The wild city

wildcity.jpgYou can explore the mass tourism route by looking at the gallery or you can add a contribution here.

There is a growing sense that urban spaces are becoming biodiversity hotspots. Through popular publications and films, such as recently ‘De Wilde Stad’, the public has started to warm up to the idea that metropolitan areas are also natural areas and that wild animals and natures are not necessarily out of place in the city. In urban planning and design however, ‘nature’ still mostly features as ‘green space’ forhumans. Parks, water and trees are valued for their aesthetic qualities or for providing ‘ecosystem services’ to us. The idea that urban ecologies can be valuable in themselves, and that animals too are rightful inhabitants of cities generates a range of questions for planners and landscape architects. What happens if we take animals seriously as city dwellers, as users of the infrastructures we design? In what ways could design interventions help us to live together, and somehow appreciate each other’s presence?

On this route we will go on an urban wildlife safari, seeking to gain the perspectives of both human and nonhuman inhabitants on city life, and how to live together. We will try to get a sense of wild animal presence without dismissing the role of humans and human activities as necessarily negative for their wildness.

Key questions to be addressed on this route

  1. How do wild animals figure in urban spaces, and how do human inhabitants experience their presence? When do we ignore them, when are we enchanted by their charismatic presence, when are they a nuisance or even a pest? Is it the behaviour of animals that gives rise to these different experiences, or rather the behaviour of humans?
  2. What attempts have been made to foster the presence of animals? And what types of material interventions could help us cohabit in ways that are mutually beneficial?
  3. Could we develop design principles to foster the presence of animals and promote meaningful relations between humans and animals?


Thursday 28 June 2018

14.00 Location: Oosterpark >>MULTISPECIES MEET&GREET>>

With 5,3 million (human) visitors Oosterpark is the busiest park in the Amsterdam East. During a brief exercise in small groups of 3 to 4 participants we will start getting to know each other and Amsterdam’s wild residents.

14.45-15.30 Location: Artisplein/de Plantage
>>INTRODUCTION TO THE THEMATIC TOUR BY CLEMENS DRIESSEN AND YULIA KISORA>> Reporting on the first observations and ways to observe animals and humans in the city.

15.30-17.00 Location: Around Artis >>‘NOT A’ ZOO TOUR>>

Artis zoo promises experience of ‘nature right in the city centre’ and has more than 900 species of animals on display. But what about those who are not on show? This alterna- tive zoo tour by landscape/zoo architect Thijs de Zeeuw will uncover secret lives of (zoo) wildlife without posters and cages, and show that to see ‘the wild’ you don’t actually have to enter the zoo.

17.00 Location: Dapperplein >>VISITING ‘THESE DAM BIRDS’>>

“While tourists keep a respectful distance to the herons, real Amsterdammers won’t step aside. For them, the herons have become part of streetlife. Fellow residents of Amster- dam. After all, it’s impolite to avoid your neighbours”


Friday 29 June 2018


Location: Zone2source, Amstelpark ‘Glazen Huis’


“The exhibition investigates the nature of technology in our landscapes, taking a radical turn towards the diversity in our shared environments. We identify the recent appearance of autonomous systems in biomes such as coral reefs, rain forests and rivers as sign of change in human technologies. They appear at a time of deep environmental crisis often dealing directly with the collapse of natural processes in ecosystems. In a way the crisis is bringing them out, it is forcing us to find design practices that are inclusive of non-humans”.


Is it possible to create a being that can not only exist independently in a natural ecosys- tem, but also can ‘fix’ unbalances caused by humans? In this workshop we will participate in the process of constructing a predatory robot.

12.30-14.00 Transit to Houthavens &Lunch

Location: Houthavens


14.00-16.00 The Houthavens is an area in the West of Amsterdam currently developed as a ‘climate neutral’ zone, of around 2700 houses as well as offices and other work spaces, which is due to be finished by 2022. The urban ecologists of the spatial planning department of the municipality of Amsterdam are involved in the development pro- cess to promote ‘nature inclusive building’ in this area. In this Atelier project we will be designing new modes of cohabitation, perhaps aiming to reduce nuisance, pro- vide fresh habitats, or even stage new meaningful encounters between humans and urban wildlife.

Transit to AMS/AMS



Msc atlier project link
Animal city: planning and design for wild ‘Amsterdammers’ – Houthavens