London has the greatest collection of urban parks in the world. They are the city's 'lungs', a place of tranquility in an increasingly frenetic metropolis and a haven for all sorts of wildlife.
But from the arrival of new plant diseases to the sheer weight of visitors (77 million a year, and growing), these superb open spaces face many challenges, as Loyd Grossman CBE, first Chairman of the Royal Parks will explain in this year's Banister Fletcher lecture on 17 October.
The eight Royal Parks stretching from Bushy in the West to Greenwich in the East are amongst London's greatest and most distinctive assets and now under the management of an independent charity on behalf of the nation.
In a society which fetishises selfishness and disdains the communal, the defence of the public realm is more important than ever. Loyd will explain the value the Parks give to the capital, the challenges they face, how different users' needs are balanced, and how these historic spaces can continue to be a resource for Londoners in the future.
The Banister Fletcher lecture is free to members of the London Society, and £14 for non-members. Tickets are available here.
Loyd Grossman CBE, is the first Chairman of The Royal Parks. He is also a patron of the Association for Heritage Interpretation and Heritage Open Days, President of the National Association of Decorative and Fine Arts Societies (NADFAS) and Chairman of the Heritage Alliance.