London National Park City
National Park City Festival
A National Park City is an idea and a movement which encourages everyone to do their bit to improve quality of life in London by making the city greener, as expressed in the London National Park City Charter. Here are some ways you can get involved:
London as a National Park City
A London National Park City aims to encourage more people to enjoy the great outdoors and to support all Londoners, and the city’s businesses and institutions, in making the city greener, healthier and wilder.
More than half of the world’s population now live in cities and the trend towards more urban-living is growing; London is set to be home to over 11 million people by 2050. Cities have to adapt if we want liveable neighbourhoods in the future that respond to the challenges of climate change, help to conserve biodiversity and provide people with healthy, active lifestyles. A study has shown the capital avoids £950 million per year in health costs due to the benefits Londoners gain from using green spaces.
As a National Park City, London will be:
- a city which is greener in the long-term than it is today and where people and nature are better connected
- a city which protects the core network of parks and green spaces and where buildings and public spaces aren’t defined only by stone, brick, concrete, glass and steel
- a city that is rich with wildlife where every child benefits from exploring, playing and learning outdoors
- a city where all can enjoy high-quality green spaces, clean air, clean waterways and where more people choose to walk and cycle
The Mayor's role
The Mayor has an important role to play:
- The London Environment Strategy sets out how a National Park City will protect and improve London’s green infrastructure and natural capital, alongside other vitally important environmental objectives such as improving air quality and becoming a zero carbon city.
- The London Plan includes policies on protecting the Green Belt, parks and natural habitats, and greening buildings and the public realm so that development contributes to an environmental net gain.
- The Mayor’s Transport Strategy shows how investing in cycling and walking infrastructure and promoting Healthy Streets also contributes to London being a National Park City.
The Mayor’s ambition is to make more than half of the capital green and increase tree canopy cover by 10 per cent by 2050. City Hall has already funded the planting of 250,000 new trees and 250 green space improvements over the past three years. As well as increasing the quality and quantity of green cover in the capital, and enhancing habitats for wildlife, fresh ideas like green roofs and green walls will also help London’s fight against climate change.
National Park City Festival 2019
The National Park City Festival took place over nine days from 20 to 28 July 2019. It was London’s largest free celebration of the city’s great outdoors and celebrated London becoming the world’s first National Park City, encouraging Londoners to discover the capital’s green and blue spaces; improving health, wellbeing and social cohesion.
The Festival consisted of 317 free events, which spanned all London boroughs, and attracted tens of thousands of Londoners. A range of free activities were available, from paddle boarding and kayaking on the city’s waterways to pedal powered music performances and wildlife photography exhibitions. There were also free plant giveaways and activities for Londoners to get involved in greening their neighbourhoods. 70 grants were awarded to community organisations to host their own festival events.
City Hall organised a programme of flagship events:
- National Park City Stage. For the opening weekend of the festival, we held a spectacular free cultural programme in partnership with the National Theatre, on their outdoor River Stage, celebrating everything green and wild about the city.
- National Park City Rooftops. In partnership with Open House London, we offered free access to some of London’s beautiful rooftop gardens.
- National Park City Forest. In collaboration with Waltham Forest London Borough of Culture 2019, we produced a unique audio installation in Epping Forest. Living Symphonies portrayed the thriving activity of the forest’s wildlife, plants and atmospheric conditions, creating an ever-changing symphony in the forest.
- National Park City Wildlife. A photography competition and exhibition in partnership with the London Wildlife Trust.
- National Park City Splash. London’s first multi-site outdoor swimming and paddle sports event. All abilities were welcome to try their hand at stand up paddle boarding and open water swimming, canoeing and kayaking.
150 organisations put on events as part of the National Park City Festival 2019, supported by hundreds of volunteers. We'd like to thank everyone involved for their commitment and hard work; the Festival wouldn't have happened without you. We'd particularly like to extend our thanks to the Festival Advisory Group organisations:
- Julie’s Bicycle
- Canal and River Trust
- London Parks and Gardens Trust
- London Sport
- London Wildlife Trust
- National Park City Foundation
- National Theatre
- National Trust
- Open City
If you have any questions or suggestions for future programmes, please contact [email protected].