A City Learning Together: Reciprocal Collaboration of Academics and Practitioners at the Chicago Park District

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Concerns regarding professional preparation among practitioners and academics in the parks, recreation, and leisure profession demand real examples of people working together for the good of their overall community. Such reciprocal collaboration (two-way interaction from academics to practice and from practice to academics) has started to take place at the Chicago Park District(CPD) by bringing in academic professionals to implement practitioners' professional development and system-wide program evaluation. This article describes the collaborative experience occurring at the city park level and introduces added ways to “bridge the divide” between practitioners and academic professionals. We believe that a city, dedicated to learning together, can bring about promising outcomes, especially by implementing adult learning principles and practices; and by implanting academic professionals to work alongside practitioners in a long-term effort for improving the parks, recreation, and leisure services of an entire city.