National Park City Foundation
1757. Daniel Raven-Ellison
Daniel Raven-Ellison, from London, launched the 'National City Parks Foundation' in 2013, and successfully led the grassroots campaign which resulted in London being named the world's first 'National Park City' in July 2019.
A former geography teacher, Daniel’s campaigning started from the idea that London is arguably the most biologically diverse region of the UK, and its urban wildlife should be equally valued as rural – it is home to 14,000 species of wildlife, 3.8 million gardens and 3,000 parks. The campaign involved a range of innovative projects, like creating guerrilla signs for footpaths, brown signs for entry paths into the city to help unlock people’s imagination around how an urban area could be a National Park, and walking 600km across London with artists, activists, politicians and other members of the public. The foundation is now supporting people in other cities in the UK and around the world to achieve the status for their own cities. There are campaigns and efforts for new National Park Cities in Southampton, Bristol, Cardiff, Newcastle and Glasgow and internationally in Adelaide, Australia.
During lockdown Daniel also founded ‘Slow Ways’, an initiative to create a national network of walking routes connecting all of Great Britain’s towns and cities as well as thousands of villages.
In a personal letter to Daniel, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said:
“You have made an extraordinary contribution to conservation in London through the ‘National Park City Foundation’. Our great capital is home to 14,000 species of wildlife and 3,000 parks and your work ensures that these wild places will be protected for generations to come.
“The government is committed to protecting the UK’s beautiful natural environment, promoting biodiversity and tackling climate change. Thank you for all that you are doing to meet this goal as well.”
In response to receiving the award, Daniel said:
“I’m absolutely delighted that the National Park City Movement has been honoured by the Prime Minister through this award. Taking inspiration from our family of national parks, National Park Cities are all about making where we live greener, healthier and wilder as well as getting outside to enjoy ourselves more. I hope this positive recognition will inspire even more people to get involved and maybe encourage the Prime Minister to make 10 Downing Street, his bit of London National Park City, even wilder.”
Pictured below: Aerial images of London – Photo Credit: Luke Massey / London National Park City