A National Urban Park can be founded in a town or a city that holds cultural and natural landscape, historical characteristics and townscape as well as recreational and biodiversity values extensive enough within its urban environment. The objective is to maintain and develope these values.
Primarily the areas included are either government, country or public community owned existing areas. A National Urban Park can only be established with the Ministry of Environments approval of the municipalities own petition.
After establishment a utilization and management plan is drawn up. The plan is ratified by the Ministry of the Environment and gives management regulations to ensure the preservation of the values. All the definitions specified in the plan must be applied to town planning and other designing or decision making having effect on the area.
Legislation on land use and building
The establishment of a national urban park became possible in Finland in the beginning of the year 2000 as the concept was defined by the legislation on land use and building that defines the kind of areas that can be included in a national urban park.
The Ministry of Environment has set criteria for the establishment of a national urban park. Applying these uniform criteria ensures high national quality of the parks. In addition each new park is regarded for its own unique values and identity.
Network of National Urban Parks
The world’s first National Urban Park was founded in Stockholm, Sweden, in 1995. Hämeenlinna was the runner-up and after Hämeenlinna seven other parks have been established in Finland: Pori (2002), Heinola (2002), Hanko (2008), Porvoo (2010), Turku (2013), Kotka (2014) and Forssa (2015). Many other Finnish towns and cities are currently looking into opportunities to set up urban parks of their own.