THE JOURNEY BOOK

Becoming a National Park City is a journey and our ‘journey book will tell you much of what you need to know.

There are 10 steps that we recommend you take. Each recommendation is based on our experience of making London the world’s first National Park City, as well as collaborating with National Park City thinkers, influencers and leaders from around the world.

Following these steps and adapting them to your local situation, hopes and needs will help you get ready to submit an application to officially join the National Park City Family, and for your city to become an established National Park City.

This journey book is a living document. As we learn, we’ll update it with examples, stories and evidence from friends and colleagues in emerging and established National Park Cities.

Following the successful launch of the Universal Charter for National Park Cities and London as the world’s first National Park City in 2019, and Adelaide in 2021, we are delighted to share our guidance on joining the National Park City Family.

The National Park City Journey Book sets out:

  • 10 steps and 23 criteria for making your city a National Park City
  • how to develop a creative “application portfolio” of evidence for the public and our assessors
  • benefits of joining the National Park City Family

The first version of the National Park City Journey Book has been written in collaboration with our partners World Urban Parks and Salzburg Global Seminar with help from colleagues around the world.

The 10 Steps to becoming a National Park City

1. DO SOME RESEARCH

Take some time to find out more about the National Park City movement. It’s important that you have a good understanding of our shared aims and values.

Start by reading our Universal Charter for National Park Cities. The Universal Charter for National Park Cities sets out a unifying ambition and shared set of goals for the National Park Cities movement. The document was co-created by people from over 50 countries during a year-long process and will continue to evolve in the future. It’s at the heart of our movement.

2. REGISTER YOUR CAMPAIGN

So, you’ve decided you want to join the National Park City Family. You won’t be alone. We’re here to support you and there’s a community of people working together with the same ambition in other urban areas who want to collaborate with you too. First, you’ll need to register your campaign.

See how Adelaide have done this as part of their campaign here.

3. EXPLORE THE POTENTIAL

Next, it’s time to start work on recruiting support to grow your community, taking action and collecting the evidence you’ll need for your portfolio and application.

This is the beginning of a rewarding and ongoing journey that will become part of your urban area’s future. Even when your National Park City is established, your exploration and understanding will evolve, develop and deepen.

4. START TO CREATE YOUR CITY’S STORY

Creating and sharing stories is an important part of any successful National Park City.

5. DRAFT PROPOSALS & YOUR NATIONAL PARK CITY CHARTER

To gain support for your National Park City, from the public, organisations, politicians and any relevant authorities, you’ll need to put together some proposals. Writing proposals is a good way to help you formulate your ideas and collaborate with others. They’re an opportunity to share, consult on, test and improve your thinking.

6. MAKE YOUR CASE, GROW YOUR COMMUNITY AND SECURE SUPPORT

To secure all the support you need to become
a National Park City, you’ll need to have a clear and compelling case – and be ready to communicate it. Your case will be closely linked to the things you’ve considered in points one to five, including your story, proposal and Charter.

7. DEVELOP YOUR CAPACITY

You’ll need to decide how you want to lead your National Park City. This might be by setting up an organisation, committee or network, or using another approach. Whatever you choose, you’ll need to have the right mix of potential, energy, capacity, capability and resources to deliver on your proposal and carry out your plans. Long-term commitment is essential.

8. SUBMIT YOUR PORTFOLIO

For your urban area to become a member of the National Park City Family or an internationally recognised National Park City, you’ll need to submit a portfolio application.

9. AGREE TO THE NATIONAL PARK CITY COMMITMENTS

All emerging and established members of the National Park City Family must agree to five commitments. These reflect our common mission and join us together as a family and a movement.

10. CONFIRM, CELEBRATE & LAUNCH

Once your application has been approved and you’ve signed the above commitments, you can make plans to confirm and celebrate your status and launch as a National Park City or National Park City Family member. As well as marking your launch, you might decide to celebrate a “National Park City” day, month or season every year.

Ready to Apply

The journey to becoming a National Park City may take you many months or even years. But when your ready to submit your application you can do so here.

There is currently no cost for being a member of the National Park City Family.

We currently charge a fee for the application process to cover our costs. This includes the desk and peer review and the peer visit, as well as administration costs. Travel expenses make up a big part of this, so the final fee will depend on where your city is.

If necessary, the National Park City Foundation will work with you to secure funding to cover costs.

Ready to register your campaign or apply? Click here.

Want to give us feedback on the Journey Book and how we can improve it? We’ve provided a feedback form here.

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Follow along on the journey as dozens of cities become National Park Cities.