Dan Parker

Dan Parker portrait

Dan Parker inspecting a artificial structure in a tree

Dan Parker is a designer and researcher at the University of Melbourne, Australia. His PhD investigates innovative design approaches that can support coexistence between humans and other animals in urban environments. His interdisciplinary research combines work in ecology, design, and environmental humanities. Dan conducts fieldwork in the Italian Alps and studies a Diploma in Modern Languages (Italian) at the University of New England. He holds a Bachelor of Environments and a Master of Architecture from the University of Melbourne. Specialising in digital architectural design, Dan has taught several design subjects, worked in architectural practice, and held positions in digital fabrication labs.

Thesis Topic

Artificial Nest for the Powerful Owl

A prosthetic-hollow design for the powerful owl

Designing for Multispecies Cohabitation: The Case of Prosthetic Habitats


  • Stanislav Roudavski, The University of Melbourne, Senior Lecturer, More-than-Human Design
  • Kylie Soanes, The University of Melbourne, Research Fellow, Ecosystem and Forest Sciences

How can the design of the built environment help to achieve multispecies cohabitation? What can design contribute to the endeavour of creating places where human and nonhuman lives thrive? The need to address such questions is increasingly urgent in the context of climate change, urbanisation, and mass species extinction. In response, Dan’s PhD aims to establish innovative design measures that support coexistence between humans and other living beings. Such design poses complex practical and theoretical challenges that span multiple scales, stakeholders, and knowledge bases. Combining expertise in architectural design, biological sciences, and environmental humanities, Dan’s thesis introduces the idea of ‘prosthetic habitat-structures’ as one promising approach to designing with and for nonhumans. Prosthetic habitat-structures refer to a design strategy which aims to reinstate absent habitat opportunities by grafting elements onto existing structures like trees or buildings. Dan focuses primarily on the design of prosthetic tree-hollows. These structures are important in response to the global decline in numbers of large old trees. The hollows that develop in these trees provide crucial habitat structure many species of birds, mammals, and reptiles. However, tree hollows can take several decades to form and are in short supply in urban and agricultural areas. Existing designs for human-made replacements, such as nest boxes, have known limitations. In response, Dan’s PhD proposes that techniques of computer-aided design, notions of interspecies cultures, and approaches to co-design can improve the implementation of prosthetic habitat-structures across their entire lifecycles. To test these hypotheses, the PhD instigated comparative case-studies on human-owl cohabitation in Australia and Italy. Outcomes include field installations, theoretical frameworks, and practical toolkits that help establish new best practices for interspecies design. This research stands to benefit a range of multispecies communities and contributes to a growing body of interdisciplinary work among researchers and practitioners who share more-than-human concerns.

Sample Images

A computational map that locates suitable areas for prosthetic habitat-structures.

A 3D scan of a host-site for prosthetic hollows.

A computer model of a prosthetic hollow on the 3D scanned host-tree.

A 3D-printed prosthetic hollow installed in Parkville, Melbourne.

A design of a prosthetic hollow for powerful owls


Parker, Dan, and Stanislav Roudavski. "Prosthetic Habitats for the Powerful Owl." LA+ Interdisciplinary Journal of Landscape Architecture, no. 14 (2021): 72–5.

Parker, Dan, Stanislav Roudavski, Bronwyn Isaac, and Nick Bradsworth. "Towards Interspecies Art: Prosthetic Habitats in Human and Owl Cultures." Leonardo 54, no. 5 (2021): 572–76. https://doi.org/10.1162/leon_a_02125.

Parker, Dan, Stanislav Roudavski, Therésa M. Jones, Nick Bradsworth, Bronwyn Isaac, Martin T. Lockett, and Kylie Soanes. "A Framework for Computer-Aided Design and Manufacturing of Habitat Structures for Cavity-Dependent Animals." Methods in Ecology and Evolution, 2022. https://doi.org/10/gpggfj.

