MOOC Urban rewilding: restore your local ecosystem

Would you like to see your neighbourhood become more liveable and sustainable? To alleviate city-specific challenges – from urban heat islands to mental health issues – we need to first change our minds. From wanting to control nature to leveraging its power, we need to allow nature to do what it does best: grow. Join Wageningen University & Research and rewild your city. With gardens, parks and ponds, with indigenous plants and animals, we will see both ecosystems and our living environment restored. Enroll now.

Organised by Wageningen University & Research
Duration 4 weeks, 3-5 hours per week

Why follow this course?

Conflict between nature and humans

By 2050, over two-thirds of the world’s population of 10 billion people will be living in cities. This logically leads to increasing competition for natural resources between people and nature. People and businesses struggle to meet their need for space. At the same time, the loss of nature within urban areas leads to a whole host of issues, from heat islands and flooding to air pollution and rising ghg emmisions. This relationship is extremely close, yet, people still tend analyse these issues separately.

Not only do biodiverse and connected greenery and water bodies play a vital role in increasing a city’s climate resilience. Nature is conditional for creating a healthy living environment for its inhabitants. Because when people reconnect to nature, more than a frivolous enjoyment, their physical and mental health improve.

What is urban rewilding?

Rewilding is a form of restoration ecology, but not all restoration ecology is rewilding. Though ecology-led, rewilding takes on a multidisciplinary systems level approach to ecosystem structure, function and processes. By prioritizing nature protection and restoration, it creates conditions for complex and self-regulating ecosystems. As such, urban rewilding aims to alleviate disturbances in nature in developed urban areas.

In our triumph to dominate the world, we forgot just how much we depend on it.

Improve your surroundings by reintroducing nature

When individual citizens and urban communities prioritize nature-inclusive and climate-adaptive solutions in their neighbourhoods, the balance between city dwellers and nature can be restored. By trading in pavement and parking lots for green roofs, rain gardens and living walls citizens can achieve:

  • Better climate adaptation: by creating urban storm parcs cities can absorb excess precipitation during extreme weather events, while saving water for dry spells.
  • Alleviation of urban heat islands: a decrease of up to 1°C daytime temperature can limit excess deaths associated with heatwaves.
  • (Re)generation of urban biodiversity: by choosing the right tree to plant, complete miniature ecosystems can be created, because compared to exotics plants and trees, indigenous vegetation fosters tenfold amounts of biodiversity.

In this course, you will become familiar with various theories and nature-based solutions related to rewilding your surroundings. You will explore examples around you and sort out the role you can play in the process of urban rewilding. Along the way you can start creating your own personal project.

This MOOC was created in close collaboration with the Rewilding Academy.

Is this course for you?

Whether you are a city resident interested in making your city more resilient and liveable or otherwise interested in a citizen’s perspective on sustainable cities, this course is for you. Learn why nature is important for cities as well as city dwellers from a comprehensive, multidisciplinary approach. Join Wageningen University & Research and create the circumstances for effective urban rewilding near you!

What you will learn

  • Key concepts and different definitions of rewilding
  • Explain environmental challenges that modern day urban areas are faced with
  • Explain how nature has a positive effect on the health of humans
  • Integrate the concept of rewilding in an urban context
  • Compare urban rewilding with Nature Based Solutions
  • Identify challenges for urban rewilding
  • Acquire inspiration on how rewilding can be applied on different settings: big nature reserves; cities; and personal setting
  • How to plan your own project
  • Reflect on the concept of rewilding in your own environment