Not the book by Maurice Sendak, but an article about brownfield sites and the habitats they contain.

Brownfield sites are apparently great for obscure plant and insect life:

“An old spoil tip [for example] would be terrible if you wanted to create a garden, but it’s great for wildlife, because the poor soil leads to slow development of diverse plants.”

However, after a while, the soil begins to build up, and other plants and animals can come in and push out the rarer types.  Philip James, professor of ecology at the University of Salford, suggests that these transient habitats could become part of the planning process, leading to an ever-changing urban environment.

One could argue that that is currently the case, with buildings being abandoned, knocked down, left for a while while people argue over the planning permissions, and then finally building something new.  I wonder how different it would be if we were doing it on purpose?  Would people look at building wastelands with less distaste if they knew they were host to a selection of rare creatures?