The Journey Book

The Journey Book

Every City can become a National Park City

Over the past 10 years we have come together as communities in London, Adelaide and across the world to activate our quest to become National Park Cities – sharing curiosity, building relationships, exploring ideas and taking action together.

Asking the simple question,“What if our city was a National Park City?” encouraged us to imagine alternative futures for our city and beyond. It also invited us to ask, and keep asking, other “What if?” questions, including:

  • What if we all had a better relationship with nature?
  • What if we all had access to high quality green space?
  • What if our streets were 10 times greener?
  • What if there was more outdoor learning in schools?
  • What if we walked more?
  • What if there was less pollution?
  • What if there were more birds in our cities?

We continue to ask “What if” today as part of our mantra and culture. At a time of health, climate, ecological and social crises, the National Park City vision provides hope, a way to act together and a positive story we can create for ourselves.

We are excited for this journey book to be shared and are delighted you are joining our National Park City journey. Just like the London and Adelaide National Park Cities, and emerging National Park Cities around the world, this journey book is a work in progress. At its heart is an important question and ambition: what if we had a strong, large, collaborative and supportive family of National Park Cities around the world?

To create this journey book, we have drawn from the rich and diverse experience of colleagues from over 50 countries. These people helped shape the Universal Charter for National Park Cities which aims to provide a common purpose and was launched in July 2019. In 2020, we tested the National Park Cities proposition, the foundation from which this map of the common journey has evolved. In this time, we have had confirmation from across the globe, through the international networks of our partners in World Urban Parks and Salzburg Global Seminar, that the National Park City is an idea whose time has come.

This journey book illustrates what makes building a National Park City unique and different in how it is conceived, explored and co-created. It’s a journey that invites us to join together to explore, eager to hear ideas and harness the diverse talents and abilities of everyone to respond to challenges. The journey to becoming a National Park City encourages us to embrace opportunities to create better cities for people and nature today and for the future. It’s a journey of hope grounded in collective action.

There is not one way to be a National Park City, but the steps outlined in this journey book provide a common path to our collective hopes for future cities.

10 steps to become a National Park City

There are 10 steps that we recommend you take on the journey to becoming a National Park City.

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 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.

10 Steps to join the National Park City family
Do some research

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.

Register your campaign

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.

Find out how to apply and register your campaign>

Explore the potential

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.

Create your city's story

4. Start To Create Your City’s Story

Creating and sharing stories is an important part of any successful National Park City. Stories have the power to shape how we think and feel.

Draft your proposal

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 proposals – a good way to help you formulate your ideas and collaborate with others – and co-create your own Charter relevant to the needs and ambitions of your city.

Make your case

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.

Develop your capacity

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. You’ll need to have the right mix of potential, energy, capacity, capability and resources to deliver on your proposal.

Submit your portfolio

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 assemble and submit a portfolio application outlining how you’ll meet the 23 assessed criteria to become a National Park City.

Agree to the committments

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.

Confirm, celebrate and launch

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.

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Find ways to get involved, volunteer some time, or come along to one of our regular events.

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