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Lane for non-humans

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Reconnecting with nature
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NEW EUROPEAN BAUHAUS AWARDS: existing completed examples
Project title
Lane for non-humans
Full project title
Lane for non-humans. An artistic, ecological and educational project for biodiversity in urban space

The project encouraged students of a public secondary school of Barcelona to discover urban biodiversity in their school environment, to vindicate their lives and to negotiate with politicians for an urban intervention that yielded space for spontaneous forms of lives. As a result, part of the street was transformed in a vegetable lane for butterflies, bumblebees, ladybugs and other arthropods. This intervention is both a permanent artwork in the public space and an urban refuge for pollinators.

What was the geographical scope of your project?
Does your project address mainly urban or rural issues?
Mainly urban
Does your project refer to a physical transformation of the built environment or other types of transformations?
It refers to a physical transformation of the built environment ('hard investment')
Has your project benefited from EU programmes or funds?
Has your project won an EU prize?
Your project is fully completed?
When was your project implemented?
How did you hear about the New European Bauhaus Prizes ?
On whose behalf are you submitting the application?
As an individual in partnership with other persons
Please provide a summary of your project

I was invited to develop a 9-months artistic project with students of Vapor del Fil School. The school is located in Fabra i Coats enclosure (Barcelona), which also host other public schools, a contemporary art center and many other public spaces. My proposal was to drive a deep change in students’ minds from an anthropocentric to an ecocentric paradigm by considering the non-human beings that coinhabit in the enclosure. From that ecocentric perspective, sustainable ways of coexistence would be explored.

Firstly, students worked to bring out of the darkness the life that hides in Fabra i Coats and that usually goes unnoticed. Hybrid artistic and scientific research techniques were used, and artworks about -and with- "non-human residents" were created to approach the non-human’s point of view.

Participants concluded that Fabra i Coats enclosure was too gray and hard for "spontaneous" non-humans’ life. Thus, the second part of the project focused on denouncing the lack of refuges for these forms of life and negotiating suitable spaces for them with decision makers. As a result, a vegetable path for butterflies, bumblebees, ladybirds and other arthropods was created in the street as a Lane for Non-Humans, which is both a permanent artistic intervention and an urban refuge for biodiversity. The project ended with a show at the Fabra i Coats contemporary art center where the process of discovering, interacting, vindicating, negotiating, yielding and caring for the other co-inhabitants was exhibited.

The Lane for Non-Humans is a small architectonical intervention that represents a significant change in the local community because it reflects a shift in perspective towards ecocentrism.

This project has been elaborated within the framework of Creators in Residence Program developed by the Institute of Culture of Barcelona and the Barcelona Education Consortium, in cooperation with the association A Bao A Qu, and with the participation of Vapor del Fil School.

Please indicate the main themes of your project with 5 key words
Public urban space
Please give information about the key objectives of your project in terms of sustainability (including circularity) and how these have been met.
Please highlight how the project can be exemplary in this context

The project achieved the creation of a refuge for pollinators in an urban context. This kind of refuge play an important role in biodiversity (as a habitat per se) and ecological connectivity (as part of a steppingstone path that make cities more permeable to species displacements). This is especially important for wild pollinators (i.e. bees, moths, butterflies and beetles), that provide vital ecological services but are suffering a significant decline in population across Europe. Cities and towns can be a major refuge, providing nesting sites, larval food plants and nectar that may be less available on intensively managed farmland. Consistent with this goal, part of a road was naturalized to create a favorable environment for pollinators and other invertebrates. All the participants collaborated in the tasks (cement removal, backfill with organic soil, planting and sowing) as a political action to demand more naturalized and biodiverse urban environments, and a change towards more respectful social models with ecological systems.

This intervention must be considered as a physical manifestation of a deep change in local community with further consequences in sustainability. Approaching non-human realities, exiting anthropocentric paradigm, and finding other ways of living together with the other species has consequences in people’s behavior that implies the whole spectrum of sustainability goals. Through the Lane for Non-Humans, the shift in perspective towards ecocentrism that the participants (students, school, decision makers, politicians…) experimented during the process has been transmitted to their families, users and visitors of this public space. As a permanent intervention, the message remains for the future.

Thus, the project is exemplar for its methodology of working with the local community, first opening minds to the local environment and then encouraging reflections on global implications of human’s way of thinking and living.

