamic cities. For more information, please visit


Saint Paul Parks and Recreation is a nationally accredited and gold medal award-winning organization that manages over 170 parks and open spaces, AZA-accredited Como Park Zoo and Conservatory, 25 city-operated recreation centers, more than 100 miles of trails, an indoor and two outdoor aquatic facilities, a public beach, a variety of premium sports facilities, municipal golf courses, and Great River Passage – which is the new identity for all proposed public development along Saint Paul’s more than 17 miles of Mississippi riverfront. For more information on Saint Paul Parks and Recreation, visit


The Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board is a nationally accredited, independent, semi-autonomous body responsible for the Minneapolis park system.  With 179 parks, the Park Board provides opportunities for all people to gather at its 112 playgrounds, 78 pools and beaches, 51 miles of dual walking and biking paths, 49 recreation centers, 47 ice rinks, 12 gardens, seven golf courses, seven dog parks and numerous athletic fields and courts. Water access at 12 lakes, three creeks and miles of Mississippi riverfront is expanding with RiverFirst transformation plans. For details, visit   

Published on:
June 7, 2017 - 8:02am
Share Tweet LinkedIn Email