Wild ways: a scoping review to understand urban-rewilding behaviour in relation to adaptations to private gardens

Moxon, Sian, Webb, Justin, Semertzi, Alexandros and Samangooei, Mina (2023) Wild ways: a scoping review to understand urban-rewilding behaviour in relation to adaptations to private gardens. Cities and Health, 7 (5). pp. 888-904. ISSN 2374-8834


Urbanisation is increasing, while global biodiversity is decreasing. Through ‘urban rewilding’ cities could help tackle this biodiversity crisis, while exploiting the benefits of urban nature for residents. Private residential gardens, which have potential to support significant biodiversity, should be a primary focus. Yet their proportion of vegetated space is decreasing through changes made by residents, negatively impacting biodiversity. Small adaptations to private gardens can turn them into wildlife habitat, but understanding residents’ behaviour is critical to developing intervention strategies for this. This paper presents a scoping review of existing literature on understanding intent-orientated, pro-environmental behaviours with a focus on rewilding in urban gardens. The literature is mapped to assess the state of knowledge; it is then coded, using the ‘COM-B’ model of behaviour, to identify the capability, opportunity and motivation factors forming barriers and facilitators to residents engaging in rewilding activity in their gardens. The results show that all COM-B factors need to be considered to understand urban rewilding behaviour, but that opportunity and motivation factors have more influence, particularly reflective motivation. They indicate that facilitators are more significant than barriers and highlight an important body of work that has implications for practice and policy aimed at influencing urban rewilding.

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