© 2020

Wildness and Wellbeing

Nature, Neuroscience, and Urban Design


  • Provides evidence-backed data on the way nature affects the brain and how this information can be used in urban design

  • Offers a unique interdisciplinary approach bridging neuroscience, psychology, urban design, and nature

  • Fills a gap whereby the emotional effects of cities are considered beyond the built environment and form, to explore temporality and sensory perception

  • Uses an original approach by specifically focusing on the intersection between urban design, nature, and mental well being, making this a timely and important contribution


Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xi
  2. Zoë Myers
    Pages 1-39
  3. Zoë Myers
    Pages 41-70
  4. Zoë Myers
    Pages 71-110
  5. Zoë Myers
    Pages 145-153
  6. Back Matter
    Pages 155-155

About this book


Wildness and Wellbeing explores the dynamic relationships between urban nature and mental health, offering practical strategies for urban design. Mental health is a leading global issue and our urban environments can contribute to conditions such as depression and anxiety. Presenting the latest research, this book explores how neuroscience can offer new perspectives on the crucial role everyday multisensory interactions with nature can have on our mental wellbeing. These insights can help us (un)design our streets, neighbourhoods and cities, allowing nature to be integrated back into our cities. Wildness and Wellbeing is for anyone interested in the connections between urban ecology, health, environmental science, planning, and urban design, helping to create biodiverse cities for mental health.


Urban Design Cities Mental health Nature Green Infrastructure Public health

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.Australian Urban Design Research CentreUniversity of Western AustraliaPerthAustralia

About the authors

Dr Zoe Myers is a Lecturer at the Australian Urban Design Research Centre, part of the School of Design at the University of Western Australia, where she teaches in the Masters of Urban Design, and conducts research for local and State government.

Bibliographic information


“This important and timely book rigorously draws together evidence from a wide range of disciplines to reveal the benefits of urban nature for human mental health and wellbeing. Considering the growing burden of mental ill-health globally, Wildness and Wellbeing convincingly makes the case for everyday urban nature beyond park provision, to rethink cities as places where diverse species are invited to flourish in every possible nook and cranny, no matter how awkward. Essential reading in troubling times.” (Dr Cecily Maller, Centre for Urban Research, RMIT University, Australia)

“In this new book, Zoe Myers takes on the challenging task of integrating insights from diverse disciplines to explore evidence behind the myriad links between urban nature, mental health and urban design. Wildness and Wellbeing offers valuable insights for both those new to the field, and experienced practitioners keen to engage with tensions in understanding how and why different people respond to nature in the ways they do, and opportunities for addressing this complexity through design.” (Dr Sarah Bell, European Centre for Environment and Human Health, and University of Exeter Medical School, U.K.)

“Zoe Myers has tackled a subject that is long overdue—the need to re-wild urban places to better support our mental health and wellbeing. In addition to putting forth reams of compelling evidence, Myers offers sound and practical design principles and strategies to give people immediate, incidental, and incremental access to urban nature, the key to wellbeing in the city.” (Claire Latané, Ecological Designer and Assistant Professor, Landscape Architecture, California State Polytechnic University, Pomona)