Workshop #1 - BERLIN

Berlin - City of nightingale, symbol of animals coming back to the city.

- What if more animals come to the city ?
- What does the city provides to them ?
- How people would adapt to it ?
- How animal behaviors would change in the city ?
- Will people become wild ?


We did a first tour in the city, exploring wild places and niches for urban animals. We took earth samples and pictures of different places around Mitte. We also tagged these spaces with positive and negative flags. We developed research tools to observe animals such as a photographic gun, to hunt pictures of wild animals and plants.

Why following animals and plants, we understood that they can indicate the state of their natural habitat and act as "sensors" to inform us about our own urban locus. We develop for this purpose an "eco-analyser" that gives informations in real time about the place. Using organic antennas and a pump-actuated sampler, this device translates bio-chemical sensor data and photospectrometric analysis colour samples to information visualisation to be used in local eco-awareness group.

Finally, we created a eco-friendly tagging tool that let flag interesting places with a bio-substrate that will grow an organic tag and a sampler that manifest potential properties of differents terrains and habitats:


Hyper-development of wilderness in the city also opens complex debates about how architecture, politics and citizen action should face together the challenge of co-habitation with wild animals and plants. We develop many scenarios describing how the massive development of intensive agriculture could lead to the deletion of insects and lead to the displacement of many species towards cities. This diagram illustrates a possible scenario and how an eco-systemic future could be adress by citizen designers.


If we take a positive approach and envision a successful symbiosis between humans and wild species, we could think of many practical solutions to think about a mutualistic city, shared and open. Some examples here, crossing for animals, shoes that would not go over animals, UV beverage leading to fluorescent pee to trace and protect wild animals, leading to new kind of urban safaris.



Karcher Graffiti

Graffiti made by removing dirt on buildings by french artist Zevs

Svalbard deep freeze seeds

The first batch of 100 million of the most important agricultural seeds were placed into the doomsday repository there today. The Svalbard Global Seed Vault is buried deep within a frozen mountainside near the Norwegian town of Longyearbyen that perpetually cools it to –18 degrees Celsius (–0.4 degree Fahrenheit) with or without permafrost


A swiss research project about urban biodiversity

An urban fox in london (from LDP)


Enjoy the urban fruits

Accidentally stumbled upon this lovely project which suggests a community service to locate wild nature that can feed us. They did not focus on designing various tools, just sharing the information they have. Anyway, I love the straitforward logic of it: Simply using that existing source. This could be another engaging motivation for our tools.

Ah, it's here:



Metropolitan Studies at Humboldt University in Berlin

- Masters in City Geography (City Ecologies, Humangeorgraphie...)


Exhibit no. 1

Here! you see him? in the heart of Paris, on top of the antenna!


Nightingales' thoughts from the past

New urban creatures
Back when Myriel suggested the topic of wilderness in the city, she gave an example that caught my attention. She said that Berlin is now the city of nightingales, with far more nightingales than anywhere on the countryside, because they find niches and there's no pesticides etc.
I think that there’s something so beautiful about it. I imagined all those animals that had enough of the countryside, and decided to go to the big city (we can guess why…). As urban humans, we can even identify with them.
Myriel suggested the safari donkey tour, we should look into that.
And as we observe them, sharing the same streets as we do – we should ask ourselves what do they gain from being urban creatures? Do they enjoy better social life? Independence? Gourmet food? Comfort? Can they become lazier now or does the competition make them tougher?

Nightingales as noise pollution sensors
So, that was when I started my little obsession with the nightingales. Apart from finding this lovely picture, I also found another interesting fact about those, city cool singing-all-night birds.
According to recent research, it was shown that the nightingales in cities sing in an even lauder voice in order to be heard over the urban background noise. So, basically, they are a bit like a noise sensor, which activates an alarm of powerful singing.
Don’t know what can we do with it, but that’s a nice thing, I guess.


Cité Sauvage - Urban Wilderness

First Draft in french
Dana Gordon, Myriel Milicevic, Jean-Baptiste Labrune

Le développement de l'agriculture intensive et la prolifération de nouveaux matériaux toxiques dans la nature (pesticides) ont contraints de nombreuses espèces animales à se réfugier dans les villes qui leur offrent un écosystème approprié. Ces espèces ont trouvé de nouvelles niches et terrains, et par co-adaptation adopté de nouveaux types de comportements comme par exemple le cas des chauve-souris ou des rossignols philomèles (Luscinia megarhynchos) qui ont depuis quelques années envahie la ville de Berlin. Ce dernier, réputé pour ses qualités vocales similaires à l'être humain, s'est mis à chanter en fonction de la pollution sonore dans les villes*. De nombreuses autres espèces suivent l'exemple de ces oiseaux, provoquant un véritable exode rural, questionnant notre perception de l'écologie urbaine ainsi que le rôle des espèces animales et végétales dans l'espace de la ville.

* cf http://www.blackwell-synergy.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.0021-8790.2004.00814.x && http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn4964-urban-nightingales-songs-are-illegally-loud.html

Le projet Cité Sauvage propose de créer des micro-robots imitant et influençant les espèces néo-urbaines et leurs habitats. Les microrobots 'passerins' , autonomes en énergie, chantent en fonction de la pollution sonore de la ville. Ces objets sont la continuation des 'photophobes', beambots qui ont peur du soleil et qui crient lorsqu'on les éclaire. Le projet propose de développer ces micro-robots, de les installer en ville et également de réaliser des ateliers ou les publics pourront fabriquer ces petits robots analogues. Un autre axe propose de développer des outils pour le 'safari urbain' permettant aux habitants des villes de découvrir la biodiversité et les nouvelles niches urbaines. Ces outils utiliseront des plateformes embarquées intégrant des capteurs (pollution, gps, ...) pour naviguer et explorer la ville comme dans un safari.

Le but de ce projet est de réfléchir en commun sur l'avènement d'une seconde nature, néo-urbaine, et de notre rapport avec les espèces animales qui peuplent nos cités.
Les questions auxquelles nous essaieront de répondre sont:

- Comment les animaux s'adaptent à la vie urbaine ?
- Comment change-t-elle leurs comportements ?
- Est-ce que les gens se sentent proches inconsciemment de la nature ?
- Comment ceci affecte-il leur vie quotidienne ? Cela change-t-il leurs comportements ?
- Existe-t-il des moyens de donner plus de place à cette co-existence ?

Plus précisément nous prévoyons de:

- Inviter des biologistes et d'autres experts pour prendre connaissance du développement de la vie sauvage en milieu urbain
- Organiser des safaris urbains qui utilisent des technologie de navigation électronique
- Créer des outils de recherche appropriés à l'étude de ces nouveaux écosystèmes
- Créer des outils pour nous aider à communiquer ou à se rapprocher de l'habitat sauvage urbain (microrobots)
- Organiser des ateliers publics, des conférences et des safaris urbains dans Paris.