The National Park City Foundation (NPCF) has named London, England the world’s first National Park City. NPCF is working with World Urban Parks, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), and the Salzburg Global Seminar on an initiative which aims to name at least 25 National Park Cities by 2025. The initiative has been designed to help improve life in cities by working with residents, visitors, and partners to make the city greener, healthier, and wilder.
According to mapping company Esri, Greater London’s public green space covers 16.8% of the city, with an estimated eight million trees. Nearly 15,000 species of wildlife also live in the city. London’s mayor Sadiq Khan has set a goal of turning London 50% green by 2050, including private areas such as residential gardens.
“By continuing to invest in our environment and work with boroughs and communities, we can improve the health and well being of everyone living in London,” said Khan.
The city is celebrating its new status with a week-long National Park City Festival of more than 300 events being run by organizations, community groups, and businesses across the capital. A crowdfunded National Park City ‘Maker’ newspaper is also being distributed showing how people, communities, businesses, and others can be involved.
Daniel Raven-Ellison, who started the campaign to make London a National Park City six years ago, said, “London becoming a National Park City is something for us all to be proud of. Inspired by the aims and values of our precious rural national parks, the London National Park City is fundamentally about making life better in the capital through both small everyday things and long-term strategic thinking.”