Embrace rewilding as an inspirational approach for our cities

Since the dawn of civilisation, settlements and their growth have directly related to the natural world and its resources. Designing with nature has been well documented but despite this most cities are currently disconnected from the natural world. 

What is Rewilding?

Rewilding, a word coined by conservationist Dave Foreman in 1990, can play an important role in green infrastructure and shaping resilient cities. It can generate opportunities for our damaged ecosystems to regenerate and help combat issues such as increased risk of flooding, poor air quality and pollution. Restoring natural processes would make our cities more resilient, improving the population’s health, happiness, create natural play and learning opportunities, improve community spirit and boost local economies. Nature can be the cornerstone of healthy, sustainable communities, improving quality of life and quality of space.

Reconnecting people with nature

By embracing the ethos of ‘rewilding’ we could create dynamic, ecologically rich urban landscapes with a sense of time and seasonal change, reduced management costs and increased social equality. Reconnecting people with nature is a self-sustaining process as they become more educated, and develop a stronger connection and a sense of stewardship to the natural world around them.  

Benefits include…

These principles can only succeed if considered as a dynamic process of restoring ecosystem functionality rather than an outcome of creating a wilderness. The benefits of which include rejuvenating ecosystems’ functionality, creating greater connections between people and the natural world, and breathing new life into our cities. 

By Phil Denton, Chartered Landscape Architect, Integrated City Planning Arup London

About Phil

Phil’s work covers everything from large scale master planning of new cities and infrastructure projects to smaller scale public realm, parks and streets. He is interested particularly in the role landscape and green infrastructure can plan in restoring ecosystem functions, connecting people to nature and making cities more liveable.

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