Urban Park Leadership Program

Format: Online
Application Deadlines
  • 2022 Deadline: September 23, 2022

The Mall - Central Park NYC

About the Program

Designed, facilitated, and hosted by the Central Park Conservancy (CPC) Institute for Urban Parks in partnership with the CUNY School of Professional Studies Office of Professional Education and Workplace Learning (PEWL), the Urban Park Leadership Program comprises a combination of web-based professional development experiences and in-person learning covering a range of topics relevant to urban park leadership and management.

Participants engage in a series of online workshops, seminars, self-paced modules, and coaching sessions over the course of nine months, culminating in a week-long session in New York City, and a capstone project.

PEWL was created at the same time as CUNY SPS and designs custom workplace learning programs to help organizations achieve their goals. They are experts in research-based learning practices, online as well as in-classroom curriculum development and implementation. They are uniquely positioned to respond to organizational learning needs and support change management initiatives swiftly and effectively.

Alumni Testimonial

Urban Park Leadership Program alumnus Heath Riddles-Sanchez provides a testimonial of his experience.

Admissions Criteria

We seek executive and senior-level leadership of:

  • Park non-profit organizations in urban areas (conservancies, trusts, alliances, corporations, friends of groups)
  • Parks and recreation agencies in urban areas
  • Affiliated public space partners of urban parks (business/park improvement districts, cultural institutions)

Program Content and Flow

Program Fee

COVID-19 has caused widespread financial challenges for urban park organizations and agencies around the world. In an effort to make the program accessible, the fall 2022 program fee has been reduced to $1,900 per person (from $2,250).

The registration fee covers: participation in the online learning management system; online workshops, seminars, and forums; in-person programming in NYC; and all program materials. The fee does not cover travel to NYC or hotel accommodations.

The Central Park Conservancy Institute for Urban Parks, through generous support from its donors, offers a limited number of scholarships to applicants from qualifying organizations and agencies. Scholarships are awarded on a case-by-case basis at the discretion of the Institute. Those who are interested in applying for a scholarship can find more information in the admissions application.

Dates for Upcoming Offerings

Participants in the 2022-2023 cohort will engage in the program from October 2022 to May 2023. The week-long, in-person session in NYC will take place in April 2023. The specific dates for the in-person session will be provided at a later date.

About our Program Partner

The Central Park Conservancy Institute for Urban Parks, founded in 2013, draws on the Conservancy’s history and expertise as a leader in the field of urban park management and public-private park partnerships to empower, inform, connect, and celebrate the individuals and organizations that care for urban parks so that all urban park organizations have the knowledge, leadership, connections, and capacity to create, maintain, and support great public spaces.

Central Park Conservancy Institute for Urban Parks and CUNY School of Professional Studies logo

Application Deadlines

  • 2022 Deadline: September 23, 2022
Apply Now

Student/Alumni Profiles

Alicia Quirós

Urban Park Leadership Program

"I´m grateful for new connections and relationships that make our community stronger and help us pursue the vision for the park."

Margot Perron

Urban Park Leadership Program

"Central Park Conservancy's expertise is unparalleled and they, along with CUNY SPS, aim to be incredibly helpful and supportive."

Heath Riddles-Sanchez

Urban Park Leadership Program

"To me, there is no more valuable learning experience than to be around others who are facing the same daily challenges as we are...and solving them!"

Heidi Anderson

Urban Park Leadership Program

"Since meeting the team at the Central Park Conservancy Institute for Urban Parks, I have been inspired by the work that they do and grateful for the lessons-learned that they can and have been so willing to share."

Recent News About Urban Park Leadership Program

Cara Lambright

July 20, 2021


Cara Lambright, a graduate of the CUNY SPS and Central Park Conservancy’s Urban Park Leadership Program, discusses her new role as CEO of the New Orleans City Park in this Q&A with MyNewOrleans.com.