Born in Cheshire, Wilde attended Wirral Grammar School before going to the University of Westminster in 1973 where he obtained a first degree in Urban Estate Management before going on to do his Masters in Town and Regional Planning at Sheffield University. He later went on to work in estate agency, planning consultancy and in local government with Sheffield City Council, before going to Singapore in 1978. He is a Fellow of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors and became a Member of the Royal Town Planning Institute in 1981. He has authored many papers on housing issues and was a Senior Lecturer in Real Estate Economics and Town Planning at the National University of Singapore from 1978 to 1983. During his time in Singapore he also acted as an advisor to the Government's Housing Development Board and Urban Redevelopment Authority becoming a Member of both the Singapore Institute of Planners and the Singapore Institute of Surveyors and Valuers.