Jack Kardys

Jack Kardys

Jack Kardys, NRPA Board of Directors Chair

Jack Kardys, National Recreation and Park Association's Chairman of the Board, recently retired as the Director of the nationally accredited and Gold Medal Award winning Miami-Dade Parks, Recreation & Open Spaces Department (MDPROS), one of the largest and most diverse park systems in the United States. A 38 year park professional, Jack has earned dozens of awards that recognize his extraordinary leadership and achievements. With Jack's guidance, the Miami-Dade County Parks and Open Space System Master Plan established the blueprint for improving the quality of life in Miami through a system of great parks, public spaces, natural and cultural areas connected by great greenways, blueways, trails and complete streets. Jack is currently an associate with PROS Consulting and the President of J Kardys Strategies, LLC, developing and implementing innovative park and public realm strategies for building healthy and sustainable communities.

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The Evolving Role of Parks: Building Resilient Park-Centric Communities that Drive Health, Happiness and Economic Prosperity

The role of the Parks and Recreation profession has broadened from the development and management of traditional green space destinations for respite and recreational/athletic activity to creating a resilient, park-centric public realm that drive people's attachment to their communities. Parks have become a metaphor for health, happiness and economic prosperity and it is the NRPA's mission to create the nationwide Park Movement that supports this paradigm shift through research, education, legislative advocacy and partnering with like-minded organizations to increase reach and impact.

Every great community has a great park system and it is this Community Building through an unyielding commitment to social equity that makes our profession the solution to so many of the challenges this planet and its inhabitants face in the next 100 years. The keynote will include:

  • Improving community health through evidence-based parks and recreation programs and the design of accessible park facilities that eliminate health disparities, reduce chronic disease and increase longevity.
  • Creating community resilience in response to climate change through high performance landscapes and park facilities designed as green infrastructure that provide the maximum amount of co-benefits to communities in the form of flood, fire and drought mitigation; education; social empathy; improved air and water quality; heat island mitigation; wildlife habitat; and post-disaster centers for relief and community organizing.
  • Measuring the economic impact of parks and public spaces and making the case for a balanced, sustainable public investment. The proliferation of public-private partnerships and philanthropy in the development of parks and public spaces, while noble and often well-intended, requires the employment of best practices to insure the equitable distribution of parks and programs for vulnerable and underserved populations.

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What our Delegates are Saying

"I'm going to seek new ideas and learn from experience of other projects to constantly improve the way we manage our parks and open space . I'm looking forward to learning more around Parks & Open Space, Healthy Active Play and Trees and Gardens"

Jacqui, Manager City Reserves, City of Albany (WA)

"I love to listen, learn, share and spend time with likeminded and inspirational colleagues who are transforming the world park by park, facility by facility, program by program. I am looking forward to seeing Kia Dowell and Katie Sarah. I love being inspired and challenged to make a difference and grow as a leader and contributor to our industry".

Carly, Team Leader Recreation Planning, City of Casey (VIC)

"It is important to keep abreast of latest industry trends, best practice case studies and the valuable networking opportunities. I am looking forward to hearing from Jack Kardys regarding the evolving role of parks - driving health, happiness and economic prosperity".

Matt, Manager Active Communities, City of Holdfast Bay

"I can't wait to meet new people and catch up with old friends at PLA2019. I haven't been to Perth for many years and I'm looking forward to seeing the beautiful parks"

Neil, Parks Planner, Parks Victoria

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