2014 Strategic Review

Parks for Life Review Team with IFPRA Executive: Gil Penalosa, Digby Whyte, Torgeir Soerensen, James McCulloch, Russel Watkinson, Steve Coleman, Dave Clarke, Paul Bramhill, Christy Boylan (Not Present Catherine Nagel & Barbara Tulipane)


This section is historical and overviews the origins of World Urban Parks through:

  • A Strategic Review of the International Federation of Parks and Recreation Administration (IFPRA) by Parks for Life (International Urban Parks and Green Space Alliance) and its report detailing the need for an inclusive, new-model, urban-focused organisation
  • The creation of a Task Force to examine viability and to plan implementation and the Task Force's report
  •  A vote by the IFPRA General Assembly to adopt the new organisation's constitution
  • Registration and incorporation and the creation of a World Urban Parks Joint Implementation Committee to oversee development and delivery by April 2015.

IFPRA Strategic Review

With the announced standing down of CEO Alan Smith, after 29 years' service, an opportunity was seen to review IFPRA's direction and in early 2013 IFPRA advertised world-wide with an Expression of Interest for consultants and interested parties to conduct a Strategic Review of IFPRA. 

The successful reviewers were Parks for Life who had submitted a unique bid base on Parks Forum's Agency Peer Review Model, which provided for a Baldridge business excellence-style cross-cutting view of organisations. Parks for Life were a world-wide group of peak professional or park agency national associations who offered to review IFPRA as a 'critical friends'. The attraction was that the reviewers were similar associations that understood IFPRA, were using a proven evaluation tool, would conduct the review at cost, and could also potentially partner or join with IFPRA in its new future. 

The reviewers and associations involved were:

  • Catherine Nagel, Executive Director, City parks Alliance, USA (Chair, Review Steering Committee)
  • Steve Coleman, Executive Director, Washington Parks & People, USA (Chair, Parks for Life)
  • Barbara Tulipane, President and CEO of the national Parks and Recreation Association, USA
  • Gil Penalosa, Executive Director, 8-80 Cities, Canada
  • Paul Bramhill, former CEO, GreenSpace, UK (IFPRA Project Control Group)
  • Dave Clarke, CEO, Parks Forum, Australia (IFPRA Project Control Group)
  • Mark Band, CEO, Parks and Leisure Australia
  • Andrew Leslie, CEO New Zealand Recreation Association
  • Dr. Digby Whyte, Chair Parks Forum Performance and Benchmarking Standing Committee (Review Leader)
  • Russell Watkinson, former Vice-President Parks Forum (Review Consultant)

The Review comprised direct discussion with the IFPRA Executive and CEO and IFPRA Europe and Asia-Pacific Commissioners in London, Hamburg and Sydney; as well as survey input from IFPRA members, and discussion and survey input from other stakeholders outside IFRPA, from February to September 2013. The Review delivered a report recommending a larger inclusive new world urban parks organisation, and included an organisation structure, draft constitution, 3-year business plan and budget. In addition a 2-year interim business plan and budget was developed for IFRPA to transition to a sustainable new IFRPA.

With the Report initially received with agreement in principal, members of Parks for Life were asked to express an interest in providing the IFPRA CEO and Secretariat function, including the potential transition of IFPRA to a new IFPRA. A bid from the New Zealand Recreation Association, including Dr. Digby Whyte as CEO, was accepted. 

At the meeting of 26 October 2013 the General Assembly endorsed "That the Executive pursue planning for the new IFPRA as a world urban parks organisation inclusive of a wider membership" and approved "That a Task Force compromising representatives of IFPRA and other partnering organisations be formed to develop the new IFPRA - to report for a decision at the 2014 Assembly."

Click here for the Report by Parks for Life titled: Strategic Review and Business Plan for the Leadership, Administration and Development of the International Federation of Parks and Recreation Administration September 2013. Note the report used the working title WUPA to describe the new organisation.