The Healing Power of Parks
By Rachel Maher, Park Pride’s Director of Communications & Policy
The past few years have affirmed the importance of parks for our physical and mental well-being. The healing power of parks, however, goes beyond personal health. Public greenspaces are also where community bonds are formed, diverse ideas are experienced, and where cultural enrichment flourishes. We also look to parks to heal and strengthen the urban environment—to manage stormwater, reduce flooding, cool and filter the air, and provide natural habitat.
A strong park system has the capacity to fulfill all these roles, creating resilient urban ecosystems while offering the personal health and community benefits we seek. In this way, parks are a natural healthcare system, ensuring cities and inhabitants thrive long into the future.
At Park Pride’s 2023 Parks & Greenspace Conference (taking place on Monday, March 27 at the Atlanta Botanical Garden), we’ll discuss all this and more while exploring The Healing Power of Parks. Our conference is the largest of its kind in the southeast, showcasing thought leaders from Atlanta and across the nation. Through education and inspiration, it unites attendees through a common desire to improve parks and strengthen communities. Whether you’re a parks and recreation professional, a government representative or policy maker, a landscape architect or designer, an urban planner, real estate developer, or a community member wanting to build or improve a neighborhood park, the Parks & Greenspace Conference offers something for everyone.
Park Pride’s team is curating a conference program that will explore the healing power of parks through a variety of lenses, including:
- Parks and personal / public health
- Parks and ecological health
- Parks and social healing
- A healthy park system
I am also thrilled to share our lineup of keynote speakers who will present a range of diverse and multi-layered perspectives on the healing power of parks:
2023 Parks & Greenspace Conference Keynotes
Jha D Amazi
Principal, MASS Design Group
Jha D Amazi is a Principal at MASS Design Group, and the Director of the Public Memory and Memorials Lab (PMML). The PMML is an initiative that advances research, training, and built work around a central thesis: spatializing memory can heal us and inspire collective action for generations to come. At MASS, Amazi has contributed to the Gun Violence Memorial Project, Franklin Park Action Plan, and the Louise B. Miller Memorial and Freedom Garden at Gallaudet University.
Howard Frumkin, MD
Senior Vice President, Trust for Public Land
Dr. Frumkin is an internist, environmental and occupational medicine specialist, epidemiologist, and author (including Planetary Health: Protecting Nature to Protect Ourselves and Making Healthy Places: A Built Environment for Health, Well-Being, and Sustainability). Currently, he is serving as Senior Vice President with the Trust for Public Land and Professor Emeritus of Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences at the University of Washington School of Public Health. His research interests include public health and the built environment, climate change, and nature contact.
Tracie Revis, MHR, JD
Director of Advocacy for the Ocmulgee National Park and Preserve Initiative
Tracie Revis is the Director of Advocacy for the Ocmulgee National Park and Preserve Initiative and has dedicated her career to serving Indian Country. She was previously Chief of Staff for Principal Chief, David Hill at the Muscogee (Creek) Nation in Oklahoma (the first female to fill this role). Revis is Yuchi and Muscogee, is of the wolf clan, and belongs to the Polecat ceremonial ground, where she participates in her traditional culture.
Executive Director, Ocmulgee National Park and Preserve Initiative
As Executive Director of the Ocmulgee National Park and Preserve Initiative, Seth Clark is passionate about teaching others to appreciate and conserve the lands that make up the beautiful Ocmulgee corridor. He also currently serves as the Mayor Pro Tempore of Macon, Georgia. Clark has worked with numerous state and federal elected officials, candidates, and civic groups on solutions for poverty, conservation, inequality, job training, and higher education access.
Mark your calendar. The 2023 Parks and Greenspace Conference will be held in-person at the Atlanta Botanical Garden on Monday, March 27. Registration is OPEN and we hope you can join us!