Towards a City of Green and Blue: the Radical Transformation of London

In 2019, thanks to a five-year campaign, London is set to become a National Park City. This would afford the nation’s capital similar similar status to treasured national areas such as the Lake District, Snowdonia or the Norfolk Broads – and get London’s kids more connected to nature.

Utopian dreams of the city have often taken the form of a Grand Plan. From Ebenezer Howard’s Garden City Movement to the Liuzhou Forest City conceived by Stefano Boeri Architetti many urban planners dream of creating an Urban Eden, where high-density development co-exists with cultivated or semi-wild natural spaces (in Garden Cities each householder had a fruit tree planted in their front garden so they could  enjoy the produce).

The concept of London as the world’s first National Park City is potentially as radical as any of these ideas. It has the same visionary edge, but what sets the idea apart is its roots-up, rather than top-down, approach.

Continue reading “Towards a City of Green and Blue: the Radical Transformation of London”

Your iphone says it’s sunny, but your boots are filling with sleet…

As good as weather apps are (and they are good), they’re not infallible, especially in the UK. While they will give you a pretty accurate assessment of weather conditions, they can lull you into a false sense of security.

For the casual outdoors-goer, the birth of the weather app has been a game-changer. Having an hourly update streamed direct to your mobile phone can make you feel like you’re an omniscient weather-god: ‘Sure, it’s blowing a Force Ten Gale now, but thanks to  I can confidently predict the high winds will abate between 2.13 and 3.42 pm, giving way to a gentle breeze from the SW, light cloud, and only a 6.3% chance of precipitation. Meaning, with just a little rescheduling, we can still get our daily hour of outdoors!’

But weather apps aren’t infallible. They can’t tell you definitively what the weather will be like on the spot where you stand. Continue reading “Your iphone says it’s sunny, but your boots are filling with sleet…”

Come people … gather round the fire!

Our neighbouring borough once celebrated Bonfire night by burning to the ground a huge wooden replica of the Houses of Parliament, a spectacular gesture which was met with loud approval by everyone present. The following year, when Tower Hamlets decided the theme of the celebration should be a Bengali Folk tale, the Mail Online responded by publishing a story which described the decision as ‘Political Correctness gone mad’ (in its own way a tradition every bit as British as burning Guys). Continue reading “Come people … gather round the fire!”

Outdoor People go to festivals

Exciting news – Outdoor People has been asked to do a workshop at Somersault Festival!

So if you are going, do come say hi about 12:00 on Friday!

I’ll be doing a fun workshop around why we became indoors people and how we can break free… Discussing issues like why children don’t go out so much, what communities can do about it and giving some examples of where streets and groups have taken back control of their own spaces so kids can play out. I’m replacing the fabulous Jay Griffiths, author of Kith, so just a bit of pressure…


After that I’ll be taking a break to go to Womad with my niece and nephew, something we’ve been doing as a family for 8 years now since both of them were small. As they are now 15 and 18 I suspect it will be a bit different, but I couldn’t be happier that they both still want to keep up this tradition. A year or so ago I wrote a piece inspired by my niece about the importance of ‘laying down memories‘. That’s not something that happens when you leave them watching cartoons!

And then a couple of weeks later I’ll be off to Wilderness festival as a trustee of a The Wild Network to present a showing of Project Wild Thing.


And then on August 22-25th Outdoor People will be at Exhale Yoga Festival, where we are coordinating the play and games, providing a shop and hiring out tents and swags to sleep in! Get in touch if you’d like more information – soon to be live on this site!

Looking forward to meeting lots more Wild Things!

So you may see a couple of new faces on the stall on Broadway Market schoolyard, do drop by and say hi to them if you are in town. Especially if you need anything to make your own festival holidays comfortable and fun!


Festival fun certainly is one way to make the outdoors easy.