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Redefining Cities - the National Park City in Australia



Dom Blackham and Neil McCarthy, Mosaic Insights and World Urban Parks (AUS)


Speaker Profile

Neil is an international leader in natural resource management with a strong focus on policy and strategy, especially parks and waterways. He has extensive understanding and experience in the complexities required to achieve balance between environment and development for the betterment of the community. 

He has been responsible for leading some of the most significant global initiatives in parks management, including Parks Victoria’s ‘Healthy Parks, Healthy People’ program and the creation of World Urban Parks (as Vice Chair).

Neil held a number of operational, strategic and corporate executive roles in Parks Victoria before becoming the CEO of the North East Catchment Management Authority in Victoria Australia. Neil has been recognised for many of his contributions and was World Urban Parks’ 2016 Distinguished Individual Award recipient.  In addition to his role at Mosaic, Neil has recently been appointed the CEO of World Urban Parks and Co-Chair of the International National Park City Commission.

Dom has more than 20 years experience in the NRM and Water sector. He has particular expertise in using scientific evidence to support landscape-scale strategy development.  He is the Mosaic Insights Practice Manager and has been exploring alternative approaches to implementing changes at a city wide scale with key clients.


Abstract title


Redefining Cities - the National Park City in Australia




Over the last twenty years, a number of Governments and individuals have been exploring the concept of national parks and cities.  Generally, the discussion and the developments have mostly centred on the purity of the “national park” concept and have only seen limited progress in understanding of a National Park concept within a City.  However, the Scandinavian countries have made definable progress in establishing “National Urban Parks” and there has been some (but limited) attempts to define what constitutes a “National Urban Park”.   However, over the last four years, significant progress has been made in redefining the National Park City. This socially driven process will see London become the first National Park City in 2019.  This paper explores the foundation of this concept tracing the history of National Park typology and the ramifications and opportunities it creates to define the Cities of the future.  The National Park City approach challenges the foundational concepts of national parks, the role of cities and the nature of space and human interaction.  This paper will explore the application of the concept in Australia.