It’s an idea that got London’s nature lovers salivating. How could London, one of the world’s busiest hubs, become a National Park City—and what does that mean?

On July 22nd 2019, London became the world’s first National Park City. This article was originally published in October 2017.

In February 2018, London came another step closer to declaring itself the world’s first National Park City by securing the support of not just the Mayor of London, but also the majority of representatives elected by Londoners. But is it truly possible to transform a city into a national park? What does this mean exactly? And how might Londoners, visitors, and the city’s green spaces benefit from it?

“Let’s think of London not just as a political, cultural and financial center, but as an ecological center too,” says Daniel Raven-Ellison, campaigner, geographer and the official Chief Exploration Officer for the London National Park City Foundation, a new charity launched in October 2017.

This initiative even has the formal backing of London’s mayor Sadiq Khan. So determined is the mayor to make London the most diverse, green, and inspiring urban eco-system in the world that he has set aside £9 million ($12 million) for a ‘Greener City Fund.’ The creation of the foundation adds ballast to the organizers’ glorious target—the launch of the park in 2019.