Urban Jungle: Wilding the City

Oliver Balch at Literary Review:

For all mankind’s meddling, nature is obdurate. It didn’t stop evolving just because humans tried to keep it out. Wilson asks us to imagine our cities from the perspective of certain plants or animals. If you’re a seaside goldenrod or a strip of Danish scurvy grass, then the sodium-enriched verges created by winter salt trucks are a dream habitat. For a peregrine falcon, the difference between a twenty-storey skyscraper and a hundred-foot cliff is minimal: the dive-bombing potential is equally great. Nonetheless, not all natural species can adapt. As Wilson admits, our cities as they currently stand are the ‘site of eco-apocalypse’. Even putting the rights of nature aside, wilding our streets is in our self-interest. Just ask a psychologist or a physician. We’re happier, healthier and safer with nature near at hand.

Written in an authoritative yet accessible style, Urban Jungle contains a range of intriguing insights. Despite its non-hectoring tone, the book offers a clear warning. 

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