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National Park City Foundation - Black Lives Matter

Our work as a social and health movement is about improving urban city life for everyone.

The evidence is that urban decay and poor city environments blight lives, and that disadvantaged people are affected the most, for example by breathing polluted air, poor access to quality green space, and often lacking the choices, means, support and resources to improve their lives.

The National Park City Foundation stands against racism and supports Black Lives Matter.

Our origins are in London, the world’s most racially diverse city, where we celebrate difference and diversity at our events, and where our network draws together people from very different backgrounds and experiences who make up the social fabric of the city, and work to make their city greener, healthier and wilder.

In our work with other cities, we will draw on our experience and learn more about how to uphold and advance our values of inclusion and equality.

As a relatively young organisation and as the National Park City movement, living up to those values also means checking how these are working in practice and seeking ideas and feedback to adjust and improve.

We recognise that systemic, structural change is also needed, and we will support work to expedite that. We also know that slavery is not a thing of the past and that people are being exploited to this day.

Our anti-racism commitments are:

  • We will always stand alongside people who are subjected to racism and racial injustices, and will seek justice;
  • We will not tolerate racist language and behaviour and we will challenge racism wherever and whenever we encounter it;
  • We will review and report on how our work, policies and practices meet the needs and rights of Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) people, and how and where we should improve, including by learning from others;
  • We will seek to ensure that BAME people are fairly represented and involved with our work;
  • We will proactively support BAME people and projects in making their environments healthier, greener and wilder, and will invite external challenge to inform how we can champion this;
  • We will work with and support our networks and contacts to help them do the same whether in the UK, Europe or worldwide; and,
  • We will support calls for increased, targeted and specific funding for BAME organisations and for organisations working for racial justice and race equity.

16 June 2020

Press Releases

22 July 2020 - 100-strong People’s Assembly and plans for 25 National Park Cities by 2025 to mark 1st anniversary of London National Park City

One year on from London becoming the world’s first National Park City on 22 July 2019 [1] we are forming a London National Park City Assembly.

To inspire and attract applicants we’re showcasing 100 Voices over three nights, sharing people’s tales of how they’re making our capital better for all. The online presentations will run from 6pm to 8pm, Tuesday 21 to Thursday 23 July. [2] The first anniversary also includes plans to have 25 National Park Cities by 2025 [3].

Since July 2019, allowing for the coronavirus lockdown, London National Park City has:

  • Recruited a unique first tranche of 54 urban Rangers to act in their local area and across London and to celebrate the capital’s outdoors for nature, recreation, learning and skills [4]

  • Secured support from the main candidates vying to be the next Mayor of London [5]

  • Launched with others The Prize to Transform the Future, to reimagine and visualise the future of the London City Region [6]

Chair of London National Park City, Paul de Zylva, said:

“To mark London National Park City’s first birthday, we’re inviting Londoners to form a People’s Assembly that reflects London’s diversity. We’re kicking this off with 100 Voices - three-days of speedy talks by Londoners who’ll share how they’re making the capital greener, healthier and wilder. We’re also confirming our aim to have 25 UK and International cities joining the National Park City family by 2025."

“Being a National Park City is about making urban life better for people and nature including making our open spaces and places more appealing and accessible for everyone and celebrating London’s great outdoors. We all value Big Ben and Buckingham Palace. What if our public spaces were as iconic?”

“Recent surveys [7] show a huge demand for a more compassionate and caring world after coronavirus. The desire to connect with nature and embrace the outdoors has never been higher. A huge vote of confidence for making life better.”

ENDS

Notes to Editors

[1] London National Park City (LNPC) is a place, a vision and a movement to improve life in London by making London greener, healthier and wilder. www.nationalparkcity.london/ The National Park City Foundation (NPCF) is the charity behind London National Park City. www.nationalparkcity.org/

We want to get more people out and about for much more of their time, and to shape a new identity for London and Londoners reflecting the capital’s natural assets and how they underpin the culture and heritage of the city and the health of its people.

A six year grassroots campaign led to London becoming the world’s first National Park City at a City Hall Summit on 22 July 2019. https://www.nationalparkcity.london/launch

London National Park City is backed by businesses and a majority of political leaders across parties including London councillors and London Assembly Members. Lead candidates in both the 2016 and the postponed 2020 London Mayoral elections have supported London National Park City.

[2] The London National Park City People’s Assembly reflecting London’s demography will advise and guide on activities to improve life in London by making it greener, healthier and wilder. The 100 Voices online events on 21, 22 and 23 July will showcase people who are or who want to do this more. Londoners can join 100 Voices online to be get ideas, contacts and inspiration https://www.nationalparkcity.london/100voices

[3] 25 National Park Cities by 2025 is the plan to help other UK and world cities gain National Park City status. https://www.nationalparkcity.org/national-park-cities An international charter for National Park Cities, devised and consulted on by National Park City Foundation, World Urban Parks and Salzburg Global Seminar was launched on 21 July 2019 https://npc-universal-charter.netlify.app/

[4] London National Park City Rangers https://www.nationalparkcity.london/rangers

[5] London Mayoral commitments and 99 #WhatIf ideas for making London greener, healthier and wilder https://www.nationalparkcity.london/ideas

[6] The Prize to Transform the Future to reimagine and visualise the future of the London City Region https://www.prizetotransformthefuture.org/

[7] A BritainThinks survey found 88% of people do not want to go back to how things were before coronavirus [https://britainthinks.com/news/britainthinks-coronavirus-diaries]. A similar survey by YouGov found only 9% wanted to return to normal [https://ffcc.co.uk/library/yougov-covid-19-polling].

