Rewilding the city

Podparks is back for a second season!

This week on Podparks,  we’re building the case for urban rewilding, a process where cities around the world are reimagining themselves as active ecosystems with native wildlife in mind. 


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Jonathan Cha, Senior Planning Advisor of Parc Jean-Drapeau in Montreal Canada, recounts the participatory process that transformed the park from an entertainment venue to a biodiversity hotspot with people and nature as a first priority.

As the city has evolved, the park has shifted its role in the public space to promote sustainable development and conservation first, and this is reflected in the new management plan 2020-2030. Parc Jean Drapeau is among the many parks and open spaces that are making an active effort to bring wildlife back into the city through urban rewilding.

Allowing native species to reclaim land can help make our cities more resilient to the effects of climate change. It also promotes urban biodiversity; Julia Bresee from Parks Canada discusses the importance of rewilding for the new National Urban Parks program, where parks and park systems are being intentionally designed to allow native species to thrive.

Cities pose a significant threat to native species and ecosystems by fragmenting their habitat, so reconciling the past and current environments by providing shelter and resources to native wildlife can help combat the global biodiversity crisis and protect species in need. 

Rewilding also has an often overlooked social role in cities. Federico Cartín, founder of Rutas Naturbanas, discusses the citizen-led project in San José, Costa Rica that aims to connect people and nature through green riverside corridors.

As Federico mentions, Rutas Naturbanas seeks to rewild their rivers to achieve better human and animal mobility within the city, but also to create opportunities for people to reconnect with nature and become stewards of the ecosystems that surround them. 

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