London Metropolitan University

Collaborating to rewild London’s gardens

Greenery is declining in urban gardens, reducing biodiversity. The Wild Ways project is working to reverse the trend and rewild London by returning land to its natural state. The project is a collaboration between sociologist Dr Justin Webb and architect Siân Moxon from London Metropolitan University. They aim to find out what motivates people to rewild their gardens. 

Domestic gardens cover one-quarter of London and small changes can create vital wildlife habitat. We’re passionate about projects that encourage Londoners to invest in the environment and are supporting London Metropolitan University with a grant of £58,232 to ensure that the Wild Ways project can be completed.

  • 79% of Londoners have access to a private or shared garden.
  • London loses the equivalent of 5 Hyde Parks of greenspace every year through residents removing vegetation from their gardens.
  • London Metropolitan University has reduced its carbon footprint by 80% since 2005/6, topping all UK universities in the 2021 People and Planet league table. 

Ambitious research

Behaviour change for urban rewilding is under-researched. By combining design with behavioural science the project will gather important new insights. More than 16,000 members of the public will take part in research that Wild Ways will then use to shape a strategy to promote urban-rewilding.

Wild Ways will benefit conservation organisations, policymakers, academics, students and ultimately Londoners, by influencing policy and raising awareness of the importance of biodiversity in urban areas.

“The Wild Ways study will provide new insights for influencing ‘urban-rewilding’ behaviour, helping campaigns such as Rewild My Street persuade more urban residents to transform their outdoor spaces for wildlife. The research findings will offer lessons for cities worldwide, helping to address the ecological crisis by empowering residents to shape sustainable, biodiverse cities.”

Siân Moxon, Senior Lecturer at London Metropolitan University and Environment Lead at London Met Lab

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