Twenty four-hour park theme of West Midlands Parks Forum annual conference

The 24-hour park is the theme of this year's West Midlands Parks Forum annual conference, as parks managers and others from across the region consider how to maximise parks' value.

Forum member Rugby Borough Council incorporates exercise into play. Image: Rugby Borough Council
Forum member Rugby Borough Council incorporates exercise into play. Image: Rugby Borough Council

Measuring the natural capital value of parks, running a park on a commercial basis, inclusive play and physical activity, monitoring visitors using WiFi and design approaches to water and light features in public spaces will all be covered by the conference.

Daisy Haywood, a landscape architect at forum member Red Kite Network Limited, which helps organise the conference each year, said the forum hoped the subject of the 24-hour park would be a popular topic for conversation.

"We hope that during the informal networking sessions we might be able to cover it in more detail. It is an interesting question. What would a 24 hour park look like? There are a lot of parks that don’t get locked up. We chose the theme because it does throw up quite a few interesting questions.

Forum chair Liz Stuffins said this year’s conference was all about exploring innovation and how parks can inspire people to improve the public realm for the better.

The conference is aimed at local authority officers, consultants, planners and developers with a view to addressing issues around the design and management of parks and open spaces.

It takes place on 5 October at The Studio in Birmingham. Tickets cost £85 per delegate with 10% early bird booking discount before 15th September 2017. Students, friends and volunteers can get a £10 ticket on a first come first serve basis. For more information and to book your place visit www.westmidlandsparksforum.co.uk or contact r.taylor2@sstaffs.gov.uk.

The speakers are:

  • Nick Grayson, University of Birmingham: Talking on recent research with the Liveable Cities project, where he devised the Star Framework which develops natural capital metrics that will ensure the long term future for parks
  • Simon Frosdick and Tony Stringwell, Leeds City Council: Presenting the Leeds City Council approach to the commercial running and management of parks and open spaces within the city
  • Paul Clarkson, Lapsett: Explaining how traditional play equipment can be used in a variety of ways to create more opportunities for better health and physical activity among children.
  • Luke Baldock, Elephant WiFi and Nathaniel Healy, Red Kite: Providing a case study and explaining how WiFi and geosense can be used as an innovative tool to calculate visitor numbers and dwell time and demonstrate value for money.
  • Dean Clayton, Ocmis: Showing through a range of case studies, including the Diana Memorial, the power of using creative water and light features in public places and spaces.

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