Mikaela Steby Stenfalk

Non-human City


A speculative city for the non-human - Design Academy Eindhoven - 2016


How could our urban spaces evolve if we invited our fellow earth habitants, instead of keeping them out? If we wouldn’t design our cities only for ourselves, but also for them? As urban spaces expand over the surface of the earth, all species might eventually have to adapt to an urban setting, and it is our responsibility to include everyone and everything. Even the non-human.


With Amsterdam in focus, I have chosen to target a few species that already inhabit the city. Now it’s just a matter of officially welcoming them. What started out with simple sketches based on the basic needs of these animals, continued into an expert interview with Geert Timmermans, an Urban Zoologist of Amsterdam, which led to further development. Just like in human housing, focus was on providing a shelter, while the ‘decorating’ should be left to the habitant. The ‘house’ should merely provide the opportunity for these animals to build their nests. The scientific of human architecture has been wildly investigated by countless studies of human proportions, such as those of Vitruvius, le Corbusier, and Neufert. However, while approaching non-human architecture, a new set of 'rules' were needed. By studying the internal proportions of birds and bats, I made a first attempt to do so. Then following these 'rules' in my designs.


This project can be seen as a first step towards the future of cities. Ideally, future city planning will involve also the non-human inhabitants already from the start. But for the current situation, let us begin by welcoming the animals that already inhabits our cities. Through this project, with its odd shapes and strong color palette, I wish to raise this question to a social debate.


Special thanks to Geert Timmermans for crucial expertise.


Professor: Susana Cámara Leret & Catelijne van Middelkoop


Collective Collection


School + Museum

Behind the Glass

Non-human City

State of Lacuna

Color & Shape

Social Things



Skog i Stad

Chair 1&2

Nya Linjer