Participatory Species Walk

On the trail of animals as city dwellers - city walk with Future Forum

What if we understood wild-living animals as city dwellers and integrated their requirements in our everyday lives and in urban planning? 

In the neighbourhood of Neuperlach in Munich do not only humans live but also many wild animals. They find living spaces and food in building structures and along roads, in gardens and waste lands.

What are the advantages of the cohabitation of humans and non-humans in the city? Which conflicts arise in this context? How can we create the encounters and coexistence in beneficial ways for everyone involved?

With the Participatory Species Walk we challenge our existing perception of urban space and take on the perspective of other city dwellers such as the squirrel, the bee, the sand lizard or the house sparrow.

At the subsequent Futures Forum we ask which measures would be possible and also desirable to produce the city as a shared living space of humans and animals.

By using playfully staged design research methods, the walk by UnDesignUnit offers novel perspectives upon the city as a living space shared by humans and animals and explores strategies for a sustainable city design.

The Participatory Species Walk and Futures Forum address all those who are interested in urban development, whether professionally or because they live here, independent of age, background or activity.

With the format „Neuperlach of the Animals – Participatory Species Walk“, UnDesignUnit takes up current discourses in the sciences (e.g. multispecies ethnography, urban ecology, human geography) and contemporary practices in design, architecture, landscape design and urban planning (e.g. Animal-Aided-Design, a climate- and species-friendly construction), which aim at strengthening the resilience of cities and their inhabitants in the age of climate change and biodiversity loss and while doing so, renegotiate public space.

With its participatory-experimental approach and expanded design practice, the format allows to perceive familiar urban sites from anew and sharpen our senses to the requirements of animals. With „Neuperlach der Tiere – Partizipativer Artenparcours“, UnDesignUnit contributes to sensitizing the public with regard to the question which forms of urban development might be desirable if we considered both humans and animals as inhabitants.

How can businesses, property developers and institutional actors seize their scope of action more efficiently in the future to favour a sustainable city and new forms of urban community? With what measures can city inhabitants contribute to an environment which is worth living for both, humans and animals alike?

The species walk with future forum was implemented on the occasion of MCBW on May 12, 2023 and in the context of the NEBourhoods Together project on July 4, 2023.

Christine Jakoby, Dipl.Ing. Landschaftsarchitektur CMLI von Studio Animal-Aided Design, Berlin; Creating NEBourhoods Together
Ariane Mutzel, Dipl. Biologin und Dr. rer. nat. von Studio Animal-Aided Design, Berlin; Creating NEBourhoods Together
Felix Remter, BeeTree Monitor, founder and producer Primatevisions, München

Graphic elements: Luisa Fesseler, Meriel Rundel, Merle Schäfer, Julia Späth (Hochschule für Kommunikation und Gestaltung Ulm)

Funded by bayern design and the Bavarian State Ministry of Economic Affairs, Regional Development and Energy

With friendly support by Shaere, München-Neuperlach

Participatory Species Walk, set of cards for the participants; photos: Kathrin Schäfer
Invited experts from left to right: Dr. rer. nat. Ariane Mutzel, graduate biologist and Christine Jakoby, graduate landscape architect from Studio Animal Aided Design and Felix Remter, BeeTree Monitor, founder and producer Primatevisions; photo: Merle Schäfer
Participatory Species Walk in Neuperlach, Munich; photo: Daniel Mayer
Nesting boxes for sparrows at the building facade by Studio Animal Aided Design and sparrow sculpture in the front; photo: Daniel Mayer
Profile of the common pipistrelle bat
Participatory Species Walk, Neuperlach cemetery station; photo: Qingyu Liang
Action card of the great spotted woodpecker
Participatory Species Walk, great spotted woodpecker campaign; photo: Qingyu Liang
Participatory Species Walk, sand lizard action; photo: Kathrin Schäfer
Participatory Species Walk, bee action; photo: Kathrin Schäfer
Participatory Species Walk, bee action; photo: Kathrin Schäfer
Neuperlach of the Animals – Future Forum
Neuperlach of the Animals - Future Forum, city collages 'My species-friendly city'; photo: Merle Schäfer
Neuperlach of the Animals - Future Forum 'Search – Offer – Exchange ' neighborhood help from the perspective of wild animals in the city as equal city dwellers; photo: Merle Schäfer