Wild Ways is a collaboration between Siân Moxon of the School of Art, Architecture and Design and Justin Webb of the School of Social Sciences and Professions, combining design research with behaviour-change methodologies. This research area emerged from Siân’s Rewild My Street campaign to promote urban rewilding, which is funded by Kusuma Trust, London Met and MIT.
Rewild My Street is a winner of the 'Imagine London as a National Park City' and MIT Center for Collective Intelligence's 'Post COVID-19 Cities' international design-ideas competitions. It explores how a typical London residential street can be adapted to improve biodiversity, supporting the Mayor of London’s vision of the capital as a National Park City. The practice-based project uses design-research methodologies to develop and communicate visions for biodiverse cities - and incite community action to effect change.
Wild Ways aims to understand and influence urban-rewilding behaviour with a focus on adaptations to private residential gardens in London. This addresses the issue of declining vegetation in urban gardens, and its negative impact on biodiversity. Small adaptations to private gardens can create significant wildlife habitat, which is vital in a time of increasing urbanisation and ecological crisis. The research follows four phases:
- A scoping review of the existing literature on urban rewilding behaviour, coded using the ‘COM-B’ behaviour model;
- Mixed-methods research, including interviews and a quantitative survey, to understand the capability, opportunity and motivational factors influencing urban rewilding behaviour;
- Development of an intervention strategy to promote urban rewilding behaviour, using the ‘Behaviour Change Wheel’ framework. Rewild My Street will provide a test case for the strategy.
- Testing of the intervention strategy using Rewild My Street as a pilot, with before and after impact assessment.
By combining the disciplines of design, environmental and behavioural sciences, this research will provide new insights for influencing urban rewilding behaviour. Its setting in London tackles London Met Lab’s ‘Environment Challenge’ and will offer lessons for cities worldwide.
The full study protocol is published in Cities + Health journal.