The Secret Life of Urban Animals (UC Berkeley)

Often overlooked in urbanization are relationships between people and animals. This project will reveal how changing human-animal relationships are related to the development of global cities through artistic maps. By understanding the secret lives of urban animals in developing cities, the project will offer insights into how to develop Zoopolis, or cities where both people and animals can coexist. Team member Rebecca Hui was struck by the resiliency of urban animals, noticing that a unique sense of place emerges as cows manifest self-awareness and personalities, a consequence grounded in India’s long traditions of reverence towards all life forms. But this form of coexistence is diminishing as cities are changing, and conflicts arise over possession and use of space. As cities urbanize, human-animal relationships change as crucial ecological corridors for many animals are destroyed. By following animals in a developing world urban context, “The Secret Life of Urban Animals” intends for these maps to help us empathize with the animals whose lives are increasingly affected by people, and highlight the importance of those beings with whom we share our world, no matter how familiar or alien.

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