Please give information about the key objectives of your project in terms of aesthetics and quality of experience beyond functionality and how these have been met.
Please highlight how the project can be exemplary in this context

The project was conducted through artistic practices. As in my previous artistic researches, I applied a combination of science facts, speculative fabulation and artistic practices in order to approach the non-human others. While science facts and speculative fabulation allow to consider beyond-human realities, art permits to experience them as possible. Thus, this combination has a great potential of changing subjectivities towards post-anthropocentric perspectives.

Students explored the non-human life of the enclosure by means of these hybrid artistic and scientific research techniques. Through endoscopic cameras, glass plates or contact microphones, youngsters discovered a whole new world of life in the same space they inhabit. The results became a collection of artistic records of these "non-human residents" of the enclosure (in the form of video, photography, drawing, sound and speculative stories written from the point of view of the non-human other). Also, a publication named “Ways to interact with plants” was produced, which collects students’ proposals for communicating with home plants during confinement. During the second part of the project, artistic banners were made for demonstrations to support the non-human’s life. All the artworks were shown in an exhibition in Fabra i Coats Contemporary art center. The title of the show, “Planteja-t'ho” (“Think about it” in Catalan), plays with the inclusion of the word “plant” and invites to the following reflection: have you considered how we are relating to the living beings that inhabit with us? For the opening, each letter of “Planteja-t'ho” was planted on a banner that welcomed visitors.

Aesthetics and art were also applied in the design of the intervention. Students drew their ideas, which were discussed with decision makers and ecologist to reach a feasible and favorable decision. The final design was inspired in both the urban structure of the enclosure (lines and squares) and the organic forms.

Please give information about the key objectives of your project in terms of inclusion (equal opportunities, public participation, citizen engagement, co-design, universal design, accessibility, affordability, etc.) and how these have been met.
Please highlight how the project can be exemplary in this context

The project is based in the participation of students of a public school. In particular, 13 students aged 12-13 years old, their teacher, and the coordinator of Creators in Residence program (a member of A Bao A Qu Association). Considering that the main goal of the project was to achieve a shift towards an ecocentric paradigm in students, their participation was absolutely necessary. Thus, the students participated in every stage of the project, including the co-design and execution of the Lane for Non-Humans.

On the other hand, the Lane for Non-Humans is an urban intervention in the public space (and therefore, accessible) of Fabra i Coats, and old fabric enclosure located in a working class neighborhood of Barcelona that hosts public schools, a contemporary art center (where our project was exhibited) and many other public spaces. Thus, the intervention is visible both for local and external visitors and users of the area.

The project is exemplary because it implied young students in decision making and political negotiations for an urban change towards approaching nature. In this sense, the project gave voice to the new generations to think and take decisions that led to changes in ecological issues at local scale.

Finally, the affordability of the project turns it into a very accessible example to be replicated. The project lasted 9 months (a scholar course) and had a total budget of €1,800 for production, plus €4,000 as my fee budget.

Please explain how these three dimensions have been combined in your project.
Please highlight how this approach can be exemplary

As it has been explained above, the combination of the three dimensions (sustainability, aesthetics, and inclusion) were necessary to achieve the goals of the project.

The aim of the project was not to create a refuge for biodiversity in an urban context (which would probably have taken less time and efforts to achieve) but to include the youngsters of the local community to provoke an ecological change in their urban space. That is why the project was conducted through them, starting with a collective awareness of our coexistence with other non-humans, and implying them in all the stages of the project: the vindication for non-humans life, the negotiation and the decision taking of what to do to achieve better conditions for coexistence. Therefore, the three dimensions are merged and cannot be separated in this project, since the three of them are necessary to achieve its goals.

The merge of the three dimensions was crucial to achieve a deep change in paradigm. The methodology of the project has consequences in sustainability, aesthetics and social issues that go further and deeper than the physical intervention.

Please give information on the results/impacts achieved by your project in relation to the category you apply for

The Lane for Non-Humans brings nature into the urban space. This intervention in the public space allows a major visibility of other-than-human life and enhances empathy towards them. As a refuge for biodiversity in a hard urban context, the Lane for Non-Humans contributes to enhance urban biodiversity, reconnect cities (and citizens) to wildlife and mitigate the decline of pollinators’ population.

But besides this physical transformation of the public space, the whole process of awareness, vindication and negotiation for better conditions for non-human wildlife propitiate to reconsider the relationship of the local community with nature and ecosystems in a life centered perspective, as an alternative to the common anthropocentric one.

