Upcoming Program

Most people now live in cities and this trend is set to continue and accelerate. Most cities are neither good for their populations nor for the planet. Most cities have a fundamentally parasitic relationship with their surrounding ecosystems and nine out of the ten top causes of death are either indirectly or directly caused by poor urban design or planning.

The 2020 program of the Parks for the Planet Forum will bring together an international, intergenerational and interdisciplinary group of experts, activists and changemakers. They will develop new solutions and thinking about the critical role nature can play in shaping better outcomes for urban populations and the different role that cities need to play in order to protect and preserve nature and the environment within and around them.



The places and ways in which we live are increasingly curtailing opportunities for living healthy lives on a healthy planet. This is impacting individuals as much as the whole planet and is unsustainable. In many cases a key part of the problem stems from the ways in which cities and the people who live within them have become detached from nature. This has all manner of physical and mental health challenges for urban populations and environmental challenges for nature in cities and the natural world that surrounds cities.

One Health is the idea that the health of people is fundamentally connected to the health of animals and the environment. It is becoming increasingly important to think about the health of the entire ecosystems in which we live. This can be applied to the neighborhood, the city or the whole planet, the health of one part impacting on the health of the whole.

Most people already live in cities and changes in urban ecosystems will be essential to improve the quality and length of urban lives, as much as for the health of the planet. We are living in a time with the potential for amazing change, and there are great opportunities to adjust how we live in order to prevent human and planetary catastrophe. The focus provided by the UN Sustainable Development Goals as well as new intergenerational leadership around climate activism creates an unprecedented opportunity to create new ways of urban living.

Human health is unquestionably affected by the environment in which we live, whether through air pollution, access to outdoor space, the chemicals in consumer products or mental health issues, caused or accentuated, for many people by the nature of modern urban life. This timely program will focus on how we can nurture nature compatible, nature aligned cities and all of the benefits that will accrue from these changes.


  • Improve the "one health" of both urban environment and the people who live in them by seeding new and innovative new approaches through international and crossborder exchange and the transmission of best practice.
  • Contribute to the development of a new set of urban-nature metrics that will be presented at the IUCN’s World Conservation Congress and other major convenings throughout 2020 and beyond.
  • Generate a multiplier effect by workshopping new ideas that will be further discussed in other fora or refining ideas already discussed in other for a that are brought to Salzburg.
  • Create the basis for ongoing networking and collaborations among participants and the institutions they represent.
  • Develop innovative advocacy and action plans for designed and agreed by participants for them to take forward as appropriate at local and regional levels.


  • How can urban and building design promote better health?
  • Which cities are innovating and leading conservation efforts?
  • How can health or education systems benefit from a greater alignment with nature?
  • What are the key drivers for health-promoting equitable development? What role do data, culture, policies, enlightened leaders, organized civic actors each play?
  • What would a set of urban-nature metrics consist of?
  • Where is the financial and investment leadership in healthier building design and better city planning coming from?
  • How can we make the case that investing in nature-based solutions is a sound investment and that nature is a critical component of economic competitiveness


The Parks for the Planet Forum seeks to bring together cross-sector and cross generational change-makers from around the world to tackle complex challenges.

This program will bring together a group of 50 participants, drawn from the public, private and civil society sectors and include policymakers, conservationists, real estate developers, green building experts, investors, entrepreneurs, architects, engineers, designers, artists, media and academics. Some of the participants will themselves be conveners of similarly themed events and the Parks for the Planet Forum is proud to be part of an emerging ecosystem of linked events that are working together to develop new ideas.


This highly interactive five-day program will be structured around a mix of thought-provoking presentations, curated conversations, informal interactions, knowledge exchange, and practical group work. The process seeks to combine theory, policy and practice across sectoral silos, opening up new perspectives and intensive learning opportunities. Participants will also work intensively in focus groups, allowing for in-depth group work on key issues.

The program will take place in a retreat-like setting of Schloss Leopoldskron, which facilitates trust, networking and in-depth conversations. Small group discussions allow intense explorations of specific aspects of the general themes before returning to the plenary to refine conclusions.