Social–Ecological Ecosystems in Rewilding Urban Environment: Multidisciplinary Approaches for Multifaceted Wild Natures

A special issue of Land (ISSN 2073-445X). This special issue belongs to the section "Urban Contexts and Urban-Rural Interactions".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 15 October 2024 | Viewed by 613

Special Issue Editors

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Guest Editor
National Research Council, Research Institute on Terrestrial Ecosystems, Sesto Fiorentino, Italy
Interests: biodiversity; ecology; species diversity; urban biodiversity; urbanization; plant biology; conservation; invasive species; conservation biology; ecosystem ecology; plant ecology; natural resource management

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Guest Editor
Department of Communication Sciences, Human and International Studies, University of Urbino Carlo Bo, Via Saffi 15, 55321 Urbino, Italy
Interests: sociology of culture; urban natures; civic cultures; civic practices; citizen participation; nature imageries; urban gardening; consumption practices

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Guest Editor
Department of Communication Sciences, Human and International Studies, University of Urbino Carlo Bo, Via Saffi 15, 55321 Urbino, Italy
Interests: methodology of social sciences; quantitative and qualitative methodological approaches; data analysis; visual research; ethnography

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Changes in society, such as deindustrialization processes, the dismantlement of military sites and the cessation of peri-urban cultivations, have led in recent decades to the abandonment of many urban areas. A complex natural rewilding process has significantly reconfigured abandoned urban spaces, which are now acquiring great importance in response to the implementation of urban regeneration initiatives. These sites are viewed with very different perspectives, from being seen as an urban void to a redevelopment opportunity in capital terms, from a place of degradation to, by contrast, an unusual wild green area.

Many works have highlighted how wild urban ecosystems provide several ecosystem services to citizens, in addition to those provided by conventional urban green areas (such as gardens and parks). These services vary widely on qualitative and quantitative levels, based on each site’s specific features. More recent studies have focused on their role in connecting people with nature, as well as their controversial and conflicting character within the framework of urban planning policies. A multi-disciplinary approach is, then, now required to jointly analyze the ecological and socio-cultural sides of this complex type of green area, with the overall goal of maximizing ecosystem services and improving the quality of life in cities. This Special Issue aims to present the current state of socio-ecological research on wild urban nature, focusing on the concept of the social–ecological system, where human and biophysical systems are closely linked.

Submissions may include original research articles or comprehensive reviews. Articles can present methodological frameworks or single case studies. Suggested themes and article types include, but are not limited to:

  • Cultural and ecological services (and eventually disservices) of rewilded urban areas;
  • Processes and approaches that lead to wild nature implementation in urban plans;
  • Proposals for the construction of socio-ecological indicators to characterize rewilded sites;
  • Approaches to combine sociological and ecological indicators in data analysis;
  • Biodiversity and socio-political dynamics within the framework of cities’ land use change processes;
  • Monitoring schemes of urban rewilding sites, including remote sensing techniques and field data collection;
  • Difficulties and potentiality in the management and enhancement of wild urban sites;
  • Bottom-up participatory case studies (e.g., citizen science initiatives) that can be considered lead experiences;
  • Links between biodiversity characteristics of wild areas and social perceptions.

We look forward to receiving your original research articles and reviews.

Dr. Giovanni Trentanovi
Prof. Dr. Roberta Bartoletti
Dr. Francesco Sacchetti
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Land is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2600 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.


  • wild urban nature
  • urban voids
  • regeneration policies
  • socio-ecological characters
  • socio-environmental movements
  • urban biodiversity
  • citizen science
  • contested natures

Published Papers

This special issue is now open for submission, see below for planned papers.

Planned Papers

The below list represents only planned manuscripts. Some of these manuscripts have not been received by the Editorial Office yet. Papers submitted to MDPI journals are subject to peer-review.

Title: Promotion of urban ecosystems through the integration of urban ecosystem disservices to inclusive spatial planning solutions
Authors: Anton Shkaruba, Siiri Külm, Kalev Sepp, Hanna Skryhan Corresponding Author: Anton Shkaruba
Affiliation: Estonian University of Life Sciences, Erda RTE
Abstract: Functions and properties of ecosystems delivering discomfort to citizens, also known as ecosystem disservices (EDS) are fundamentally important in terms of interactions between people and urban nature and can be at least as important for citizens as ecosystem services (ES). This further leads to the call for the solutions whereas ES as well as EDS are integrated in planning designs delivering comfortable urban environment to citizens. We assume that there are at least two compelling reasons for EDS to be addressed by the planning process in its broad sense. This is for urban nature in order to survive, and for citizens in order to benefit from the services it provides. This needs to entail the formulation of multistakeholder consensus over EDS/ES, and ideally to consider the broadest possible variety of interest groups (including age and gender) and possible conflicting perspectives. Working to address this challenge, this research focuses on EDS in urban communities, and explores them in terms of inclusive planning. Based on a comprehensive stakeholder analysis carried out over the past decade in the cities of Tartu, Tallinn, Pärnu (Estonia) and Mahilioŭ (Belarus) we bring forward a decision making tool that can help to identify EDS and to choose appropriate strategy for the development of green and blue infrastructure (GBI) that would address them in an inclusive manner. The tool is explained using three cases of representing different EDS-related contexts.

Title: Informal Urban Biodiversity in Milan Metropolitan Area. The role of spontaneous nature in the leftover regeneration process.
Authors: Lucia Ludovici; Maria Chiara Pastore
Affiliation: Politecnico di Milano, Department of Electronic, Information and Bioengineering, National Biodiversity Future Center
Abstract: The contribution reflects on the spontaneous nature's agency to reclaim abandoned urban areas in Italian urban brownfields, providing a focused analysis of the Metropolitan Area of Milan. These spaces are the products of phenomena such as deindustrialization, de-militarization or uncontrolled urban expansion, which left a compromised heritage and the challenge of its regeneration. This abandonment sometimes produces new forms of urban nature, which suggests a possible ecological regeneration and coexistence path, as multidisciplinary literature affirms. The related Informal Urban Biodiversity grows heedless of future planning provisions, triggering unexpected transformations of the urban environment and producing a socio-ecological value, as citizens' recognition of these places could demonstrate. The work operates a mapping of informal urban biodiversity in the Milan territory, identifying the presence of huge contaminated sites, relevant urban voids, vacant lots and former agricultural spaces. It reflects on possible paths for urban planning and policies to integrate the Informal Urban Biodiversity within the urban ecological structure by analysing the main features and challenges of the corresponding regeneration processes.

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