For the first time in human history, more than half the world’s people now live in cities. This rapid urbanization is set to continue. Between 2010 and 2050, the Earth’s population is expected to rise by another two billion people—almost all of them living in urban centers.
Here in the Bay Area, the population is projected to grow from a little over seven million today to 11 million in 2050. Many cities are looking at urban density and considering how to deal with the rapid projected growth.
As urbanization continues apace, there will be a growing need for expertise on the role of urban outdoor spaces. This is why the Institute at the Golden Gate has decided to focus on urban parks as our newest program area. By collaborating with other experts and stakeholders, we can address questions like:
- How will urban areas cope with such rapid growth while still ensuring their cities have the necessary infrastructure and design to maintain a decent quality of life for their people?
- What role will parks and protected areas play in improving the livability of our cities and providing the environmental services so essential to human and ecosystem health?
As a first step, the Institute is collaborating with National Park Service leadership, including the Conservation Study Institute and Golden Gate National Recreation Area Superintendent Frank Dean, on a three-part webinar series. The webinars bring together a wide range of park leaders, including those managing successful parks in urban areas from San Francisco to Boston, to identify common challenges and best practices. The first webinar took place in early May and the second is scheduled for June.
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