Periurban Parks: nature closer than you imagine

Collserola Nature Park, aperurban Park in the doors of Barcelona Photo by Caminar BCN 12 blog (

Published on:

How would it feel to relax in nature after a long day of work? Trekking in a forest, running through a meadow, or simply wandering along a river, just nearby your town?

Periurban parks bring us these possibilities and much more: they protect us! They refresh city temperatures; absorb air pollutants and decrease traffic noise. They look after our physical and mental health. They are outdoors gym, nature-schools and a green place to meet with family and friends. In some areas, Periurban parks are also places where one can grow and buy fresh and organic vegetables!

Besides, periurban parks are essential components of Green Infrastructure – a new way to provide landscape connectivity and to preserve the territory and its ecosystem services. Periurban parks can adopt very different forms: they can be forests, rivers, green rings, agro-ecological spaces and re-naturalised landscapes. All located at the city doors! 

But life in a city can be harsh; for periurban parks as well. They receive a lot of pressure: visitors overflow, unwanted city equipment, exotic species and vandalism. These are threats that managers have to deal with, while trying to protect biodiversity.

Today, with over 80% of the European population living in urban and suburban areas, the conservation of this natural non-urbanized areas on the outskirts of cities urges to be addressed.

We are close to cities

In the tutorial We are close to cities at EUROPARC Conference 2016, we will exchange good practices, ideas, thoughts and learn from Periurban parks with a long experience in this matter!

In the tutorial we will showcase:

  • The Collserola Natural Park, a well-preserved 8,000-hectare forest located at the heart of the Barcelona metropolitan area. Protected since 1987, Collserola is a much-loved place, an immensely valuable natural area for the huge population that lives around.
  • The Parco Nord and Parco agricolo Sud Milano, the two main natural areas composing the greenbelt of Milan city. The Parco Nord is a re-naturalised greenspace, built from scratch 40 years ago. It is today’s green place for Milano citizens. The Parco agricolo Sud Milano is a vast agro-ecological space, which combines productive activity with the ever higher social demand of open space.

Further Readings

FEDENATUR –  the European Federation of Natural and Rural Metropolitan and Periurban Spaces – now forms part of the EUROPARC family!  If you want to know more about Periurban Parks, visit the website