‘Rewild my street’: a model for biodiverse, community-led urban redevelopment

Moxon, Sian (2018) ‘Rewild my street’: a model for biodiverse, community-led urban redevelopment. In: Generosity, 27-29 June 2018, Cardiff, UK.


Nature is generous to us, providing valuable ecosystem services, and enhancing our health and wellbeing. Humans are not so generous to nature, being responsible for environmental problems, including alarming losses of biodiversity, through unsustainable consumption of resources. This paper argues for a more symbiotic relationship between humans and nature, applying the rewilding ethos to cities, where it could significantly benefit both wildlife and people.

London, which will become a National Park City in 2019 by committing to increase greenspace and biodiversity, provides an ideal test bed for ideas to achieve urban rewilding. Private gardens, which make up 24% of the capital and connect other habitats, are crucial to this agenda – yet the capital loses 2.5 Hype Parks of greenspace each year as residents pave over soft landscaping. To reverse this trend and realise the full environmental potential of cities such as London, a new model for implementing policy and empowering communities is needed, as current initiatives prioritise new buildings and public greenspace.

Solutions need to come from generous designers willing to help local communities effect change themselves. ‘Rewild My Street’ is a design-led research project that aims to instigate this in London and provide a model for other cities. Through architectural drawings, a spatial manifesto and guidance collated in an open-access, web-based resource, it demonstrates how a typical existing residential street could be adapted to improve biodiversity. The resource seeks to engage residents to transform their homes, gardens and streets - through simple actions that have a cumulative effect. The project embodies generosity by gifting a sustainable legacy to future generations and other species; offering delight through contact with nature; sharing architectural knowledge with the public; and enabling community participation in change. The paper urges architects to offer their skills to set up similar projects for public benefit.

Generosity_fulldraft_peer_review_RewildMyStreet.pdf - Accepted Version

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