Between fascination and fear – The impacts of urban wilderness on human health and wellbeing

Cecil Konijnendijk


The contributions of urban green spaces to the quality of life have gained increasing attention. This article focuses on the role of wilderness areas within wider urban green structures, as wilderness has been found to have specific impacts on our health and wellbeing. Research shows, for example, that although wilderness can have negative impacts and connotations, it primarily should be appreciated in terms of encouraging transcendent experiences, keeping us in touch with nature and natural processes, encouraging personal development and play, acting as a refuge, and encouraging stress restoration. More interdisciplinary research is needed to understand the mechanisms behind wilderness-health relations. Planners need to include urban wilderness areas in the development of urban green structures.


City; Nature; Transcendence; Urban woodland; Wildscape



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