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West Midlands National Park

The West Midlands National Park (WMNP) is not a traditional national park. It is a new way of thinking about landscape that is, fundamentally, an economic proposition. Its strength comes from thinking at scale and across silos, weaving together society, culture, the environment and the everyday, forgotten and hidden landscape that should be a huge source of pride for our region.   
It is a long-term spatial vision to deal with the challenges faced by the West Midlands that include the climate emergency, regeneration, environment, transport, identity, infrastructure, employment, skills, well-being, and a resilient green recovery.

The starting point of the West Midlands National Park is to see landscape as the cultural, physical expression of societies’ ideas and values that shape our identities, culture, hopes and aspirations. In recent decades this deeply nuanced understanding of landscape has been reduced to utilitarian concepts of biodiversity, public open space or a commodity to be exploited to make a profit. Given the challenges we face and in response to current crises, it’s time for a change. We need to rediscover its immense restorative capacity, its role in creating a sense of place, health and well-being, confidence, pride and its huge economic value as the infrastructure upon which we depend.

Applauded by the UK Government’s Landscape Review and endorsed by the West Midlands Combined Authority #WM2041 report, the West Midlands National Park is a means to an end, a vehicle to help drive social, economic and environmental change in the region. It is a vision of what the West Midlands can become when the significance of its landscape is properly realised and celebrated.

Based on an integrated ethos, the West Midlands National Park is about re-imagining and re-kindling the connection between communities and the spaces they inhabit, recognising the importance and value of ‘everyday’ landscapes, and achieving real transformation in quality of life and quality of the environment.

We established the West Midlands National Park Awards to highlight projects which either already align with, or are adopting, the WMNP ethos, and in doing so celebrate their part in contributing to the transformation of the landscape.

Creative mapping is helping to uncover the West Midlands’ vast and forgotten network of rivers, streams and hills