St. James Park

London was, along with other English cities, one of the cradles of the Industrial Revolution. And thanks to it, there was a rapid population growth that made it at that time the largest city in the world.

The main cause of this growth was the rural exodus of the population coming from the countryside to work in the new London factories. In addition, the rural populations near London were turning into small working-class towns that grew without any planning and in which a large part of the population lived crammed in unsanitary conditions.

In this way, unions were emerging for defend workers' rights and that led, among other things, to the creation of the Garden City Association, to improve the quality of life in residential areas. Here arose the idea of the Garden City, from the urban planner Ebenezer Howard, which consisted in that cities did not grow in height and that they had green areas to improve the health of the population, based on an urbanism of single-family houses with gardens.

Garden city projects spread throughout Britain and later around the world, as did the industrial revolution. The first to be built were Letchworth in 1903 and Welwyn Garden City in 1919, both close to London.

One of the best valued characteristics of London is its enormous extension of green areas and the use that its population gives it. Several of the great parks that the city has today come from royalty, since they were the great extensions of gardens and hunting grounds that belonged to the British Crown. There are eight urban parks that are known as Royal Parks of London, or nine if we add the Brompton cemetery.
The largest of all and perhaps the best known for being the great lung in the center of the capital, is Hyde Park, which has an area of 142 hectares. Inside the park, it doesn't give the feeling of being in a big city surrounded by buildings, because you can't see any of them.

Hyde Park and the other royal parks, in addition to being areas of nature where one can walk and rest surrounded by flora, fauna and lakes, are also centers for social gatherings at events and outdoor concerts.

But in addition to the royal parks, the English capital has another 3,000 parks, 144 nature reserves and 30,000 urban gardens spread throughout the metropolitan area. In 2014, the British geographer Daniel Raven Ellison created a website to geolocate all the green spaces in London and claim them in the neighborhoods so that the entire population could know and enjoy them.

The initiative was so successful that in 2018 the mayor of the city, Sadiq Khan, announced his project to create the world's first Urban National Park in London, based on Daniel's idea. And the National Park City Foundation was created, with the idea of continuing to disseminate the experience to other cities. It has already attracted interest in Newcastle, Glasgow, Toronto and Adelaide.

The project consists of improving existing green areas in the city and expanding them in those neighborhoods that need them, in order to establish green corridors that connect them through routes throughout the city. And also connect them to the so-called Green Belt of Greater London, located on the outskirts of the city between the municipalities that make up the metropolitan area. 

London was chosen in 2020 as the best city in the world to live in, according to the North American consulting firm Resonance. For having excellent data on various factors such as economic prosperity, cultural offer, security, quality of life or infrastructure.

The metropolitan area of London and the nearby municipalities that make it up, exceed 17 million inhabitants. Of which almost 9 million (according to 2019 data), live in the capital along more than 1,500 square kilometers of surface.

Zoning continues to be one of the main characteristics of the urban geography of the capital. This characteristic is very easy to appreciate in the districts that form it, since they are very different from each other, and some are very famous for their particularity also outside of it. Here are some of them:

Business districts: The best known is that of The City, where the main office skyscrapers and streets where executives walk at a brisk pace all day long.

Trading districts: such as Covent Garden, where the famous Picadilly Circus square, the center of the city, is located. This district is full of shops, restaurants, hotels, and theaters. And the famous London taxis and buses circulate around it at all hours.

Or also Mayflair, where you will find the most luxurious stores such as jewelers and high-end car dealerships.

Cultural & administrative districts: the district of Westminster. Where the most emblematic monuments are: Big Ben, the Abbey and the Palace of Westminster or Buckingham Palace.

Turist & leisure distritcts: Without a doubt the district of Soho, where the famous London Chinatown or the charismatic Candem is located, already a little further away but full of restaurants and souvenir shops.

Then there are the most numerous districts, the residential ones, as Chelsea, Kensington or Notting Hill, which stand out for their typology of single-family or low-rise buildings and of course, with landscaped areas.

Finally, the management of its mobility with respect to the environment also stands out. The use of vehicles is restricted in central areas and a special rate is charged to those that are more polluting.