Head of Parks Services, Auckland Council, New Zealand
Mark oversees the provision of parks services across Auckland Council's network of 4,000 parks. He leads a unit of over 200 park professionals covering regional parks, community and sports parks, cemeteries, botanic gardens, urban forest and visitor services. Mark is a non-executive Board Director and currently the Chair for Recreation Aotearoa, is an Accredited Recreation Professional (ARPro), a Certified Parks Professional - International, and is a member of several World Urban Parks Committees. Mark is passionate about parks and the key role they play in liveable cities.
Healthy Parks - fantasy or necessity?
Our experiences over the last year of the global pandemic and lockdowns have reinforced the absolute value of urban parks and green spaces for our mental and physical health and wellbeing. But what constitutes a healthy park, and why is this important ? COVID 19 has become a catalyst to accelerate the need for healthy urban parks - places that are not just green , but are low carbon, multi-functional, resilient and adaptive, and deliver climate positive outcomes.
This presentation will profile how Auckland is pursuing a world-class parks strategy, taking new approaches to sustainable and low carbon park development, responding to climate change, and incorporating concepts of traditional mātauranga Māori. Ultimately it is about creating healthy natural environments that will foster, promote and encourage positive health outcomes for people. Healthy parks and healthy people are intertwined - a healthy future depends on it !