World Urban Parks award for council Landscape Officer

Kevin Halpenny recognised with prestigious international acclaim

by Rose Barrett
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Fingal County Council’s Senior Parks and Landscape Officer, Kevin Halpenny, has received the prestigious World Urban Parks Distinguished Individual Award for his exceptional contribution to the urban parks, open space, and recreation sector.

The award was announced at the World Urban Parks recent Congress in Adelaide, Australia, and is presented to individuals who have made significant and sustained impacts in the sector.  His citation stated that he was awarded the Distinguished Individual Award for his exemplary advocacy and relentless efforts in fostering urban livability, sustainability, and community engagement through parks, open spaces, and related initiatives.

Over the past 30 years, Mr Halpenny worked on many major projects for Fingal County Council including the renovation of Bremore Castle in Balbriggan and the Shackleton Gardens in Clonsilla. He is currently working on several major projects including the redevelopment of Ward River Valley Park in Swords and the construction of Ballymastone Recreational Hub in Donabate.

He commented: “I am truly honoured to receive the Distinguished Individual Award 2023 from World Urban Parks.  I believe this award directly reflects the collective commitment and support of FCC for the planning, development and management of high quality public open space and outdoor amenities in Fingal.” 

The citation noted: “His work embodies a dedication to advancing the parks, open space, and recreation industry while championing the principles of urban biodiversity and the utilization of Ecosystem Services and Nature-Based Solutions in addressing the challenges of burgeoning urbanization.

“A staunch advocate for public health and wellbeing, Kevin believes that parks and urban green infrastructure are fundamental to community wellness. His approach emphasizes evidence-based practices in planning, management, and health promotion, ensuring the development of strategies that positively impact historic landscape restoration, biodiversity action plans, transportation infrastructure, and the creation of new parks, sports facilities, and urban green spaces.”

bremore castle

Mayor of Fingal, Cllr Adrian Henchy, said: “This is a tremendous and well-deserved honour for Kevin who has been instrumental in overseeing the development of our parks, open spaces and recreational facilities. It really puts into perspective what he has achieved in Fingal when that work is recognized with such a prestigious global award.”

FCC Chief Executive, AnnMarie Farrelly, said: “Kevin Halpenny has been with Fingal County Council from the very beginning and his imprint is all over the county in the many projects he has led over the past 30 years. He has always been focused on delivering top quality projects, so this award is a well-deserved recognition for that commitment to best practice at a world-class standard.”

The Chief Executive of World Urban Parks, Luis Romahn, said: “Kevin Halpenny’s visionary leadership has led to the introduction of innovative initiatives focusing on Green Infrastructure Planning and Management. His invaluable contributions have not only created diverse capital projects but have also laid the foundation for a more sustainable and healthier urban environment. 

World Urban Parks recognizes Kevin Halpenny’s outstanding commitment and contributions, lauding his efforts as a beacon of inspiration for professionals in the parks, open space, and recreation industry. His remarkable achievements and dedication align perfectly with the ethos of the Distinguished Individual Award, acknowledging his profound impact on shaping urban landscapes for the better.“

A Landscape Architect and Environmental Engineer, Kevin Halpenny has been with Fingal County Council since its inception in 1994 and previously worked in the Parks Departments of Dublin County Council and the London Borough of Islington. He is a former past president of the Irish Landscape Institute and is Chair of World Urban Parks’ Europe Committee as well as their Climate Change and Resilience Committee.

Pictures Fingal County Council

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