Date of Award

Spring 6-4-2022

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Landscape Architecture (MLA)


Landscape Architecture

First Advisor

Nick De Pace

Second Advisor

Colgate Searle


Humans take a dominant role in shaping the world to fit what is best for us, while claiming vast cities and our territories. However, shrinking natural habitats together with availability of resources and shelter have attracted abundant wildlife to cities. These animal species have adjusted their habits to adapt to the urban environments and to avoid direct contact with humans, becoming invisible inhabitants in the city. Despite their initial harmonious coexistence, in recent decades, increasing wildlife sightings – often causing conflict or panic – bring those liminal animals to public attention. This situation encourages us to reframe how cities could foster coexistence between human and non-human communities.

In addition to calling for the protection of these species’ rights to inhabit in the city, this thesis considers liminal animals as our urban co-residents by suggesting their responsibility to face the challenges together with human communities. The work specifically considers the cooperation between beavers and humans to help address the flooding issues in some cities, by repurposing infrastructures to invite beavers’ participation in their engineering. The eventual goal is to understand how we can create a zoopolis –a sort of urban commons where both human and non-human communities have the right to live and contribute to life in the city.


View exhibition online: Yu Xiao, Zoopolis



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