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Good Reads  Habitats & Ecosystems  Urban & Built Environment

Urban Jungle Wilding the City

By: Ben Wilson(Author)
293 pages, 8 plates with colour & b/w photos and colour illustrations
Publisher: Vintage
Urban Jungle
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  • Urban Jungle ISBN: 9781529925005 Paperback Mar 2024 Not in stock: Usually dispatched within 6 days
  • Urban Jungle ISBN: 9781787333130 Hardback Mar 2023 Out of Print #259752
Selected version: £12.99
About this book Customer reviews Biography Related titles

About this book

Our modern-day cities might seem to represent our separation from the natural world. In fact, as Ben Wilson reveals in this captivating re-examination of urban landscapes around the world, nature has always been at the heart of the city.

Wilson explores the wild side of cities, past, present and future: the middens, abandoned sites and strips of land alongside railway lines. For much of history, wild patches in cities provided essential food, fuel, medicine and places of recreation and escape for city-dwellers, and the dividing line between city and countryside was blurred. Even our post-industrial cities are much wilder places than we might imagine, with booming animal and plant populations, if we know where to look.

In today's urbanised planet, natural forces – be they floods, storms, droughts or pandemics – look set to determine the future of our cities. In a time of climate crisis, cities that once built walls and towers to defend against attack; now they have to become greener to protect themselves from external threats. Our future – and that of the planet – will be made in the city. Only by looking deep into the past, examining the present and casting an eye to the future can we really begin to understand the bountiful potential and wonder of our extraordinary urban ecosystems.

Customer Reviews


Ben Wilson is the author of six critically acclaimed books, including What Price Liberty?, for which he received the Somerset Maugham Award; the Sunday Times bestseller Empire of the Deep; and, most recently, Metropolis: A History of Humankind's Greatest Invention. Born in London in 1980, he has worked in television, broadcast on the radio in several countries, and writes for publications such as The Times, Daily Telegraph and Prospect. He lives in Suffolk, UK.

By: Ben Wilson(Author)
293 pages, 8 plates with colour & b/w photos and colour illustrations
Publisher: Vintage
Media reviews

"Urban Jungle teems with ideas, stories and proposals, presented with charm, eloquence and wit. It is novel and provocative [...] I was often left wanting more, so much the better."
The Times

"Awe-inspiring in its scope, Wilson's thrilling immersion in the age-old interconnectedness of city and nature is full of wonder, warning and hope – a rallying cry for urban rewilding."
– Isabella Tree, author of Wilding

"Illuminating [...] Wilson leaves readers with hope about the future of efforts to preserve the ecosystems that surround us, as well as a new perspective that looks beyond the concrete and asphalt when walking along a city's streets."
Daily Mail

"Wilson provides an array of fascinating examples of urban ecology through the ages [...] Written in an authoritative yet accessible style, Urban Jungle contains a range of intriguing insights."
Literary Review

"Urban Jungle is a beguiling and beautifully written tapestry of history and ecology examining how cities and the natural world of plants, trees, birds, animals, and insects have co-existed, beneficially and otherwise, since time immemorial."
Country & Town House

"Delightful, insightful, and easy to read. Wilson shows us that, however distant we feel from nature, we have and will always be part of it."
– Arthur Kay, founder and CEO of Skyroom

"Imagine if we could see our urban streets with new eyes, start to use every spare space to grow food, carbon-sequestering green, shady areas to cool and make our cities more liveable. This richly researched book shows us this is more possible than we imagine, because Nature is irrepressible and will appear in every crevice at every opportunity to remind us that we cannot live without her."
– Sian Sutherland, founder of A Plastic Planet

"A compelling case for bringing more nature into the city."

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