The Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has announced his plans to host London’s first National Park City Festival.
The week-long National Park City Festival – planned for 20–28 July 2019 – will celebrate London’s green spaces, wildlife, rooftops and waterways.
The free festival – arranged with partners such as The National Park City Foundation and the National Theatre – aims to help Londoners get in touch with their outdoor spaces and discover new environmental, cultural, sporting and community activities.
The festival will take place just a few weeks after Khan is set to host London Climate Action Week, which will highlight London’s climate expertise, services and action between 1-8 July.
Khan said: ‘I’m doing everything in my power to make London one of the greenest, most sustainable, zero-carbon cities in the world. Our National Park City Festival is a fantastic way for Londoners of all ages to explore outdoor green spaces.
‘This initiative aims to make us really value our environment and I’m committed to protecting and improving our green spaces, wildlife and waterways to ensure generations of Londoners benefit from them. There is something for everyone in this great week of free celebrations.’
The National Park City Festival’s opening weekend will feature a free cultural programme organised by the National Theatre on its outdoor River Stage at the Southbank.
The National Park City Stage will showcase a mixture of dance, theatre and music for all ages, celebrating London’s green and wild elements.
A partnership with the architecture education organisation Open City will make many of London’s rooftop gardens and natural spaces free to access throughout the week, while London will also host its first multi-site outdoor swimming and paddle sports event.
Director of Open City, Rory Olcayto, said: ‘Open City is delighted to be partnering with the Mayor of London on a rooftops programme during the National Park City Festival.
‘It will make the best – and often-hidden – rooftops open to all – allowing the public to connect with nature in a unique way and showcase the vital role our rooftops play in providing London with green infrastructure.’
The National Park City Festival follows London’s biggest ever tree-planting weekend last December, which saw 15,000 Londoners planted around 80,000 trees around the city.
Khan has stated his plans to transform over half of London into green space and increase the city’s tree canopy cover by 10% by 2050.
Khan has also updated the London Plan – the capital’s spatial development strategy – to protect the city’s green belt and seek the ‘greening’ of new developments.