31 May 2019 – London set to be the world’s first National Park City

London National Park City logo

On Monday 22 July, London will become the world’s first National Park City. [1]

London’s new status will be confirmed at the London National Park City Summit hosted at City Hall by the National Park City Foundation and Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan. [2]

The summit will be attended by guests from across London and from representatives from other cities around the UK and the world looking to follow London’s lead as a National Park City.

The Foundation will also launch a Universal Charter for National Park Cities on Sunday 21 July, the day before the London launch, with simultaneous events on other continents. [3]

Both events take place during the week-long National Park City Festival, from 20-28 July, organised by the Mayor of London in partnership with the National Park City Foundation. The Festival will feature hundreds of free, fun events in celebration of London’s green spaces, wildlife habitats, green rooftops and waterways. [4]

Leading up to July’s launch events, a free ‘Maker’ guide will also hit the streets in June to show how people, communities, business and others can be involved in making London National Park City come alive. The ‘Maker’ guide will be handed out at events, to influencers and in businesses and community centres. [5]

London National Park City Founder, Dan Raven-Ellison, said:

“The London National Park City is an incredible opportunity to be inspired and help make London greener, healthier and wilder. It’s partially about celebrating everything that we’ve achieved in London to make our city so green and diverse and it’s a challenge to make life better in the future too.

“I came up with the idea of cities becoming National Park Cities six years ago after asking myself if cities could be better for people and nature if they applied the kind of principles we usually associate with rural National Parks. I think they definitely can.

“London becoming the world’s first National Park City is just the start. The London Summit, the free Festival and our ‘Maker’ newspaper will help everyone see how they can be part of making London come alive as a National Park City. Everyone can benefit and everyone can contribute.” [6]

Paul de Zylva, Chair of the National Park City Foundation, said:

“We aim for at least 25 National Park Cities around the world by 2025. We start with London but are already having great conversations with other cities in the UK and across Europe, Asia, Australasia and north America about them joining.

“Most of the world’s population now living in cities so it really matters how cities are planned and how they function to improve people’s health and play their part in bringing nature back and keeping our climate safe.”

Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London, said:

“Our National Park City Festival shows just how important it is to protect our environment, including our wildlife, and reconnects Londoners with the outdoors with lots of free events for everyone to enjoy across London’s beautiful green spaces, rooftops and waterways.

“After recent UN reports revealed that nature and biodiversity is being lost at an unprecedented rate, I am committed to helping make London the world’s first National Park City and protecting our green and blue spaces and wildlife.”

Jayne Miller, Chair of World Urban Park (WUP) and President and CEO of Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy, said:

“London, the First National Park City! What an amazing moment for London – celebrating, honoring and recognising the biodiversity and greenness of this great city. The lifeblood of a city is its people and their connection to the place we inhabit, our great earth and all of its natural riches. London is challenging cities around the world to celebrate, protect and increase the green spaces in our cities. Let’s all get out and enjoy the great outdoors!”



Dan Raven Ellison – dan.ravenellison@nationalparkcity.org
Paul de Zylva – paul.dezylva@nationalparkcity.org

Notes to Editors

[1] London National Park City (LNPC) is a place, a vision and a movement to improve life in London by making London greener, healthier and wilder. www.nationalparkcity.london/

The National Park City Foundation (NPCF) is the charity behind LNPC. www.nationalparkcity.org/

We want to get more people out more of the time and to shape a new identity for London and Londoners reflecting the capital’s natural assets and how they underpin the culture and heritage of the city and the health of its people.

The grassroots movement to make London a National Park City started in 2014 and is now backed by communities, businesses and civic leaders across parties.

A majority of London’s local ward councillors back it as do most London Assembly Members. Lead candidates in the 2016 Mayoral elections gave their backing and, as Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has been acting on his manifesto, gearing policies and actions accordingly to reflect LNPC aims.

For more on the launch see: https://nationalparkcity.london/launch

For more on the brand see: https://nationalparkcity.london/brand

[2] At the Summit, the National Park City Foundation will launch the London National Park City Charter.

Organisations across London will be invited to sign the London Charter as part of their active contribution to making London National Park City aims a reality.

[3] The NPCF has also consulted on an international charter for National Park Cities worldwide and this will be launched on Monday 21 July with international delegates in attendance. The Foundation has an aim for at least 25 National Park Cities by 2025.

[4]  The week of free events for the National Park City Festival (20-28 July) aims to help all Londoners discover London’s great outdoors, improving health, wellbeing and social cohesion. www.london.gov.uk/national-park-city

Some highlights of the Festival include:

  • National Park City Stage. A spectacular free cultural programme in partnership with the National Theatre, on their outdoor River Stage. Performances will celebrate everything green and wild about the city. Highlights include a live theatre performance of family favourite, The Gruffalo, a Pedal Powered Party with live DJs Supa Dupa Fly and Night Czar, Amy Lamé, and a walkabout show of costumes made out of real living plants and grass by artist Ashley Peevor.
  • National Park City Rooftops. Free access to some of London’s most dynamic and beautiful rooftop gardens and natural spaces, in partnership with Open House. Locations are confirmed to include Crossrail Place in Canary Wharf, Barbican Conservatory and Ham Yard Hotel in Soho.
  • National Park City Splash. A multi-site outdoor swimming and paddle sports event for all abilities. Activities include stand up paddle boarding, kayaking, rowing and open water swimming.
  • National Park City Wildlife. A photography competition and exhibition in partnership with London Wildlife Trust and the Museum of London. Judges include adventurer Bear Grylls, the Urban Birder, David Lindo, and the multi-award-winning wildlife photographer, Sam Hobson.
  • National Park City Forest. An ever-changing musical installation in partnership with Waltham Forest, London Borough of Culture. Audiences will hear the audio from a network of speakers hidden throughout the forest.

[5] Anyone can get involved with London National Park City and celebrate the launch including by:

  • Coming to the first National Park City Festival between 20-28 July
  • Organising a mini opening ceremony on their balcony, in their garden, on their street, at school or at work, opening a mini nature reserve in your garden or taking a walk somewhere new.
  • Giving a plant to someone (or lots of people) and sharing it using #GiveAPlant.
  • Coming to the National Park City Talks on 29 June, where speakers from across London will explore “what if?” questions that challenge us to think differently about life in London in the future.
  • Exploring ways to ‘Make Life Better in Londonhttps://makelifebetter.nationalparkcity.london/

People and organisations can share London National Park City related photos, news, events and support using the hashtag #NationalParkCity

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