Urban Park Leadership Program

The Urban Park Leadership Program brings together senior-level urban park professionals from around the world for a nine-month experience of learning, network-weaving, and collaborative problem solving.

Hosted entirely online, the Program is tailored to fit your busy schedule with self-guided week-long lessons in a virtual classroom and face-to-face workshops with expert instructors in a virtual conference room.

By the end of the Program, you will have:

  • Interactively explored, discovered, and applied a range of skills and concepts essential to managing and leading urban parks;
  • Developed meaningful connections with peers in the field of urban park management;
  • Completed a Capstone Project that is immediately useful and relevant to your day-to-day work in urban parks; and
  • Planned to effectively implement your newfound learning back at work.

The 2021 Leadership Program will convene on April 5 and end on December 19. The application opens September 25, 2020. The deadline to apply is January 25, 2021.

How to Apply

Learn more about the Leadership Program and submit an application for the 2021 cohort.

Admissions Criteria

We seek executive, senior, and upper-level urban park managers who are:

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


The COVID-19 crisis has caused widespread financial challenges for urban park organizations and agencies around the world. To make the program as accessible as possible during these challenging times, the 2021 program fee has been reduced to $1,900 per person (from $2,250). The registration fee includes: Participation in the online learning management system, online workshops, seminars and forums, and all online Program materials.


The Central Park Conservancy Institute for Urban Parks, through generous support from its donors, offers a limited number of economic hardship grants to applicants from qualifying organizations and agencies. Grants are awarded on a case-by-case basis at the discretion of the Institute. Those who are interested in applying for an economic hardship grant can find more information in the Program application.

Program Partner

The Urban Park Leadership Program is a partnership between the Central Park Conservancy and the Office of Professional Education and Workplace Learning at the CUNY School of Professional Studies (CUNY SPS). Home to the first fully online degree programs at the City University of New York, the CUNY SPS provides online and on-campus programs that meet the needs of adults who are looking to finish a bachelor’s degree, earn a master’s degree or certificate in a specialized field, advance in the workplace, or change careers. of their choosing.