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Adelaide has made history as the first city in the southern hemisphere to join a global movement to improve life for people and nature in cities.

ANPC Mural at Adelaide Airport with muralist Lucinda Penn and Harry

The National Park City movement began several years ago as communities in London and across the world came together to rethink cities, their futures and how we inhabit them. Together with World Urban Parks and the Salzburg Global Seminar, the National Park City Foundation was born. London became the world’s first National Park City in 2019 and Adelaide National Park City (ANPC) status was awarded by the foundation in December 2021. This is not only a remarkable global achievement, but an ongoing commitment to prioritise nature health and connection in urban areas.

Being a National Park City is not about urbanites visiting ‘national parks’ as we know and love them! It is about us all having healthy and sustainable relationships with nature within the urban environment. This includes not only green spaces – parks, gardens, streets, green rooftops and walls, but also blue spaces – rivers, reservoirs, creeks, coasts and beaches.

A defining characteristic of ANPC is that it aims to connect everyone in our community with nature in ways and in places that work best for them. This underpins our byline: everyone, everywhere, everyday.

Dr Sheryn Pitman, Project Lead Adelaide National Park City

Adelaide National Park City Charter
The ANPC Charter is a statement outlining the common purposes of the ANPC movement and its seven priorities. More than 2,500 people and organisations signed the Charter to help make Adelaide a National Park City. Co-designed with Kaurna Miyurna, local governments and other community organisations, the Charter outlines the objectives of the movement.

Professor Chris Daniels, Chair Green Adelaide Board

ANPC is working together for better:

  • Thriving urban spaces for nature and people
  • Collective decision-making, learning and local action
  • Air, land, freshwater and marine habitats for plants and animals
  • Connections between people and nature, Kaurna Yarta (Kaurna Country) and community
  • Health and wellbeing, diversity and inclusion
  • Climate resilience
  • Shared stories and celebrations

ANPC was publicly launched in June 2022 by many organisations hosting hundreds of local community events, activities and programs engaging thousands of people. These ranged from workshops and forums, on-ground activities, exhibitions, theatre and art, to Reconciliation events with Kaurna Elders, artists and community. A real highlight was the installation of the ANPC artwork at Adelaide Airport by local muralist Lucinda Penn. Travellers are invited to enjoy this work at Gate 19 before take-off or after touch-down. Hundreds more events, including Nature Festival and Grow it Local Festival, contributed to Adelaide as a National Park City throughout the rest of the year. The diversity of events, venues and activities contributing to ANPC celebrates the underlying concept that both individual and organisational connections with the natural world are many and varied, indoors and outdoors, on-ground and online.

Because ANPC works to inspire everyone – individuals, groups, businesses and organisations – to connect with nature, the 50 Ways to be part of Adelaide National Park City provides suggestions spanning far beyond (but of course including) a walk in the park! This list is designed to be a catalyst for ideas and initiatives that everyone can create for their own lives.

ANPC establishment has been spearheaded by Green Adelaide but its future success relies on the continued commitment of all partners and the wider community working together on Kaurna Yarta.

The Green Adelaide team sincerely thanks the numerous groups, organisations, creatives, volunteers and businesses who have contributed to Adelaide being a National Park City. Special thanks to: Adelaide Airport, Botanic Gardens of South Australia, Commercial Retail Group, Kaurna Yarta Aboriginal Corporation and the members of Warpulai Kumangka (Kaurna Advisory Group to Green Adelaide), muralist Lucinda Penn, National Parks and Wildlife Service, Nature Festival SA, and the 17 local government Councils of greater Adelaide.

A Reconciliation event at Warriparinga Wetland launched ANPC month in June 2022

What’s next?
ANPC is growing, and aims to:

  • Continue to influence the world at a global scale by supporting more cities to become National Park cities
  • Continue to inspire the greater Adelaide community to enjoy nature and contribute in everyday life
  • Build further relationships with government, industry, the research sector, schools and NGOs to build community understanding and enthusiasm
  • Engage and involve diverse community leaders

The team looks forward to the many collaborative opportunities ahead to grow new partnerships and networks.

Green Adelaide’s metropolitan heat mapping will help prioritise urban greening programs for climate resilience

Green Adelaide
ANPC was spearheaded by Green Adelaide, a government-established board with a vision to create a cooler, greener, wilder and climate resilient Adelaide that celebrates our unique culture. It is Adelaide’s first, and Australia’s only, dedicated urban environmental management organisation.

Green Adelaide was established in July 2020 to counter the challenges facing metropolitan Adelaide, including climate change, increasing urban density and population growth, and loss of biodiversity and connection of people with nature. It is working towards achieving its vision by facilitating partnerships, investing in aligned initiatives, educating about nature, and delivering iconic on-ground environmental projects.

The Green Adelaide region spans 17 metropolitan council areas, stretching from the Gawler River in the north to Sellicks Beach in the south, and about a third of Gulf St Vincent.

Green Adelaide works across seven key legislated priorities, including:

  • Coastal management
  • Biodiversity-sensitive and water-sensitive urban design
  • Fauna, flora and ecosystem health in the urban environment
  • Water resources and wetlands
  • Controlling pest animals and plants
  • Green streets and flourishing parklands
  • Nature education
Rewilding the coastal dunes – ANPC ‘habitat heroes’

Each of the priorities is connected, highlighting the important relationship between land, water, sea, plants and animals, and people and culture, and this connection is represented in the artwork by local Kaurna artist Allan Sumner.

Urban and semi-urban environments can be designed and maintained to provide valuable habitats for many native species. These environments have a role to play in conserving threatened species, enhancing biodiversity and facilitating connections between people and nature. Much of Green Adelaide’s work is aligned to 4 iconic programs within its 2021-2026 Regional Landscape Plan (a plan which sets out the board’s strategic direction):

Greening streets, open spaces and backyards: helping to combat the urban heat island effect, increase habitat for native wildlife, and accelerate urban greening to help people connect with nature on their doorstep.

Rewilding urban landscapes: transforming green spaces into thriving ecosystems by restoring and protecting the biodiversity and natural processes of urbanised areas.

Making Adelaide a National Park City: increasing awareness and understanding of nature, and of the unique spaces in urban landscapes where people can connect with nature and each other.

Restoring Kaurna cultural practices: supporting the restoration of Kaurna cultural practices to bring truth telling to the forefront of environmental practices, ensuring Kaurna knowledge is central to creating a sustainable future. Warpulai Kumangka is working in partnership with Green Adelaide and others to support and restore Kaurna ways of working with the land across Kaurna Country.

Zero Waste Sustainability Dinner at Mr Nicks during launch of ANPC

Green Adelaide’s ongoing work will contribute to increasing the liveability and biodiversity of metropolitan Adelaide for future generations. Through forging strong partnerships and influencing community action, the vision of a cooler, greener, wilder and climate resilient Adelaide that celebrates our unique culture will be achieved.

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