Urban National Park, Grove Park, London, UK
A new urban national park at Grove Park, London, UK with references to the Railway Children
With more than 80% of the world’s population living in urban environments, and this number will increase over the coming years, it is vital to create urban parks as the breathing lungs of our cities. We are therefore delighted to be designing this new urban park in London. Covering up to 7% of the UK, urban areas are recognised by Natural England as a distinct habitat, and by that definition London is truly remarkable. The population of 8.3 million shares the city with 13,000 species of wildlife that inhabit the conurbation’s 3,000 parks, 30,000 allotments, two national nature reserves, 36 sites of special scientific interest and 142 local nature reserves.In time, these urban parks will create natural habitat corridors improving our mental and physical wellbeing, as well as creating green spaces for flora and fauna.
This urban park will champion urban park outcomes for city livability, place-making, conservation and access, and provide strong membership services by connecting, leveraging and supporting diverse memberships across international urban parks, open space and recreation community and allied sectors. It is to make a better world.
Working with residents, visitors and partners the aim is to:
- Allow people to enjoy the great outdoors more
- Make the city greener, healthier and wilder
- Promote London’s identity as a National Park City
The initial stage is to create a natural playground area, tree-lined avenue and woodland area, which will link up with a new contemporary bridge, to be designed by Sir Terry Farrell, linking this area with a vast space based on E. Nesbit’s Railway Children. Key features will be the Railway Children Forest Garden, willow wetlands, equestrian centre, nature reserve, meadow park, Elmstead Wood, cycle paths, lookout hides, pedestrian bridges and climbing and fitness areas.
It is recognised that large urban parks can have unique socio-cultural, environmental and economic roles and issues. Cities generally have complex systems for sanitation, utilities, land usage, housing, and transportation. The concentration of development greatly facilitates interaction between people and businesses, sometimes benefiting both parties in the process, but it also presents challenges to managing urban growth.