Peter Harnik

Director, Center for City Park Excellence

Peter Harnik is director of The Trust for Public Land’s Center for City Park Excellence. He has led numerous research projects into what makes for great park systems, and he speaks frequently and writes widely about the relationship between cities and parks. His most recent book, Urban Green: Innovative Parks for Resurgent Cities, published in 2010 by Island Press, was named one of the five best books of that year by the American Society of Landscape Architects’ blog.

Three of Harnik’s research projects resulted in groundbreaking booklets to help illuminate the issues facing urban parks: The Excellent City Park System: What Makes it Great and How to Get There; Measuring the Economic Value of a City Park System; and From Fitness Zones to the Medical Mile: How Urban Park systems Can Best Promote Health and Wellness. He has also closely studied the park system of the city of Chicago.

Prior to joining The Trust for Public Land in 2001, Harnik was co-founder and vice president of the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy, coordinator of Environmental Action, Inc., and a co-founder of the Coalition for the Capital Crescent Trail. He has been a longtime board member of the City Parks Alliance, the Washington Area Bicyclist Association, and Smart Growth America. He is a graduate of The Johns Hopkins University and a resident of Arlington, Virginia.

Selected Keynote Speeches

  • Chicago Friends of the Parks, Chicago, 2013
  • Michigan Recreation and Park Association, Lansing, 2013
  • U.K. Public Parks Summit, London, 2012
  • Academy of Natural Sciences, Philadelphia, 2011
  • 21st Century City Conference, Dallas, 2010
  • International Federation of Parks and Recreation Adminstrators, Hong Kong, 2010
  • Concerned Citizens for Open Space, White Plains, N.Y., 2008
  • Humane Metropolis, New York, 2002

Selected Training Sessions

  • Smart Growth Conference, Kansas City, 2013
  • Brick Industry Association, Washington, D.C., 2012
  • American Public Health Association, Washington, D.C., 2011
  • National Trust for Historic Preservation, Buffalo, 2011
  • National Executive Development School, Albuquerque, 2011
  • Healthy Kids, Healthy Communities, Milwaukee, 2011
  • Mayor’s Development Roundtable, Oklahoma City, 2008