It may not have escaped your notice that in July London announced that it was official - it was a National Park City. With partners including the Mayor of London signing the London National Park City - committing themselves to a Greener, Healthier and Wilder city.
So it seemed fitting that in Glasgow we've also stepped up our discussions and activities, signing the new National Park City Foundation Charter - a shared vision for all cities looking to become a National Park City. We followed this up with a wonderful event last weekend. Joined by a range of interested people and representatives of Community groups we set out to walk across the city and explore three themes: Why? Why Not? and perhaps most importantly... What if...
We were delighted to be joined by a range of community group representatives and members of the public and huge thanks in particular to Fans of Barrowlands Park and Friends of the River Kelvin who hosted the start and end of our East to West wander across the City.
Why? Why make Glasgow a National Park City?
We discussed the aims of our traditional National Parks - to conserve natural and cultural heritage, to support sustainable development and resource use and to promote understanding and enjoyment...
Using these principles could unite the great work already happening across Glasgow, amplify the efforts of so many communities and organisations and link them together into an inspiring message. In turn that could encourages people to see the cultural and natural heritage we have in abundance in Glasgow and ensure the opportunities to reap the social and health benefits of that heritage are open and accessible to all.
Our walk across the city picked out just a handful of the reasons Glasgow could make a wonderful National Park City - the cultural connections of Barrowlands Park, the historic Glasgow Green, the glorious Clyde running through the city, the beautiful Kelvingrove Park and perhaps over all of that the wonderful sense of shared energy typified by our warm welcome at Friends of the River Kelvin for much needed coffee and cake as the drizzle set in!
We know Glasgow has over 90 Parks and Greenspaces. 58% of our urban area is greenspace, 40% public greenspace. We are the most ethnically diversity City in Scotland with a strong cultural and natural heritage. Could Glasgow be a National Park City? Why ever not?
Being a National Park City is not only about celebrating what we have or resting on our laurels. It is also an opportunity - an opportunity to see the City differently, and work together to improve, develop and enhance the city itself, and the opportunities available to people.
We talked about the scope to connect more kids to nature, and even ideas of how to deal with the challenges of a city chopped in two by the motorway - animated discussion explored transformation of the underpasses, new cycle and walkways and vertical green walls for the buildings... what do you reckon Scottish Power?
It was a great day - ended in perfect style with tea and cake, some live music and even some moss grafitti... of which more to follow!
We'd love this to be the beginning of more events, ongoing discussions and ideas and the chance to meet many more people interested in the idea of a National Park City. So do get in touch via the website or join the conversation at @GlasgowNPC #NationalParkCity.