18 - 20 October 2019 - National Park City Foundation spreads the word at international parks conference

David Cope, Trustee of the National Park City Foundation appeared as an invited guest at the World Urban Parks 2019 Congress in the Russian city of Kazan earlier this month. This annual conference brings together parks professionals, planners, urbanists and city authorities from around the world to learn from each other on how to create the best parks and green spaces for urban residents everywhere. The theme of the conference was ‘development for sustainability and health’.

David appeared on a panel of experts from Canada, Belgium and Russia, who were invited to discuss how parks can help shape the identity of a city and become part of the city’s brand. His talk focused on London, as the world’s first National Park City, explaining how the National Park City status brings a common identity to London’s 3,000 parks, 850km of streams and rivers, 1,000km of signed footpaths and nearly 150 designated nature reserves.

David said "When you realise that there are almost as many trees in London as there are people and that we share our city with 14,000 other species, you start to realise that the city we call home is actually full of nature. By valuing that natural resource on our doorsteps, by noticing it, naming it and appreciating it, we hope that all London’s citizens and visitors will start to see London as a green city as well as an economic and cultural city.

“We believe that this works best at a landscape scale, so green spaces and our interaction with them doesn’t just happen in parks and spaces zoned for greenery and nature, but everywhere in our cities, accessible to everyone. We believe that we will achieve our goals with thousands of small actions, actions delivered by city and borough government, as well as actions delivered by individuals citizens and businesses, community groups and institutions.”

The National Park City Foundation has joined forces with World Urban Parks and the Salzberg Global Seminar with a shared aim of seeing 25 National Park CIties around the world by 2025 (25*2025). At the conference in Kazan, this aim was promoted extensively to the international delegates, with many expressing interest in how their cities could start on the journey to becoming a National Park City. The National Park City Foundation, alongside our partners, launched our Universal Charter for National Park Cities in July 2019, and is currently exploring more ways to support cities as they go on this journey.

Kanzan Kanzan

21 September 2019 - National Park City Foundation response to Glover Report

In May 2018, the then Environment Secretary Michael Gove committed to conserve and enhance England’s most cherished landscapes and launched a review into the nation’s National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONBs).

That long awaited report by writer and Government Advisor Julian Glover has now been published. It praises the work of England’s 44 “national landscapes”, including the Lake District and Dartmoor, but calls for a new focus to stop declines in nature and welcome working-class and black and minority ethnic visitors. Reacting to the headlines of the report, Chair of the National Park City Foundation, Paul de Zylva says:

"More than ever, Britain needs its National Parks and the Glover Review offers them a new lease of life as accessible treasures for people to boost their health, recreation and contact with nature.

The renewal of National Parks fits with our work to make cities healthier, wilder and greener and to cross the false divide between town and country by better connecting people from urban areas to National Parks.”

A full statement will be made available after the full details of the report have been fully considered and its implications fully explored.

ENDS

References

  1. Landscapes review: National Parks and AONBs- Review to consider the next steps for National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONBs) in England
  2. Independent review calls for radical plan for England’s National Parks. Major review calls for biggest shakeup of the running of England’s National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty since they were founded 70 years ago.

Contact: hello@nationalparkcity.org

Notes to editors

  1. London National Park City’s aims include working with Londoners to:
  • Connect more people to nature and the outdoors, improving their health, wellbeing and social cohesion;
  • Create more high quality green and blue space and better places in London, delivering improvements for wildlife, people’s enjoyment and an attractive and sustainable environment for living and working in;
  • Promote the identity of London as the world’s first National Park City, helping residents and visitors to appreciate the potential for a rich cultural life anchored in its outdoor heritage;
  • Link people to the national and international family of national parks and other protected areas.
  1. London National Park City does not have any planning powers. It adds value by creating an unprecedented opportunity to make London not just a political, financial and cultural centre, but an ecological centre too.

  2. The National Park City Foundation is the charity created to help make the London National Park City a success. It is doing this by amplifying, catalysing and spreading best practice, joining-up initiatives, increasing investment into National Park City related activities and galvanising Londoners to take actions improving city life.

  3. Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, made London National Park City a centre-piece of his plans for London; for example, citing National Park City aims in his draft Environment Strategy and his draft London Plan - the Capital’s planning masterplan. This includes a shared aim to make half of London green by 2050.

20 July 2019 - Charter for National Park Cities gathers international support

A Universal Charter for National Park Cities, the first of its kind to address the growing role of cities as habitats shaping life on earth, is launched on Sunday 21 July 2019, by the National Park City Foundation, World Urban Parks and Salzburg Global Seminar.

Organisations and individuals are invited to sign and support the first Universal Charter for National Park Cities which is already supported by experts and change-makers from over 20 countries, including the UK, Australia, India, Uganda, Honduras, Canada, South Africa, Albania and the USA.

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Selected publications

Here are some selected publications and broadcasts on National Park Cities.

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Some of the organisations we're working with...