Environmental management of urban parks: the case of the Gunnar Vingren Ecological Park in Belem, Para state, Brazil

This paper addresses the factors that facilitate and hamper the implementation of urban parks. It discusses the advantages and difficulties inherent to the implementation of urban parks, taking into account the multiple interests involving social actors. The present study analyzes the case of the Gunnar Vingren Ecological Park in Belem, Para state, Brazil, and focuses on the concepts of participation, urban governance and environmental management. It uses the stakeholder theory to identify social actors and understand their behavior in the implementation process of the park. Methodologically, the research was based on qualitative approach and used direct observation and semi-structured interviews for data collection. It shows the importance of urban social movements to preserve the green areas of the city and improve urban life quality. It indicates that the environmental management of urban parks depends fundamentally on the spatial planning of their inner areas and surroundings. It shows that, in areas with disordered territory, there is high possibility of pressure on the park and depredation of its natural resources. The study also shows that urban management patterns influence the level of participation of social actors in the management committees of parks. Empirically, this paper shows a great progress in the institutional capacity for the management of the Gunnar Vingren Park; however, paradoxically, the municipal government organizational capacity is limited to manage the whole system. The most significant challenge in managing urban parks is to develop a participatory governance alliance between stakeholders.