Nature's cities: Places for wildlife in the modern city

About the project or challenge area

A new documentary series - 'Cities: Nature's New Wild' - recently drew public attention to the wildlife that pervades cities all over the world. Traditionally considered places of and for humans, cities are, in fact, wild places where people live alongside non-human animal species of many sorts. Indeed, a present campaign to turn London into the world's first National Park City, and Bristol's recent stint as European Green Capital testifies to the presence of the wild in our supposedly fully-tamed cities. This research challenge - broadly conceived - invites research students to propose historically-focussed research projects that consider the past connections between wildlife and cities in modernity. Research questions may focus on: which species have thrived in urban centres, and what kinds of initatives have been successful in supporting animal life? Which animals have been driven from our cities, and turned into urban outcasts? How/why have certain areas been reserved specifically for wildlife? How have species adapted to survive in sustainable relationships and in close proximity to the destructive human animal? How have cities impacted on animal populations far beyond those cities themselves?

Why choose this opportunity?

You will benefit from being part of the Centre for Environmental Humanities, as well as working with a new voice in the recently-emergent field of Animal Studies/Animal History. You will become well-connected to students and scholars working on animal-related topics across the world. You will also gain from the potential to share your work with urban organisations who might themselves benefit from the findings of your research.

About you

You will need to have a grounding in environmental history, and an interest in animals and their relationships with people. You will also need to have the ability to identify and work with archival material, to understand and interpret that material, and to present it in an analytical form in a dissertation-length piece of writing.

How to apply

All students can apply using the button below, following the Master's by Research Admissions Statement. Please note that this is an advertised challenge area, which means you should complete Section A + B of the Masters by Research Statement Template (Office document, 68kB).

Before applying, we recommend getting in touch with the project's supervisors. If you are interested in this project and would like to learn more about the research you will be undertaking, please use the contact details on this page.

Andy Flack Supervisor

Your supervisor for this project will be Andrew Flack, Lecturer in Modern and Environmental History in the School of Humanities, Department of History. You can contact him at +44 7843 479855 or email 

Find out more about your prospective research community

The City Futures theme is a vibrant community of researchers from multiple disciplines who help us to better understand the complex challenges cities face, and support their transition to becoming sustainable, resilient and inclusive places with a high quality of life for all. Find out more about the City Futures theme.

Edit this page