Happy Holidays!
Take a Deep Breath —
2017 Is Almost Over 

It's been a doozy of a year to say the least. Bleating cable news hosts and blaring TV news chyrons breathlessly report the latest scandal and whip us up into righteous indignation with tales of how the "other side" or the "other" is quickening the inexorable decay of our social fabric. Well I'm here today to tell those voices to put a sock in it. I'm here today to talk about some good things that happened this year, to focus on the small victories, the savored meal, the stolen moment of beauty that helps each of us get through our stressful days and lives. We can't control the news cycle, but as we wrap up this year and start thinking about next, let's all focus on individual responsibility. Our responsibility to be a little kinder, to be spontaneous, to spread a little cheer, and to create and savor the small moments that make our short little run on this planet just a little more pleasant.  
So it is with humility and no rhyme or reason that I offer you a few signs from my year in parks that the apocalypse is not quite yet upon us:
  1. San Francisco's Mission Dolores Park in the sunshine with a takeout sandwich from Bi-Rite.
  2. From Dallas, Denver, Grand Rapids, Newark and the dozens of places around U.S. where voters approved billions of dollars for parks and conservation.
  3. NRPA, TPL, and ULI's unveiling of a national campaign to ensure that everyone in the U.S. lives within a 10-minute walk to a park.
  4. Los Angeles Recreation and Parks, General Jeff and how the homeless community has mobilized to activate and maintain Gladys Park in Skid Row, Los Angeles.
  5. The Highline, the Lowline, the Underline, the Dequindre Cut and the new ways cities are reclaiming forgotten parts of American cities and creating fabulous new parks.
  6. The 300 plus acre Dix Park in Raleigh, N.C. — this is going to be cool.
  7. Surf and turf po'boy at Parkway Tavern, the beautiful new Crescent Park and a national model for recreation driven colocation of services at Sanchez Multi-Service Center in New Orleans.
  8. Watching my kids and their cousins splash in the fountains at Bosques Colomos in Guadalajara, MX.
  9. The bucolic splendor of Westcave Outdoor Discovery Center,  Zilker Park, and Camacho Activity Center's amazing programs that get kids of all ages excited about the outdoors.
  10. Petworth Park, Upshur Park and Rock Creek Park in D.C., which serve as respites from city life for me and my family in every season. 
Here's to a healthy and happy holidays to you and your loved ones. I look forward to spending some time in your parks in 2018.
Kevin O'Hara
Vice President of Urban and Government Affairs
This year, nearly 1.5 million people benefitted from NRPA programs. These programs are made possible through funding from corporate and foundation partners and donations from individual park supporters throughout the country. As the end of the year approaches, we're looking to expand park and recreation offerings in as many new communities as possible. The NRPA Board of Directors is helping us reach this goal by matching each donation made up to $25,000 — doubling the impact we can make.

A donation as little as $10 can make a difference.
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After an eventful December debating tax reform, disaster aid, and an overall final budget to avert a government shutdown, Congress is heading home for the holidays with plenty of work left to be done in the new year. 
Read More on the Blog
Trending Stories
Research & Reports
The Aspen Institute Project Play 
State of Play: 2017 also offers grades, crowdsourced at the Summit, on how well stakeholders did in the past year in each of the eight strategies, or opportunity areas.
Youth Sports Collaborative Network
The community of organizations and individuals providing sports-based youth development (SBYD) programs for children from low income, underserved communities is diverse and growing. The Youth Sports Collaborative Network launched as its first initiative an online survey to quantify the breadth of these efforts in the U.S.
A detailed map of U.S. wildfires since 1980 reveals the growing role of human causes.
Next City
In partnership with the American Planning Association and the Low Impact Development Center, NRPA has released a more technical guide outlining the nuts and bolts (or rather, constructed wetlands and bioswales) of green stormwater infrastructure, including finer details, like how to engage local communities and, yes, secure funding.
A new report from Arup argues that child-friendly design is our urban future.
American Public Health Association
This January 2018 issue of AJPH comprises an initial set of reactions and questions about Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria, which ravaged the United States in 2017.
The Denver Post
Carla Madison Recreation Center, the city park system's first truly urban facility, is set to open in January.
With more and more people using them to get where they need to go, reclaimed railways and industrial corridors are connecting neighborhoods rather than dividing them.
Fast Company Design
A futuristic concept addresses three of today's very real needs: more parking, more open space, and better flood mitigation.
As mid-twentieth century buildings are becoming outdated mechanically, programmatically, and stylistically, replacing them with something newer, bigger, taller, and bolder is an enticing prospect. However, building new is not always the best solution—particularly for institutional clients facing funding constraints and fast-changing programmatic needs.
Designing a new space within the public realm of the city is an opportunity to integrate a new fluidity into the warp and weft of the urban fabric; easing the transition between places that previously felt disparate or perhaps inaccessible.
The Architect's Newspaper
Landscape architecture, though intrinsic to the experience of some of the best modern buildings, rarely gets the conversation it deserves.
In Other News
The Atlantic
In a surprise move Wednesday evening, the city sold two parks to a nonprofit corporation that promptly tore down monuments to Nathan Bedford Forrest and Jefferson Davis.
Across the ages and in every culture, childhood has included time playing in and exploring the outdoors. Yet over the last few generations, childhood has moved indoors, leaving kids disconnected from the natural world.
American City & County
Congratulations to Rob Herr, Public Works and Parks and Recreation Director for the City of Henderson, NV, for being named American City and County's Public Works official of the year.
Sustainable City Network
Bee City USA helps communities bolster their buzzing friends.
Tacoma, Washington, found that giving homeless people access to running water improves their comfort, dignity, and health, while reducing local pollution.
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