The Park People Conference 2022: Call for Proposals

“Historically, pandemics have forced humans to break with the past and imagine their world anew. This one is no different. It is a portal, a gateway between one world and the next.” – Arundhati Roy, “The pandemic is a portal”


The Park People Conference invites proposals for city park projects on the theme of An Abundant Future for City Parks.

Parks intersect with the most pressing issues in Canadian cities – climate change, social equity, Indigenous reconciliation, community development, public health, food security, social isolation, homelessness and more.

While it’s never been more important to understand our parks as vital assets for cities, it can be difficult to imagine a future rooted in possibility instead of constraints. As a result, the approaches that dominate planning, funding, and programming the use of city parks tend to focus on lack and limitations, which often leaves many of us feeling like we’re competing for limited space, resources, and funding.

The central question at The Park People Conference is: How can we use the pandemic as “a portal” to shift toward a more abundant future for city parks? 

An abundance approach surfaces the hidden potential in existing resources and helps us imagine new ways to build partnerships, attract resources, create park spaces and deliver more impact in city parks. Often employed in community settings and Indigenous teachings, abundance values collaboration over competition, love over fear, and new possibilities over old limitations.


What you need to know before submitting your proposal


Hosting a conference session has many benefits:

Proposals should provide opportunities for peer-to-peer learning, showcase collaboration, and actionable tools and practices for attendees. We’d love to receive proposals from organizations, community groups, volunteer-led groups, professionals, academia, and government from across Canada who embrace the power of parks to achieve their missions.

We are taking a multidisciplinary approach and would particularly like to encourage proposals from members both within and outside the environmental, urban planning, and park-focused sectors.

We invite proposals in one or more of the following topic areas:

Session formats


Sessions will be delivered in four ways:
Conference sessions can be proposed in one of the following five main formats:

Shorts (Online): Short 5-10 minute pre-recorded presentations. Each brief presentation will be combined with others to create a single, themed session. Presenters can propose pre-recorded creative presentations, zoom recorded sessions or low-tech recordings of projects or concepts.

Tours or Site-Specific Activities ( In-person Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver): 45-minute outdoor tours or site visits featuring a notable park or public space. Proposals should specify the location for the tour or visit, how it can be accessed by the public, and articulate the unique approaches that make the project notable and innovative..

Panel (Online): 75 minute long sessions featuring diverse panellists sharing their perspectives on a topic. Proposals should outline all of the proposed presenters, session goals and how the session connects to the conference topics or theme.

Roundtable (online): For 60-75 minutes, 5-10 panellists discuss and answer questions on a specific topic in a non-scripted community town-hall-style. Proposals should outline all of the proposed panellists, the session goals and how the session connects to the conference theme.

Workshops (online): 30- 75 minute presentations that align with core competencies for park professionals and provide professional development certificates for participation (see the full list of core competencies here). Workshop proposals should identify which core competencies the workshop aligns with, session goals, and how the session connects to the conference theme.

Do you have something else in mind for a great conference session? Feel free to create and submit a proposal outlining your idea.

Submissions are due January 17, 2022.

We are committed to matching our proposal candidates with the best possible format. As such Park People may follow up with candidates and recommend your proposal take place using an alternative format.

The safety of participants and our staff is our number one priority. As such, proof of full COVID-19 vaccination will be required to attend indoor events. All in-person events will follow local public health COVID-19 guidelines.


Submit Your Proposal Before Jan. 17, 2022


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