London Met rewilding project wins MIT prize

The project provides a vision of the role London can play as a model for cities worldwide in resetting our relationship with nature.

Date: 05 May 2021

London Met’s Sian Moxon has been announced as a winner of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Post-Covid-19 City Challenge, for her project, Rewild My Street.

Her work will focus on developing further 'vision' drawings of a ‘rewilded’ London, which will show how a variety of typical urban spaces can be transformed for wildlife.

She said, "It is fantastic to have international recognition of the role London can play as a model for cities worldwide in resetting our relationship with nature. Imagine we take this opportunity to reshape our cities post-pandemic to tackle the climate and ecological emergency, and create liveable places that facilitate the homeworking, sustainable travel and connection with nature we have rediscovered in lockdown.

"Rewild My Street’s new drawings will help people visualise how key urban spaces could be transformed, ensuring this ideal is captured and implemented, and that we actively design our ‘new normal’ to benefit people and the planet."

Her submission is one of three selected to win a Post-Covid-19 City Direct-Action Fellowship, which offers $1000 to support the creation and making of the project.

The Post-COVID-19 City challenge was a multidisciplinary call to action that challenged urbanists, innovators, entrepreneurs, artists, researchers, scientists, and various other types of urban practitioners and planners from around the world to reset our thinking on how sustainable, resilient, liveable and just cities can be built for urban futures that nurture human-nature relationships. The challenge forms part of MIT’s Center for Collective Intelligence research initiative.

M’Lisa Colbert, Co-Director of The Nature of Cities and one of the challenge judges, said, “It was inspiring to see so much diversity in the responses we received. From around the world, people were really concerned with almost every aspect of the modern city – whether it be re-designing an urban block or re-thinking how better to connect as citizens in society in terms of crisis in a city, it was inspiring to see how nature became a central part to each of these diverse solutions.”

Fellow judge Bob Hendrikx, Founder of  Loop Biotech, said, “While we live in a world in which a dead tree has more value than a living tree, this challenge brought light into the darkness. With many applications from various cultural backgrounds it shows there is optimism for a better balance between humanity and its environment. This makes me hopeful.”