The Wild City

Title: The Wild City. The coexistence of wildlife and human in Sheffield

Author: Kexin Cai

Year: 2020

Abstract: In the UK, over 90% of the population already lives in cities. Human activities heavily impact on living conditions of wildlife and they alter wildlife habitats in cities. It is of great importance to bring wildlife back to cities and build wildlife-inclusive cities where humans and animals can friendly coexist. This thesis design aims to explore and analyze how urban design practitioners could deploy design methods to support wildlife and designing coexistence of human and wildlife in contemporary cities.

The design-based research starts with the background context of both United Kingdom and Sheffield, investigating the state and pressures of wildlife. Due to the threatened situation of Willow tit in the UK and Sheffield, the analysis mainly focusses on the state of Willow tit in Sheffield, considering the background and specificity of this species. Then develops the problem statement and research questions in 3 aspects: space, social and management aspect. Next, the research of theoretical background strongly supports the whole thesis. The concept of ‘Care’ plays as a guiding principle in each aspect and ‘rewilding’ is the key practice throughout the development and design, aiming to construct a wildlife-inclusive city in Sheffield. Next, the site exploration is illustrated to show the progressive research process, problems, potentials of site and population needs through field work, mapping, interviewing and personas. Case studies which focus on willow tit and rewilding, help develop the design section. 

After that, the design proposal is further developed and the rewilding process is divided into 3 phases according to the scale: wild woodland, wild greenspace and school and wild street. Strategies are developed in three aspects and toolkits for willow tit in spatial aspect are proposed. The strategies and toolkit can be further extended to other species and areas. Finally, the reflection and conclusion are made, hoping to provide new ideas and approaches when applied to other similar contexts.