The UK capital is the the first city to sign on to a new drive to convince cities and their residents to be greener, healthier, and wilder.
On Monday London will be officially confirmed as the world’s first National Park City. Saturday kicks off a free, eight-day festival celebrating the city’s outdoor spaces. Along with the Mayor of London, organisations and individuals will sign a London National Park City Charter demonstrating their support for making the city greener, healthier, and wilder.
Newcastle upon Tyne will also be launching its campaign for that city to become the United Kingdom’s next National Park City. Glasgow, Scotland has already started its campaign.
The National Park City Foundation (NPCF), in partnership with World Urban Parks and Salzburg Global Seminar, created the first International Charter for National Park Cities (NPC). While London is the first, NPCF is aiming to name at least 25 National Park Cities by 2025 and is already in discussion with other UK and world cities to help them gain NPC status.
The NPC idea is all about making cities greener, healthier, and wilder, says Daniel Raven-Ellison, a geographer and National Geographic explorer who originated the concept six years ago.
“What an amazing moment for London. Celebrating, honouring and recognising the biodiversity and greenness of this great city,” said Jayne Miller, Chair of World Urban Parks. It’s a challenge to cities around the world to venerate, protect, and increase the green spaces, Miller said in a statement.
“We’re pretty excited about the NPC concept at the IUCN,” says Russell Galt, Director of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Urban Alliance. “I was confused at first about it. IUCN has no category for it,” says Galt in an interview.