Partnerships for Urban Wellbeing and Resilience - Creating a New Agenda

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Jun 01, 2019
by Oscar Tollast
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Partnerships for Urban Wellbeing and Resilience - Creating a New Agenda

Participants of latest program of Parks for the Planet Forum consider the relationship between green and urban space and how both are perceived Participants on the first day of the program in conversation during a refreshment break

On the first morning of the Salzburg Global Seminar program, Partnerships for Urban Wellbeing and Resilience: Harnessing Nature and Protected Areas for the Sustainable Development Goals, participants were asked to consider the origin of the word “park.”

Over the centuries, the word and variants of it have meant “enclosed preserve for beasts of the chase,” “enclosed wood or heath land used as a game preserve,” and “enclosed tract of land.” In any case, the word “park” has often indicated a space “set aside” for human enjoyment. This has created a dichotomy, participants heard, between the green and urban space and how we feel when we’re in both.

Participants heard place attachment can lead to a sense of identity, pro-environmental behavior, pro-social behavior, and resilient communities that stay in place. Nature should be a part of people’s everyday life and should not be seen as a destination, one participant said.

The group heard from several other participants who reflected on how nature was perceived in different countries. One participant said the challenge was to design settlements which are integrated into the urban fabric and not placed on the periphery. In their work, this participant said they tried to show by bringing in nature and open spaces, the well-being of people increases, and people’s attachment to the area improves as well.

Another participant discussed how their work involved exploring different funding mechanisms and what effect this has on park equity. How are spaces being organized, programmed, and managed?

To receive funding, this participant said they had learned to play with language and focus on the benefits which appeal to those they’re speaking with – whether economic, social, or environmental.

Some people living in rural areas do not view parks as infrastructure, one participant said. Their lives are already linked to nature. It is part of their identity and provides their livelihood. Nature gives communities this sense of sustainability and resilience, participants heard. As long as the environment is healthy, the next generation can continue to rely on this resource.

Unfortunately, this is no longer the reality, with green space making way for developments. This participant said they and their organization are exploring areas which show where a symbiotic relationship between urban and rural communities can exist, e.g., ensuring a sustainable food system exists.


The Salzburg Global Seminar program, Partnerships for Urban Wellbeing and Resilience: Harnessing Nature and Protected Areas for the Sustainable Development Goals, is part of the Parks for the Planet Forum. This program is supported by Future Cities Forum, ICLEI CBC, IUCN Urban Alliance, Learning Economy, National Park City Foundation, The Centre for Conscious Design, World Urban Parks, and 21st Century Trust.