Below is a blog written for TCV. Since moving from London to Glasgow I’ve followed the London National Park City campaign keenly and been really interested to see if there might be interest in the idea in Glasgow – so I was really pleased to help organise some events to start to find out what people think about the idea.
On 19th September, working with partners at The John Muir Trust and Glasgow and Clyde Valley Green Network Trust, TCV was delighted to host two events which encouraged attendees to Imagine a Greener Glasgow.
In the afternoon twenty partner organisations ranging from Greenspace Scotland and RSPB through to local community group Friends of the River Kelvin came together to discuss the scope for a shared, inspirational vision for the wonderful Green places of Glasgow. This was followed by a public event at the Glasgow Science Centre later that evening.
The afternoon event was facilitated by Dom Hall from TCV and we were lucky to have SNH’s new chairman Dr Mike Cantlay attending the event and providing opening and closing comments. Speakers celebrated some of the great work already happening in Scotland with rapid speed presentations from 7 Lochs Wetland Park, Glasgow City Council, SNH’s Green Infrastructure Team and Cumbernauld Living Landscape.
The main speaker at both events was Dan Raven-Ellison who for the last four years has been leading a campaign to make London a National Park City. Dan spoke inspiringly of how – just like our traditional National Parks – cities can also be great for wildlife, and great for outdoor recreation – so why not treat and view them in a similar way. London is 47% physically green, it has 13000 species of wildlife, 1000+Km of signed footpaths and 142 Local Nature Reserves – there is no doubt that similarly impressive (and surprising) figures would apply to Glasgow.
Of course National Park Cities would be something different to our traditional National Parks. They would not have the same role in planning and they would deal with a very different kind of environment. Yet they could be an exciting and inspiring way to bring together much of the great work being done for our urban green spaces, and to address some of the gaps – to change the way we view, value and think about cities, to create more opportunities for wildlife and recreation, to engage more young people and families with the nature on their doorsteps and take more pride in the wonderful green places in and around our urban lives.
So, Dan challenged attendees – if People Make Glasgow – why couldn’t people make Glasgow a National Park City?
It’s an exciting and challenging idea. What would it really mean if Glasgow became a National Park City? What are the unique green places, wildlife havens or recreational opportunities the people of Glasgow would like to celebrate? Do we need a new ‘Green Glasgow’ campaign when there is already so much good work going on? What might be some of the downsides? Would it detract from or complement other projects happening already in Glasgow?
There remain a lot of questions to answer but a few things we do know:
- Glasgow has great pride in its city
- There are a lot of people passionate about the city and its many wonderful green spaces
- All attendees agreed that there could be more coordination between all the great work going on and this would be amplified far further if we can engage a wider audience in Glasgow’s huge potential as an outstanding Green City
So let us know what you think. If you are interested to find out more follow @GlasgowNP , #WildGlasgow and #NationalParkCity on twitter and keep your eye on TCV’s social media as we plan more events soon to find out what people think of the idea.