International Development, Community and Environment (IDCE)

Date of Award


Degree Type

Research Paper

Degree Name

Master of Arts in Community Development and Planning (CDP)


International Development, Community and Environment

Chief Instructor

Kathryn Madden

Second Reader

Colin Novick


Undeveloped natural areas in cities, or urban wilds, are an invaluable resource to urban populations. They provide space for physical activity, mental recovery and relaxation, and nature interaction and learning, among other benefits. Through observation, intercept survey, and interviews, this study explores three urban wilds sites in Worcester, Massachusetts. Current literature covers definitions of what makes nature “natural,” contemporary practices in conservation, and evidence of the benefits listed above. This paper builds on the literature, shedding light on what urban wilds are made up of (nature), how they are used (culture), and how they are sustained through management. A conceptual model frames these three forces, and can be used to inform future management practices and decisions.





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