Institute of Geography and Sustainability of the University of Lausanne
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Indésirables? Undesirables. Unwanted animals in the city

Research fields Urban matters
Keywords Lausanne
Urban nature
Participative project
Funding SNF - Agora
Duration October 2021 - September 2023
Researchers Blanc Nathalie (External expert)
Chalmandrier Maud (Research Advisory) [web] [email]
Cherix Daniel (External expert)
Freitag Anne (Project co-applicant)
Hagner Max (External expert)
Salomon Cavin Joëlle (Supervision) [web] [email]

Rats, pigeons, cockroaches, moths, bugs… so many animals intimately bounded to
cities, but with which city dwellers would sometimes prefer not to coexist. This
communication project, based mainly on data collected as part of the SNSF project
"When ecology goes to town", focuses on these unwanted and often poorly-known
animals of the city.
The main motivation for this project, entitled “Indésirables", is to broaden the usual
perspectives on urban animals. “Indésirables" will highlight a disturbing, sometimes
even hostile nature, which can be detrimental to the habitability of urban spaces.
Concurrently, “Indésirables" will promote the discovery of a fascinating and diversified
wild fauna, perfectly adapted to the built environment and whose regulation by
humans now requires the development of both technical and naturalistic expertise.
Global warming provokes the arrival and proliferation in Swiss cities of insects –
bedbugs, tiger mosquitoes and invasive ants – and “Indésirables" offers a timely
opportunity for a necessary and original debate on urban naturalness.
"Indésirables. Les animaux mal-aimés de la ville" is the title of the exhibition planned
at the Vaud Zoology Museum in Lausanne (MZL). The exhibition will present
narratives, collections, videos and living insect colonies in a backdrop of Built
environment. This central event will be accompanied by various scientific
communication activities targeted to a public of adults, adolescents and children from
various backgrounds: the participatory project "Portraits sans (ca)-fard", urban tours
"Sauvageons en ville", lectures, parent-child workshops and an exhibition book.
The communication is organized around three different ways of looking at undesirable
animals: 1 - the inhabitant's vision, which questions the representations of urbanites
and popular culture about these animals; 2 - the animal vision, which, through the
analyses and knowledge of biologists, shows the city from the animal point of view; 3 -
the managerial vision, which exposes the experience of exterminators and urban
managers faced with the need to regulate this animal presence in the city.
Based on a collaboration between the University of Lausanne (Unil) and the Museum of
Zoology of Lausanne (MZL) and also the City of Lausanne, the great strength of this
project is to benefit from a plurality of expertise, knowledge and know-how in the fields
of geography, biology, as well as scientific mediation and popularisation.

At an exterminator