National Park City

National Geographic: London becomes world’s first ‘National Park City.’ What does that mean?


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“The National Park City idea is all about making cities greener, healthier, and wilder, says Daniel Raven-Ellison, a geographer and National Geographic explorer who originated the concept six years ago.

“What an amazing moment for London. Celebrating, honouring and recognising the biodiversity and greenness of this great city,” said Jayne Miller, Chair of World Urban Parks. It’s a challenge to cities around the world to venerate, protect, and increase the green spaces, Miller said in a statement.”

Read the full article on National Geographic.

Positive News: London, the world’s first national park city


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“As part of our United Kingdom of Solutions focus, we meet Daniel Raven-Ellison. The former geography teacher has spearheaded the movement for London to become the world’s first national park city – and it’s happening later this month.

“I feel proud, excited and most of all, really hopeful.” After six years of campaigning, Daniel Raven-Ellison has his sights firmly fixed on 22 July: the day when London will officially become the world’s first national park city. This former geography teacher – the driving force behind the movement to make the capital greener, healthier and wilder – has proved a natural at enthusing people to join his imaginative leap about how and what cities can be.”

Read the full article on Positive News.

BBC Two: Cities, Nature’s New Wild


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Cities: Nature’s New Wild is a brilliant new wildlife series from the BBC. Looking at the relationship between wildlife, people and cities around the world, the final episode finishes with Beth Collier and Wild in the City, Friend’s of the Earth’s 10xGreener project and the London National Park City.

Watch the whole episode on iPlayer here and skip to 52 minutes for “Tales from the Wild Side” that focuses on London.

Walk Magazine: Walk & Talk… Dan Raven-Ellison


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“The urban explorer and ‘guerilla geographer’ is leading the campaign to make London a national park city.

What is the London National Park City campaign?

The concept is my own ‘invention’, although it’s not a new idea. We have enclosed and protected green spaces for centuries. Urban nature conservation is in the DNA of town and city dwellers, from private gardens to sprawling nature reserves. Britain has already exported the idea of urban nature conservation around the world, so the only contribution I am making is stressing that the whole of London’s urban landscape should be part of the National Park City. That means all the parks, gardens, rivers, industrial sites – a recognition of the collective value of the whole urban landscape.”

Read the whole interview on the Ramblers website.

Lonely Planet: The world’s first ‘National Park City’ is set to be in the UK


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“London is preparing to become the world’s first ‘National Park City’, with thanks to the backing of the Mayor of London, members of the London Assembly and many of the city’s councillors.

“London becoming a National Park City is the perfect way to celebrate everything that has been done to make the capital so green and diverse. It’s also an exciting challenge to make the city even more green, wild and enjoyable,” Dan Raven-Ellison, founder of the London National Park City campaign, told Lonely Planet.”

Read the full article on Lonely Planet. 

National Geographic: One Man’s Plan to Transform a Major City Into a National Park


“What is a park? For most of us, a park is a place apart – a reserve of nature in a world increasingly dominated by human activities and arranged to fulfill human needs and desires. But a park is also for people –  a place of refuge for the human soul, which tends to wither when long separated from green and growing things.

John Muir, the great naturalist, captured this dual purpose at the dawn of the national parks movement. “Thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, over-civilized people are beginning to find out that going to the mountains is going home; that wildness is a necessity,” Muir wrote in 1901. Our concept of parks, especially in North America, Europe, and Australia, has remained largely unchanged since.

Daniel Raven-Ellison, a self-described “guerrilla geographer” and National Geographic explorer, would like to change it.”

Continue reading this article by Emma Marris on National Geographic.

Photo: Luke Massey

London’s Peaks: Wandsworth


A few weeks ago I went for a hike to Wandsworth’s highest point with Rick Pearson from London’s Peaks, a new podcast.

“The premise of the podcast is simple: each episode, one notable resident of one of the twelve inner-city boroughs will lead us on a walk to the highest point within that borough. Along the way, we’ll talk fondest memories, hopes for the future and, crucially, what that area of London means to them.”

You can listen to all the podcasts here.

London Essays: LONDON’S EMPTY CHILDHOODS


From an early age I had the freedom to go exploring. Along with my brothers and friends, I would play well-organised games of ‘hide and seek’, ‘forty-forty’ or ‘capture the flag’ over large areas of woodland. I was good at it, too. While some of my friends would hide behind a log wearing bright clothing, I would camouflage myself with soil and old branches and position myself in the one place hardly anyone looks, on a branch high up in the trees. I would imagine myself as a lynx, a shadow in the woodland’s canopy, quietly watching as people passed below without noticing me. In the heat and excitement of the games, I used these quiet moments to tune into the wild around me. I might watch a woodlouse navigate an archipelago of moss, a woodpecker feeding its young, a family of deer observing my friends trying to find me.

We should not see childhood just as a period of time; we should see it as a place

At the age of 10, we made the most incredible camps. Once, taking advantage of a fallen tree…

Continue reading on the Centre for London’s London Essays website.