Urban Rewilding: Restore your local ecosystem

Join this course and see your neighborhood transform into a sustainable, livable space. Discover how reintroducing biodiversity to our cities can combat urban heat islands and improve well-being.

About this course

In this urban rewilding course, you’ll learn how to make our cities more livable and sustainable.
To address city-specific issues ranging from urban heat islands to human wellbeing, we must first change our minds.

Instead of trying to control nature, we need to harness its powers; we must let nature do what it does best: grow.

Wageningen University & Research in collaboration with the Rewilding Academy presents a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) on ‘Urban Rewilding: restore your local ecosystem’. Gardens, parks, and ponds filled with native flora and fauna can only speed up the process of restoration of the urban environments.

Enrol in our course and join us for the transformational journey of urban rewilding!

Course details

Learning mode
3 weeks
Time investment
3-5 hours per week
Starting date
Registration date
Open for enrolment

What you’ll learn

  • Key ideas and various rewilding definitions
  • Describe the environmental issues that contemporary metropolitan regions face
  • Describe the benefits of nature to human health
  • Incorporate proven urban rewilding practices in your local setting
  • Differentiate between the concepts of Nature-Based Solutions (NBS) and urban rewilding
  • Define obstacles to urban rewilding
  • Become inspired by examples of how rewilding has been used in large nature reserves, urban areas, and private settings
  • Learn to organize your own urban rewilding project
  • Think about rewilding in your local context

Course partners

Course outline

Nature and humans: conflict or are we a part of it?
By 2050, cities will house more than two-thirds of the world’s 10 billion population. Will this lead us, humans, to compete with nature over natural resources? Both people and corporations struggle to satisfy their expansive tendencies for space. In addition, the absence of nature in metropolitan areas causes a wide range of issues, such as the formation of heat islands, flooding, air pollution, and increased greenhouse gas emissions. Despite how closely related we humans are to nature, we tend to see nature as independent.

A city’s ability to adapt to climate change can be significantly boosted by the availability of biodiverse, interconnected flora and water bodies. For urban dwellers to live in a healthy environment, nature is necessary. Reconnecting with nature has benefits for people’s physical and emotional health beyond just fun.

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.

Improve your living environment 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:

  1. Better climate adaptation: by creating urban storm parcs cities can absorb excess precipitation during extreme weather events, while saving water for dry spells.
  2. Alleviation of urban heat islands: a decrease of up to 1°C daytime temperature can limit excess deaths associated with heatwaves.
  3. (Re)generate 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.

For whom?
Whether you are a city resident interested in improving the living environment of your city or otherwise interested in a citizen’s perspective on sustainable cities and rewilding topics from, this course is for you. Learn how nature is important for cities and city dwellers from a comprehensive, multidisciplinary approach. Join Wageningen University & Research and create the circumstances for effective urban rewilding near you!


There are no formal prerequisites. In case you want to learn more about the concept of rewilding and its impacts on ecosystems, please visit our knowledge hub.