Researcher Rebecca Hui has spent months mapping how dogs, cows, elephants and leopards travel through urban spaces.
When people think of mapping cities, it is usually from a human perspective: crime rates, population density, frequency of services, routes used by different demographics and so on. Animals, if ever considered, are often presented as menacing creatures that must be shifted away for the benefit of society. But Rebecca Hui, a Fulbright scholar from the US, is attempting to change that perception. Even as people begin to map cities in increasingly complex ways, Hui has begun to look at how animals live in urban spaces.
"I came into this with urban planning questions," she told Scroll.in. "Animals do follow their own rules. By studying the natural laws that animals respect, one can learn how to design for humans in a more environmentally sensible way."
The project emerged out of a spontaneous trip Hui made to Ahmedabad four years ago, where she first encountered that foremost of all tourist observations: animals, particularly, cows, on streets.
In January, she intensified her project after getting a Fulbright scholarship and a grant from the National Geographic Society. Hui is no stranger to mapping unusual elements in urban spaces. She has previously tracked dogs travelling on metros in Moscow, cigarette buds in Chinatown and Lego sets in Berkeley.