At the starting point, students were not aware of the wild non-human life that coinhabit in the same space as them. When starting to discover it, most students expressed disgust for birds, worms and insects. The mixture of speculative, artistic and scientific methodologies helped us to approach the non-human otherness from the other side’s point of view. Progressively, in a long-term artistic process, a shift in youngsters’ relationship with nature became visible. The artworks reflect this shift towards an ecocentric paradigm, but it is mainly through their implication in the second part of the project where this shift is noted. In this second part, students claimed for space for non-humans and represented them in the negotiations with politicians, local managers and other decision makers of Fabra i Coats enclosure. That is how the Lane for Non-Human was created.

Participants of the project (students, school, decision makers…) experimented a shift in perspective towards ecocentrism, which is represented in the Lane for Non-Humans. Indirectly, this change in the relationship with nature has spread to their families, and other users and visitors of this public space. As a permanent intervention, the message remains for the future.

Please explain how citizens and civil society were involved in the in the design and/or implementation of the project.
Please also explain the benefits that derived from their involvement.

The project directly involved: 13 students aged 12-13 of a public school and their teacher as participants; a member of A Bao A Qu association as responsible of project monitoring; and me as the artist in residence who ideated and developed the project (i.e., responsible of the proposal, its development and execution; designer of activities; leader of the group; and ultimately responsible of the project). Together we conformed a group of 16 persons.

The project was carried on as an open process, adaptable to the flow and ideas of students and teacher. The whole group was involved in the negotiation for intervening in the public space. The final design of the intervention was inspired in students’ proposals, adapted to feasibility and urbanistic and ecological requirements. All the group participated in the execution of the Lane for Non-Humans (cement removal, backfill with organic soil, planting, sowing and watering), for what we had to learn about.

In a second level, other students, teachers, members of the school and families were invited to the shows and activities and closely followed the process. Also, decision takers of Fabra i Coats enclosure, local politicians (district officers related to urbanism, ecology, culture and education), Museum of Contemporary Art of Barcelona (MACBA), Botanical Garden of Barcelona, and the Ecology Department of Barcelona City Council (in particular, specialists in biodiversity and gardening) were involved at some stages of the project as assessors, supporters, communicators, etc. As part of Creators in Residence Program, the project was supported by the Institute of Culture of Barcelona and the Barcelona Education Consortium.

In a third level, the local community was involved through the show at the Fabra i Coats Contemporary Art Center and the Lane for Non-Humans.

In a pandemic context, working with nature together as a team and including as many allies as possible, benefited not only the project but also individuals.

Please explain what kind of global challenges the project addressed by providing local solutions

The project is based on the premise that approaching an ecocentric paradigm and finding other ways of living together with other species has consequences in people’s behavior that involve the whole spectrum of sustainability goals.

The project's local solutions are related to the following sustainable development goals (SDG):

SDG 11 Sustainable cities and communities:

Youngsters of a public school were involved in the decision making of their urbanistic environment with the aim of enhancing biodiversity. This is aligned with SDG11.3 “enhance inclusive and sustainable urbanization and capacity for participatory, integrated and sustainable human settlement planning and management”.

The Lane for Non-Humans adds an accessible green space to the city.

Considering the consequences of ecocentrism in sustainable behavior, the project is related with the goal of reducing the adverse per capita environmental impact of cities.


SDG 15 Life on land:

The Lane for Non-Humans is a local action that meets the following global biodiversity goals: halt biodiversity loss, through the restoration of an urban environment towards a favorable habitat for declining species (as pollinators); enhance ecosystem services (provided by pollinators); and ensure ecological connectivity.


SDG 13 Climate action:

Ecocentrism is related to a more sustainable behavior, and thus, to a reduction of greenhouse gases emissions per capita.

Since species will need to move to new favorable climate zones, the Lane for Non-Humans collaborates in the city's adaptation to climate change as a refuge for biodiversity and part of a steppingstone ecological connector.  


Other goals: SDG 3 Good health and well-being (proximity to nature has been related to a better health and was a significant need after confinement); SDG 4 Quality education (education in contemporary art and ecology issues within a participatory methodology); SDG 5 Gender equality (50% of women in the group).

Please highlight the innovative character of the project as compared to mainstream practices in the field of the project.

