ThinkFest Preview: Kathryn Ott Lovell on Parks as the Key to Philly’s Future

The Parks & Recreation Commissioner says the city can fight poverty by investing in public spaces.

Are parks the key to Philadelphia’s future?

They’ve certainly been key to its past, saysKathryn Ott Lovell, commissioner of Philadelphia Parks and Recreation. And investing in them may be one of the best ways Philly has to fight poverty.

Lovell formerly worked with the Mural Arts Program, and later served as director of the Fairmount Park Conservancy, a nonprofit group that’s focused on preserving, expanding, and improving Philadelphia’s park system. So she’s always had an eye on the possibilities of public space.

At ThinkFest 2016, Lovell will talk about reimagining the public park system. It’s more than a liability that we need to figure out how to care for, Lovell says. Parks and public spaces can also be vehicles for community and economic development. And while parks have innumerable environmental benefits, like helping manage the water supply, Lovell says it’s past time to talk about parks in a new way.

MayorJim Kenney’s Rebuild initiative, which will direct $300 million to parks, libraries and recreation centers over the course of several years, is “an incredibly bold and audacious move to claim that parks can be a vehicle against poverty,” Lovell says.

Join us on November 15th at the Convention Center for this one-day event where Philly’s smartest people share their biggest ideas.Check out the full lineup of speakers and get your tickets today.