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The Greater London National Park* Opens

Be a Founder of the World’s First National Park City

Text from official press release.

Last month geographer and National Geographic Emerging Explorer Daniel Raven-Ellison launched a website for the Greater London National Park* celebrating the importance and diversity of London’s urban habitat.

Raven-Ellison is calling for the public to back the idea.

“There is this idea that a National Park has to be remote and rural, but cities are incredibly important habitats too. An amazing 13,000 species of wildlife can be found in London’s open spaces which together make up 60% of the Greater London National Park*. In London we have peregrine falcons, 13 species of amphibian and reptile, pigeons, over 8 million people and countless dogs and cats too. The Greater London National Park* celebrates all life.”

National Parks are currently funded by central government to conserve and enhance natural beauty, wildlife and their cultural heritage; and promote opportunities for the understanding and enjoyment of the special qualities of National Parks by the public. These objectives could be applied to a city like London as well the countryside.

[CLICK MAP TO ENLARGE] NG Emerging Explorer Daniel Raven-Ellison launches a new project to change the way people view cities and the wildlife within them. Map courtesy GLNP

Raven-Ellison makes clear that he is not proposing any changes to planning policy in the capital, or that the Greater London National Park* would have the planning powers that so many residents in current National Parks dislike.

“I am proposing a new kind of National Park – a National Park City that would aim to conserve and promote London’s awesome ability to be dynamic, innovate and evolve. The Park’s role would be to inform and inspire best practice, while helping to better co-ordinate and promote London’s biodiversity and recreational opportunities, especially those in outer London.”

Raven-Ellison believes the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, holds the keys to making the Park* a reality.

“The Mayor of London has already replied to our petition and “commends the campaign organisers for their inventiveness” and says the “idea of a ‘National Park’ is an engaging way of sparking debate” but that “he does not have powers to ‘create’ a new class of urban National Park”.”

“While there are legal definitions and set criteria for rural National Parks, a National Park City is something very different. Our Mayor does have the power to make this happen, we just need to persuade him.”

Raven-Ellison argues that the park would create a new way to see and think about London.

“How would being a National Park change the way we live, work and play in the city? How would we educate children, design buildings, plan health services or create new leisure activities differently if we started thinking of London as a National Park City?”

“A National Park City truly would be a people’s park, a “park” by the people for the people.. and all of the plants, animals and fungi. By taking a moment to show your support this idea could become a reality.”

Raven-Ellison is asking the public to support his idea by adding their name to www.greaterlondonnationalpark.org.uk (GLNP).

*Officially just a Notional Park.

This post was updated on 5/21/14.