How Can We Co-Exist With Animals?

Research, design studios, expert conferences

As architects and planners we design for people. Human needs have always defined what we imagined, what we drew and what we built. Architecture and urbanism have simply been fulfilling a very old directive: "Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it…” That is what we did by building new cities, highways, harbors and bridges.

Today climate change casts shadow of doubt on our civilisation being so self centred. We are told that the world has been abused by us. By simply exploiting it, we seemingly missed the fact that there is more to it than just being our pantry… However, can ‘Green’ ideology, as we know it, embrace the whole complexity of that conflict? Can eco-city, as we know it (Masdar), be a sufficient solution? On the occasion of the International Biodiversity Year 2010 The Why Factory initiated a research project focused on question of Biodiversity in Future Cities. It explores how both architectural and urban design could facilitate meaningful relationships between humans and other species. It takes off from the Deleuze and Guattari’s thought that the opposition between humans and nature does not exist: human species within the biosphere is one among many? We want to look for new intimacy between human beings and nature that we can project today, as once Joseph Beuys did. We want to envision new engagement with natural cycles spreading beyond existing agriculture. We want to design a new city embracing a democracy of people, animals, micro-organisms and minerals. We want to find out what would be the city that animals would love.