This white paper was developed out of an invitation-only roundtable event titled "The Role of Parks in Shaping Successful Cities," which was held on March 24, 2014. The event was hosted by NRPA and APA with sponsorship by the National League of Cities, the TORO Company, the Houston Parks Board and Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates, Inc.
The planning directors and parks and recreation directors of nine of the largest U.S. cities and urban metropolitan areas were invited to give brief team presentations for the roundtable. Experts from several federal agencies, as well as representatives of leading national organizations such as the American Society of Landscape Architects, Trust for Public Land, Urban Land Institute, and The Conservation Fund, along with a number of members of the Board of Directors of NRPA, also attended the roundtable. The nine cities and metro areas represented included: Atlanta, Chicago, Cleveland, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami-Dade County, Philadelphia, Seattle and St. Louis.
The purpose of the roundtable was to engage a diverse group of key urban stakeholders to share knowledge and insights about challenges being faced in cities and how these cities are using open space and parks to meet those challenges.