Urban Protected Areas
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Key Concepts

Parks Canada is collaborating with partners, including Indigenous peoples, to create a network of national urban parks in Canada’s large urban centers. Each national urban park will be unique and created through partnerships. Together, these parks will create a network with a shared vision of conserving nature, connecting people with nature and advancing reconciliation with Indigenous peoples.

~ Parks Canada National Urban Parks Strategy

As the world’s population becomes more urbanized, people seek ways to escape the built environment and connect with the natural world–a trend accelerated by the COVID-19 global pandemic. Often accessible by active transportation or public transit, urban parks and protected areas offer accessible and sustainable nature-based experiences. These sites also represent key habitat that can protect and connect biodiversity and generate natural solutions to climate change. 

Protected areas in urban settings also face unique challenges: They operate in multiple jurisdictions, have porous and highly pressured boundaries, often must contend with pre-existing recreation patterns, and must with the same complex human challenges (e.g. crime and poverty) as the rest of urban environments. 

While this resource page aims to be a resource for urban parks and protected areas with a primary focus on the conservation of biological diversity, we defer to the exceptional leadership of the Canadian Parks and Recreation Association (CPRA) and Park People to offer their expertise and resources into the community building and human dimensions of urban parks. 

The following key resources have been curated to highlight important ideas related to this resource page topic.

Mapping the Work

Links for urban parks within federal, provincial, or territorial parks and protected areas agencies.

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Related Resources

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Champions and Innovators

CPPCL is grateful for a community of colleagues working in and helping build our understanding in this area of parks and protected areas leadership.

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