The Role of Parks & Open Space in Climate Action

Toledo Glass City Metropark

There is no denying that climate change is the greatest threat of our time. On a global scale, we see the devastating impact that human activity and the built environment have had on the planet. More frequent and intense fires, drought, storms, heat waves, rising sea levels and warming oceans are but a few of the destructive climate-related events destroying communities, habitats, ecosystems and economies, and negatively impacting personal health, wellbeing and livelihoods worldwide.

Addressing climate change is a collective responsibility. In August of 2023, a team of SmithGroup planners, strategists and landscape architects gathered together with leaders from park systems across northwestern Ohio for a roundtable discussion regarding the impactful role that parks and open spaces play in mitigating climate change.

This event sparked honest conversations about how parks fit into communities and how they can become critical components in reducing carbon emissions and a range of climate strategies moving forward.

The summary shared herein offers a high-level, collective overview of the day's discussions -- including the challenges that participating park systems are currently facing, additional challenges that they see coming down the road and actions that they are taking to protect their assets and natural resources for continued enjoyment by future generations.

View and download the complete report here.