Rewild My Street provides design-led guidance for people wishing to adapt their homes, gardens and streets to encourage wildlife. Inspiring images show how to integrate wildlife features into a typical urban setting. Links to stylish products and step-by-step activities show how to achieve this, while species and habitat information highlight the value of making these changes.
Rewild My Street seeks to reverse the trend of city streets going grey. It started in London, where 2.5 Hyde parks of green space are lost each year through changes to private gardens. The project is a National Park City Maker, supporting the Mayor of London and National Park City Foundation in making the capital the world's first National Park City to become a better place for people and wildlife.
Rewild My Street is a design-research project based at London Metropolitan University's Cities research group and Centre for Urban and Built Ecologies. The project enables practice-based action research, exploring urban rewilding as a means to address biodiversity and greenspace decline, while promoting sustainable redevelopment of cities. The project has generated academic papers on themes including city representation, generosity in architectural practice, the benefits of living with nature, perceptions of wildness and environmental behaviour change.
Founder Siân Moxon advocates a new definition of 'urban rewilding' to avoid misunderstanding and communicate its full potential: 'urban rewilding = increasing green and blue space in towns and cities to enhance biodiversity, and create an urban ecosystem for climate-change resilience and human wellbeing'.
Take a typical urban residential street. Adapt its terraces, gardens and streetscape to transform it into a haven for wildlife. The street will come back to life: the bees will be buzzing, the birds will be singing, the frogs will be hopping and the owls will be hooting. The changing seasons and the pattern of day and night will be seen from every living room - while children growing up on the street will have nature on their doorsteps.
No more paved over front gardens, no more felled street trees, no more synthetic lawns. Bring back real greenery and real life. Every small change will add up to make a big difference.
Just add wildflower meadows, patio ponds, bird boxes and feeders, and insect hotels. Puncture the fences to link up back gardens, forming mammal corridors. And watch the wildlife return in droves.
While addressing the alarming decline in biodiversity, the newly green streets will improve air quality, and lessen urban overheating and flood risk associated with climate change. Londoners will benefit from improved health and wellbeing through better access to nature.
Gardens cover a quarter of many cities and existing buildings will remain with us for years to come. For a lasting legacy, we must enable these spaces to accommodate nature, turning whole cities into urban national parks to make future generations proud. Rewild My Street will do exactly this.