On November 12-15, the Olmsted Network joined the American Public Health Association (APHA)— an Olmsted 200 Founding Partner— in Atlanta, GA, for their annual meeting. The conference draws thousands of public health practitioners and enthusiasts each year. 

Our program kicked off on a cold and wet Saturday morning as attendees bundled up for a walking tour of the historic Druid Hills neighborhood. The Olmsted Network and co-host Olmsted Linear Park Alliance welcomed public health workers, students and children, who were then treated to expert park insights by board members serving as tour guides. After reviewing the Olmsted plan, the group looped through Olmsted’s last suburb, stopping at important places along the route and talking about past and current advocacy efforts in the neighborhood. The tour ended in Olmsted Linear Park, where beautiful autumn colors added a special benefit.  

Just a few days later, Olmsted Network President and CEO Dede Petri participated in an early-morning session on Emerging Topics in Public Health. Petri joined representatives from a wide array of fields whose talks ranged from municipal lead pipe replacement and food marketing in Latin America to NIH climate change initiatives. Petri’s presentation focused on green gentrification and the need for communities to be intentional in park planning to minimize displacement.   

She highlighted Atlanta’s successful development of a Greenspace Advisory Council which brings together diverse groups— including the West Atlanta Watershed Alliance, ECO Action, Park Pride and Piedmont Park Conservancy— to broaden the conversation with city leaders about greenspace. This group has played a major role in supporting dedicated funding for park maintenance in the city and land acquisition for new parks.   

She also introduced the work of Spelman Professor and WAWA executive director Na’Taki Osborne Jelks in assisting people in environmentally degraded communities develop the necessary skills to speak and act for environmental stewardship. 

The Olmsted Network looks forward to continuing its partnership with organizations like APHA as we champion education, advocacy and stewardship on behalf of Olmsted parks and places.  

See the digital guide for our tour of Druid Hills here.  

More tour photos are available here.