Urban rewilding

Urban rewilding: what is it and how could it impact our cities?

With the collapse of Debenhams and Arcadia, it is expected that 16.6 million sq ft of retail space will be impacted across the UK.

Is this the beginning of the transformation of the hight street? What will this space be used for and will it prompt a green revolution for city centre space?

Areas across the UK are already considering plans to turn shopping space into wetlands, pocket woodlands and a wildflower meadow. An example of this is in Nottinghamshire where plans have been submitted by the Wildlife Trust to regenerate an empty shopping centre into green space.

The phrase ‘urban rewilding’ has been coined by the Wildlife Trust which is a new model of inner-city regeneration. Cities are typically made up of skyscrapers, but is this an outdated concept? The Covid-19 pandemic has given people the opportunity to pause and reflect, with many having packed their bags and relocated to rural areas. There’s no doubt that green space improves quality of life so what’s stopping us from having the best of both worlds?

Cities across the UK have already pledged to become carbon-neutral by 2030 including Glasgow, Newcastle, Leeds and Edinburgh. Nottingham plans to become carbon-neutral by 2028 – the earliest date set in the UK.

Globally, cities account for 75% of carbon emissions and investing in low-carbon technology for buildings, transport and waste management could help reduce emissions by 90%. Coupled with urban rewilding, there is a real opportunity for a greener future.

Last year, the UK government declared a climate emergency. While the pandemic has posed many challenges for the world, property developers now have the chance to reimagine city centre space, create lasting change and potentially contribute to carbon-neutral goals.

We are passionate property people at Liquid, embracing new developments and changes that affect the places in which we live and work across the UK.

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