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Seattle 2003

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The National Association for Olmsted Parks and the Friends of Seattle's Olmsted Parks, together with local and national partners, are presenting the NAOP National Conference: Seattle 2003 with the theme "Our Olmsted Legacy: Learning from the Past, Inspiring the Future", April 30 through May 4, 2003 in Seattle, Washington. National and local experts will explore recent activities in historic landscapes and examine possibilities to extend the Olmsted concepts and philosophy to new opportunities.

At the turn of the last century, Seattle recognized the need to preserve and protect its spectacular natural landscape while providing open space and healthy recreational opportunities for its rapidly growing population. The Olmsted Brothers proposed a comprehensive citywide system of parks and boulevards that today is one of the most fully-realized systems of Olmsted planned landscapes in the country. The Olmsted plan looked forward 100 years to provide open space for a city of 500,000 people. Seattle has now reached that mark. Today's challenge is not only to protect and preserve our century-old legacy for future generations to enjoy but also to carry the Olmsted vision into the next 100 years of landscape design and planning in order to ensure the preservation of parks and open space in the 21st century.

We invite you to join us in Seattle for the NAOP National Conference as part of Seattle's Olmsted Centennial celebration to explore exciting projects in Seattle, the Pacific Northwest and across the country that provide examples for landscape preservation and urban open space planning for the future.

Portland Olmsted Symposium, April 28th - 30th:
The Role of Parks and Greenspaces in Building Sustainable Communities
The city of Portland, Oregon is also celebrating the centennial of the Olmsted Brothers' design of their city park system with a symposium immediately preceding the Seattle conference. Please visit the Portland Symposium website for more information about Portland lectures and tours.
Attendees must register separately for each conference. Discounted train tickets will be available for travel between Portland and Seattle.
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Conference Themes

The Seattle 2003 conference will explore ways of preserving and enhancing our landscape heritage and examine methods of extending the Olmsted vision of a comprehensive system of parks and boulevards into contemporary urban planning. We will draw on local and national experts to address issues ranging from honoring and preserving historic park legacies to contemporary challenges facing our urban parks and communities.

Track A: Honoring our Olmsted Legacy
Preservation of our Olmsted legacy is a challenge when designing in a historic landscape is combined with the ecological, aesthetic and financial concerns facing designers, administrators and community activists working in urban parks today. National experts and local professionals will address such issues as historic documentation of Olmsted park landscapes and environmentally sound and historically respectful design practice. Case studies selected from local and national examples of design projects within Olmsted landscapes will be combined with tours of completed projects and works in progress throughout Seattle.

Track B: Extending the Vision
Since the beginning of the Olmsted park plan 100 years ago, Seattle has continued to acquire and develop parks and open spaces originally recommended by the Olmsted plan. Additionally, Seattle has extended the vision of the Olmsted plan by finding and developing parks and open spaces in unlikely places. Local and national experts will present examples of the conversion of old railroads, former military sites, brownfields, and freeways to green spaces in the Puget Sound region and elsewhere in the country, as well as the unique programs developed to generate community and financial support for open space.

Track C: Responding to Contemporary Issues- Economy, Environment and Social Justice
The role of urban parks and greenspaces in today's society is similar to that of 100 years ago: ideally, parks provide a healthy place for community members from diverse backgrounds to gather and celebrate, play and relax. Lectures, workshops and tours will focus on the importance of fulfilling these roles while dealing with contemporary environmental, societal and financial pressures.