London Launched as the World’s First National Park City

Events across the British capital encourage citizens to make it “greener, healthier and wilder.”

By Stuart Brumfitt
Published 26 Jul 2018, 14:25 BST
London National Park City
London National Park City
Photograph by Luke Massey

“It's been brilliant seeing thousands of people getting involved with the first London National Park City Week,” says Guerrilla Geographer & Creative Explorer Dan Raven-Ellison. “From paddle boarding to street art inspired by nature and night-time bat walks to Yoruba arts, groups and organisations from across the capital are putting on over 300 events. It just shows what can be achieved when we come together.”

The concept started out as a grassroots campaign with the cooperation of over 200 groups and organisations and is now part of the Mayor’s plan to help make London the world’s first National Park City in 2019. “People across London want to live in a city that is greener, healthier and wilder, and where more of us spend more time enjoying our city’s great outdoors,” adds Raven-Ellison, National Geographic Emerging Explorer 2012. “We want more bird song, more children playing in London's parks and streets, more clean air, more resilience to flood waters and high temperatures, more outdoor art, more learning about nature in schools and more hedgehogs making their way between parks, gardens and nature reserves.”

London National Park City
Photograph by Luke Massey

This week’s events are to promote next year’s creation of London as the first urban area in the world to be classed as a National Park. The aim of this week’s events is to encourage organisations and individuals to get involved by “planting, rewilding, exploring, making, playing, sharing and learning,” according to Raven-Ellison. The city’s future status is intended to inspire people “to do small things that can have a transformative impact on a personal scale, to their health and happiness, but also through a multiplier effect - at a landscape scale across the whole city.”

There are talks, walks, boat trips, bike rides and encounters with urban wildlife that will celebrate London’s unique green spaces, trees, waterways and natural environment.

London National Park City
Photograph by Luke Massey

London National Park City Week runs until 29th July 2018


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