Healthy Parks, Healthy Cities


A healthy city sustains healthy people. For the first time in history, more of the planets' population now live in urban areas. There are growing public health concerns including rising global rates of chronic diseases such as obesity, hypertension, depression and anxiety.

Parks are emerging as important public health resources that can enhance people's mental, physical and social wellbeing by connecting people to nature, offering respite, providing access to physical activity opportunities, and serving as safe vibrant spaces for fostering social connections. Diverse urban spaces including parks, gardens, urban forests, community gardens, and park-lets can all support people's health and wellbeing. So the need to ensure that cities are vibrant, sustainable, accessible, well-planned and designed is critical. 


Position Statement

On 30 October, World Cities Day, which is celebrated during Urban October, the Healthy Parks Healthy Cities Committee launched our position statement.  World Urban Parks recognizes that parks, open spaces and urban nature play a significant role creating healthy cities, healthy people and healthy societies.

The recent global COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated the essential role parks and open spaces play by allowing people in cities to recreate safely, seek nature and relieve stress during these unusual times.

A healthy parks is characterized by safety, visual attractiveness, accessible and inviting.

Functions of a healthy park:

  • preserving and protecting flourishing biodiversity
  • provide for sustainable ecosystems
  • deliver climate positive outcomes
  • provide green infrastructure for integrated water management
  • express culture and heritage
  • define a sense of place
  • help create a sense of belonging
  • provide gathering spaces
  • resilient and multi-functional spaces for wide-ranging recreational outcomes
  • opportunity for people to exercise
  • connecting with nature

The link between visiting and exercising in parks and green spaces and improved physical and mental health is now well proven.

According to the World Health Organisation – “there are very few, if any, other public health interventions that can achieve all this” (WHO: 2016:5).

If you would like to read the full position statement click here.


The HPHC committee have pulled together case studies and resources from around the world which demonstrate how parks contribute to supporting healthy communities and cities.

To access these click here.


Professional and passionate experts come together in this committee to share knowledge, information and ideas to ensure this important issue is being advanced and that everyone has access to healthy urban parks.

The objectives of the Healthy Parks Health Cities Committee are:

  1. To represent the role of parks in contributing to healthy cities
  2. To foster and engage an international network related to healthy parks and healthy cities
  3. To accumulate, develop and spread knowledge relating to the contribution healthy parks make to healthy cities
  4. To advocate, expand cross-sector engagement, improve equity of access, and effect change at international, regional and local levels that significant social, economic and environmental contribution that parks make to cities' livability and healthiness and international renown; and the need to plan for and invest in them. 



This infographic demonstrates the various health outcomes that a healthy park and healthy city contributes to society.

To enlarge infographic click here


Healthy Parks Principles

Healthy Parks aim to:

  • Improve our mental health and wellbeing through connection with nature
  • Create a sense of belonging, social gathering places, and improve social connectedness
  • Provide opportunities to improve our physical health and wellbeing
  • Provide resilient and multi-functional spaces for wide-ranging recreational outcomes
  • Provide safe, attractive, universally accessible and inclusive, and inviting green spaces
  • Preserve and protect nature and biodiversity, provide green infrastructure, and deliver climate positive outcomes



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Current Projects

  • Establish Principles of Healthy Cities
  • Healthy Urban Parks & Green Cities Agenda Information for WUP members
  • Summary of research data

Past Projects

  • Input to WUP IPLC 2018
  • Established Healthy Urban Parks and Green Cities Agenda
  • Healthy Parks Healthy Cities Position Statement


If you are interested in joining the Healthy Parks, Healthy Cities Committee please contact the Chair Kristen Jackson or [email protected]