What if your city were a National Park City…

Earlier this year, London officially became the world’s first National Park City. A campaign is underway for Glasgow to join the National Park City movement and there is growing interest around the world in making our cities greener, wilder and healthier. This month, The Nature of Cities global roundtable asked the question: ‘What if your city were a National Park City, analogous to what London created? What it would be like? What would it take to accomplish?’ They invited 21 people from around the world to respond. You can read all the contributions online and here’s the response from Julie Procter, Chief Executive of greenspace scotland:

When Scotland becomes a nation of National Park Cities…

Our parks and public greenspaces will no longer be caged like animals in a zoo. Green fingers, fronds and tendrils will reach out across the city, as street trees, rain gardens, green roofs and walls colonise our streets and neighbourhoods.

Children will no longer be imprisoned in classrooms and nurseries. Every day they will enjoy and be inspired by learning and playing outdoors and experiencing nature at first hand.

Local food growing will break free from the shackles of allotments and soon we will be sowing and growing everywhere—from pop-up gardens at the bus stop and vertical growing up the office wall, to edible playground planters and tasty community street orchards.

Commuters will be liberated from the cars as walking, cycling and active green travel is now the easiest way to get around the city.

Escaping from the car we will connect again at a human scale—noticing the flowers blooming, the wind blowing through the leaves, the sweet sound of birdsong and breathing clean air.

Communities will no longer be entangled in red tape when they want to take action to make their homes, streets, and neighbourhoods cleaner, greener, and healthier or simply enjoy a community event in their local park.

Once again, we will enjoy the sight and sound of children playing outside…and make time to stop and chat with neighbours and friends.

All of this adds up to a greener, healthier, happier city where people, places and nature are better connected, where communities thrive and we all enjoy longer lives, better lived.

Realising the ambition of a National Park City is as much about changing mindsets as it is about changing the fabric and the infrastructure of the city

In Scotland, we already have a strong and supportive policy framework where national outcomes are aligned to the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Our national outcomes include: people value, enjoy, protect and enhance their environment; people live in communities that are inclusive, empowered, resilient and safe; people are active and healthy.

Research already provides a strong and growing evidence base on the multiple benefits of green and blue space for our health, communities, economy and environment.

We now need the ambition, imagination and confidence to think and do things differently, to break out of traditional sector and organisational silos, to work in ways which are collaborative and empowering. We need to be bold and ambitious about how we want to live our lives and shape our cities.

Then we can realise a Scotland that is a nation of National Park Cities, where our green and blue spaces are our natural health service, our children’s outdoor classrooms and our cities’ green lungs.

Read all the contributions online

About The Nature of Cities

The Nature of Cities (TNOC) is an idea hive which curates conversations about urbanism and facilitates the sharing of diverse, transformative ideas about cities as ecosystems of people, nature, and infrastructure. This international platform for transdisciplinary dialogue and urban solutions is committed to the design and creation of better cities for all: cities that are resilient, sustainable, liveable and just.