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Urban Park Leadership Program

Urban Park Leadership Program

The Central Park Conservancy Institute for Urban Parks and the City University of New York School of Professional Studies (CUNY SPS) will host the spring 2019 session of the Urban Park Leadership Program in New York City from Monday, March 18 to Friday, March 22, 2019. The Urban Park Leadership Program helps participants develop the skills and knowledge necessary for successful urban park management in the 21st century. The program focuses on managing urban parks in the context of a public-private partnership, with topics that include drafting vision statements, reviewing legal agreements between public and private partners, developing strategic plans and performance measures, prioritizing maintenance and operations initiatives, fundraising, board development, and much more. Participants work together to develop solutions to current or emergent challenges in their own parks and park organizations with coaching from urban park leaders in the New York City area.

The Urban Park Leadership Program is a joint initiative of the Institute and CUNY SPS. One of the first public-private partnerships established to manage an urban park in the United States, the Central Park Conservancy brings nearly four decades of expertise to the Urban Park Leadership Program.

The program registration fee for this spring session is $2250, per person, excluding travel and lodging. Upon acceptance, you will receive information about suggested hotel accommodations and optional evening activities. Economic hardship grants are available to qualifying participants. If you are considering applying for an economic hardship grant, you will also be asked to provide a statement of need. The program consists of four days of classroom activity plus a one-day practicum, during which the participants can interact with and learn directly from Conservancy staff.

To learn more about this exciting opportunity, please view this informational webinar.

Upon completing the Urban Park Leadership Program, participants will be able to:

  • Demonstrate familiarity with fundamental concepts related to urban parks and the public-private partnerships supporting them.
  • Describe the common issues facing urban parks, and their implications.
  • Describe the major activities required to manage an urban park.
  • Describe the major responsibilities of the private partner in a public-private park partnership.
  • Within the framework of a case situation, perform selected tasks central to the leadership of a public-private park partnership.
  • Apply principles learned during the program to address issues from the participants' own parks and park organizations.

Who Should Apply:

Executive, senior, or mid-level senior urban park managers who are:

  • Affiliated with a newly formed (less than 5 years) private (i.e. nonprofit) partner of an urban public-private park partnership; OR
  • New to a position with an established private partner of an urban public-private park partnership; OR
  • Affiliated with the public partner of an existing or future urban public-private park partnership; OR
  • Administrators/senior-level staff members at public open space agencies; OR
  • Trustees of existing public-private park partnerships, friends or volunteer groups.

The Spring 2019 Application is now closed.


"I would wholeheartedly recommend the program to colleagues. It's a truly amazing opportunity to get out of the weeds and take a look at your job and profession with fresh eyes and enjoy a diversity of perspectives on some of the complex issues that urban parks face."
— Julian Macrone, Program and Development Manager, Fort Greene Park Conservancy

"The program was extremely helpful in getting me to focus on issues such as fund-raising, board development, and creating metrics on how to measure success. I really enjoyed the opportunity to meet other park professionals who are dealing with similar issues in their parks."
— Janice Melnick, Administrator, Flushing Meadows Corona Park; Executive Director, Alliance for Flushing Meadows Corona Park

Please contact the Institute with questions about the Urban Park Leadership Program or the application process at institute@centralparknyc.org.