Keynote & Plenary Video Recordings


Monday Keynote | Charles Nilon

Cities play an increasingly important role in fostering natural connections not only to mitigate heat island effect and carbon production but also to create habitat to slow the alarming loss of global biodiversity.

In his presentation, Nilon offers new perspectives on the expanding role greening and biodiversity play in making our cities more livable and more sustainable, featuring leading voices in developing, stewarding, and measuring urban greening efforts.

Charles Nilon is a professor of urban wildlife management at the University of Missouri. His research and teaching focus on urban wildlife conservation and on the human dimensions of wildlife conservation.




Monday Plenary Session | Biodiverse Cities

This session offers new perspectives on the expanding role greening and biodiversity play in making our cities more livable and more sustainable.

Moderator: Melissa McHale, Associate Professor, Colorado State University


  • Yvonne Lynch, Urban Greening and Climate Resilience Strategist,
  • Stuart Mackinnon, Chair/Commissioner, Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation
  • Luis Andres Orive, Environmental Director, City of Vitoria Gasteiz

Tuesday Keynote | Erion Veliaj

Erion Veliaj, elected as the 42nd Mayor of Tirana in June 2015, aims to transform Tirana into a sustainable city built for long-term success and backed by child-friendly policies. As part of his vision of giving the city back to its citizens, Veliaj’s administration worked on the complete renovation of the city’s central square, the Skanderbeg Square, which was awarded the 2018 European Prize for Urban Public Space.

During his term in office, another major project that has been undertaken by Mayor Veliaj’s team is the Orbital Forest: a two-million tree belt that will serve as a pivotal element in addressing the environmental concerns of the city by 2030.


Tuesday Mayors Forum

Mayors shared how they incorporate parks to help address infrastructure challenges, and strategies on how to break down social and economic stratification to create more inclusive, just and democratic cities.

Moderator: Mitchell Silver, Commissioner, New York City Parks and Recreation


  • Rosalynn Bliss, Mayor, City of Grand Rapids
  • Michael Hancock, Mayor, City of Denver
  • Knox White, Mayor, City of Greenville, SC


Mayors Forum sponsored by:

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