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London is the world’s first National Park City, but what exactly does this mean?

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Hollie Richardson
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London National Park City

Sadiq Khan has signed a new charter that aims to create a greener, healthier and wilder London.

It’s often easy to moan about living in London. Rents are at an all-time high, along with air pollution and loneliness rates. And you don’t need us to tell you how much the morning Tube commute can put a downer on the rest of your day. But it’s also a city that embraces diversity, offers plenty of green spaces and is alive with events and exhibitions - which is why we love it. 

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Londoners had something to celebrate on Monday (22 July) as the UK’s capital has officially been named the world’s first National Park City. The news came as part of Mayor of London Sadiq Khan’s National Park City Festival, which runs 20 – 28 July. It’s part of an initiative to help make the city greener, healthier and wilder. But what exactly does beinng a National Park City mean?

The National Park City Foundation has partnered up with World Urban Parks and Salzburg Global Seminar to create the first International Charter for National Park Cities. London is the first city to sign the charter, with Newcastle and Glasgow set to follow suit. In fact, the NPCF is aiming to name at least 25 National Park Cities by 2025. 

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London might not seem the likeliest candidate to be named the world’s first National Park City – the Greater London area is a cramped home to 14,550 residents per square mile, after all. But the city is also a home to plenty of wildlife, including hundreds of bird species (such as the beloved Parakeet), foxes, deer, badgers and more.

There are also an estimated eight million trees in London, covering around 21% of the city’s area, which is around one tree for every person who lives here. 

Parakeets in London: the first National Park cCty
London is the first National Park City: the Parakeet is an exciting sight in the city’s green parks.

Roughly 47% of Greater London is green, and 33% of London is a natural habitat within open space. Over 2% of Greater London’s area is blue space, such as rivers, canals and reservoirs.

Also, let’s not forget how popular it is to grow plants and herbs in our (very small) gardens and on our balconies. Thanks to the mental health benefits that come with gardening, a third of millennials are now growing their own food at home. This means that it’s easier than ever to help make the city a greener and happier space. 

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Hollie Richardson

Hollie is a digital writer at Stylist.co.uk, mainly covering the daily news on women’s issues, politics, celebrities and entertainment. She also keeps an ear out for the best podcast episodes to share with readers. Oh, and don’t even get her started on Outlander…