Roudavski, Stanislav, and Dan Parker. "Modelling Workflows for More-than-Human Design: Prosthetic Habitats for the Powerful Owl (Ninox strenua)." In Impact - Design with All Senses: Proceedings of the Design Modelling Symposium, Berlin 2019, edited by Gengnagel, Christoph, Baverel, Olivier, Burry, Jane, Thomsen, Mette Ramsgaard, and Weinzierl, Stefan, 554–4. Cham: Springer, 2020. https://doi.org/10/dbkp.


Honourable Mention, LA+ (Landscape Architecture Plus) Creature, Weitzman School of Design, University of Pennsylvania. Prosthetic Habitats for the Powerful Owl (Ninox strenua), 2020.

Best Thesis Runner Up, Bates Smart Award. Prosthetic Habitats: Design Through the Lens of a Nonhuman Agency, 2018.

Press Coverage

ABC (Australian Broadcasting Corporation). (2022). The Secret Lives of Our Urban Birds. In Catalyst. https://www.abc.net.au/catalyst/the-secret-lives-of-our-urban-birds/13734884

Parker, Dan, Roudavski, Stanislav, Jones, Therésa M., & Soanes, Kylie (2022). New Design Tech Offers Hope for Urban Wildlife. Pursuit. https://pursuit.unimelb.edu.au/articles/new-design-tech-offers-hope-for-urban-wildlife

Shih, Ivy. (2021). Phantom Limb Pain. Sweaty City, 2. https://www.sweatycity.com/product-page/sweaty-city-issue-2

Parker, Dan, Isaac, Bronwyn, Soanes, Kylie, Bradsworth, Nick, Roudavski, Stanislav, & Jones, Therésa M. (2020). Urban Owls Are Losing Their Homes. So We’re 3D Printing Them New Ones. The Conversation. https://theconversation.com/urban-owls-are-losing-their-homes-so-were-3d-printing-them-new-ones-133626

Barlass, Tim (2019). Will Powerful Owls Give Two Hoots for “Lego” Prosthetic Nest Box? Sydney Morning Herald. https://www.smh.com.au/environment/conservation/will-powerful-owls-give-two-hoots-for-lego-prosthetic-nest-box-20190919-p52szq.html


Parker, Dan, Chiara Bettega, Chiara Fedrigotti, Luigi Marchesi, Paolo Pedrini, Mattia Brambilla, Kylie Soanes, and Stanislav Roudavski. (2022). Bio-Digital Manufacturing of Tree Hollows. [Installation; Living Laboratory] Exhibited at MUSE – Science Museum of Trento

Parker, Dan, Roudavski, Stanislav (2022). Prosthetic Hollow Configurator. [Installation; Video] Exhibited at Open Studio, Archivio Viafarini, Milan


Parker, Dan. 2018. “Towards Interspecies Art: Prosthetic Habitats in Human and Owl Cultures.” Presented at the Spectra Art + Science Conference, Australian Network for Art and Technology, Adelaide.

Parker, Dan. 2019. “Ethics of Interspecies Design.” Presented at the workshop, Researching Ethically With (Other) Animals in The Humanities and Social Sciences, Deakin University, Melbourne.

Roudavski, Stanislav. 2019. “Modelling Workflows for More-than-Human Design: Prosthetic Habitats for the Powerful Owl (Ninox strenua).” Presented at the Impact - Design with All Senses: Design Modelling Symposium, Berlin.

Roudavski, Stanislav, and Dan Parker. 2022. “Interspecies Cultures and Future Design.” Presented at the international workshop, Speaking About the Humans. Animal Perspectives on the Multispecies World, University of Amsterdam/Online.

Parker, Dan. 2022. “Designing for Multispecies Cohabitation.” Presented at the Anthropology of Sustainability Lectures, University of Bologna.

Parker, Dan. 2022. “Interspecies Design.” Presented at the international workshop, Interspecies Exploration by Bio-Digital Manufacturing Technologies (INSECT), Hub for Biotechnology in the Built Environment (HBBE), Newcastle University.