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The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the global importance of the presence of parks and nature in cities – but also the skills required to manage them. There has been a persistent need to change how parks, networks and public realm are managed, and the global pandemic has paved the way for change and a skills revolution. However, this revolution is much more than adopting business or leadership skills. Parks are now at the forefront of equity, public health management and, ultimately, a cohesive society.

Neil McCarthy, Jane Findlay, Liz Stuffins

Neil McCarthy, CEO, World Urban Parks

Neil McCarthy is the CEO of World Urban Parks and Co-Chair of the International National Park City committee. Neil is an international leader in natural resource management with a strong focus on policy and strategy, especially parks and waterways. He has spent much of his career developing best practice and strategic partnerships between parks and NRM agencies and has been responsible for leading some of the most significant global initiatives in parks management, including the creation of Parks Forum, the International Urban Parks and Green Space Alliance, and the review of the International Federation of Parks and Recreation Administration.

Jane Findlay CMLI PLI, President of the Landscape Institute

Jane Findlay is a landscape architect, the founding director of Fira and President of the Landscape Institute. An experienced master planner and designer of large and complex projects, Jane has particular expertise in the design of healing landscapes for healthcare and has delivered some of the largest and most complex healthcare projects in the UK. Jane is a pioneering exponent of ‘place-making’ and the importance of health and wellbeing in the way that people experience buildings and the spaces we create within, around, and connecting places.

Liz Stuffins, Midlands Parks Forum

Liz Stuffins is Chair of the Midlands Parks Forum and Public Health Development Manager for Walsall Council. Liz has over 30 years’ experience in green space management and has spent the last 11 years at Walsall and Dudley developing Award winning Heritage Lottery-funded projects, including: Mary Stevens Park, Priory Park, and Stevens Park Quarry Bank. The focus of her work in urban areas began with urban fringe and countryside management and later developed to urban parks in areas of deprivation. Liz really values input from the voluntary sector into the management of parks and has worked on a number of transfer projects to enhance community ownership of assets.


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