Through the process of rewilding, cities can improve both human and environmental health.
The idea of grizzly bears prowling sidewalks in Chicago may not appeal to the average citizen (or indeed the animals themselves). However, recent years have seen numerous projects seeking to use aspects of rewilding to help nature claw back some of the urban environment.
The concept of rewilding emerged in the early ’90s, and has since led to the reintroduction of gray wolves to Yellowstone National Park and wood bison to the boreal forests of Alaska. The original idea, according to conservation organization The Rewilding Institute, was to reintroduce “apex predators and highly interactive species” to large wilderness areas to restore natural ecosystem balances. The benefits of reintroducing these keystone species include stabilizing populations of other species and reducing overgrazing of native vegetation.
But of course our cities were once wilderness too.
In the U.K., conservation charity Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust is hoping to make Nottingham the country’s first “rewilded city,” starting by transforming what was a massive concrete shopping mall built in the 1960s, Broadmarsh, into a haven for wildlife.
“There’s a lot of talk about sustainable cities—clean energy, carbon reduction, sustainable transport,” says Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust’s Broadmarsh campaign leader Erin McDaid, “but the missing link in these plans is green space itself. To have proper green recovery you have to have restoration of the natural environment.”
The Champs-Élysées committee has been campaigning for a major redesign of the avenue and its surroundings since 2018.
“The legendary avenue has lost its splendour during the last 30 years. It has been progressively abandoned by Parisians and has been hit by several successive crises: the gilets jaunes, strikes, health and economic,” the committee said in a statement welcoming Hidalgo’s announcement.
“It’s often called the world’s most beautiful avenue, but those of us who work here every day are not at all sure about that,” Jean-Noël Reinhardt, the committee president said in 2019.
“The Champs-Élysées has more and more visitors and big-name businesses battle to be on it, but to French people it’s looking worn out.”
The committee held a public consultation over what should be done with the avenue. The plans include reducing space for vehicles by half, turning roads into pedestrian and green areas, and creating tunnels of trees to improve air quality.
Read the article by Kim Willsher at The Guardian:
Dallas, Texas is about to become one of the greenest cities in America – by building one of the country’s largest urban nature parks. Dallas’ new “Nature District” will comprise a staggering 10,000 acres, including 7,000 acres of the Great Trinity Forest. The Trinity River Park designed by Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates could revitalize a Dallas floodplain into a lush green recreation space.
The Trinity River Park will provide visitors with access to playgrounds, lawns, and riverside trails. The design aims to enhance the natural beauty of the area while minimizing flooding damage in Dallas. Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates said they worked with government engineers to ensure the infrastructural soundness of the floodplain so that the park transforms flooding “from a natural disaster into a breathtaking spectacle.”…
Read the rest of the article by Lacy Cooke in Inhabitat.