Compared to mainstream practices for enhancing biodiversity in urban contexts, the project introduces the following innovations:

  • A participatory methodology and “from down to up” decision taking: Normally, this kind of interventions are decided by public administrations with very low or no participation of citizens. In this case, the vindication, negotiation, proposal and execution came from members of the local community. Without the previous work for shifting participants minds towards coexistence with nature, this result wouldn’t have been achieved.
  • A main goal that goes deeper than the physical intervention: The project is the result of a long process (9 months) that aimed a change in minds, and not just the execution of the refuge for urban biodiversity.
  • Yield space to non-humans, not gardening: In accordance with the ecocentric point of view and the aim of coexistence with nature, the project scaped from gardening solutions and enhanced wild non-human’s life above decorative solutions. Thus, the Lane for Non-Humans was made to be inhabited by spontaneous plants and animals. That means that during the summer the plants go dry and with the autumn rains they grow again, following the typical Mediterranean pattern.


Compared to mainstream practices of contemporary art in schools, the project introduces the following innovations:

  • An artistic project that aims for deep changes: Beyond the artistic techniques learned through the project, art was used as an instrument to open minds and enhance creativity for achieving changes in the near environment and in our relationship with nature.


The project is also innovative for blurring the boundaries between science, art, speculation, education, urbanism, politics and other issues. Breaking compartments are necessary for addressing complex problems such as ecological conflicts, and allow to enhance synergies and find innovative solutions.


Please explain to the potential of transferring the projects’ results or learnings to other interested parties and contexts.
Please provide clear documentation, communication of methodology and principles in this context.

This project is of special interest for those who look for methodologies for achieving a shift in anthropocentric paradigm towards ecocentrism that can lead to think new possibilities of coexistence. Its transfer will offer an example of an innovative methodology that has obtained very good results and that is economically affordable and easily adaptable to other contexts.


Methodology was based in a transdisciplinary, long, participatory process. For 9 months, the group met 3h per week, plus 2h of independent work. The first 4 months were dedicated to introducing the project, contemporary art and ecology, and to explore the zone for non-human co-inhabitants. Art, science and speculation were combined to register the encounters from the other’s point of view, enhancing empathy. In this stage, participants relationship to non-humans shifted from invisibility and disgust to acceptancy and care.

At mid project, participants were requested to do a diagnose of the space from the approached non-human point of view. Students concluded that only 5% of the enclosure was favorable to non-humans. Vindicating non-humans’ life was the first call to action.

At the second part of the project, solutions were proposed and examples of similar projects were studied. At this point, students were so involved that the following steps were deeply influenced by their decisions. After many negotiations and with the help of collaborators, the group ended up with a feasible solution: the Lane for Non-Humans.  


The process was exhibited in the Contemporary Art Center and documented by the participants in the following blog:


The recognition of the exemplarity of the project would be an important support for us to continue developing this methodology in similar proposals. Also, the validation would be a deserved recognition for the extra effort that the project required, considering its low budget (€6,000 approx.).

Is an evaluation report or any relevant documentation available?
If you would like to upload additional documentation, please upload it or write it below

Additional information of the project can be found at:


Quotes in press and television:

BTV, Paula Bruna EN RESiDÈNCIA (from 5:20 to 7:20)
Notícies Ajuntament de Barcelona (31-05-2021): EN RESiDÈNCiA: La vida oculta sota els murs de la Fabra i Coats. 


Artist website:


List of participants from Vapor del Fil School:

Students: Aina Grande, Albert Acosta, Àlex Vàzquez, Eloy Linares, Janna Rodríguez, Kevin Moreno, Meri Ver, Nayara Panizza, Núria del Toro, Pol Talens, Rubén Morillas, Sergi Sánchez y Sílvia Falcó

Teacher: Jose Angel Prieto


Monitor project: Agnès Sebastià (A Bao A Qu)


Project developed in the framework of Creators in Residence (Institute of Culture of Barcelona, Barcelona Education Consortium).



David Madrazo (Fabra i Coats); Sant Andreu District; Fabra i Coats Creator Factory; Botanical Garden of Barcelona; Teresa Vila (Natural Science Museum of Barcelona); Raquel Arnaiz (Nusos Cooperative); MACBA; Eva Paià; BTV; Margarita Fuertes, Juan Bernardo Martín, Roger Farré i Blanca Bassas (Urban Ecology Department, Barcelona City Council); Teresa Mulet; Andrés Márquez; La Escocesa; Raima; Queralt Castillo.

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